IBPS PO 2020 Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Marking Scheme, Books and Preparation Tips

Updated On -

Apr 8, 2020

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Anam Shams

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IBPS PO 2020 Exam Pattern comprises of three stages viz. Preliminary exam, Main exam and Interview Round. The exam pattern varies at different stages of examsEnglish, Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning Ability sections are found in both prelims and main exam but the level of difficulty varies. In addition to the mentioned sections, Main exam also has General Awareness and computer aptitude section. Read IBPS PO Syllabus 

IBPS PO 2020 exam will be organized in online mode. Prelims is just a qualifying exam, it is not counted in the final result. Selection of candidates depends upon the score obtained in Main exam and Interview.

IBPS PO Prelims and Main exams will be held on October 3, 4 & 10, 2020 and November 28, 2020 respectively. Around 20 lakh students are expected to appear for IBPS PO this year.

Prepp Test Series

IBPS PO 2020 Exam Pattern is similar to the pattern updated by IBPS last year. Some of the key changes introduced in the exam are:

  • The duration for IBPS PO Main has been increased to 3 hours 30 minutes.
  • The difficulty level of the exam may rise due to the increase in time period and decrease in number of questions (dropped from 200 to 155).
  • The ‘Computer Awareness’ section has been scrapped and re-introduced as ‘Computer Aptitude’ which is merged with Reasoning Ability section.
  • ‘Quantitative Aptitude’ section has been renamed as ‘Data Interpretation and Analysis’. It will now include questions from Data Interpretation as well.
  • IBPS PO 2020 Main exam will include English descriptive paper comprising Essay and Letter writing for 25 marks within 30 minutes.

How to prepare for IBPS PO in 6 months

IBPS PO 2020 Exam Pattern At a Glance

Number of Stages 3 (Prelims, Main and Interview Round)
Conducting Authority IBPS
Exam Duration for Preliminary Round 1 hour (60 minutes)
Exam Duration for Main Round 3 hours 30 minutes (210 minutes)
Type of Questions MCQs (Addtitional Descriptive paper in Main Paper)
Exam Mode Prelims- Online, Main Exam- Both Online and Offline
IBPS PO 2020 Interview Maximum Marks 100
Minimum Qualifying Marks for the Interview 40% (35% for Reserved Classes)

IBPS PO 2020 Exam Pattern for Prelims 

  • Mode of Examination– Preliminary Exam of IBPS PO will be conducted in online mode. 
  • Number of Sections- There are 3 sections in IBPS PO Prelims viz. English Language, Quantitative Aptitude, and Logical Reasoning.  
  • Duration of Exam- The exam will be of 1 hour (60 minutes).
  • Nature of Questions-  Questions in the exam will be objective type (MCQs). Each question will have 5 options wherein only 1 option will be correct.
  • Marking Scheme– Each question will carry 1 mark. Also, there is a provision of negative marking i.e. for every wrong answer, 0.25 mark would be deducted.
  • Language of Exam- For English section, the questions will be set in English Language only, rest of the sections will be offered in English and Hindi languages.

Key Points for IBPS PO Prelims Exam 2020

  • IBPS PO Prelims is a qualifying paper.
  • Candidates qualifying this paper will be eligible to appear for IBPS PO Main Exam. Check IBPS PO 2020 Eligibility
  • The marks secured in this exam will not be considered while compiling the final result.
  • There will be a sectional cutoff and overall cutoff to qualify for IBPS PO Main exam.

Section-wise Weightage of Prelims Exam

Section Name Total Questions Total Marks Duration
English Language 30 questions 30 marks 20 minutes
Quantitative Aptitude 35 questions 35 marks 20 minutes
Reasoning Ability 35 questions 35 marks 20 minutes
Total 100 Questions 100 Marks 60 minutes

Read How to prepare Quantitative Aptitude for IBPS PO 2020?

IBPS PO Prelims Preparation Books

Name of the Books Author/ Publisher
Objective General English S.P. Bakshi
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examination R.S. Aggarwal
Analytical Reasoning M.K. Pandey

IBPS PO 2020 Exam Pattern for Mains

  • Mode of Examination– IBPS PO Main will be conducted in both online and offline mode. 
  • Number of Sections–  There are 4 sections in IBPS PO Main exam viz. English, Data Analysis & Interpretation, Reasoning & Computer Aptitude, and General Awareness. IBPS PO Main Exam will have a Descriptive Paper having 2 questions- Letter Writing and Essay writing. Read How to prepare for IBPS PO Main Descriptive Paper?
  • Duration of Exam: - The exam will be of 3 hours 30 minutes (3 hours for objective paper and 30 minutes for descriptive paper).
  • Nature of Questions– There will be 155 multiple choice questions and 2 written questions. Each question will have 5 options wherein only 1 option will be correct.
IBPS PO Mains Exam Pattern

IBPS PO Main Exam Key Points

  • There will be sectional cutoff and overall cutoff. 
  • A specified sectional time limit will be allocated to attempt each section in Main exam.
  • An IBPS PO cutoff list will be prepared where candidates having higher score/marks will have their names on top of the list.
  • Candidates with a higher score will be given priority for the interview.

Section-wise Weightage of Main Exam

Section Name Total Questions Allotted Time Total Marks
English Language 35 Questions 40 minutes 40 
Data Interpretation and Analysis 35 Questions 45 minutes 60 
Reasoning and Computer Aptitude 45 Questions 60 minutes 60 
General Awareness 40 Questions 35 minutes 40
English (Essay and Letter Writing) 2 Questions 30 minutes 25 Marks
Total 157 Questions 3 hours 30 minutes 225 Marks

Read How to prepare Computer Knowledge Section in IBPS PO?

IBPS PO Preparation Books

Book Name Author/ Publisher
A Modern Approach to Logical Reasoning  R.S. Aggarwal
Bank PO Quantitative Aptitude Arihant
General Studies 2020 B. Singh
Advanced Bank Management IIBF

IBPS PO 2020 Exam Pattern for Interview

  • Candidates who qualify Main exam are eligible for the interview round. 
  • The interview round will carry 100 marks.
  • This is the final stage in the selection process of IBPS PO.
  • This round carries 20% weightage in the final result.
  • Through this round, a candidate's communication skills and personality is examined. 

Highlights of IBPS PO Interview

  • Minimum marks to qualify Interview round is 40% for General Category candidates. Candidates belonging to reserved category must score at least 35% marks.
  • Final Merit List is prepared on the basis of the score in Main exam and Interview performance.
  • IBPS PO combined score would be declared on the basis of scores obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination and Interview in the ratio of 80:20
  • After the interview round concludes, provisional allotment will be done as per the vacancies in different banks. Check How to Ace Banking Interview?

IBPS PO Sample Papers 2020

Candidates are suggested that they must practice maximum number of mock tests to have an idea about the pattern and the questions which will appear in the final exam.

Advantages of IBPS PO Sample Papers

  • Solving mock papers boosts the candidates’ confidence and increases the accuracy of solving the maximum number of questions.
  • It helps in understanding the IBPS PO exam pattern and managing time in the exam. The IBPS PO mock tests maintain the same level of difficulty as the actual exam.
  • Sample papers are designed in a manner that they also include some previous years’ questions.  
  • Candidates can track their performance level while solving sample papers online.

Download IBPS PO 2020 Practice Papers

IBPS PO Preparation Tips

IBPS PO is a highly competitive recruitment exam. The main difference between Prelims and Mains exams lies in the level of difficulty of the questions. Here are a few preparation tips for the applicants

Reasoning Ability

Reasoning ability section is comparitively easier than other sections. Candidates should focus more on the analytical part. Some important topics covered in the exam are: Making Series/ Analogy, Number Series, Coding and Decoding, Problem Solving, Passage and conclusions type questions and Comprehension Reasoning etc. 

Read More: IBPS PO Preparation Tips 

General Ability Section

  • GA is the easiest among all sections.
  • Candidates should be updated with current affairs in order to score well.
  • Most of the questions in this section are asked from current affairs. 
  • Along with the general awareness, candidates should be aware of the banking terms and its updates.
  • Some of the important topics are: Indian Economy Questions, Marketing, Awards & Honors Sports, Books & Authors, Finance, Agriculture, Banking History, Banking Terms, RBI Functions and Fiscal-Monetary Policies etc.

English Language Section

  • The questions in this section are based on grade 10.
  • To score well in this section, candidates should practice hard from reference books.
  • This section tests the grammatical skills of the candidates appearing for IBPS PO exam.
  • Candidates should be thorough with the rules of grammar in order to score well in the exam.
  • Some of the most important topics include- Fill in the Blanks, Comprehension Passage, phrases, and idioms, Spotting Error Questions, Preposition, and Sentence Improvement etc.

Read More IBPS PO English Language Syllabus

Quantitative Aptitude

  • This section is considered to be the toughest of all the sections.
  • Most of the questions in this section can be solved by using short-tricks.
  • The topics on which most of the questions are asked include Data Interpretation (DI), Sequence & Series, Number System, Quadratic Equations, Sequence & Series, Ratio, Proportion Percentage & Averages, Simplification etc.

Computer Knowledge

  • It is considered to be the easiest of all the sections.
  • The topics that can be prepared well to score high marks include Basics of Computers, Basic internet knowledge and protocols, Network basics (LAN & WAN), Generations of computer, Input & Output Device, Shortcuts & Basic knowledge MS Word, MS Excel, MS power point, and Computer Shortcuts etc.

IBPS PO Preparation Tips for Interview

  • Greet the interviewers
  • Forward the CV to the interviewer
  • Candidates must bear a smile and maintain proper eye contact during the interview.
  • If the candidate don’t know the answer, they may simply say NO but not panic. Be smart while answering the questions as the next question can be connected to the previous answer.
  • When the interviewer is done with the interview, the candidate must stand up politely, shake hands with the interview panel and leave the room quietly.


Ques. How many stages are there in IBPS PO exam?

Ans. 3 (Prelims, Mains and Personal Interview)

Ques. When will the exam be conducted?

Ans. The Preliminary examination will be conducted in the month of October 2020 whereas, the Main examination will be held in the month of November 2020.

Ques. How will be the exam conducted?

Ans. The examination will be conducted in online mode only.

Ques. What is the Syllabus for IBPS PO Prelims and Mains?

Ans. Prelims exam comprises questions from the English Language, Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude. On the other hand, in the Mains exam, questions are asked from English Language, Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude, Computer Knowledge and General Awareness.

Ques. Is there any marks deduction for wrong answers?

Ans. Yes, for every wrong answer 0.25 marks will be deducted.

Ques. Is the exam Bilingual?

Ans. All the tests except that of English language are bilingual. Question paper for the same is available both in English and Hindi language.

Ques. What is the age criteria to apply in the common written exam?

Ans. Minimum age criteria for appearing in the exam is 20 years and maximum age is 30 years.

Ques. When will IBPS PO Registration start?

Ans. IBPS PO Registration will start from August 2020 and will end in the month of September 2020.

Ques. Will I get provisional allotment if I clear the main exam?

Ans. No, for getting provisional allotment students need to clear personal interview as well as score top rank in the merit list.

Ques. Can I appear for personal interview without appearing in the Main exam?

Ans. No, for appearing in the personal interview, it is mandatory for students to clear the Mains exam.

Ques. Is it enough to score the cut off marks?

Ans. For Prelims, it is enough to score the cut off marks as Prelims is conducted just to shortlist candidates for the Mains exam.

Ques. What is the minimum educational qualification for IBPS PO exam?

Ans. Students must have completed graduation from a recognized institution.

Ques. What are the total number of questions asked in Prelims and Mains examination?

Ans. In the Prelims exam, a total number of questions asked is 100. On the other hand, questions asked in the Main exam are 200.

Ques. What is the total time duration given to complete the Prelims exam?

Ans. One hour duration will be given to the candidates to complete the prelim exam.

Ques. What is the time duration allotted to students to complete the Mains exam?

Ans. 140 minutes will be given to the students to complete the IBPS PO Main exam.

Ques. For how long the score provided by the IBPS remain valid?

Ans. Scores provided by IBPS will remain valid only for 1 year.

Ques. When will the result be declared?

Ans. Prelims examination result will be announced in the month of November 2020. While result for Mains exam is expected to be announced in December 2020.

Ques. What is the structure of Preliminary Exam?

Ans. The structure of Preliminary exam is as follows:

Section No. Of Questions Maximum Marks Duration
English Language 30 30 1 Hour
Quantitative Aptitude 35 35
Reasoning Ability 35 35
Total 100 100

Ques. What is the structure of Main Exam?

Ans. The structure of Main exam is as follows:

Section No. Of Questions Maximum Marks Duration
Reasoning & Computer Aptitude 45 60 60 minutes
English Language 35 40 40 minutes
Data Analysis & Interpretation 35 60 45 minutes
General/ Economy/ Banking Awareness 40 40 35 minutes
Total 155 200 3 hours

Ques. Is there any change in IBPS PO Exam Pattern?

Ans. There are four major changes made in IBPS PO Exam Pattern for Mains:

  • Total number of questions asked in the paper has been decreased
  • Time duration for the exam has been increased
  • Reasoning Ability and Computer Aptitude section have been merged into one section
  • Descriptive section (English Language – Letter Writing Essay) has been added

Ques. What is the application fee for IBPS PO Exam?

Ans. Application fees for SC/ ST/ PWD category candidates is INR 100 whereas, all other categories have application fee of amount INR 600.

Ques. Is there any sectional cut off in the exam?

Ans. Yes, there is a sectional cut off in the exam. Students have to clear all the sections in order to obtain a seat in the interview.

Ques. What are the maximum marks allotted for each correct answer?

Ans. 1 mark will be allotted for every correct answer.

Ques. What are the minimum marks required for appearing in an interview?

Ans. For appearing in an interview, marks required by general category candidates will not be less than 40% and 35% marks must be required for reserved category candidates.

Ques. How will be the final merit list prepared?

Ans. Final merit list will be prepared on the basis of IBPS Mains and Personal Interview round.

Ques. What is examined through the interview round?

Ans. Through the interview round, candidates’ communication skills and personality is examined.

Ques. How many vacancies will be announced?

Ans. It depends upon the number of banks participate in the recruitment drive. Last year, total numbers of vacancies announced were 8820.

Ques. What is the cut off for being recruited?

Ans. There is no fixed cut-off. It depends on the performance of candidates each year.

Ques. I have scored 55% in graduation. Am I eligible to sit for the exam?

Ans. Yes, there is no specific percentage criterion to decide if a candidate is eligible to appear in the exam or not. But anyone sitting in the exam must be a graduate.

Ques. What is the mode of IBPS PO Preliminary exam (online or offline)?

Ans. Online.

Ques. How many questions are asked in IBPS PO prelims exam?

Ans. There are 100 questions for prelims.

Ques. What is pattern of IBPS PO Preliminary exam?

Ans. Following are the details of the IBPS PO prelims:

  • English Language: 30
  • Reasoning Ability: 35
  • Quantitative Aptitude: 35
  • Total: 100

Ques. What is the structure of IBPS PO main exam?

Ans. Following are the details of the main exam:

  • English Language: 40
  • Reasoning: 50
  • Quantitative Aptitude: 50
  • General Awareness (banking/finance industry): 40
  • Computer Knowledge: 20
  • Total: 200

Ques. How many marks are there in IBPS PO Preliminary exam?

Ans. 100 marks.

Ques. How many marks are there in IBPS PO Main exam?

Ans. 200 marks.

Ques. Is it there any cut-off marks for qualifying IBPS PO exam?

Ans. Yes, though it is not fixed and it is based on candidates' performance every year.

Ques. Are candidates required to clear every section of the exam to get shortlisted for the interview?

Ans. Yes, candidates need to clear every section of the exam separately.

Ques. Is there negative marking?

Ans. Yes, there is negative marking. One-fourth (1/4) mark will be deducted for each incorrect answer.

Ques. Can BA in Hindi students appear for IBPS PO?

Ans. Yes.

Ques. How many phases are there in IBPS PO exam?

Ans. There are three phases:

  • Preliminary Exam
  • Mains Exam
  • Interview

Ques. I scored very well in the preliminary exam but failed in the mains. Shall I be called for the interview?

Ans. No. Preliminary exam is just a qualifying test for appearing in mains.

Ques. How many sections do I need to clear for the final selection of IBPS PO?

Ans. You must need to clear all the three sections to qualify for IBPS PO.

Ques. What topics are covered in the English Language section of IBPS Prelims exam?

Ans. The following topics are covered:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Cloze Test
  • Para jumbles
  • Miscellaneous
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Multiple Meaning/Error Spotting
  • Paragraph Completion

Ques. What topics are covered in the Quantitative Ability section of IBPS Prelims exam?

Ans. The following topics are covered:

  • Simplification
  • Profit & Loss
  • Mixtures & Allegations
  • Simple Interest & Compound Interest & Surds & Indices
  • Work & Time
  • Time & Distance
  • Mensuration – Cylinder, Cone, Sphere
  • Data Interpretation
  • Ratio & Proportion, Percentage
  • Number Systems
  • Sequence & Series
  • Permutation, Combination & Probability

Ques. What topics are covered in the Reasoning section of IBPS Prelims exam?

Ans. The following topics are covered:

  • Logical Reasoning
  • Alphanumeric Series
  • Ranking/Direction/Alphabet Test
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Coded Inequalities
  • Seating Arrangement
  • Puzzle
  • Tabulation
  • Syllogism
  • Blood Relations
  • Input Output
  • Coding Decoding

Ques. Is Tier I and Preliminary exam of IBPS PO exam same?

Ans. Yes.

Ques. Is Tier II and Mains exam of IBPS PO exam same?

Ans. Yes.

Ques. How many questions are asked from the English Language section of IBPS PO Preliminary exam?

Ans. 30 questions.

Ques. How many questions are asked from the English Language section of IBPS PO Preliminary exam?

Ans. 40 questions.

Ques. Will we be allowed to navigate between the various sections of IBPS PO Preliminary and Mains exam?

Ans. No, you will be required to attempt the sections in a sequential manner.

Ques. Would I be able to move to the next section as soon as I complete a section while attempting IBPS PO Preliminary exam?

Ans. No, you cannot leave an existing section before the completion of the time allotted.

Ques. Who coordinates the interview part of IBPS PO selection process?

Ans. Interview is coordinated by the Nodal Bank in each State/UT with the help of IBPS.

Ques. Will IBPS PO 2020 prelims paper be available in Tamil?

Ans. No.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.


Dear Sir,I have been preparing for IBPS PO mains.This is the first time I am appearing for bank exams.I request your most valuable support and guidance during my preparation.Please provide me the list of topics in each section to clear the exam as I unable to pick what to study and how to study.
vidhi kamal agarwal agarwal
sir i gave my ibps po pre exam on 19 oct 2019 and i hv attended 76 questions.I did not take any coaching for the same and is expecting my pre to get cleared and so want to start with my mains prepartions, but i am in a dilemma whether to take any classes for mains or it can be done on our own?
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Vidhi, if you are sure enough to get clear in IBPS Pre, then, you must start preparing from at this very moment as later on you must not have regrets. Meanwhile, coaching centers have their merits and demerits. Thus, kindly go through the syllabus properly and analyze if you could do it yourself or not. However, it totally depends on you whether you want to take coaching or not.
kalpana thakur
i want to know about cut off criteria in bank exam like how much marks required to qualify or minimum marks for example i got 49 marks in ibps po but the cut off is 53 so is there any format of maximum marks or minimum marks
shobhna chaturvedi

Hi Kalpana, following are the facts you need to know about IBPS PO cut-off:

  • The cut off marks vary for each category viz General, OBC, SC and ST. Cut off marks are not stable and varies each year.
  • Moreover, just qualifying the overall cut-off is not enough, candidate needs to clear sectional cut-off as well to qualify for Mains exam.
  • Cut off marks majorly depends on the factors like number of applicants, difficulty level of the question paper and number of vacancies.
  • Maximum marks attainable in IBPS PO Pre exam is 100.
pooja wagh
If a person is Software Engineer , what kind of post will he get after clearing IBPS exam and interview? and what kind of work will he do? Does public banks and government banks also Give job using same exam?
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Pooja, post you will get depends on the exam which you are applying for. Type of work would be as per the post, for instance, if you fill the application form for PO, you work will be according to the same. You will get to know the list of the participating banks when you will be asked to fill them as per your preference while filling application form.
mahammad farhana
From where I can get the sample papers .for bank exam mock test . please reply me
mercy mekala s
akansha expert

Hi Mercy, You will get the information about Application Procedure for this entrance exam please check this link and follow the steps.

dhatri s pawar
I passed my 12th examination.So,can I apply now in this exam ?And how to prepare for this IBPS PO exam ?Please suggest me.Thank you.
akansha expert

Hi Dhatri, As per your request i am sharing a link for :- Preparation tips for IBPS PO exam. Please check this and follow the tips.