Prelims Results Out… Now Lets Prepare for SBI PO Mains



The moment SBI PO exam’s date hits the marquee; the frenzy surrounding both the registration and preparation of the much talked about examination can be easily witnessed. And, those who seriously prepare for the exam understand how vital it becomes to nail this one.  But with nearly two weeks left for the SBI PO MAINS exam, the attention should probably shift to ‘How to Prepare within the limited time frame?’.  Owing to the umpteen ‘how to prepare’ queries, Team MockBank decided to pen down this article full of tips and tricks to crack SBI PO MAINS 2015.

Those who conform to the principle of preparing early with a planned approach can begin by analyzing the exam structure that we have mentioned below while those struggling with the limited time (this is one category that always exist) can directly jump to the last section.

Exam Structure:

The main exam consists of two parts, namely, objective and descriptive, both of which have to be taken in single seating.

Online Objective part: 200 marks, 2 hours, 4 sections of 50 marks each

  • English Language (Grammar, Vocabulary, Comprehension etc.)
  • General Awareness, Marketing & Computers
  • Data Analysis & Interpretation
  • Reasoning (High Level)

Online English Descriptive part: 50 marks; 1 hour

  • English Language (Letter Writing & Essay)

Detailed section-wise exam pattern is given below:

1. English:
This section contains questions on:
1. Reading Comprehension (10+10) original_open-english-mission-1aobcdr
2. Jumbled Sentences (5)
3. Cloze Passages (10)
4. Errors Correction (15)

2. Reasoning:
This section contains questions on:
1. Input – output (machine coding and decoding) (5)puzzle01
2. Sentence coding (5)
3. Logical Reasoning (15)
4. Syllogism (5)
5. Puzzle / Seating Arrangement  (10)
6. Data Sufficiency (5)
7. Directions etc. (5)

3. General Awareness + Marketing Awareness + Computer
This section contains questions on:cartoon-computer-3f
1. Current Affairs (15)
2. Banking Awareness (15)
3. Computer Awareness (10)
4. Marketing (10)

4. Data Analysis and Interpretation: 
This section contains questions on:
1. Line graphs (5)
2. Bar chart (15)                   download
3. Pie chart (10)
4. Tables (15)
5. Probability (5)

Descriptive Test
A new change in the SBI PO MAINS exam is the online descriptive test. Herein the Candidates will be required to type their answers on computer.
Descriptive paper is divided in 5 parts. The test carries 50 marks and is of 1 hour duration to test candidate’s basic English language writing skills.

Letter (10)-Questions on saving account, net banking, education loan etc.
Paragraph (8)
Precise Writing (10)
Reading Comprehension (10)
Essay Writing (12)- Technology, Right to education act, Financial Inclusion etc.

Understanding that different candidates would come across this blog at different stages of their preparation, our team comprising of experts have formulated a time dependent preparation plan.



These preparation plans are essentially for those candidates who started preparing early for SBI PO and realized that their performance in the prelims was satisfactory enough to help them enter the second phase of the exam and are certain to prepare for the mains well in advance. This guide can be used by you irrespective of whether you are preparing for SBI or IBPS as both theses exams have similar pattern with IBPS PO being the simpler one. For those who have prepared well for the prelims, a month long sincere preparation for the MAINS exam can be more than sufficient.

The plan of attack:

  • Begin by analyzing the aforementioned exam structure. Mark the sections as your strengths and weaknesses. An estimation of your performance in prelims can help you zero down to some conclusion.
  • Once you have understood your strong points, keep these sections for the last ten days of the preparation. Begin by improving your weak sections. Most students continue honing their strong sections as they usually enjoy working on them and getting pleasing results. Due to this, they impede the preparation of their weak sections to avoid the initial boredom or frustration of the preparation. This approach MUST be avoided.
  • You must have observed by now that the sections common to prelims and mains exams are English and Reasoning. Thus, keep these sections for later stages of preparation as you have already studied (no matter if only the basics) for your prelims. Start with these sections only if you consider them your weakest points.
  • Out of the remaining two sections of the objective part, Data analysis and Interpretation constitutes to be the most challenging for many. This is indeed that section that can’t be left to study at the eleventh hour. Therefore, its always suggested to begin preparing for Data analysis and interpretation as soon as possible. Attempt our series of mock tests to excel this section.
  • Another section includes General Awareness, Computers and Marketing. This section is pretty basic wherein you can begin by preparing for General Awareness first. For those who have always flipped through the news without paying much heed, this part can prove to be slightly difficult. However, there are magazines like ‘Pratiyogita Darpan’, ‘Banking Services Chronicle’ etc from where you can imbibe all the possible latest news of the last 4-6 months. Remember that 40-50% of this part consists of Static G.K. and the rest 40-50% comprises of Current G.K.
  • For computers (the non tech savvies needn’t drench in sweat for this section), only the basics of computing should be studied and practiced. The same applies for the marketing part. You can refer to the mock tests available on our website to have an idea and practice of these sections.
  • The difficulty level of questions asked in English and Reasoning in mains exam obviously increases in comparison to prelims. These two sections need immense practice and can be excelled only through consistent efforts. In Reasoning, don’t begin with puzzles as they are time consuming. In case, you consider English as your strongest subject and don’t wish to spend a lot of time brushing grammar rules, you can directly start with previous year questions

Be it an essay or a letter, remember the following points:

  • Stick to the word limit. By exceeding the word limit, you don’t only compromise with the remaining time for next write up but you also make the content boring for the reader.
  • Divide the write up in three main paragraphs, namely, introduction, main body and conclusion. Always begin by introducing the topic assigned followed by the main content in which you can express your views on the given topic. The write up should end in a well drawn conclusion wherein you can sum up all the points you’d had discussed in the main body.
  • Do not make the write up sound like a super long narrative. Keep it to–the-point and very crisp.
  • Also, pay attention to the fluency, cohesion and grammar. Don’t make it repetitive.
  • Once you are done with preparing for these four sections and the descriptive exam,, jack some time for revision before you finally appear for the examination.
  1. TWO WEEKS TO THE EXAM:images (1)

These preparation plans will be usually followed by those candidates who have cleared the prelims and are preparing for the mains and henceforth begin preparing.

The plan of attack:

  • Since you now lag behind 15 days, analyzing the pattern will kill your valuable preparation time. Don’t spend hours making a plan now. Instead focus on getting started with the preparation right away.
  • Begin with the preparation of Data Analysis and interpretation. Keep a check on number of days you are devoting to each subject. At a point where you feel a lot more needs to done but the time spent on one section exceeds the time limit, realize it is the time to go through mock tests. Taking up mock tests would help you know the solutions of most frequently asked questions. You can find many relevant mock tests on MockBank which are prepared after a lot of research.
  • For preparing General Awareness, Computers and marketing, follow the same steps as mentioned for the above time category.
  • For English and Reasoning section, select your topics of expertise from the aforementioned exam pattern. Spend more time on excelling these topics further more than trying to inculcate new concepts as you might struggle with time.
  • For Descriptive exam, atleast study the format of the letters and essays if you don’t get the time to practice this section.
  • Revision might be somewhat difficult for this time plan, however try your best to revise whatever you have done.



For those belonging to this preparation plan category must first understand that smart work can sometimes work at par with hardwork.  A week of dedicated and strategic smart work can fetch you great results.

The plan of attack:

  • Since you are left with only a week, begin by attempting at least 2 mock tests. Doing this, you’ll get a rough idea of the exam pattern, your speed and accuracy in a few hours.
  • On the basis of the conclusion drawn from these mock tests, pick the section you found the hardest to deal with. Try to practice previous year questions of this section.
  • For General Awareness, focus more on static G.K. as it depends on your memorization skills. Try to memorize important dates, names and places for this. This would help you to at least qualify the sectional cut-off. For example: When was SBI established? Or who was the first female chairman of SBI? For computers and marketing, attempt as many mock tests as you can.
  • For English and Reasoning you can rely on your knowledge gained during prelims preparation. Just brush up the important concepts before appearing for the examination.

This is the category of the daredevils, the believers of ‘Never say Never’.
The panacea for all the stress building up a day or two before the examination is to practice as many mock tests as possible. Do not overburden yourself to learn new concepts a day before. You might rather end up getting more confused and feeling drained.


Here we elicit on a few time management techniques that can be followed by all.

  • We usually suggest the students to start with the General Awareness section as it’s primarily based on your memorization skills (and doesn’t include any formula-based calculations). It wouldn’t take you more than 15-20 minutes to go through all the general awareness questions.
  • It’s always better to attempt your strongest section at the second place as it helps in some confidence building for the rest of the exam.
  • Third, you should attempt your weakest section. Keeping the weakest section at the last would again result in last moment panicking. So, it’s suggested to get to the weakest section just after your strongest section.
  • Now, you can attempt the remaining fourth section. If you are still left with some time, get back to solving your strongest section. This would help you to increase your overall cut-off once you’re done with crossing the sectional cut-offs.