How To Prepare for IBPS PO: A Comprehensive Guide for 2018


The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) first introduced its Probationary officer (PO) examination back in 2011. Since then it has gained immense traction, to an extent that many professionals today view this examination as an opportunity towards a worthwhile career in the Banking industry. At present, with its gaining popularity, we observed that the IBPS PO examination has turned a tad bit trickier than compared to its initial days.   

But fret not, if you are a candidate preparing for IBPS PO for the first time then don’t bother being anxious because we have got you covered. In this article, we will break down what an IBPS PO exam is, what their responsibilities are, what their career trajectory looks like, which are best books recommended for preparation and most importantly how to prepare for the upcoming IBPS PO 2018 examination.

Before we get into discussing the strategies to implement, it’s imperative that you first understand who an IBPS PO is.


Who is an IBPS PO? 

A probationary officer is considered to be the backbone of a bank because of the diverse range of assignments that he or she has to manage during the period of training. A bank probationary officer (PO) is the starting level appointment of the bank officer who will be under a probation period for least 2 years. During this period the candidate will undergo training and perform the allotted work to them so as to become proficient in their job profile.

If you are clear about what you are preparing for then read on as we discuss the various responsibilities bestowed on an IBPS PO to understand why they are referred to as the backbone of a bank. 


Responsibilities of an IBPS PO 

Following are the various responsibilities handled by an IBPS PO officer.


Professional Business Linking 

Just like a marketing professional, an IBPS PO is similarly responsible for bringing more business to the organisation through activities like promoting banking products, sell insurance, sanctioning loans etc. Public sector banks generally do not assign a dedicated talent to perform the activities of marketing and sales, in such cases, it is up to the PO officer to step up and enhance the business of the bank.

Document and Account Verification

A Bank PO is responsible for manually recording each transaction and checking accounts on a daily basis.


Customer Service

Interacting with the customers is one of the core deliverables expected by an IBPS PO officer. Here the officer needs to mingle with the customers who visit the bank on a daily basis and provide solutions for whatever query they might have. The queries generally include questions related to banking services like how to open a new account, cash deposits, withdrawals, issues pertaining to chequebook etc.


Banking Process Management

All the basic operations in a bank are usually undertaken by a bank clerk, but in times of overburden of work, a bank PO is expected to step in and take up some of these responsibilities. This includes Cash handling Payment clearance etc. 

In case of heavy footfall, a PO officer takes the responsibility of managing all type of depositing and withdrawal of cash. A Bank PO in such circumstances familiarizes with some transaction software to monitor the process. All of this is usually a temporary job profile for PO officers. 



Additional Information about an IBPS PO Officer 

 Job Posting: Rural or urban branches of the bank

Salary: 37 – 38,000/-

Educational Qualification:  Graduate from any stream

Selection Process:  Prelims – Mains – Interview

Career Trajectory:

Asst. Manager – Deputy Manager – Branch Manager – Chief Manager – Asst. General Manager – Deputy General Manager – General Manager


How are IBPS PO Exams conducted?

IBPS PO exams are conducted in 2 phases:

  1. IBPS PO Prelims
  2. IBPS PO Mains


Now let’s get into how to prepare for IBPS PO, first, it’s important to learn important dates before planning a strategy for preparation


Important Dates for an IBPS PO 2018 Aspirant 

Events Dates
 IBPS PO Prelims Exam  13th – 14th, 20th-21st Oct’2018
 IBPS PO Mains Exam  18th November 2018


Moving on, let’s now understand how the syllabus looks for both IBPS 2018 Prelims and Mains.


IBPS PO 2018 Exam Syllabus (Prelims) 

S no: Subject Number of Questions Total Marks
1  Reasoning Ability 35 35
2  Quantitative Aptitude 35 35
3  English Language 30 30
TOTAL 100 100


Candidates who qualify the Prelims will be shortlisted for the Main Exam and those who also qualify the main exam will have to clear Personal Interview round to be finalized for the post of PO in IBPS affiliated Banks. One important fact every aspirant must know is that the duration of this exam is 1 hour. Yes 1 hour and 100 marks, that’s the challenge.


Strategies to qualify IBPS PO 2018 Prelims 

As mentioned above you have 1 hour to attempt 100 questions so needless to say time management is crucial when attempting the Prelims. So divide your time equally for all subjects and focus more on the topics that require practice.

Quantitative Aptitude will demand most of your time in the Prelims.  This section is supposedly the toughest to tackle for students. It comprises of 15 chapters so understand the principle and prepare the logic related to it. To deal with this section, you need to practice as much as you can.

 Attempt all the easy ones which include topics like Ages, Percentage, Average, Simplification, SI, Profit and Loss, Ratio & Proportions, etc.

 In the reasoning ability section students usually face problems with solving the ‘Circular Seat Arrangement’ portion. So practice that section thoroughly before you attempt prelims.

 There is just one way to prepare for the English section: Make it a habit to read popular English newspapers e.g.: The Hindu. This should help you widen your vocabulary and strengthen your grammar.

 Attempt various Mock tests available on the internet to identify areas where you will require improvement.


IBPS PO 2018 Exam Syllabus (Mains) 

S no: Subjects Number of Questions Total Marks
1  Reasoning and Computer Aptitude 45 60
2  General Awareness 40 40
3  English Language 35 40
4  Data Analysis and Interpretations 35 60
TOTAL 155 200


Your preparation for IBPS Prelims and Mains should go hand in hand because there are overlapping subjects and moreover you have just 1 month left for the Mains once you qualify the Prelims. And that’s too less a time for a quality preparation, so it is advisable to prepare for the subjects in the Main exam simultaneously as you prepare for the Prelims.  


Strategies to qualify IBPS PO Mains 2018


Now let’s break down the preparation strategy subject wise so that you get a clear understanding of how to go about cracking the IBPS PO exam.


Reasoning and Computer Aptitude of IBPS PO Main 2018

The Reasoning section includes topics like Coding-Decoding, Blood Relations, Analytical Reasoning, Syllogism, logical reasoning, etc. To excel in this subject you need to practice.

Remember to not try and waste too much time on a single question and attempt questions you are sure of. If you feel that you are proficient in this section then it is advisable that you attempt reasoning in the end.

The Computer Aptitude section tests your basic understanding of computers. It covers topics like:

  1. Keyboard shortcuts
  2. Microsoft Office
  3. Hardware and Software
  4. Windows and its applications
  5. Networking
  6. Internet and its usage


General Awareness in IBPS PO Main 2018 

The General Awareness section demands you to stay updated with all the latest news that made headlines. This means you have to be well informed about all the latest banking, International, National, Business and Sports news.

At HashLearn, every week, we compile all the latest news across categories to help students stay updated with the current affairs news. You can click on any of the images below and check out top current affairs news that made headlines during that week.




English Language in IBPS PO Main 2018

This is one of the overlapping subjects that you will encounter in your IBPS PO Main exams. The most important part of this section is the Comprehension. You will need to practise reading to help understand the context of each paragraph fast.

In your mind, make a small gist of what you understood from each paragraph as you read so that when you attempt the questions at the end you are well aware of which paragraph to go back and refer to. The intent here is to save time. 

You also have to be familiar with the fundamental concepts of basic grammar. If you are not so familiar then getting yourself a standard VIII NCERT grammar book is the way to go to improve your basic knowledge of grammar.


Data Analysis and Interpretation in IBPS PO Main 2018 

From 2017 onwards the Quantitative Aptitude in IBPS PO Mains was renamed as Data Interpretation & Analysis. The questions asked in this section will be directed towards the Problem Solving & Data analysis skills of the candidate.

Following are the list of topics in Data Interpretation and Analysis

  • Ratio and proportion
  • Averages
  • Time and work
  • Speed, Distance and time
  • Mixture and allegation
  • Stocks and shares
  • Percentages
  • Partnership
  • Clocks
  • Volume and Surface Area
  • Height and Distances
  • Logarithms
  • Permutation and combinations
  • Simple and compound interest
  • Equations
  • Probability
  • Trigonometry
  • Profit, Loss and Discount
  • Elements of Algebra


Practice these topics mentioned above thoroughly to ace the Data Analysis and Interpretation section in your IBPS PO examination.


Recommended Books for IBPS PO 2018 

The list of books mentioned below will guide you in getting acquainted with the IBPS PO Syllabus and its exam pattern. It’s a fact that the more variety of questions you try, the better it is for you since it eliminates the element of surprise in the exam.

Following is the list, we have divided it section-wise for your convenience :


Books for Qualitative Analysis

  • Quantitative Aptitude by RS Aggarwal
  • The Complete Success Package – Bank PO Recruitment Examination (English) 7 – Arihant Publications


Books for English Language & General Awareness 

  • Essential English grammar by Murphy
  • Manorama Year Book – One of the best books for a round-up of all the important news throughout the year.


Books for Reasoning Section

  • A Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning (Revised Edition) – R.S Agarwal
  • A new Approach to Reasoning Verbal and Non-Verbal 2nd Edition- Indu Sijwali & B.S. Sijwali


Always remember cracking a competitive exam demands strategic planning and not just hard work. So I hope this was a good read and hope you were able to gather some vakuable information on how to prepare for the upcoming IBPS PO 2018 entrance examination.

 All the best!

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  • furtdsolinopv - June 27, 2018 reply

    he blog was how do i say it… relevant, finally something that helped me. Thanks!

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