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IBPS PO 2020 Subject-Wise Syllabus (Prelims & Main), Exam Pattern & Recommended Books

Updated On -

Oct 20, 2020

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Anam Shams

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Institute of Banking Personnel Selection has determined the sections that will come in prelims and main exam. However, there is no stipulated official syllabus for IBPS PO Examination 2020. 

Get FREE IBPS PO 2021 Mock Tests, Sectional Quiz, Previous Years Papers. Click Here

Latest Changes in IBPS PO 2020 Syllabus 

IBPS PO Exam Pattern introduced few changes over the years that are to be continued in the upcoming exam as well: 

  • The ‘Computer Aptitude’ section has been clubbed with the Reasoning Ability section. Hence, there will be no separate section for ‘Computer Awareness’ as before.
  • ‘Quantitative Aptitude’ has been renamed as ‘Data Interpretation & Analysis
  • IBPS PO 2020 Syllabus for the Main Examination includes an English descriptive paper which will assess the candidates’ writing skills. There will be 2 questions- Letter Writing and Essay Writing for a total of 25 marks. The time duration allotted would be 30 minutes for this section alone.
  • The Main Examination will now have 157 questions instead of 200 questions.
  • The duration of the Main exam along with the English descriptive paper has been increased to 3 hours 30 minutes.

Read How to Prepare for IBPS PO 2020?

Overview of IBPS PO Exam Pattern

Parameters Preliminary  Mains 
Mode of exam  Online  Online 
Number of questions  100 157
Nature of questions  Objective type  Objective and Descriptive Type
Marks  100 225 
Negative marks  0.25 0.25
Sections  English Language, Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning Ability

Objective test: English Language, Data Interpretation and Analysis, Reasoning and Computer Aptitude and General Awareness.

Descriptive Test: English (Essay and Letter Writing)

Latest: IBPS PO 2020 Application Form will be available at from August 7 – 28, 2020.

  • IBPS PO 2020 will be conducted in three phases- Preliminary exam, Main exam, and an Interview Round. 
  • Prelims exam will have 100 multiple choice questions from the English Language, Quantitative Aptitude, and Reasoning Ability.
  • Main Exam will have 155 objective questions on Data Interpretation & Analysis, Reasoning & Computer Aptitude, General/ Economy & Banking Awareness and English Language.
  • The main Exam also consists of a descriptive paper having 2 questions on Letter and Essay writing.  
  • Candidates who qualify prelims appear in the main exam and similarly in interview round. Check IBPS PO Cutoff 

Download IBPS PO Sample Papers

IBPS PO 2020 Syllabus

The preliminary exam is a screening test while the main exam tests candidates’ suitability to be recruited as probationary officers in various banks. IBPS PO Syllabus for both prelims and main exam is given below.

IBPS PO Prelims Syllabus 2020

The syllabus for the preliminary exam includes three subjects- English Language, Quantitative Aptitude, and Reasoning Ability.

English Language (30 marks) Quantitative Aptitude (35 marks) Reasoning (35 marks)
Reading Comprehension Simplification Logical Reasoning
Cloze Test Profit and Loss Alphanumeric Series
Para Jumbles Mixtures and Allegations Ranking/Direction/Alphabet Test
Miscellaneous Simple Interest, Compound Interest, Indices Data Sufficiency
Fill in the blanks Work and Time Coded Inequalities
Multiple Meaning/Error Spotting Time and Distance Seating Arrangement
Paragraph Completion Mensuration- Cylinder, Cone, Sphere Puzzle
Data Interpretation Tabulation
Ratio & Proportion, Percentage Syllogism
Number Systems Blood Relations
Sequence and Series Input-Output
Permutation, Combination, and Probability Coding-Decoding
Percentages Statement and Arguement
Quadratic Equations Analogy

Note: This is the first stage in IBPS PO Selection Process. Marks scored in Prelims will not be considered while calculating the final merit of the students. However, it is essential to qualify the Prelims exam in order to get selected for the Main exam. The prelims exam has sectional and overall cutoff which implies that candidates must obtain minimum sectional and overall score as stipulated by IBPS to qualify the exam.

Check IBPS PO Mock Tests 2020

Also, Check IBPS PO Sectional Tests 2020

IBPS PO Main Exam Syllabus 2020

The syllabus for IBPS PO 2020 Main Exam includes 4 subjects- Reasoning and Computer Aptitude, English Language, Data Analysis and Interpretation, General Economy and Banking Awareness. The table given below lists out the detailed IBPS PO syllabus for the Main examination. 

Data Interpretation & Analysis (60 marks) General Awareness (40 marks) Reasoning & Computer Aptitude (60 marks) English Language (40 marks)
Simplification Financial Awareness Verbal Reasoning Internet Reading Comprehension
Average Current Syllogism Memory Vocabulary
Percentage General Knowledge Circular Seating Arrangement Keyboard Shortcuts Grammar
Ratio and Percentage Linear Seating Arrangement Computer Abbreviation Verbal Ability
Data Interpretation Double Lineup Microsoft Office Editing
Mensuration and Geometry Scheduling Computer Hardware Fill in the blanks
Quadratic Equation Input-Output Computer Software
Interest Blood Relations Operating System
Age Directions and Distances Networking
Profit & Loss Ordering & Ranking Computer Fundamentals/ Technologies
Number Series Data Sufficiency
Speed, Distance & Time Coding & Decoding
Number System
Data Sufficiency
Linear Equation
Permutation & Combination
Mixture and Allegations

Note: Descriptive Paper will be of English Language where candidates will have to write a Letter and an Essay. Total marks for the paper will be 25 and the duration will be 30 minutes. IBPS will examine the descriptive paper only when the candidate will score minimum marks in the objective paper. Read How to Prepare for Descriptive Paper?

Go through the IBPS PO Practice Tests 2020 for Free of Cost

IBPS PO Exam Pattern 2020

The exam pattern of IBPS PO Prelims and Main exam varies in terms of the number of sections, mode of exam, duration, and marking scheme. Candidates can check the basic exam pattern below: 

Particulars IBPS PO Prelims  IBPS PO Main
Duration 1 hour 3 hours 30 minutes
Number of Questions 100 MCQs 155 MCQs, 2 Descriptive 
Maximum Marks 100 225
Mode of Exam Online Objective- Online, Descriptive- Offline

Check IBPS PO 2020 Exam Pattern

Recommended Books for IBPS PO 2020 Exam

Candidates may refer to various books and sample papers published by different authors for exam preparation. Listed below are few books written by some famous authors /publications known for competitive exams:

Title Author/Publisher
Comprehensive Guide to IBPS Disha Publications
Quantitative Aptitude R.S. Aggarwal
Target IBPS PO Disha Publications
Bank PO solved papers for PO & MT Kiran Publication
The Complete Success Package- Bank Recruitment Examination Arihant Publications
Computer Knowledge Kiran Publication
Objective English for Competitive Examinations 5th Edition R.S. Aggarwal
Banking Awareness Arihant Publications

Check Easy Preparation Tips for IBPS PO Exam

IBPS PO Syllabus FAQs

Ques. What is new in the IBPS PO exam pattern? Is it similar to the SBI PO exam pattern?

Ans. As per the IBPS notification, the new exam pattern would be like SBI PO pattern. However, this change would only be observed in the main examination. The time duration of the main exam will be increased, and a descriptive section will be added.

Ques. What would be the total number of questions in prelims and mains examination?

Ans. Prelims and Mains have 100 and 157 questions respectively.

Ques. What are the different sections in the IBPS PO exam?

Ans. Prelims consist of three sections namely, English language, Quantitative aptitude and Logical Reasoning. For the Main examination, there would be four sections namely, English, Data Analysis & Interpretation, Reasoning & Computer aptitude and General Awareness. A Descriptive section has also been added recently to the Main exam.

Ques. What are the most important or scoring areas in reasoning?

Ans. Reasoning is subdivided into two parts- logical and verbal reasoning. Some of the most scoring topics are number series, coding decoding, blood relation, direction and distance, sitting arrangements, syllogism, cause and effect and data sufficiency.

Ques. What are the most important and scoring areas in English?

Ans. English is one of the easiest sections in the exam as most of the question you would come across here are all of secondary and high school level. Some of the easy and scoring areas in this section are fill in the blanks, rearrangement, spotting errors, reading comprehension and vocabulary (synonyms, antonyms).

Ques. What are the most important and scoring areas in Quantitative aptitude/ Data Analysis and Interpretation?

Ans. Since Quant is one of the toughest sections, it requires constant practice. Some of the scoring topics are number systems, ratio and proportion, profit and loss, simple and compound interest, sequence and series, simplification questions. For data interpretation, questions are based on graphs and pie charts majorly for which you should be fast with calculations.

Ques. What are the easy and scoring areas in General awareness?

Ans. For scoring good marks in this section, you should be updated with the current affairs going on at national and international level. Apart from this, some of the important topics include awards and honours, books and their authors, Banking terms, RBI guidelines and policies, sports news, etc.

Ques. What are the important topics to cover in Computer Aptitude?

Ans. This section does not require any special preparation and is the easiest in the exam. Some of the easy and scoring areas are Basics of computers, basic terminologies of internet, networking basics like LAN and wan, Input and output devices, shortcut keys, latest technologies etc.

Ques. How many stages will be there in the IBPS PO exam?

Ans. There would be three stages- preliminary examination, mains examination and personal interview.

Ques. Will the previous year’s question papers be useful for preparation?

Ans. Yes, it will help you get a hands-on experience of how the actual paper will be and if you are lucky enough, you may even expect a repetition of questions in the exam.

Ques. What kind of materials should be used for GK? Are newspapers enough?

Ans. While newspapers keep you updated with the current affairs going around in the country along with it there are other major areas also from which you can expect questions in the exam. For static gk, you can read books like Manorama and Competition Success review and also keep yourself updated with latest trends in banking industry like RBI policies, Budget and other banking related terminologies.

Ques. How much time do I need to prepare for this examination?

Ans. There is no stipulated time as to how much time one needs to prepare for this exam as it all depends upon the individual. However, it ideally requires a preparation time of 6-8 months and extensive practice to crack the exam.

Ques. Is there negative marking for wrongly attempted questions?

Ans. Yes, you will be penalized for each incorrect answer marked by you. 1/4th of the marks would be deducted for incorrect answers.

Ques. Do I need to qualify in both, Prelims and Mains to be eligible for an interview?

Ans. Marks of Prelims will only be considered for qualifying to the Main exam. However, for the final list marks of prelims will not be added. For the interview you only need to clear the main examination.

Ques. Is it an online, computer-based or an offline, pen-paper based examination?

Ans. The mode of examination is purely online and will be conducted on a computer in the designated test center.

Ques. Which categories can apply for pre-exam training? I am from the general category can I undergo this training?

Ans. No. Candidates from general category are not allowed for this training as it is only for SC/ST/Religious minorities candidates as issued by Government of India. This a free training provided five days prior to the examination across various centres.

Ques. What mode of preparation should I opt for? Online or offline?

Ans. Choose a mode that best suits your needs. If you are someone who is comfortable with regular classes and needs a traditional classroom environment, you can opt for offline classes. If you are tech-savvy and don’t want a typical time bound class then opt for online preparation.

Ques. What will be the exam duration for the preliminary and main examination?

Ans. The IBPS prelims exam would consist of 100 questions and the total duration of the exam will be 1 hour. For the main examination, total duration of the exam will be 3 hours and 30 minutes out of which 3 hours will be for the objective exam and rest of the 30 minutes will be for the descriptive exam consisting of letter writing and essay.

Ques. What is the ideal number of attempts in the exam to clear the cut-off?

Ans. While cut-off scores are totally relative in nature, they depend hugely on performances of all the candidates that appeared in the exam. However, one should aim at attempting 50-60% of questions in each section to reach the overall cut-off and the sectional cut-offs.

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


shatakshi patki
Will preparing for the CAT and other MBA exams help to crack bank POs like SBI, RBI, and IBPS?
kavita rani

Hi Shatakshi. Yes, in case you are preparing for the CAT and other MBA exams, it will definitely help you crack the banking exams. However, there is an additional section in Bank Exams as compared to CAT syllabus, General Banking Awareness, which you need to prepare.

mizna harmain
Which one is more difficult to crack SBI PO or IBPS PO exams? I am alraedy aware of the difference in the exam patterns. Just wanted to know the level of difficulty of the questions.
kavita rani

Hi Mizna. SBI PO is considered as the toughest exam as compared to IBPO PO exam. Whether it's about the exam pattern, difficulty level, or the selection process, SBI PO exam is considered as the difficult exam.

shiya devi
What is the difference between IBPS PO exam and RBI Grade B exam? Also what are the selection procedures and which is better?
kavita rani

Hi Shiya. RBI is the Bankers of the bank and all the banks come under the RBI. In case you are working in the RBI bank, you are serving the nation indirectly. In terms of the exam, both these exams consist of Pre, Main and Interview stage. To know the detailed selection process for RBI Grade B, refer here.

koyena biswas
What is good preparation material for the IBPS Bank PO Exam?
kavita rani

Hi Koyena. Some of the books that can be referred include Quantitative Aptitude Book by Wiley's Publication, Quantitative Aptitude For Competitive Examination by The Pearson Guide, Teach Yourself Quantitative Aptitude by Arun Sharma, etc.

surabhi s
What will be the best mock test series for the upcoming IBPS RRB and IBPS PO?
kavita rani

Hi Surabhi. To check out the latest sample papers, test series, etc. refer here.

sourajit mukherjee
Is the same syllabus used for the UPSC as for the preparation for the SSC CGL, bank IBPS PO, and RBI exams? If not, then which exams are the same?
kavita rani

Hi Sourajit. The syllabus of the UPSC prelims and stage -1 level of banking exams is almost the same. While starting preparing for the exams, you can simultaneously become well acquainted with topics that are asked in the civil services aptitude test as well, a qualifying paper in prelims. Though the syllabus in the prelims of the two exams is almost the same and question are asked from topics like current affairs, aptitude, reasoning, comprehension, etc. But the main difference is in terms of quality of questions as the questions asked in the UPSC are of high standard, as compared to the questions asked in the banking examination, which are quite simple and straight forward.

mohammed najamuddin
SBI PO vs IBPS PO vs RRB PO: What is the difference in salary, exam pattern, syllabus and difficulty level?
kavita rani

Hi Mohammed. All these exams are taken to appoint the best officers within the government sector.  But there are some differences in all these exams out of which a few are mentioned below:

SBI PO: This exam includes preliminary exam, main exam, group exercise, and then interview. The final merit list is prepared as per the marks obtained in the main exam, interview and group discussion.

IBPS PO: The exam pattern of this exam is almost same to SBI PO. But after preliminary exam, main exam, and interview, there is no group discussion in IBPS PO exam pattern.

IBPS RRB PO: Same exam pattern, Preliminary exam, Main and Single level exam for Officer Scale-II and Officer Scale-III and for the Office Assistant post, the final list is prepared based on the candidate’s performance in the written exam.

How should I prepare SBI-PO exams?What are the Popular websites for preparing for Exams like SBI PO?
kavita rani

Hi Vidushi. Bankers Adda, BankExamsIndia, BankPO are some of the popular websites helpful for preparing for exams like SBI PO, etc.

shreya sarkar
What is the syllabus of banking exams? Do all banking exams such as the IBPS PO, the SBI PO share a common syllabus?
kavita rani

HI Shreya. The IBPS PO Mains examination includes five subjects namely Reasoning, English Language, Quantitative Aptitude, and General Awareness where more emphasis is laid on the banking industry and Computer knowledge. While in the SBI PO exam, candidates need to prepare four subjects including, Reasoning and Computer Aptitude, English Language, Data Analysis & Interpretation and General Awareness. Even the time given to complete the exam is different. To know more about the latest exam pattern and syllabus, refer here.

What will be the syllabus of the CET exam that is taking place of the SSC CGL and the IBPS PO?
kavita rani

Hi Neha. Considering the syllabus and exam pattern of the existing SSC, RRB and IBPS exams, the questions in the CET exam is expected to be asked from four subjects including General Intelligence & Reasoning, General Awareness, Quantitative Aptitude and Language.