How to Prepare for Bank Exams?

Preparing for a government job is like a huge mountain to conquer for many. But, once you get into the track of preparation, the climbing part becomes easier as you get closer to the destination. Bank exams are one such huge mountain that you can crack once you get into the depth of the dynamics of preparation and go forward accordingly. ‘How to prepare for the bank exams?’ must be the first question analyzed by a serious candidate.

Getting ready to face an exam needs a lot of hard work and one needs to be well aware of every aspect of the exam to make the preparation smoother. You can become the bank PO or clerk you wish to be if you have a strong idea of each exam and understand the formulae to crack the same.

What you should look forward to this year?

Each year, there are a bunch of exams conducted primarily by IBPS that one can attend. Knowing the schedule of exams will help an aspirant a lot in preparing well for the exams.  The exams are as follows:

  1. IBPS PO
  2. IBPS SO
  6. SBI PO
  8. SBI SO
  9. RBI
  10. SEBI
  11. NABARD

An aspirant who is ready to appear for almost all these exams may find himself busy throughout the year. They happen according to a set timetable by the institution IBPS. To get a rough idea of the schedule of exams to be conducted this year, do visit 10 Upcoming exams – Possibly you can clear.


Honorable Finance Minister, Shri Nirmala Sitharaman through the budget for the financial year 2020-2021 has brought forward the new concept of CET or Common Entrance Test. Through CET the major examination conducting boards such as Railway Recruitment Board (RRB), Indian Banking Personnel Service (IBPS), and Staff Selection Commission (SSC) would come together and form a National Recruitment Agency (NRA) and conduct a common test for all the aspirants who wish to be part of the government institutions that fall under these three boards. As of now, the government is on the path to making this idea come true.

A big step like this needs to be thoroughly thought out; even the minute details need to taken care of before it is materialized. After the initial common test, each board will conduct its own main examination for the concerned posts. The marks of the Common Entrance Test will remain valid for a definite period of time during which a candidate (if passed) can write the various main examinations. On paper, it might seem like a simple idea that is error-free but in reality, there are a lot of things that need to be addressed while such a concept is put into practice. The number of candidates, the various posts under each board, the difference in job profiles of these posts, etc should not be obstacles at the end of the day. Due to the same reason,  NRA is being constituted by experts from all three boards to make the whole setup seem fair for all the aspirants. Only time can tell as to how the whole process of examination will change with the introduction of CET, which is scheduled to happen either by the end of this year or by the beginning of the next year.

Choose Your Target Wisely…

A keen aspirant ought to be sharp as a tack not just during the preparation and the exam but right from the beginning of his journey. The very first step is to choose the exam that suits one well. Just like any other important decision one makes in his life, this also plays a very important role in this scenario. All the exams have their own special elements that differentiate them from others. Their level of difficulty itself is not on the same page. The syllabus will contain certain aspects that are unique to each exam. For example, for RRB PO and Clerk, computer is one the subjects in the main examination while for IBPS PO and Clerk, SBI PO and Clerk do not have Computer in their syllabus. Only computer proficiency is required for the latter. On the other hand, the difficulty level of RRB Clerk is lower than that of IBPS Clerk and SBI Clerk. SBI Clerk will take the top position here.

The same can be said about PO exams as well. Exams like NABARD, SEBI, RBI Grade A and B officers are considered to the toughest among all the bank exams. In-depth knowledge of daily matters is a necessity to crack these exams.

Thus, each exam is like a puzzle by itself. ‘Studying the subject first and then going for the experiment(exam)’ should be the right policy followed.

A serious aspirant therefore should analyze each exam and its patterns and decide which one suits him. Before this a self-analysis is necessary. Knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses can help a candidate have a smooth sail in his quest for success. Based on this, choosing an exam that goes well with his strengths and weaknesses is the best choice that an aspirant makes. Ten percent of your triumph lies right there in choosing the right exam.

Diving into something without analyzing the plausible consequences can make a person regret his decisions later in life and this is applicable to any major decision one may take in his lifetime, not just an examination.

Analyze the Pattern

The bank PO and clerk exams are conducted in multiple stages such as:

Prelims :

This is the first level of examination that is conducted within the time limit of  45 -80 minutes (varies depending upon the subjects included). For RBI attendant, IBPS Clerk, IBPS  PO,  SBI Clerk, and SBI PO  Prelims consist of quantitative aptitude, reasoning, and verbal ability (English). RRB Clerk and PO do not have English in Prelims as the rural banks give more importance to the local language. Due to the same reason, LPT or Language Proficiency Test is a must for RRB PO unlike SBI and IBPS PO. All the clerk-level exams conduct LPT at the final stage of recruitment.

For exams like NABARD, SEBI, and RBI the prelims exams will have an additional section of current affairs and gk depending upon the post.  For Grade A and B officers these additional sections might be there depending upon the institution.


For Office Assistants Mains is the final stage of the recruitment and for the PO it is the second stage of recruitment. The duration of mains ranges from 180 – 200 minutes. This stage tries to explore the analytical ability of the candidates. The questions asked are of a higher level than prelims. Logical reasoning and mixed DI are scoring parts in the mains. A candidate needs to be vigilant in deciding which questions to attempt. Current Affairs can help a lot in increasing one’s score. A daily check on the same is therefore a necessity. Static GK related to CA should also be noted by the aspirants. A few questions from banking awareness are also asked in these exams. So one needs to be thorough with Banking awareness as well.

PO exams have an additional section called descriptive where the candidate’s typing speed and hold over the English language are tested. A  comprehensive time limit of 30 minutes would be given for essay and letter writing.


Group Discussion is conducted only for SBI PO. It will happen prior to the interview. For IBPS PO and RRB PO, only an interview is held where a panel of five or six experts will check the knowledge of the candidate in various fields both economic and non-economic. Daily events are to be studied and analyzed properly for the interview.

Understand the Syllabus

Preparing for SBI PO and IBPS PO or even IBPS Clerk is not an easy task as mentioned in the beginning. The paper ought to be keenly understood in order to attempt the exam in the best possible manner. The syllabus for each exam might differ slightly. Yet, common elements are more than differences. The most common topics in all the papers include the basic quantitative aptitude topics like profit and loss, permutation and combination, number series, partnership,  speed and time, mensuration, averages, simplifications & approximation, data sufficiency, mixtures and alligations, ratio and proportion, stream and boats, Simple Interest and Compound Interest, etc.  Difficulty differs based on the stage of the recruitment.

Reasoning comprises of alphanumeric series, puzzles, seating arrangements, verbal reasoning, ranking blood relations, syllogism, direction sense, coding-decoding inequalities, etc. Input-output, and logical reasoning questions that check the capability of a candidate to understand a situation and finding the solution to it are found majorly in mains.

Questions of the Verbal Ability (English) section come from topics such as para jumbles, cloze test, reading comprehension, error spotting, para jumbles, vocabulary, sentence connector, rearrangement of sentences, etc.

For mains, current affairs and static gk play a significant role. Current affairs cannot be put off till the end as one would not be able to cover almost 6 months of CA in the limited time of  30 days before the exam. There are various sources for CA.  Argutes provides current affairs on a daily basis through our website. We have taken special care in coming up with the details of the most important daily events.

Static GK such as important dams, major airports of India, union ministers and their constituencies, countries and capitals, head office locations & chairman of banks, major international institutions, and their headquarters, etc are the focus areas in the exam. Sports news should be given special attention as the questions can be confusing. Notes for banking awareness can be accessed from various sources available on the internet.

Mock tests and Self Analysis

Practice makes one better and mock tests provide you exactly that.  At least one mock test a day should be the target. The more tests one takes the more confident one feels. These tests will give the candidate a feel of facing the real exam. Therefore, these tests should be attempted seriously like the real exam.

Post the test, proper analysis must be done. Things that need to be noted during the analysis are:

  • the questions missed.
  • the alternate and easy solution mentioned by the site to the question solved by you.
  • the questions that you took more than the required time.
  • the possibility of a much faster way of attempting questions.
  • silly mistakes.
  • whether you were able to maintain more than 95% accuracy.
  • whether it was possible to keep the percentile more than 90%
  • whether you were under immense stress that affected your concentration
  • whether you were able to keep consistency throughout

Often people make the mistake of starting preparation for Mains after the declaration of prelims result. The time wasted like this will take a huge toll on the result. Preparation for prelims, mains, and interviews should happen simultaneously. This will not only help the candidate to be ahead of others in the race but also keeps his mind fresh and lively during preparation time.

Be Ready with the Materials

There are two types of courses available for exam preparation of bank PO and clerks. There are a high number of coaching centers that provide classes. However, today especially due to the development during and after the pandemic online courses have become quite popular. The ease with which one can access the needed materials from the comfort of his home is what makes the aspirants choose online coaching over traditional classes.

Yet there are certain problems when it comes to online classes for bank preparation:

  • the confusion created due to a high number of resources provided.
  • difficulty in analyzing where to start and what to study when.
  • lack of proper arrangement in materials or scattered resources
  • unnecessary materials provided
  • no individual attention is given to students
  • difficulty in keeping a check on the subjects covered
  • complexly structured materials

How Argutes is different from others?

We have taken into consideration the concern of the aspirants in the current situation and have come up with a well-structured programme for helping such young people with goals. We offer a variety of courses one of which is bank exam preparation for PO and clerk. Our team has studied the exam pattern and syllabus and has developed numerous materials for the same purpose. We do understand the difficulties faced by the serious candidates and are aiming to solve the issues through the courses that we offer.

The benefits of choosing Argutes are as follows:

  1. An aspirant can access all the materials in one place. This includes current affairs notes, exercise questions, video classes, mock tests, and short topic tests all in one place. Thus the run in search of materials can be avoided. As we are an online venture, we will be able to provide the contents based on the latest pattern without any delay.
  2. We assure you of quality products that are presented only after strict scrutiny. Our team takes special care in compiling notes based on a set standard. Quality matters a lot when it comes to studying notes. The result is determined not by how much you read or by heart, but by the way you learn. The smarter the techniques of learning, the better the outcomes are produced.
  3. We do not include unnecessary data to avoid the confusion created in the mind of an aspirant. Such unwanted information will be cut at the beginning of the data compilation itself.
  4. Easy navigation and a user-friendly model of presentation keep us different from the rest. This will help the candidate to read all the data in a poised manner avoiding a stressful and confusing situation. A relaxed atmosphere means fast learning.
  5. We also provide detailed reports for the candidate at different stages of learning. This report marks the progress that one makes in each stage of preparation. It helps the person to know where his strengths and weaknesses lie and change the way of learning as and when needed. Understanding the progress,  working on the flaws and mistakes, and rectifying them is the key to success.

The Timeline

Over the years just like other competitive exams, PO, clerk, and other bank exams have become tougher. The population is on the rise and vacancy is also getting reduced these days owing to privatization and merging of banks. A couple of years back it was possible to crack the clerk exams with good preparation of three or four months and PO with a good six months. But, now the situation is not the same. Preparing for SBI PO or IBPS PO means you have to sacrifice at least a year to reach your goal. Yet, with hard work and determination, it can be a piece of cake for anyone. You need to mold yourself in such a manner to be better than your competitors. This is possible with constant practice.

For the first two or three months, focus on all the basic things. Understand the concepts, especially for the quantitative section.  When you are sure of the basics solving questions will be an easy task. Similarly, for reasoning and English, practice questions and read the newspapers daily. Be thorough with the grammar rules and do a lot of mock tests for all. When you have covered almost 90% of the topics, you can start focusing on improving speed by continuous practice while learning more shortcuts and faster ways to tackle the questions, Throughout this time, keep a tab on current affairs, static gk, and banking awareness.  Always, set a timetable and go according to it. Soon, you will see yourself improving.

Ready Set Go…

Wasting time pondering over when to start and where to start will only increase the time you need to reach your goal. There is no such thing as a perfect moment. The perfect moment is when you start your journey. Self-doubts and inhibitions are part of life. We need to keep them apart and give our maximum to make the dream come true. Waiting for the notification to come and then starting preparation will never help a candidate rather it will only make one feel less confident and stressed. Our course can help you initiate the journey of success towards Bank exams.

Practice, practice, practice…

As mentioned earlier, the way you prepare matters a lot in competitive exams like SBI Clerk, SBI PO, IBPS PO, etc. Just like the highly responsible job profiles, the preparation for the same also demands a lot of hard work. Consistency is the major area where almost 60% of the aspirants fail. Attempting mock tests and doing questions should not get limited to a few days or weeks, rather, it needs to be there as a part of your life till a positive result comes. Without proper practice acing even a simple prelim might seem like a tough task. The brain needs to get wired around the concept of these highly competitive exams way before the exam comes and only the mock tests can help you with that.

In the beginning, one might feel that it is an impossible thing to crack these tests but with constant hard work and determination, slowly the ride will become smoother.

At the end of the day, the question is not whether you were able to reach your goal but were you able to give your maximum in trying to reach it. Not only hard work and determination but also and fate play a significant role in these exams. We might not be able to change what is destined for us, but we can give our best in our quest for cracking these exams so that later in life we need not have to regret the way how we utilized our valuable time. The best manner to face these exams is by giving your 100% and attempting with no expectations. Keep yourself calm and composed throughout. There are a lot of elements like cut-offs, vacancy, etc that are unpredictable and might catch you off guard, but one should be vigilant enough and strive even harder. Irrespective of the falls, you need to get up each time dust yourself down and move forward. And one day, success will knock at your door.