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All About Bank Exams for Graduates

Bank exams in India are easily among the most sought-after because they meet aspiring graduates’ financial as well as social goals. But the huge number of exams and their intricate details and rules might be quite overwhelming. Having an understanding of the types of exams, roles on offer, and the associate eligibility criteria, etc can hence be of great help to job seekers.

SBI (State Bank of India) and IBPS (Institute of Banking Personnel Selection) are the largest recruiting bodies, which conduct exams nationwide. Of these, IBPS exams are known to be more challenging than their counterparts. The RBI (Reserve Bank of India) conducts its selection processes to onboard deserving candidates

In no particular order, here are some of the must-attempt bank exams for fresh graduates and people actively looking to switch to a more lucrative career:

  • RBI Assistant
  • RBI Grade B Officer
  • RBI Grade C Officer
  • SBI Clerk
  • SBI PO (SBI Probationary Officer)
  • SBI SO (SBI Specialist Officer)
  • IBPS Clerk
  • IBPS PO (IBPS Probationary Officer)
  • IBPS SO (IBPS Specialist Officer)
  • RRB Clerk
  • RRB PO (RRB Probationary Officer))
  • NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development)

Why Bank Exams?

What’s not to like about the banking sector – compensation a fresher can only dream of, the great work-life balance, the handsome pension, ample allowances, and much more…

Take the SBI PO Salary, for instance, it is between 7.5 to 12.9 LPA. Your average IT job pays only around 4 LPA.

Of course, the pay differs with the designation, but on a broad outlook, bank jobs pay quite handsomely. This is the primary reason why lakhs of aspirants take the bank exams year on year. The high-yield post comes not without heavy competition. This is where dedicated effort and preparation come in. The expert guidance is sometimes all that’s missing from a potential win.

Who can apply?

Every exam has its eligibility criteria designed to suit its expectations. It is important to have a clear idea of this, as it not only confirms or denies your eligibility but also paints a picture of your competition. For example, take a look at the SBI PO eligibility. Even though most of you will have no trouble fitting into the eligibility criteria, the relaxations given for different groups can be of interest.

Selection Process & Exam Pattern

The exam pattern and qualifying marks for each exam will differ based on the recruiting body and jobs on offer, for example:

  • PO Exams typically have 3 stages: Prelims, Mains, and Interviews
  • Clerk exams have only Prelims and Mains

Familiarize yourself with the exam patterns to know the areas of difficulty and frequently tested topics and high-scoring areas. The time given for each exam will also dictate your proficiency in the area, so pay close attention to such details. Added to all this, some segments will have negative markings allotted to them, so know where to take risks.


At first glance, the syllabus could seem too vast. But when approached systematically, one can run through the syllabus easily and check off topics as he/she goes. Make sure to revise and revisit topics you feel are important or personally difficult.

The areas you’ll need to cover for bank exams will be under four divisions, each harboring its stack of topics:

Quantitative Aptitude

Number systems, Simplification, profit, loss & discount, quadratic equations, data interpretation, distance, time & speed, percentages, ratio, proportion, Mixtures & Allegations, compound interest, simple interest, Probability, and Mensuration,

Logical Reasoning

Coding-decoding, Puzzles, data & seating arrangements, Blood relations, Ranking, Alphanumeric series and sequences, Syllogisms, Data sufficiency, Input & output problems, Statements, arguments, assumptions, and conclusions

English Language

Grammar, Fill in the blanks, Para jumbles (jumbled sentences), Reading comprehension, Cloze test, Error detection, and Para Completion

General & Banking Awareness

Banking knowledge, common banking jargon, fundamentals of economics, Current affairs or dynamic GK (from all over the world), major financial institutions, banks and their headquarters, Static general knowledge

Preparation tips

Self-study is advisable provided you are motivated and dedicated enough. Here are a few time-tested tips and strategies to help you get through:

  • Cover the entire syllabus, one topic at a time
  • Make use of free online resources.
  • Zero in on your weak areas and practice till you become proficient
  • Solve mock tests & previous year papers once you are clear with concepts
  • The newspaper is an underrated resource delivered at your door-step, make use of it

As you might have noticed, the syllabus, though widespread, is not very difficult by itself. It is the competition that makes a major difference. Hence every advantage you get, be it an extra hour of problem-solving or expert guidance will do a world of good.

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