IBPS PO Mains Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Marking Scheme, Previous Year Papers

The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection conducts the IBPS PO Mains Exam for the applicants who have qualified the prelims exam. The IBPS shortlists the candidates through the mains exam for the interview. The institute shortlists the candidates to select the right person for the right post. The IBPS is a reputed institute to select the personnel in a fair and objective manner. Due to "Speed, Accuracy and Confidentiality Philosophy"  based foundation, It maintains the level of its examination. So it is advisable for the candidates to practice regularly for strengthening their preparation. There is a comprehensive understanding of topics required to qualify the IBPS PO Mains Exam. The Institute helps in the assessment and selection of an individual for the different organizations at various posts. It inspects an individual on the base of Speed, Accuracy, and Quantitative skills. IBPS conducts a recruitment drive for Probationary Officers and Clerical Cadre once in a year.

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Key Highlight
of IBPS PO Main Exam
Exam Mode
20-30 Years
Exam Sections:
4 (Objective) and 1 (Descriptive)
Selection process:
3 (Prelims, Mains, Interview)
Exam Date:
28 November 2020
Exam Duration:
3 Hours and 30 Minutes

IBPS PO Mains Exam Pattern

The IBPS PO Mains Exam plays a very important role in the candidate's selection because the result of mains is used to qualify the exam as well as to calculate the rank of the candidate in final merit. The institute has changed the IBPS PO Mains Exam Pattern this year and announced it in the official notification. The mains exam is conducted in an online medium and there will be two papers. A paper will be objective and another will be descriptive.

The following changes have occurred in the new exam pattern of IBPS PO Mains.

  • The duration of the objective paper is increased by 40 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours)  means the total allotted time for the objective paper will be 3 hours. The number of questions is also increased by 60 questions in the objective paper.

  • The new section of the descriptive paper apart from the objective test is added for essay and letter writing in the English language. It will contain 2 questions for 25 marks and its duration will be 30 minutes.

  • The exam duration for IBPS PO Mains will be 3 hours 30 minutes (On including objective and descriptive paper timing).

  • The separate section of computer knowledge is merged with the reasoning section.

There will be 4 sections in the objective paper that contains the following subjects

  1. Reasoning and Computer Aptitude
  2. English Language
  3. Data Analysis and Interpretation
  4. General Awareness, Economy and Banking Awareness

The number of questions and allotted time for every section is different. The candidates have to qualify sectional and overall cutoff marks to pass the examination. The language of the IBPS PO Mains will be in both Hindi and English except English Language Section. The candidates preparing for IBPS PO Mains should have a better understanding of exam pattern and marking process because it helps to determine how should they attend the questions to score maximum marks.

Take a glance at the below table to quickly understand the IBPS PO Mains Exam Pattern


IBPS PO Mains Exam Subjects Contained in Section Section-wise Questions Section-wise Marks  Section wise Time
Sections in Objective Test Reasoning and Computer Aptitude 45 60 60 Minutes
English Language 35 40 40 Minutes
Data Analysis and Interpretation 35 60 45 Minutes
General Awareness, Economy and Banking Awareness 40 40 35 Minutes

The descriptive paper comes under the subject of the English Language and contains only two questions to write in 30 minutes to check the communication skills of the candidates. Take a glance at the below table for the descriptive paper.


Descriptive Paper (Mains) English Language (Letter and Essay writing) 2 Questions 25 Marks 30 Minutes


  • First- the candidates will have to appear for an Online Preliminary Test that would be of 100 marks.
  • Second- those who qualify the Preliminary Test will be shortlisted for the Mains Test which would be of 200 marks.
  • Third- those who qualify Mains will be followed by Interviews.


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IBPS PO Mains Marking Scheme

The marking process of IBPS PO Mains is not similar in each section. It varies according to sections. The institute has a penalty of 1/4 of the assigned mark for a question. So it is advisable for the candidates to attempt the questions with accuracy in an appropriate time limit. The IBPS PO Mains is a computer-based test and will be conducted online. So marking more than one answer in a question will not be possible. There will be 5 answers in the mains exam and the candidate have to mark the right answer to gain mark. Negative marking is a factor here, that affects negatively on the candidates' score. There will be no penalty for unattempted questions.

Take a glance on the below table to understand the IBPS PO Mains Marking Process



  Questions in Section

  Marks in Section

  Reasoning and Computer Aptitude



  English Language



  Data Analysis and Interpretation



  General Awareness, Economy and Banking  Awareness




  • 1/4 penalty of assigned marks for a wrong attempted question in IBPS PO Mains
  • No penalty for unattempted questions
  • Marks for the right answer will be provided according to the above table

IBPS PO Mains Syllabus

Reasoning and Computer Aptitude: 



  Seating Arrangements

  Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning

  Blood Relations


  Coding and Decoding


  Data Sufficiency

  Double and Triple Lineups


  Ordering and Ranking

  Code Inequalities and Puzzle

  Directions and Displacement

  Logical Reasoning

  Alphanumeric Series


Computer Aptitude

Internet, Memory, Keyboard Shortcuts, Computer Related Terms Abbreviations, Computer Fundamentals, Microsoft Office and Related Word Processing and Spreadsheet Applications, Computer Hardware and Software, Operating Systems and GUI Basics, Basic Computer, Networking

English Language: 


  Paragraph Completion and Sentence Correction

  Antonyms and Synonyms

  Reading Comprehension/Passages


  Multiple Meaning and Spotting Errors

  Usage of English in Business

  Para Jumbles and Miscellaneous

  Letter Writing

  Fill in the blanks

  Essay Writing


Data Analysis and Interpretation:




  Sequence and Series

  Permutations and Combinations

  Number Systems



  Systems of Equations in Two Variables


  Age-Related Problems

  Profit and Loss, Discount


  Ratio and Proportion

  Data Sufficiency

  Mixture and Alligations


  Simple and Compound Interest

  Linear Equations

  Speed, Time and Distance

  Quadratic Equations

  Time and Work


  Data Interpretation (DI)

  Representational Statistics


General Awareness, Economy and Banking Awareness:

Banking Awareness, Financial Knowledge, Basic Economics, Current Affairs, Current Events of National and International Importance with focus on financial news, Static GK, General Knowledge on various topics of importance to financial institutions.

Preparation Tips for IBPS PO: For Mains Exam
•         You need to finish three sections of IBPS PO Prelims within 60 minutes, which means you need speed with accuracy in order to attempt 100 questions in total. The more you practice, the better chances you have of acing this exam.
•         Make mathematics and reasoning your strong subjects, practice questions to solve them within time to increase efficiency. You should lay emphasis not on mugging up the formulas but instead try understanding the concepts, so, you can modify the formulas according to the question requirement.
•         Remember negative marking is a factor here. Therefore, try not to attempt questions that put you in doubt. Although, the prelim exam will be of just qualifying nature and won’t be considered for the final merit list as only Main exam marks will matter, but you still need to secure the minimum qualifying marks in the prelims as set by the Indian Bank.
•         Manage your time properly; give appropriate amount of time to each section. Try to improve your time by practicing as many online tests as possible. Youth4work provides online mock tests will time limit attached to each question; this way one can learn to finish the entire exam within the time limit.
•         Studying in a stretch for hours can be tedious and hard and also not so good. Therefore, try to study at several times in regular sessions during a day. This will make learning easy and fun, also you will have enough time to brush up the already studied topics in between intervals.
•         It is very important to maintain proper health, so you don’t fall sick on the big day. Give your brain appropriate time to refresh itself. Don’t rush too much information into your head than its limit allows. Take it slow and steady. And get at least eight hours of sleep each night.

Youth4work Prep Tests

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Following are interesting insights from nearly 3.3 lakh question attempts on IBPS P0 exam practice tests on Youth4work. Every aspirant is rated on a Rating Scale. The ratings of the aspirants change with every question attempt.

Interview:  IBPS PO 

The candidates who qualify the main exams will be shortlisted for the interview which will be conducted by the Nodal Bank in each state. The call letter should be downloaded from the official website of IBPS. The interview centre, date and timing will be written in the call letter. The candidates need to bring all the original documents that will be mentioned in the call letter. The marks of interview will be 100. The minimum marks for qualifying the interview is 40% for General and 35% for SC/ST/OBC/PWD. The final result will be based on the marks of Mains and Interview.

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