IBPS PO Prelim Exam Pattern, Insights with Previous Year Papers

Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) conducts exam every year to recruit the Probationary Officers (PO) for Public sector banks, SBI, Associate banks of SBI, RBI, NABARD, SIDBI, Few co-operative banks. IBPS also conducts exams to recruite the right employees for LIC & Insurance companies, Regional rural banks, Government departments, State owned companies and corporation, Some public sector undertakings of non financial sector. In addition to that IBPS also conducts admission tests  for some reputed Management institutes and Universities.

The candidates are selected through the following recruitment process

1. IBPS PO Preliminary Exam

2. IBPS PO Mains Exam

3.  Interview

As per the eligibility criteria, the candidate must be a graduate and should be of minimum age- 20 years. The aspirants who cleared the Preliminary round are eligible for the Mains. The dates for the Preliminary round are 3th October, 4th October, 10th October, 2020. The date for main exam is 28th November, 2020. The centre of the Exam is in every state and city.

Eligibility   |  Exam Pattern  |  Syllabus |

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Resalte clave
de IBPS PO Prelim Exam
Rs. 100/- (for SC/ST/PWD candidates) Rs. 600 /- (for all others)
20-30 Year
Exam Duration:
1 Hour for prelims 3 Hours for mains
No. of Questions:
100 (PRELIMS) 155 (MAINS)
Interview Qualifying Marks:
40% (35% for SC/ST/OBC/PWD).
Registration Starts:
From August 2020

Table of Contents

1. IBPS PO Important Dates

2. IBPS PO Selection Process

3. IBPS PO Eligibility

4. IBPS PO Application Form

5. IBPS PO Admit card

6. IBPS PO Exam Pattern

7. IBPS PO Marking Scheme

8. IBPS PO Syllabus

9. IBPS PO Tips and Tricks

1. IBPS PO Important Dates

  • The notification was released on 04 August 2020

  • The exam is conducted once in a year

​IBPS PO Registration Period

  • Application form filling (Registration) was started from 05 August 2020

  • Application form (Registration) was closed from 26 August 2020

  • Registration was restart from 28 October 2020

  • The reopened registration window was closed from 11 November 2020

  • Admit card for prelims will be released before 10 days of the exam

  • Prelims exam will be conducted on 05-06 January 2021

  • Prelims result will be declared in January 2021

  • Admit card for mains will be released in last the week of January 2021

  • The mains exam will be conducted on 04 February 2021

  • Result declaration date of mains exam is to be announced

  • The interview date will be released after the mains exam

2. IBPS PO Selection Process

  • Prelims Exam
  • Mains Exam
  • Interview

3. IBPS PO Eligibility


  • The applicant should be an Indian citizen OR

  • The subject of Nepal/Bhutan/Tibetan Refugee settled in India before 1962 OR

  • The persons migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African Countries, Zaire, Vietnam

  • The NRI candidates are not eligible

IBPS PO Age Limit

  • The minimum age limit is 20 years as on 01 August 2020

  • The maximum age limit is 30 years as on 01 August 2020

  • Age Relaxation

    • ​OBC (Non-Creamy Layer): 03 Years

    • SC/ST/ Ex-Servicemen/Commissioned officers/Persons domiciled in J&K from January 1980 to December 1989, Persons affected by 1984 riots: 05 Years

    • Persons with disabilities: 10 Years

IBPS PO Educational Qualification

  • Graduation Degree necessary to be eligible

  • IBPS does not require any minimum percentage in graduation but the banks require.


  • The IBPS releases the information of the mandatory eligibility criteria on the official site in the notification

  • The aspirants should read the eligibility criteria carefully before applying for the exam to avoid circumstances

  • The main factor of change in eligibility is the age limit because the period in which DOB should lie is changed by the IBPS every year

4. IBPS PO Application Form

  • The candidates can apply on the official site only

  • The IBPS invites application form to the candidates for filling the vacancies of probationary officers

  • The IBPS publishes a calendar every year containing information on exam incidents

  • The IBPS releases notification on the official site to fill the application form

  • This notification contains the information of registration period, required documents, vacancies, exam date, relevant eligibility conditions, etc

  • The application form filling will be started once the application form filling notification releases

  • The candidates are advised to read the eligibility criteria carefully before applying for the exam because the candidature of ineligible candidates will not be acknowledged

IBPS PO Application Fee

  • Gen/OBC: INR 850/-

  • SC/ST/Other: INR 175/-

  •  The application fee (exam fee or registration fee) can be paid via net banking, mobile wallets, IMPS, Cash card, debit card, credit card, etc

Application Form Filling Process (Registration Process)

  • The candidates are advised to fill the application form carefully and they should recheck the details filled by them before final submission

  • There is no provision of the correction window

  • If the candidate has made mistake in application form filling, he can apply again by filing a new application form

  • The application fee once submitted will not be refunded under any circumstances, so the candidates will have to make a fresh payment to pay the application fee

  • The application form will be filled in the below simple steps

    • (a). Registration

    • (b). Upload Documents (Photo, Signature, Left Thumb Impression, Handwritten Declaration)

    • (c). Details (Personel Information)

    • (d). Preview

    • (e). Payment

  • The personal information of the candidates is required like educational qualification, experience, category, etc

  • The post, exam center preference, etc also asked on filling the application form

  • The candidate's photo and a signature will be required during the application form filling

    • Photo Size: 200×230 Pixels and 20-50 kb file size

    • Signature Size: 140×60 Pixels and 10-20 kb file size

    • Left Thumb Impression: 240×240 Pixels and 20-50 kb file size

    • Handwritten Declaration: 800×400 Pixels and 50-100 kb file size

  • The face and eyes should be visible on the photograph

  • The signature should be also clear. It will be matched in the future use

  • The candidates should read instructions carefully before application form filling

  • The candidates should note down the registration number and password for future use

  • They should print out the application form copy in a white blank paper to keep all the information with them for further use

5. IBPS PO Prelims Admit Card

  • Candidates can download the admit card from the official site only

  • Admit card will be available to download before 10 days of the exam

  • The candidates should print the admit card on a white blank paper

  • The text and information printed on the admit card should be clearly visible

  • The candidates are advised to save a copy of the admit card for future use

  • The candidates should have clear information about the exam pattern and marking process before attempting the real exam. They are advised to make a wise strategy to acquire more marks than the cutoff

  • The admit card will be available to download till the exam

  • Adress and photograph of identity proof should be matched to the uploaded records

  • They should also carry two passport size photograph matches to the uploaded one

Steps to download IBPS PO Admit card

  • The IBPS provide a link on its official site to download the admit cards

  • Fill the credentials like registration number, roll number, password, date of birth, etc

  • Mostly these credentials are available on the printed copy of the application form

  • After filling the credentials, they will reach on the admit card

  • Now they can print or download the admit card

  • In case of forgetting the password, they can use the forget password option. The login information will be sent on the registered mobile number or mail

Information in the IBPS PO Admit card

  • Roll Number/ User id and password

  • Name and address of the candidate

  • Registration number of the candidate

  • The venue of the examination center and its code

  • Date and time of the examination

  • Name of parents

  • Date of Birth

  • Candidate's photograph and a blank space to affix the candidate's photograph matching to the uploaded one

  • Boxes containing space for signature and thumb impression of the candidate

  • A box for the signature of the invigilator

IBPS PO Exam Day Instructions

  • The candidates are advised to follow all the instructions printed on the admit card

  • The instructions printed on the admit card should be clearly readable. Instructions make the candidate aware of attending the exam

  • Original copy and photocopy of a valid identity proof containing photograph and address is required in the examination hall

  • The candidates will be disqualified for misconduct in the examination

  • The candidate must have the same information and signature in each document

  • The exam conducting body will not acknowledge any change in time, date, center of the examination, etc

  • digital devices, earphones, unnecessary objects are not permitted to bring into the exam hall

  • The IBPS will handle the situation and co-operate with the candidates in case of administrative or technical issue

The discrepancy in IBPS PO Admit card

  • The candidates should cross-check the information in the admit card

  • They should make sure that there is no mismatch in the details of the admit card and identity proof

  • If there is any discrepancy, they should bring it in front of the IBPS

6. IBPS PO Exam Pattern

IBPS conducts the preliminary exam of only a qualifying nature. The marks of the prelims exam will not be compiled in the final results. The candidates who will qualify for the prelims exam will be eligible for mains. The candidates who only qualify for the overall cutoff will not eligible for the mains exam, they have to qualify for the sectional (subject-wise) cutoff also.

IBPS  is responsible to set the exam pattern for the IBPS PO Prelims Exam and it has released the new exam pattern for the upcoming exam. There will be 3 Sections in the preliminary exam with the separated 20 Minutes timing for each section.

The prelims exam will be conducted in online mode. It is a computer-based objective type exam and each question contains 5 options where only 1 option will be correct. There will be total 100 MCQs of 100 Marks from all its 3 Sections to solve in 1 Hour.

The language of the examination will be in Hindi and English both except the English language Section. The aspirants preparing for IBPS PO should know the detailed exam pattern of the exam because a true understanding of exam pattern and syllabus helps to cover important concepts for better preparation. A better understanding of concepts makes questions easy to solve while the candidates with no correct idea about concepts feel the questions tough in solving.

There are no extremely hard questions and syllabus for the exam but the limited time and huge no of candidates increase the level of difficulty of the exam because competition rises the cutoff marks.

The prelims exam will be completed in one sitting and the subjects will be the following

  • Quantitative Aptitude

  • Reasoning Ability

  • English Language 

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


Sections (Subjects) Number of Questions Allotted Marks Allotted Time
English Language 30 Questions 30 Marks 20 Minutes
Numerical Ability 35 Questions 35 Marks 20 Minutes
Reasoning Ability 35 Questions 35 Marks 20 Minutes
Total 100 Questions 100 Marks 60 Minutes


To check the IBPS PO Mains Exam Pattern, Click Here

Watch the video for IBPS PO Prelims Exam Pattern

7. IBPS PO Prelims Marking Scheme

The marking scheme of the IBPS PO Prelims exam is the same as per the previous year's papers. Each question of any subject contains 1 Mark. The negative marking is an important factor because it not only prevents from gaining marks but also decreases score by penalty of negative marks. It is a computer-based test and marking two answers simultaneously to a question is not possible. On every four incorrect answers, the candidates lose 1 Mark or the marks of one right answer the question. The candidates should focus on the accuracy of answers to excel in good marks in the exam.


Sections (Subjects) Number of Questions Allotted Marks Allotted Marks for Each Right Answer
English Language 30 Questions 30 Marks 1 Mark
Numerical Ability 35 Questions 35 Marks 1 Mark
Reasoning Ability 35 Questions 35 Marks 1 Mark


Take a glance at the followings to understand the accurate marking scheme

  • 1 Mark will be added for each right answer.

  • 1/4 (0.25) Marks will be deducted for incorrect answers.

  • No marks will be added or deducted for unanswered questions.


To check the IBPS PO Mains Marking Scheme, Click Here

8. IBPS PO Prelims Syllabus

The accurate and detailed knowledge of the syllabus helps to cover all concepts for the exam because a true understanding of the concepts not only helps to excel in the exam but also helps in saving time to mark the correct answer. The practice of all types of questions according to the syllabus really play the important role in qualifying for the exam during this tough time of the competition.

Quantitative Aptitude



  General Aptitude

  Advanced Mathematics

  Number Systems


  Series and Sequences

  Mathematical Inequalities

  Surds and Indices



  Permutation and Combination

  Data Interpretation (DI)





  Profit and Loss

  Ratio and Proportion


  Mixture and Alligations

  Simple and Compound Interest

  Work and Time

  Time and Distance




  Direction Sense

  Alphabet Combination

  Blood Relations

  Alphanumeric Series


  Seating Arrangements

  Coding and Decoding

  Coded Inequalities

  Statement and Assumptions


  Statement and Arguments

  Data Sufficiency

  Statement and Conclusion

  Assertion and Reason


  Word Formation


  Picture Series





English Language


  Jumbled Sentences

  Error Detection

  Fill in the Blanks (Cloze Test)

  Reading Comprehension

  Idioms and Phrases

  Paragraph and Passage Completion

  Synonyms and Antonyms

  Parts of Speech

  One Word Substitution

  Time and Tenses


To check the syllabus of IBPS PO Mains Exam, Click Here

9. Preparation Tips for IBPS PO Prelims

  • 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.

Watch the Video for IBPS PO Tips and Tricks

Youth4work Prep Tests

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