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How to clear Bank Probationary Officer (Bank PO) Exams?

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By Edited Jun 4, 2014 1 0

Bank Recruitment

An Introduction

The Indian society considers a job in public sector bank a great achievement. In rural places, it is even considered a yardstick for success. Before 1990s, a job in this sector meant a job in one of the institutions controlled by Government. Private parties used to control very few financial institutions. In the post liberalization period (after 1992), the scenario started changing slowly. Government of India allowed foreign institutions to open their branches across the country. It granted licenses to private players as well. The traditional meaning of “career in banking industry” has suddenly a new meaning attached to it. But in smaller places and rural India, the charm of recruitment made by Government organization is still very relevant.  These people vie for an opportunity to work with these organizations. 

Advantages of getting a job in Government Bank

There are many reasons that can explain the affinity towards these job profiles. Some of the important ones are:

  1. Job Security: Traditionally the Indian society has been risk-averse. There are very few stable jobs for such a large population. A job in government-run organization provides a fair amount of job security as compared to other sectors.
  2. Good Pay Scale: After Government of India implemented the sixth-pay commission, the pay scale offered by Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) has become competitive with those offered by private organizations. And, if you consider various incentives such as medical benifits, vehicle allowance, insuranceetc, private sector lags by much.
  3. Defined Career Path: The career path in these institutions is clearly defined with least amount of surprises. A probationary officer has very good chance of becoming a manager within a short span of 7-8 years.

Mode of Selection

Most of the banks conduct Probationary Exams to make entry-level recruitment. Previously they used Services Recruitment Board (BSRB) for this process. Now they have replaced it with the PO exams. All the institutions conduct separate exam for their recruitment process. The person recruited through this process is on a probation period for duration of two years. After the end of two years, a candidate is eligible for various posts. The organizations then assign to the candidate one of the many roles available with it, taking into account the appraisal and other factors.

 The selection process usually consists of a written exam, followed by group discussion and personal interview. An organization looking to make recruitment, releases an advertisement. It has details of posts, number of vacancies, last date of application, mode of application, date of exam and other necessary details. For a candidate looking to make a career in this industry, it is necessary to keep a track of such notifications. There are various means to do it.

  1. Employment Newspaper
  2. Individual Web sites of banks
  3. Job aggregator websites
  4. Social media
  5. Supplement newspaper distributed along with leading national dailies   

Format of Written Test

The written test has a fixed format and it consists of Objective-type questions. The questions are on topics including

  • General Awareness
  • General English
  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • Reasoning Ability
  • Marketing Aptitude/ Computer Knowledge

The passing mark in the written test is 40 % for General Candidates. The same limit for SC or ST candidate is 35%. 

On first impression the questions might seem tough to crack. But with proper resources, proper planning and right amount of preparation it is possible to clear the written test with total ease.

There are number of books available in the market that can help a person to prepare for these exams. Some of the famous ones are:

  • R. S. Agarwal Quantitative Aptitude, Verbal &nonverbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Aptitude Test by Dr. N. K. Singh of Upkar Prakashan

Apart from the one mentioned above, a number of e-books are available on the internet.

Many organizations have now done away with the separate Bank PO exams for their recruitment process. IBPS (Institute of Banking Personnel Selection) conducts a Common Written Examinations (CWE).  Financial institutions use the score obtained in this exam. A candidate having a valid IBPS score card is eligible to apply for the vacancies advertised by the banks. They also require that the candidate secure a passing percentage before being considered for the position.

For example, recently there was a notification by UBI to hire candidates as Probationary Officers. Any candidates having a valid IBPS score card was eligible to apply for the post.

The mode of application can vary from one bank to the other. Some may accept online applications while others ask the candidate to mail their application form using registered post. Whatever be the case, it is clearly mentioned in the recruitment notification issued by the banks.  

Various Banks in India

There are many banks in India, both in public sector and private sector domain. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is the central banking authority that decides the fiscal and monetary policies of the country. It is also responsible for drafting all the major banking policies. Some of the major banks in India are:

Nationalized and Public Sector

  1.  Bank of Baroda
  2. Bank of India
  3. Canara Bank
  4. Punjab National Bank
  5. State Bank of India

Private Sector 

  1. Axis Bank (Formerly UTI Bank)
  2. HDFC Bank
  3. ICICI Bank
  4. IndusInd Bank
  5. Yes bank


  1.  Adarsh Co-Operative Bank Ltd.
  2. Vishweshwar Sahakari Bank Ltd.
  3. Deogiri Nagari Sahakari Bank Ltd.





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