How to Prepare for Bank Exam at Home?


Banking sector provides vocation to thousands of individuals every year. While the figure must look decent, it’s important to acknowledge that lakhs of students appear for various banking examinations. On one hand, there are independent banking institutions that take their entrance tests, whereas on the other hand are those that club together to conduct a single, common test. Whatever the case may be, the pattern, approach and difficulty level of the examination doesn’t alter significantly. The prestige associated with the sector is apparent in the way the exam is formulated.


Generally, it’s assumed that the coaching institutions play the most important role in getting through the exam. But this isn’t the case for many candidates who have gloriously passed the exam with extraordinary scores. The bank examination preparation can be conducted smoothly at the comfort of one’s home if the approach towards the exam is right. Below is a detailed description of what should be kept in mind while preparing for the exam and how to go about the same.


The General Pattern of the Banking Exams


The first step in the process of self-study is to gather all the necessary information for the concerned test. This might essentially include the bank exam pattern at the top of the priority list. All the bank exams are more or less moulded in the same manner. Let’s first get familiar with the pattern of the exam as the entire process would follow up on the same.


Level of bank examination: While some banking examinations are conducted through only a single written paper, there are some exceptions such as IBPS and SBI that have two bifurcations- Prelims and Mains. The written test may/may not be followed by an interview, depending upon the conducting institution.




Prelims- The exam is divided into three sections that are given equal time slot to be solved.

1. Numerical Ability – This section features 35 questions that must be answered in 20 minutes.

2. Reasoning Ability- 35 questions are put forth and must be answered in 20 minutes.

3. English Language Ability- English Ability is tested through 30 questions. Candidate must mark the correct answers in 20 minutes.


 Mains- The main paper for both SBI and IBPS follow a similar blueprint after IBPS has taken inspiration from SBI to introduce a descriptive paper and club the reasoning and computer part together.

1. Computer Aptitude and Reasoning Ability- 45 questions are expected to be answered in 60 minutes.

2. English Language- 35 questions are to be answered in 40 minutes.

3. Data Analysis and Interpretation- 35 questions need to be marked in 45 minutes.

4. General, Economic and Banking Awareness- This section features 40 questions, which must be marked in 35 minutes.

5. Essay and Letter Writing- While SBI incorporated this section in their PO test earlier as well, IBPS has newly adopted the same. Both the exams feature two descriptive questions, with marking scheme of 25 and 50 marks for IBPS and SBI respectively.


Click here to take online mock tests for IBPS PO


IBPS PO- The IBPS interview is marked out of 100. A general candidate needs to score 40% marks, while the students belonging to different categories have to score a minimum of 35%. The final selection is based on the Interview and the Mains score, the Prelims being only a qualifying test.


SBI PO- SBI further bifurcates this stage in the GD round, followed by a personal interview. 20 and 30 marks are allotted to GD and PI respectively. Important questions from Banking Sector and General Knowledge are asked. The final selection is based on the cut-off marks obtained by clubbing the mains, GD and PI marks.


Negative Marking: -0.25 marks are deducted for every wrong choice in both prelims and mains paper.


Time Duration: Each section is given a time of 20 minutes, accounting for the total 1 hour time duration for the Prelims paper. However, the Mains paper is allocated 3 hours for both IBPS and SBI PO. 30 additional minutes are given for the descriptive paper.


After having the bank exam pattern at hand, the next step is to follow some tips to facilitate the process and crack the exam at one go.


Click here to take online mock tests for SBI PO


Tips for Preparation of Various Sections of the Bank Exam


With a detailed idea of the pattern of the exam, the next step is to adopt certain tips and tricks to help you in the preparation at home. The bank exam preparation tips can be deemed useful if stated by considering each section individually. Let’s consider each section and what tricks can be helpful while preparing for that particular section.


Reasoning Ability and Computer Aptitude-

This section is an amalgamation of both the reasoning ability of a candidate and the knowledge of computer science. To ace this section, the following points must be kept in mind-

  • The foremost step would be to read the basics of computers. This can be easily done by going back to the NCERT books of 6th to 10th standard. Make sure to take down notes for last-minute revision.
  • Reasoning generally features questions from alphanumeric series, blood relations, syllogism, seating arrangement, etc. This obviously cannot be studied verbally; practice plays a key role. While practising, the pattern of questions becomes pretty clear to approach the problem in the exam correctly.
  • This section particularly requires solving mock test papers and previous year papers. The more they practice, the better chance at cracking the question quickly. Numerous mock tests can be accessed through, an online portal that assists you with the exam preparation. Internet must be used wisely if one is preparing at home. Website such as the aforesaid is designed to help with the preparation. Not only can you gather the exam related information from here, but also practice more and more to beat your timings.


English Language Ability-

The examiner intends to assess the grammatical, vocabulary and other language-related abilities of the examinee.

  • Vocabulary can be strengthened by being in contact with the language, without fail. This implies that an aspirant who is undertaking bank exam preparation must-read texts in the English language that add to his existing treasure of vocabulary. This can be easily done by reading the newspaper or any fictional/non-fictional text.
  • Grammar is a hit-or-miss kind of section, which requires untiring practice and utmost surety. Invest time in going through the basics yet again and practising questions based on every concept that you study.
  • Comprehension passages can be practised by the same methodology as vocabulary. The motive should be to read texts faster and faster with each passing day and with precision.


Quantitative Aptitude-

The ability of a candidate to play with numbers, perform the desired operations to arrive at a satisfactory solution is tested in this section. The bank exam preparation tips for this section are listed below-

  • Mathematics section requires proficiency in elementary mathematical topics, such as profit and loss, time and distance, simple and compound interest, etc. NCERT books are the best to begin the preparation with, especially for those who do not have a stronghold on the basics of the subject.
  • Following the clear conception of the basics, the higher-order problems must be practised. A vital aspect is to note down the formulas needed to solve various problems from this section. These formula notes must be revised daily during the bank exam preparation period.


General Knowledge-

Newspaper reading and making notes for every sub-division such as sports, economy, national, etc. is mandatory. Also, an exhaustive reading of all the social science books from the school/college curriculum can prove to be of great help.


Bank Test Series 

Practical usage of the knowledge gathered during the preparation process is an absolute necessity while undertaking the bank exam preparation. This can be done by constantly practising mock tests. These mock tests are readily available on various online portals, such as This website has a wide pool of content for the preparation of various examinations. The best test material is accumulated here to assist students during the tiresome preparation process. The more you practice for competitive exams, the faster you can solve questions with utmost precision. This improves the chances of clearing the cut-off easily.