IBPS SO: Detailed Analysis, Exam Pattern and Opportunities


The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) has released the notification for recruitment of specialist officers in various disciplines for the public sector banks in the country. The preliminary examination is scheduled in the month of December followed by the Mains Examination in January and Interview in February 2019. If you want to join a public sector bank as a specialist officer in disciplines such as IT, Agriculture, Human Resources, Law etc. you have to clear IBPS SO Examination. In this article, we shall discuss the details regarding the IBPS Specialist Officer Examination 2018.

IBPS SO 2018: What are the Posts available under this Recruitment Exercise?

IBPS SO Examination is being conducted by IBPS in order to recruit candidates for the following posts in the participating banks:

  1. Agriculture Field Officer

  2. HR Officer

  3. Law Officer

  4. IT Officer

  5. Rajbhasha Officer

  6. Marketing Officer

All the posts are the entry level Officer posts in the organizations i.e. you will start your career in the respective bank in Scale I cadre.

What is the Eligibility to Appear for IBPS SO 2018?

According to the IBPS Notification, the eligibility for appearing in the IBPS SO 2018 Examination is as follows:


In order to be eligible for the examination, you should be an Indian or a subject of Nepal, Bhutan or a Tibetan Refugee who has migrated to India before 01.01.1962 with the intention of permanently settling down in the country. Even citizens of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and various African Countries who have migrated to India with the intention of permanently settling down in the country are eligible to appear in the IBPS SO Examination. However, all such people will have to get a certificate from the Government of India in order to appear in the exam.

Age Limit:

The minimum permissible age is 20 years whereas the maximum is 30 years. There is relaxation for candidates from the SC/ST/OBC category as per the extant guidelines of the government. The date of determining the age for appearing in the examination will be 01.11.2018.

Educational Qualification:

Since the posts are related to specific disciplines, the educational qualifications will vary from one post to another. The qualifications are as follow:

Name of the Post

Educational Qualification

I.T. Officer

4-year Engineering / Technical Degree in Computer Science / Electronics and Communication / Computer Applications / Electronics and Instrumentation / Electronics and Telecommunications


Post Graduate Degree in any of the above disciplines


Graduate with DOEACC ‘B’ Level

Marketing Officer

Graduate and Two Years’ Full Time MBA Degree in Marketing

Rajbhasha Officer

Post Graduate Degree in Hindi with English as a subject at the graduation level


Post Graduate Degree in Sanskrit with Hindi and English as subjects at the degree level

HR Officer

Graduate and Two Years’ MBA in Human Resources / Human Resources Development / Labour Laws / Social Work etc.

Agriculture Field Officer

4- years’ degree in Agriculture

Law Officer

LLB Degree and enrollment as an advocate at the Bar Council of India


Please note that no experience is required in order to be eligible for the Scale I posts on offer under the IBPS Specialist Officer 2018 Recruitment Project. However, it is required that computer literacy is there in case of posts other than the IBPS SO IT Officer in the candidates appearing for this exam.

The likely cut-off date for determination of educational qualification of the aspirants appearing in the examination is 01.11.2018.

What is the Exam Pattern of IBPS SO 2018?

The IBPS Specialist Officer Examination is going to be conducted in three different phases:

  • Preliminary

  • Mains

  • Interview

Preliminary Examination:

This is the first step of the IBPS SO 2018 Examination though marks obtained in the Prelims Examination will not be considered for the final results.

For the posts of Rajbhasha Adhikari and Law Officer, the exam pattern will be as follows:

Name of Tests

Max. no. of Question

Max. Marks Allotted


English Language



Composite Time of 2 hours




General Awareness with Special Focus on Banking Industry







For the posts of HR / Personnel Officer, Marketing Officer, IT Officer and Agriculture Field Officer, the pattern of the Preliminary Examination will be as follows:


Name of Tests

Max. No. of Questions

Max. Marks Allotted


English Language



Composite Time of 2 hours

Quantitative Aptitude



Reasoning Ability







Candidates will be required to secure minimum qualifying marks in each of the tests in the Prelims Examination to be eligible for the Mains Examination.

Mains Examination:

Once you qualify in the Prelims Examination, you will have to appear in the Mains Examination. The marks of the Mains Examination will be added to the final merit list. The pattern of the Mains Examination will be as follows:

Name of Tests

No. of Questions

Marks Allotted


Professional Knowledge



45 Minutes


For the Post of the Rajbhasha Officer, the pattern of the Mains Examination will be as follows:

Name of Tests

No of Questions

Marks Allotted

Time Allotted

Professional Knowledge (Objective Type)



30 minutes

Professional Knowledge (Descriptive Type)


30 minutes




60 minutes


Please note that there will be negative marking of 0.25 marks for all the objective type questions in both the Prelims and Mains Examination.


Once you clear the Mains Examination of IBPS Specialist Officer, the next step is the Personal Interview which will be for 100 marks. There will be minimum qualifying marks of 40 for the UR candidates in this round whereas for SC/ST/OBC/PWD candidates, it will be 35 marks. Please note that, securing minimum qualifying marks in the interview will not ensure your final selection in IBPS SO Exam 2018.

The final merit list for the Examination will be decided on the basis of the total marks obtained in the Mains Examination and the Personal Interview.

Provisional Allotment:

The IBPS will allot the successful candidates based on the IBPS SO 2018 Recruitment Process to the participating organizations. This merit list is expected to be published on 1st April 2019. This allotment will be based on the merit list and the preference given by the candidates while applying for this examination.

What do I need to study for IBPS SO 2018 Examination?

As we have now seen the exam pattern of the IBPS SO Examination, it is time to understand what you need to study for this examination. The subjects that you need to study are:

  • Reasoning Ability

  • Quantitative Aptitude / General Awareness

  • English Language

  • Professional Knowledge

Reasoning Ability:

The questions in this section are going to be lengthy and time-consuming and that is why you will have to be prepared. The syllabus of this section will consist of:

  • Syllogism

  • Seating Arrangement (Both Linear and Circular)

  • Puzzles with one or more variables

  • Blood Relations

  • Coding and Decoding

  • Order and Direction

  • Analytical Reasoning

  • Inequality

  • Machine Input and Output

English Language:

This is the trickiest section these days in any IBPS Examination. The questions will determine your ability to apply your knowledge in any given situation. It is more important to remain calm while answering the questions so that you don’t commit any silly mistake. The questions are mainly from the following areas:

  • Reading Comprehension

  • Error Detection

  • Cloze Test

  • Sentence Replacement / Sentence Correction

  • Fill in the Blanks

  • Sentence Connectors

  • Word Replacement / Phrase Replacement

  • Word Usage

  • Phrases and Idioms

Quantitative Aptitude:

Most of the time, questions in this section are time consuming. They will test your ability to keep your calm rather than your aptitude. The questions will be based on the following topics:

  • Profit and Loss

  • Simplification

  • Quadratic Equation

  • Time and Distance / Time and Work / Pipe and Cistern

  • Data Interpretation

  • Data Sufficiency

  • Simple and Compound Interest

  • Mixture and Alligation

  • Number Series

General Awareness:

This section will consist of questions from the Current Events of National and International importance, Banking Awareness and Static General Knowledge. You should cover the current affairs of the last 6 months for this paper, as per the latest trend of the IBPS Papers.

Professional Knowledge:

This is the most important section since your selection will depend on your performance in this particular section. Please keep in mind that most of the times, questions will be based on your understanding of topics related to your subject of expertise. You have to apply your knowledge in such cases. It is going to test your knowledge of application of technical knowledge.

What am I going to achieve after becoming Specialist Officer in a PSB?

Since all the posts are of the same scale i.e. Scale I through the IBPS SO Examination, the opportunities are more or less the same. You can get promotion as per the norms applicable to the generalist officers. That means you can become Scale II in three years under the Fast Track whereas for the normal track promotions, you have to wait for 5 years. However, in most of the cases, specialist officers end up after a certain level such as Scale V or Scale VI. But on the flip side, you get postings mostly in Regional Offices in any bank if you join as a Specialist Officer.

IBPS SO 2017-18 Cut-Off Marks:

In order to get an idea regarding the level of competition in this examination, we have presented the previous year cut-off for final selection in this examination.

Name of the Posts






I.T. Officer





Agriculture Field Officer





Marketing Officer





HR / Personnel Officer





Law Officer





Rajbhasha Adhikari






IBPS SO Examination 2018 is an opportunity for all of you to enter into a Public Sector Bank as an officer. It is different from generalist officer job since you will get to pursue a career in your area of expertise. If you want to prepare for IBPS Specialist Officer 2018 Examination, try the IBPS SO Mock Test Series at Eduwhere here for effective preparation.

All the Best!!

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