Exam Pattern, Preparation Strategy and Key Points for Upcoming Bank Exams

The Banking Sector is one of the highest employment generating sectors in the country. The Public Sector Banks release vacancies to appoint candidates at various posts annually and lakhs of aspirants apply for these posts to grab an opportunity of working in the banking sector.


RBI, SBI, and IBPS are the three main bodies that conduct bank exams for recruitment at various posts, including Clerk, Junior Associate, Assistant, Probationary Officer, Specialist Officer, etc. Recently, the Government has also announced the creation of a National Recruitment Agency which shall soon take over the responsibility of conducting these competitive bank exams.


Of the various positions, the Probationary Officer post is one of the most sought after. For candidates who wish to know more details about the Bank PO job profile, salary, recruitment process, etc., can visit the linked article.


Discussed below are the key points regarding the banking sector recruitment, exam pattern, syllabus, and preparation strategy that can help you ace the examination.

Bank Exam Pattern & Syllabus – Key Points

  • There generally are two phases of online examination which are conducted for almost all bank exams. There is a third stage of the Interview which is mainly a part of exams conducted for the Officer cadre. The first stage or Prelims of online test is objective type and qualifying in nature, while the second stage or Mains comprises objective type and subjective type (few cases) questions
  • Reasoning Ability, Quantitative Aptitude, Computer Knowledge, English Language, and General/Banking/Financial Awareness are the common subjects that are a part of the bank exam syllabus. A Professional Knowledge section is added for the Specialist Officer exam based on the field of specialisation
  • There is a negative marking scheme which is followed. 0.25 marks are deducted for every wrongly answered question
  • Both overall and sectional qualifying marks need to be scored by a candidate in order to move to the next stage of the examination. However, there are exceptions
  • Each section has a stipulated time allotted to it and once the time ends, candidates cannot revisit the section again. This is applicable for most exams but nor necessarily for all

Preparation Strategy for Bank Officer & Clerk Exams

It must be known that though the bank exam is comprehensive and lengthy, it is not very complex. Thorough preparation and strategy planning can help a candidate easily crack the exam. Given below are a few preparation tips which will help aspirants ace the upcoming bank exams:

  • Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-Bound (SMART) goals must be set so that the preparation can be done systematically and not in chaos
  • Ensure that the time table and goals set must be achievable and not stressful and pressuring
  • Take assistance from online or offline classes but the candidate must make sure that they attend them regularly
  • Solve mock tests and practise papers as this will give an examination kind of atmosphere and a better understanding of the type of questions which may be asked
  • A candidate must not be hesitant with his/her doubts and ensure that the concepts are completely clear. Only then if a twisted question can be solved easily
  • Choose the books, study material and resources wisely
  • Even if a candidate manages to devote 3 to 4 hours a day for preparation, an absolute focussed study must be done during this time. No kind of distractions must be entertained
  • Be regular and disciplined with your preparation
  • Refer to the previous year question papers and cut off marks to apprehend the standard of the examination


For those who shall be applying for the banking sector jobs for the first time in the coming years, they can visit the Bank Clerk page and get all the relevant data about the exam pattern, job profile, salary, exam dates, etc. of a clerical cadre post.


Since the bank recruitments for 2021 shall soon be starting off, aspirants must start off with their preparation to ensure that they crack the exam in the very first attempt itself.

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