Bank Exams

In India, bank exams are often considered in high regard for aspiring candidates who wish to step into the banking domain. There are multiple bank exams which are conducted by various banks and testing agencies across the country every year.

As a matter of fact, banking is an increasingly popular choice of employment for fresh graduates and experienced professionals in India. Banks provide attractive salaries, a measure of job security and many perks for their employees.

Due to such reasons, the competition for bank jobs is increasing at an exponential pace. The competition indicates that aspirants should have a top-notch bank exam preparation to be able to crack the exam and get selected as a bank employee.

In this article, we will discuss the major online bank exams which are to be conducted. Bank exam notifications are disseminated through the respective websites of the agency conducting the exam which will be discussed in the following paragraphs.


SBI Bank Exams

The State Bank of India is the largest public sector bank in the country. It recruits employees at two levels through the following SBI exams:


  • SBI PO Exam: Also called the SBI Probationary Officers (PO) exam, this exam selects candidates for the management cadre of SBI. The employees selected are called Probationary Officers during their training and move on to management roles after finishing their training.

SBI PO Notification 2020 is yet to be published. Candidates can refer to the previous year notification for relevant details.



  • The SBI PO Exam consists of three stages:
    • SBI PO Preliminary Exam: SBI PO Prelims filters the candidates for the next stage of the exam, retaining about 2.8% of the total number of applicants for the main examination.
    • SBI PO Main Exam: Performance of the candidates in the SBI PO Mains determines whether they make the cut for the next stage of the exam. The main exam consists of two parts:
    • Objective test: Focussed on knowledge in core areas required in the modern workplace. The SBI PO syllabus consists of Reasoning & Computer Aptitude, Data Analysis & Interpretation, General Knowledge, Economy, Banking Awareness and English.
    • Descriptive test: The descriptive test is used to assess the candidates’ usage of written English in a business setting.
    • SBI PO Group Discussion and SBI PO Interview: The group discussion and interview is the final stage before a merit list of selected candidates is drawn up.
  • SBI SO Exam: The SBI SO exam aims to select Specialist Officers(SO) for the bank. The selection process consists of an interview based on the experience and specialisation of the candidates.
  • SBI Clerk Exam: The SBI Clerk exam selects Junior Associates for the clerical cadre of the banking giant. It consists of two stages:
    • SBI Clerk Preliminary Exam: Known as SBI Clerk Prelims, this exam filters out candidates for the next stage.
    • SBI Clerk Mains Exam: Commonly called the SBI Clerk Mains, the marks secured in this exam determine the selection status of candidates as clerks in the State Bank.



IBPS Exams

The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection is an examination body that conducts the selection of employees for a large number of banks. The IBPS conducts a number of online bank exams for this purpose. The following are the exams conducted by the IBPS:


  • IBPS PO Exam: The IBPS PO, officially known as the IBPS CWE(Common Written Examination) selects candidates for the post of Probationary Officers for various public sector banks(PSB) as well as some insurance companies which are its members. The IBPS PO exam pattern consists of three stages:
    • IBPS PO Preliminary Exam: This stage serves as a qualifying exam for the next stage. It consists of objective type questions.
    • IBPS PO Main Exam: The main exam serves as the final written exam. Based on the IBPS PO result, the participating banks call candidates for the next stage.
    • IBPS Interview: This is conducted by the respective banks for which the candidate has indicated a preference for during the application process.



  • IBPS SO Exam: The IBPS Specialist Officers exam of the IBPS consists of three stages similar to the Probationary Officers exam. They are:
    • IBPS SO Preliminary Exam: This stage consists of an objective pattern paper. The bank exam syllabus for this paper varies based on the available specialisations. The paper tests General Awareness, Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude and English.
    • IBPS SO Main Exam: The main exam consists of one objective paper on professional knowledge for most specialists. The post of language advisors such as ‘Rajbhasha Adhikari’ consists of an objective and a descriptive paper on their respective subjects.
  • To know more about IBPS SO exam dates, click at the linked article.


  • IBPS Clerk Exam: The IBPS CWE clerical cadre is used by PSBs to select clerks. It consists of two online bank examinations which are:
    • IBPS Clerk Preliminary Examination: An objective paper of one-hour duration tests the candidates’ abilities in English Language, Numerical Ability, and Reasoning.
    • IBPS Clerk Main Examination: The bank exam syllabus for this one consists of Reasoning, Computer Aptitude, English, Quantitative Aptitude, General, and Financial Awareness. The IBPS Clerk Mains result is used to determine the merit ranking of the candidate and their selection as clerks.



  • IBPS RRB Exam: The IBPS RRB CWE is for Regional Rural Banks which select candidates for smaller banks serving rural areas across the country. These include cooperative and public sector banks. The examination consists of two stages which are as follows:
    • RRB Preliminary Exam: This exam is used as a qualifying exam for the next round. There are separate papers for Scale I officers and Office Assistants, which are conducted separately.
    • RRB Mains Exam: This paper decides the merit position of candidates and is held separately for officers and office assistants. The allotment of banks is based on the RRB exam result.


The main feature that distinguishes IBPS from other bank exams is the large number of banks who recruit based on its results. The institute also provides the facility of IBPS mock tests and training for candidates desirous of using these facilities.


RBI Exams

The Reserve Bank of India conducts its own exams for recruitment to various vacancies in the organisation. The following are the major exams conducted by the Reserve Bank of India:


  • RBI Officer Grade B Exam: The apex bank conducts the RBI Officer Grade B exam for the selection of mid-senior level officers of the bank. It consists of recruitment to the General as well as specialist cadres of the RBI. it also includes research positions open for PhD holders in the notified disciplines.
  • RBI Assistant Exam: The RBI Assistant exam is conducted to recruit candidates for the post of Assistant in various branches and sub-Officer of RBI. The post is equivalent to the clerical cadre in the banking sector.
  • RBI Junior Engineer Exam: RBI Junior Engineer recruitment takes place through this exam. The selected candidates are employed as engineers handling RBI facilities. The specialisation required for this exam is Civil Engineering.


Other Bank Exams

The other major exams conducted for recruitment to banks are IPPB and NABARD officer recruitment. The following are a few details about the exams:


  • IPPB Exam: The India Post Payments Bank Exam is open only for candidates with considerable experience in the government sector. It recruits higher management for IPPB under the Department of Posts.
  • NABARD Exam: The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development recruits Assistant Managers for their operations through this exam.

As banks are an attractive employment option in the modern economy, aspirants should prepare seriously for the examinations to beat the competition.

A good way to start would be to download bank exam question papers and bank exam syllabus to read and understand their scope. Based on this, candidates can start focusing on specific exam patterns for each bank and finish their bank exam preparation before each exam date.