How to prepare for SBI Bank PO and IBPS RRB PO simultaneously?

Both SBI Bank PO and IBPS RRB PO are recruitment exams for the Probationary Officer(PO) profile. The only difference is that while the SBI Bank PO exam is for the SBI Bank branches, the RRB exam is for Regional Rural Banks. These exams can be prepared together as the syllabus for all banking exams is almost similar.

The difference, however, is in the difficulty level of both exams. Hence, while preparing for the exam, you’ll have to level up your preparation for SBI Bank PO. In this article, we will understand how to prepare for SBI Bank Po and IBPS RRB PO together.



Most banking aspirants apply for the banking exams like IBPS PO, SBI PO and IBPS RRB PO simultaneously. Since the timeline of these exams is also in close proximity, often these aspirants wonder if the preparation of any of two or all of these exams can be done together.

The short answer to the question - Can the preparation of SBI Bank PO and IBPS RRB PO be done together? yes! In this article, we have shared the strategy to prepare for these exams together.

The first and foremost requirement for that is to have a crystal clear understanding of the expectations of the exam. It will help you in assessing the similarities and differences in the exam. Once you develop this understanding, the next step is to chalk out a personalized preparation strategy to ace both of these exams. Let’s get started!

SBI Bank PO Exam Pattern

Let’s first understand the exam pattern and exam syllabus for SBI PO Exam. The SBI PO exam has three phases namely SBI PO Prelims, SBI PO Mains and Interview round. Each round is an elimination round. The SBI PO Prelims is qualifying in nature which means the marks obtained in Prelims is not considered while preparing the final merit. Let us look at the SBI PO exam structure for both Prelims and Mains exam:

Name of the Section Number of Questions Total marks Time
English Language 30 30 20 Minutes
Reasoning Ability 35 35 20 Minutes
Quantitative Aptitude 35 35 20 Minutes
Total 100 100 60 Minutes (1 Hour)


Name of the Section Number of Questions Total Marks Time
Reasoning & Computer Aptitude 40 50 50 Minutes
Data Analysis & Interpretation 30 50 45 Minutes
General/Economy/Banking Awareness 50 60 45 Minutes
English Language 35 40 40 Minutes
Total 155 200 3 Hours
Descriptive Test (Letter Writing & Essay) 02 50 30 Minutes

SBI Bank PO Exam Syllabus

Now, let us look at the section-wise syllabus for both Prelims and Mains:

Name of the Section Topics Included
Quantitative Aptitude
  • Simplification/ Approximation
  • Profit & Loss
  • Mixtures & Alligations
  • Permutation, Combination & Probability
  • Work & Time
  • Sequence & Series
  • Simple Interest & Compound Interest
  • Surds & Indices
  • Mensuration – Cylinder, Cone, Sphere
  • Time & Distance
  • Data Interpretation
  • Ratio & Proportion
  • Number Systems
  • Percentage
Reasoning Ability
  • Alphanumeric Series
  • Directions
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Ranking & Order
  • Alphabet Test
  • Seating Arrangement
  • Coded Inequalities
  • Puzzle
  • Syllogism
  • Blood Relations
  • Coding-Decoding
  • Input-Output
  • Tabulation
English Language
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Cloze Test
  • Para jumbles
  • Vocabulary
  • Paragraph Completion
  • Multiple Meaning /Error Spotting
  • Sentence Completion
  • Tenses Rules


Name of the Section Topics Covered
Data Analysis & Interpretation
  • Tabular Graph
  • Line Graph
  • Bar Graph
  • Charts & Tables
  • Missing Case DI
  • Radar Graph Caselet
  • Probability
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Let it Case DI
  • Permutation and Combination
  • Pie Charts
Reasoning Ability
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Syllogism
  • Circular Seating Arrangement
  • Linear Seating Arrangement
  • Double Lineup
  • Input Output
  • Blood Relations
  • Directions and Distances
  • Ordering and Ranking
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Coding and Decoding
  • Code Inequalities
  • Course of Action
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Analytical and Decision Making
General/Economic/Banking Awareness
  • Current Affairs
  • Financial Awareness
  • General Knowledge
  • Static Awareness
  • Banking Terminologies Knowledge
  • Banking Awareness
  • Principles of Insurance
English Language
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Grammar
  • Verbal Ability
  • Vocabulary
  • Sentence Improvement
  • Word Association
  • Para Jumbles
  • Error Spotting
  • Cloze Test
  • Fill in the blanks
Computer Aptitude
  • Internet
  • Memory
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Computer Abbreviation
  • Microsoft Office
  • Computer Hardware
  • Computer Software
  • Computer Fundamentals /Terminologies
  • Networking
  • Number System
  • Operating System
  • Basic of Logic Gates

IBPS RRB PO Exam Pattern

Next, let’s understand the exam structure for IBPS RRB PO exam. The IBPS RRB PO exam is also a three-stage exam consisting of Prelims, Mains and the Interview. Each round is an elimination round, and the Prelims round is qualifying in nature. Let’s look at the structure of both IBPS RRB PO Prelims and Mains round:

Name of the Section Number of Questions Total Marks Time
Reasoning 40 40 Composite time of 45 Minutes
Numerical Ability 40 40
Total 80 80 45 Minutes


Name of Section Number of Questions Total Marks Time
Reasoning Ability 40 50 Composite time of 120 Minutes (2 Hours)
Numerical Ability 40 50
General Awareness 40 40
English Language* 40 40
Hindi Language* 40 40
Computer Knowledge 40 20
Total 200 200 2 Hours

*Candidate can choose between Hindi & English language

IBPS RRB PO Exam Syllabus

Now, let us look at the syllabus for IBPS RRB PO Prelims & Mains:

Name of the section Topics Covered
Reasoning Ability
  • Puzzles
  • Seating Arrangements
  • Direction Sense
  • Blood Relation
  • Syllogism
  • Order and Ranking
  • Coding-Decoding
  • Machine Input-Output
  • Inequalities
  • Alpha-Numeric-Symbol Series
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Logical Reasoning, Statement, and Assumption,
  • Passage Inference
  • Conclusion & Argument
  • Numerical Ability
  • Simplification and Approximation
  • Basic Calculation
  • Quadratic Equation
  • Time & Work
  • Speed Time & Distance
  • Simple Interest & Compound Interest
  • Data Interpretation
  • Number Series
  • Arithmetic Problems
  • Volumes
  • Problems on L.C.M and H.C.F
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Probability
  • Profit and Loss
General Awareness
  • Banking Awareness
  • International Current Affairs
  • Sports Abbreviations
  • Currencies & Capitals
  • Financial Awareness
  • Govt. Schemes and Policies
  • Current Affairs
  • Static Awareness
  • Bank Management
  • Infrastructure and Project Finance
  • Management Control System
  • Money and banking
English & Hindi Language
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Cloze Test
  • Fillers
  • Sentence Errors
  • Vocabulary based questions
  • Sentence Improvement
  • Jumbled Paragraph
  • Paragraph Based Questions
  • Paragraph Conclusion
  • Paragraph /Sentences Restatement

Common Preparation Strategy for SBI Bank PO and IBPS RRB PO

Now that you know the exam pattern and syllabus for both SBI Bank PO and IBPS RRB PO, it can be deduced that the syllabus and pattern for both the exam is more or less similar. Hence, the preparation for both exams can be effectively done together.

Know the step-by-step approach on how to prepare for SBI Bank PO and IBPS RRB PO together.

  • Go through the previous year's questions

First and foremost, it is important to go through the previous year's question paper of each of these exams. This will allow you to understand the type of questions asked. It will further allow you to analyze the difficulty level of the questions asked in these exams.

  • Topic-wise coverage of each section

As you can see from the above list of topics for both these exams, most of the topics are common. To ease your preparation, make a comprehensive list of topics covering all of them and then start covering each of the topics one by one. Since the SBI PO exam is of a higher difficulty level, make sure you keep the difficulty benchmark till that level.

  • Mock-test-based learning approach

Once you’ve covered about 60% of the syllabus, start with the full-length mock tests. The mock test will further help you in dealing with these exams separately. You will be able to effectively manage time during the exam.

The SBI Bank PO exam has a sectional time limit, while the IBPS RRB PO exam follows a composite time rule. Hence, it is important to familiarize yourself with both of these. Write at least 20 mock tests for each of these exams to completely get hold of the strategy. Analyze each mock and tweak your strategy to make further amends.

  • Revision

Revision is the key to the preparation for any exam! Keep revising each exam separately, specifically the General Awareness section. The questions asked in the General Awareness section will be distinctly different because of the nature of the exam. Hence, be mindful of the differences and cover the regional GK of your selected region in case of the RRB PO exam.


This is how you can prepare for both SBI Bank PO and IBPS RRB PO together. In fact, all the banking exams can be prepared together using this strategy. If you face any difficulty in preparing for these exams, you can always rely on expert mentors at PW. Our mentors have years and years of experience in training and mentoring banking aspirants. Hence, seeking guidance for them will truly make you one step closer to your dream banking job!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Which is tough SBI PO or RRB PO?

Ans. The questions asked in SBI PO are slightly more difficult than the ones asked in RRB PO. Further, the sectional time limit in the case of the SBI PO exam makes it tougher.

Q2. Is the syllabus for IBPS PO and RRB PO the same?

Ans. The syllabus for both exams is similar with few additional topics in IBPS RRB PO. However, the type of questions and difficulty level for both exams is slightly different.

Q3. Can I prepare for other exams while working as SBI PO?

Ans. Yes, you can prepare for other banking as well as non-banking exams while working for SBI PO. However, at the time of appearing in the Interview, you may need a no-objection certification form from your bank manager.

Q4. Can I give IBPS PO and SBI PO exams together?

Ans. Yes, you can prepare for both IBPS PO and SBI PO exams together. Since the syllabus and overall difficulty level of both exams are similar, you will be able to prepare for both exams together effectively. However, make sure to write the full-length mock test for each of these exams to complete your preparation.

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