Bank jobs are currently among the most in-demand jobs in India. More than 20 lakh aspirants generally appear for exams conducted by IBPS, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), State Bank of India (SBI), and private banks(taken together). These banking exams can give you jobs in RBI, SBI (and associated banks), 21 nationalised banks, 20+ private Indian banks, select foreign banks and a large number of small to medium co-operative banks along with grameen banks at the clerical, PO (Probationary Officer) and SO (Specialist Officer) levels. Vacancies in banks are set to reach 7.5 lakh in the next 5 years, since banking jobs are appearing lucrative in times of an economic slowdown.

These bank exams help filter a large proportion of aspirants based on their exam performance. Shortlisted candidates then go through rounds of group discussion and personal interviews.

In order to test the basic aptitude and intelligence level of aspirants, and to provide a level playing field to aspirants from different educational backgrounds, bank entrance tests are typically conducted as aptitude tests. They test your IQ, concepts learnt in school and your general awareness levels. They are different from tests that you take in school or college in the following respects: 

  • The questions have a problem followed by multiple-choices (as answers). You need to read and solve the problem and mark the most appropriate choice.
  • The steps involved in solving the questions do not give you marks. You get marks only if you mark the correct option. Also, if you mark more than one option, you do not get marks.
  • You get penalized if you mark the wrong answer. Unlike school or college where you get “zero” marks for a wrong answer, you get negative marks for wrong answers in these exams. So, if you are not careful, you can end up with a score less than zero as well.
  • Each section in the test may have a separate cut-off. Unlike school or college education patterns where you can clear the exam by focusing only on your strengths, here you need to get some minimum marks in each section to qualify for the next stage of the bank recruitment process.
  • There is no fixed syllabus for such exams. While the broad areas from which questions can be asked are known, no question is generally considered “out-of-syllabus”. You have to keep this in mind and prepare for aptitude tests. However, you can identify the most common areas by solving previous year question papers (or sample papers) and taking sufficient mock tests.

While each specific exam may have a different format in terms of total questions, number of sections, number of questions per section, negative marking and so on, the overall content structure of all upcoming bank exams is similar. The commonly tested areas are:

  • Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation – school level maths, basic charts and tables
  • Logical Reasoning – puzzles, analytical and critical reasoning
  • English Language – school level grammar, English comprehension
  • General Awareness – GK and current affairs
  • Computer Awareness – computers, applications, internet