Understanding the Examination Pattern of SBI PO Exams

Every banking exam aspirant will know that SBI PO selection is one of the most sought-after exams conducted in the country to appoint probationary officers. But attempting the exam and getting selected in the process takes rigorous preparation and knowledge of the syllabus and SBI PO exam pattern.

As every year, there will be specific changes introduced in the exam pattern; it is essential that you stay updated and prepare accordingly. Read on to understand the exam patterns of the SBI PO selection process. 

SBI PO Examination Pattern

The selection process for the SBI PO post majorly takes place in three phases:

  • The Preliminary Examination
  • The Main Examination
  • The Interview & Group Exercise

Each of these stages goes in order, and you have to qualify each of the phases to attempt the next one. 

Phase 1- Prelims Exam Pattern

This is the first and the primary stage in the SBI PO exam pattern. The preliminary exam is an online exam that has three sections, namely, English language, Reasoning Ability, and Quantitative Aptitude.

The marks you obtain in this exam will not be a part of your total marks, and it will not affect your final selection process. But you will be able to appear for the SBI PO main exam only if you qualify for the preliminary test. 

Questions & Scores


  • For every correct answer, you will be awarded one mark, and for every wrong answer, there will be a negative marking of 0.25. 
  • You have to answer the questions section-wise in order. For the language, you have the option to choose only English, while for the Reasoning and Aptitude section, you will have a choice of Hindi and English.
  • In prelims, there is no sectional cut-off. The overall cut-off will decide whether you are selected for the subsequent rounds or not.


Phase 2 – Mains Exam Pattern

Once you qualify for the SBI PO prelims examination, you can apply and appear for the Main exam. There will be two levels in the mains, which will be held online and on the same day. The two levels are the Objective test and the Descriptive Test.

The objective part will be for 200 marks and the descriptive test for 50 marks. The Objective Test will take place for three hours with a separate time limit for each section. You have to complete the descriptive test in thirty minutes, and this section will test your writing skills in the English language.

Phase 3 – Personal Interview

If you qualify for the mains exam, they will call you for phase 3 of the SBI PO exam pattern which is the group exercise, and the personal interview. The allotted mark for group discussions is 20, and it is 30 marks for the personal interview.  

The marks you scored in the Mains Exam and the Interview and group discussion will be combined and released as your final score. Once all the rounds are complete, the results will be declared on the official website of the SBI. 

Go through the syllabus in every section, revise the previous years’ question papers, and don’t miss out on important topics. As all three phases of the exam have their own importance, you must be well prepared to face all.

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