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Probationary officer is an entry level position for management in banks. Banks recruit POs in Junior Management Grade Scale-I. Almost every year State Bank of India (SBI) recruits Probationary Officers (PO). It is one of the most sought after jobs for many graduates.


Presently, the starting basic pay is 27,620/- (with 4 advance increments) in the scale of 23700-980/7-30560-1145/2-32850-1310/7-42020 applicable to Junior Management Grade Scale-I. The official will also be eligible for D.A, H.R.A/ Lease rental, C.C.A, Medical and other allowances & perquisites as per rules in force from time to time (the emoluments are likely to be revised shortly).


The total vacancies in SBI-PO 2020 - 2000. Out of these 2000 vacancies, 810 vacancies - for General candidates and rest divided according to government reservation norms.

Exam date and registration:

In 2020, the registration started in the month of November and the exams are scheduled between December 2020-January 2021.

Critical Dates to Remember (2020)

Activity Date Window
On-line registration including Editing/Modification of Application Nov 14th, 2020 to Dec 4th, 2020
Download Call letters Online Exam – Preliminary 3rd week of Dec 2020 onwards
Phase I : Online Exam – Preliminary Dec 31st, 2020 & Jan 2nd, 4th, 5th, 2021
Result of Online exam – Preliminary 3rd week of January 2021
Phase II : Online Exam – Main January 29th, 2021
Declaration of Result – Main 3rd/4th week of February 2021
Phase III : Interview (Or Interview & Grp Exercises) February/ March 2021
Declaration of Final Result Last week of March 2021

Essential academic qualifications:

Graduation in any discipline from a recognised University or any equivalent qualification recognised as such by the Central Government. Those who are in the Final Year/Semester of their Graduation may also apply provisionally subject to the condition that, if called for interview, they will have to produce proof of having passed the graduation examination on or before 31.12.2020. Candidates having Integrated Dual Degree (IDD) certificate should ensure that the date of passing the IDD is on or before 31.12.2020. Candidates possessing qualification of Chartered Accountant may also apply

Age and number of attempts:

General candidates should not be below 21 years and should not be above 30 years as on 01.04.2020. There are provisions for category based age relaxation according to existing government norms. A General candidate has a maximum of four attempts. Provision for reserved candidates getting extra attempts is also there.

Any eligible candidate, who aspires to join State Bank of India (SBI) as a Probationary Officer, is required to register online for the recruitment process. The application fee for General/EWS/OBC candidates is Rs. 750 and for reserved category (SC/ST/PWD) candidates is NIL.

To know about the procedure in detail you can click on the link given below.

SBI PO 2020 Official Notification

The examination will be held in three phases i.e. Preliminary examination, Main examination and Group Exercise and Interview. The candidates who are shortlisted after Preliminary examination will have to appear for Main examination. The candidates shortlisted after the main examination will be subsequently called for Group Exercises and Interview.
PS: Given the Covid-19 Situation, the process may just be PI without any GE (it can be a possibility)

Phase-I: Preliminary examination:

Preliminary Examination consisting of Objective Test for 100 marks is conducted. The test contains 3 sections (with separate timings for each section). The mode of exam is Online. The questions are in English and Hindi both (except English Language Section).

Preliminary Exam pattern (2020)

Section No. of questions Duration
English Language 30 20 Mins
Quantitative Aptitude 35 20 Mins
Reasoning Ability 35 20 Mins
Total 100 60 minutes

Category wise merit list is drawn on the basis of aggregate marks scored in this exam. There will be no sectional cut-off. Normally candidates numbering approximately 10 times the number of vacancies are shortlisted for the main examination.

Phase – II: Main examination:

Main Examination consists of Objective Tests for 200 marks and Descriptive Test for 50 marks. Both the Objective and Descriptive Tests are Online. The questions in Objective Test are in English and Hindi both (except English Language). In 2019 exam, all questions had equal marks. Candidates need to answer Descriptive test by typing on the computer. Descriptive Test is administered immediately after completion of the Objective Test.

(i) Objective Test: The objective test is of 3 hours duration consists of 4 sections for total 200 marks. The objective test has separate timing for every section.

Main Objective Exam pattern (2019)

Section No. of questions Max. Marks Duration
Reasoning and Computer Aptitude 45 60 60 Mins
Data Analysis and Interpretation 35 60 45 Mins
General/Economy/Banking Awareness 40 40 35 Mins
English Language 35 40 40 Mins
Total 155 200 3 hours

(ii) Descriptive Test: The Descriptive Test of 30 minutes duration with two questions for 50 marks is a Test of English Language (Letter Writing and Essay).

Category wise merit list is drawn on the basis of aggregate marks scored in Mains Examination. There will be no sectional cut-off. Normally candidates numbering approximately 3 times the number of vacancies are shortlisted for the next round (GE and Interview).
PS: There will be Penalty for wrong answers marked in Objective Tests (Applicable to both - Preliminary and Main Exam). For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, 1/4th of marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty to arrive at corrected score. If a question is left blank, i.e. if no answer is marked by candidate, there will be no penalty for that question.

Phase – III: Group Exercises (20 marks) and Interview (30 marks) OR Interview ONLY (50 marks)

In Group Exercise normally a topic or task is given and participating candidates are supposed to discuss that topic given or complete the task assigned. Interviews are conducted for individual candidates. A panel of 4-5 evaluators interviews a candidate to evaluate her/his personality, skills, and suitability for the job and organisation. The whole process takes around 3-5 hours depending upon the number of candidates and the panel.

Final selection

The marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination (Phase-I) are not added for preparing the final merit list for selection. Only the marks obtained in Main Examination (Phase-II), both in Objective Test and Descriptive Test, are added to the marks obtained in GE and Interview (Phase-III) for preparing the final merit list. The candidates need to qualify both in Phase-II and Phase-III separately. Marks secured by the candidates in the Main Examination (out of 250 marks) are converted to out of 75 and marks secured in Group Exercises and Interview (out of 50 marks) are converted to out of 25. The final merit list is arrived at after aggregating converted marks of Main Examination and Group Exercises and Interview out of 100.

Candidates should realise that to perform in competitive exams such as SBI PO, they should be good at both concepts and application. Rather than going through concepts from various sources, one should concentrate on a single resource for conceptual clarity. Once concepts are clear, practicing regularly is key to performing well in competitive exams like these. We have provided playlists of important concept lectures below. Candidates can take help of these lectures from Meritshine to strengthen their fundamentals for this exam.

For a thorough preparation, candidates should register for our SBI PO 2020 Paid Program - Crash Course.

Our Free Resources (click on the links below for accessing the relevant content)

Lectures for Objective Paper (Prelims and Mains):-

Lectures for Descriptive Paper (Mains):

Lectures for Interviews:-

The cut-offs of various stages of previous years' exams have been shown in the tables given below. The cut-off marks are the marks scored by the last candidate selected in each category. They differ every year according to the competition and the paper’s difficulty level. One year's cut-off is in no way predictive of subsequent years' cut-offs.

SBI-PO 2019 cut-offs

Stage of Examination General OBC SC ST
Prelims (Out of 100) 71.00 68.25 61.75 54.75
Mains (Out of 250) 104.42 94.28 82.50 77.63
Group Exercise & Interview (Out of 50) 20.00 17.50 17.50 17.50
Final (Out of 100) 54.11 48.78 45.74 43.90

SBI-PO 2018 cut-offs

Stage of Examination General OBC SC ST
Prelims (Out of 100) 56.75 54.25 49.00 43.00
Mains (Out of 250) 93.10 86.42 77.13 75.01
Group Exercise & Interview (Out of 50) 20.00 18.00 18.00 18.00
Final (Out of 100) 50.79 46.26 43.99 39.87

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