For the two hour Online Test, IBPS had five sections with varying maximums; but
SBI has only four sections, all with equal maximums of 50 marks each.
For SBI, Test of Reasoning will be at a higher level than what is normally asked
IBPS Test of Quantitative Aptitude is mainly Arithmetic. For SBI, the
corresponding Test is Data Analysis & Interpretation with emphasis on Analysis
and Interpretation of data (Tables, charts, Graphs, Reports etc.), using
applications of the Arithmetical principles of Averages, Ratios, Proportions,
For IBPS, General Awareness and Computer Knowledge are separate sections and the
Test of General Awareness is mainly on Banking. SBI has a single combined
section of General Awareness, Computers and (additionally), Marketing. SBI does
not require any special knowledge of Banking.
IBPS did not have any offline Descriptive Test, SBI has an offline pen & paper
Descriptive Test paper of one-hour duration on English Language comprising of
(a) comprehension, (b) short précis, ((c) letter writing and (d) essay writing.
After the Tests, SBI puts the short-listed candidates, through a Group
Discussion exercise before personally interviewing them.
Having seen how the SBI Test differs from that of IBPS, let us now try to
understand SBI’s Rationale for being Different. Understanding these
rationales will help us in preparing our Strategies for the Tests.
The Probationary Officers being recruited by SBI are not to be mere officers in
the Bank, performing routine functions. It is from among this group, that the
Leaders and Senior Executives of the Bank have to emerge. SBI therefore wants
these entry-level officers to be the best in all respects; hence the rigorous
An Executive is very often required to take decisions within a limited time,
objectively, rationally and fully analysing and understanding the issue at hand,
and being fully aware of all the pros and cons of his decisions. This is all the
more important in the Customer-oriented Banking Industry. The requirement calls
for an intellectual capacity of the highest order, with sharp analytical powers
and Reasoning. Hence SBI’s High Level Reasoning Test which also tests other
qualities an Executive requires – Observation, Understanding, Patience, Time
Management, Prioritisation, Stress Management etc.
More than Arithmetic, it is the large volume of Data that a Bank Executive has
to deal with. Ability to Read, Interpret, Analyse, Consolidate, Surmise etc. the
large volume of data in the form of Reports, Tables, Charts, and Graphs is an
important attribute. Hence the stress on Data Analysis and Data Interpretation,
in preference to a Quantitative Aptitude Test. Of course, a minimum number of
Arithmetic questions can be expected.
All banks have several schemes / products under Deposits, loans, services, IT
enabled services, cross-selling, etc. The banks compete among themselves to sell
their products in the market & to attract the best customers. These products
require to be marketed to the right target groups projecting the USPs of the
products. Knowledge of the sound principles of Marketing will be a great
advantage here. Hence, this knowledge is sought to be tested.
A person just entering the Banking Industry does not have any worthwhile
knowledge of Banking, except to the extent expected of a lay person keenly
interested in the day to day Banking and Financial matters. So, Banking is part
of General Awareness, including Current Affairs. The Test of General Awareness
thus comprises of Current Affairs including Banking, Marketing and Computers.
Effective Communication is an essential quality of any Leader or Executive. Mere
knowledge of Grammar will not suffice. Hence, in addition to the objective Test
on Grammar, a Descriptive paper on English Language is also included -
Comprehension tests your ability to grasp and understand the given passage;
Short Precise tests your ability to prepare short summaries for your superiors;
Letter Writing tests your ability to precisely and effectively communicate a
matter to the addressee and, Essay writing reveals how systematic your thought
process is, and tests your ability to present your thoughts in a coherent
While the Descriptive paper tests the writing ability, oral capability, another
essential requirement for a Leader / Senior Executive, is tested in the Group
Discussion exercise. The Group Discussion tests Leadership capabilities,
Listening skills, Ability of working in a Team, Interpersonal & Communication
skills, Expressing views & opinions, Organising thoughts, Command of language &
Fluency, Tact & skill in dealing with others, Body language, Analytical and
Rational Thought Process, Behaviour under stress, Receptivity to others’ views,
Flexibility & adaptability in GD Dynamics, Thought leadership, etc.