SBI PO Syllabus 2021, Important Topics, Exam Pattern and Books

Updated On -

Apr 7, 2021

The State Bank of India organises the Probationary Officer (PO) exam to complete the recruitment for the managerial cadre position. SBI PO Syllabus 2021 is stipulated by the exam conducting authority, the conducting body of the exam. Syllabus and difficulty level of SBI PO Prelims and Mains exams vary.

SBI PO syllabus 2021 is similar to the other banking exams. The SBI PO Prelims consists of Quantitative Aptitude, English and Reasoning, whereas SBI PO Mains exam comprises Data Analysis and Interpretation, Reasoning and Computer Aptitude, English Language, General/ Banking Awareness/Economy. SBI PO exam pattern 2021 helps the aspirants to understand the nature of the exam in a detailed manner.

Download SBI PO Previous Years’ Question Papers

PO Highlights

SBI PO Syllabus 2021: Highlights

Exam Name SBI Probationary Officer
Conducting Body State Bank of India
Name of Post Probationary Officer
Stages of Exam Prelims, Mains & Interview
Medium of Exam English and Hindi
Maximum Marks Prelims- 100 Mains- 250 Interview- 50
Time Duration Prelims- 1 hour Mains- 3 hour (Objective) + 30 Minutes (Descriptive)
SBI PO Negative Marking 1/4th marks deducted for every wrong answer
Prelims Pattern 2021

SBI PO Exam Pattern 2021

The SBI PO exam consists of Prelims, Mains and Interview rounds. The Prelims is objective type and has section-wise cut-off as well as time limit. The SBI PO Mains exam comprises both objective and descriptive types of questions. There is negative marking for both exams. The syllabus for SBI PO Prelims 2021 and SBI PO Mains are similar but comparatively more detail-oriented for the Mains.

SBI PO Prelims Exam-Topic-wise Syllabus

SBI PO Prelims syllabus consists three sections:

Sections Number of Questions Maximum Marks Time Duration
English Language 30 30 20 Minutes
Quantitative Aptitude 35 35 20 Minutes
Reasoning Ability 35 35 20 Minutes
Total 100 100 1 Hour

SBI PO Quantitative Aptitude Syllabus

The aspirants should have clear knowledge about basic Mathematics. The section examines the Mathematical and Analytical ability of the aspirants. Candidates must attempt questions that they find easy to solve, less time-consuming and most importantly, scoring. To help candidates identify those concepts we are providing here a list of topics which can be solved easily in short span of time:

Topics No. of Questions Topic Description
Simplification 5-10 BODMAS rule, fractions, approximation, decimals and surds & indices
Number System 0-1 Divisibility & remainder, multiples & factors, integers, LCM & HCF
Average 1-2 Average weight//age/marks, average money expenditure, average temperature etc.
Percentage 1-2 Calculation oriented basic percentage problems
Ratio and Proportion 1-2 Simple ratios, compound ratios, componendo and dividendo, proportions
Interest 1-2 Simple interest, compound interest as well as mixture of both SI & CI
Number Series 3-5 Simple AP, GP, AGP or more complex patterns
Profit and Loss 0-2 Successive selling, partnerships, discount & MP and dishonest dealings
Speed, Time and Distance 1-2 Relative speed, average speed, problems based on trains, boats and stream
Algebra 3-5 Problems based on quadratic equation and linear equations
Mensuration 1-2 Areas of square, rectangle, circle, semicircle and parallelogram
Data Interpretation 5-10 Line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, tables and other miscellaneous infographics- triangular graph and radial graphs appear rarely
Mixture Problems - Mixture of two or more entities
Permutation and Combination Probability Data Sufficiency can be based on all the above-mentioned topics - -

SBI PO Reasoning Ability Syllabus

Reasoning ability is to judge a candidate’s ability to apply reason in solving a particular problem. The candidate must begin with solving some easy questions to secure those marks at least without wasting much time on them. Here is the list of topics under this category:

Topics No. of Questions Topic Description
Coding & Decoding 1-5 Coding and decoding by letter shifting, coding by analogy and coding letters of a word
Inequalities 3-5 Direct mathematical inequalities problems
Ordering and Ranking 1-3 Arranging by age, floor, rank, the order in row etc.
Directions & Distances 0-2 Simple problems that can be solved by just plotting all the given information on paper.
Arrangement & Pattern 0-2 Random sequence of alphabets, number arrangements and dictionary or alphabet-based arrangements
Analogy 0-2 Meaning based, letter-based and number-based questions
Classification 0-2 Letter-based and meaningful words based questions- can also be GK based
Syllogisms 5 Problems with numerous statements and multiple conclusions can be dealt with. Questions are asked whether the conclusions follow or not. Mostly possibility based questions will be asked.
Blood Relations 1-3 Question-related to family and coded blood relation
Input-Output 0-5 Words and numbers are arranged based on some pattern which is to be identified and applied to the question statements to arrive at the output.
Data Sufficiency 0-5 Blood relations, ordering & ranking, coding in fictitious language, circular arrangements, directions & distances, ages & birthdates
Circular Seating Arrangement 5 This concept basically includes unidirectional and bi-directional problems (i.e. facing inside, outside or in both directions). Sometimes, tough square/rectangular/hexagonal table problems also asked. These questions may be paired with blood relations or some other double line-up information along with circular arrangement information which makes the problem more difficult and time-consuming.
Scheduling 0-5 The problems in this category are very similar to double line-up problems
Grouping and Selection 0-5 Problems on teams and committees asked under this category
Verbal Reasoning 0-2 Cause and effect, course of action, statement and assumptions, statement and arguments, statement and inferences, statement and conclusions, and critical reasoning questions

SBI PO English Language Syllabus

The third concept in the SBI Preliminary examination is that of the English Language. Here are several topics that will be covered in this concept:

Topics No. of Questions Topic Description
Fill in the Blanks 5 Double blank type questions. Vocabulary based questions. Answers can be easily picked by eliminating options and understanding the context of the sentence
Reading Comprehension 10-15 Likely the RC will consist of one passage of 10 questions, including 3-4 questions on vocabulary. The topics you should look out for are moral stories, banking & economy, business, education, technology and social issues. Synonyms, antonyms and meanings of phrases will be asked in vocabulary-based questions. Theme and main idea based questions can also be asked.
Para Jumbles 5 A set of 6 sentences will be given to be rearranged and form a meaningful paragraph. All questions will be based on this single test.
Cloze Test 5-10 A single passage with 5 or 10 blanks. Passage could be on any topic ranging from banking & economy to social issues. Words are usually easy to moderate, but there are always one or two tough words.
Error Spotting 5 Questions in this category could be asked either from the grammar or vocabulary section. Important topics covered under this are tenses, subject-verb agreement, article-noun agreement, correct part of speech, correct use of prepositions, parallelism, phrasal verbs, easily confusable words, contextual usage, sentence construction, degree of comparison, conjunctions, finite and non-finite verbs.
Phrase Replacement/ Sentence Correction 5 Mostly grammar-based- The questions sometimes test a candidate's standard construction of sentences, the order of words etc.
Phrase Idiom Meaning - The phrases will be given and the candidate will need to select the correct meaning of the given phrase
Sentence/ Paragraph Completion - Candidates will be given an incomplete long sentence with four options to choose from to complete the sentence meaningfully.
Spellings - Candidates will have to choose the word that is correctly spelt or wrongly spelt from the given options.
Mains Pattern 2021

SBI PO Mains Exam- Descriptive Test Syllabus

This is Level 2 in the Main exam of SBI PO. It will commence immediately after candidates complete the objective test. The SBI PO Mains exam consists of an objective test for 200 marks and a descriptive test for 50 marks. SBI PO Mains objective test has four sections- Reasoning and Computer Aptitude, Data Analysis and Interpretation, English Language, General/ Economy/ Banking Awareness.

SBI PO Mains English Syllabus 2021

With the help of this section, command over the English Grammar and vocabulary will be tested.

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Cloze Test
  • Vocabulary
  • Multiple Meaning/ Error Spotting
  • Tenses Rules
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Para jumbles
  • Paragraph Completion
  • Sentence Completion

SBI PO Mains Reasoning Syllabus

  • Syllogism
  • Circular Seating Arrangement
  • Double Lineup
  • Blood Relations
  • Directions and Distance
  • Code Inequalities
  • Coding-Decoding
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Analytical and Decision Making
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Linear Seating Arrangement
  • Scheduling
  • Input-Output
  • Ordering and Ranking
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Course of Action

SBI PO Mains Data Analysis and Interpretation Syllabus

  • Tabular Graph
  • Bar Graph
  • Missing Case DI
  • Probability
  • Let it Case DI
  • Pie Charts
  • Line Graph
  • Charts & Tables
  • Radar Graph Caselet
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Permutation and Combination

SBI PO Mains General Awareness Syllabus

This section tests the knowledge of the candidates in current affairs and in banking and economy. SOme of the important topics of this section are:

  • Financial Awareness
  • Static Awareness
  • Principles of Insurance
  • Current Affairs – Technology, Sports, Awards, Books & Authors, Awards, National & International Events, etc.
  • General Knowledge
  • Banking Terminologies Knowledge
  • Banking Awareness

SBI PO Mains Computer Aptitude Syllabus

The basic knowledge in Computer Hardware and software will be tested. Go through the following content to know more about the important topics of this section:

  • Internet
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Microsoft Office
  • Computer Software
  • Networking
  • Basic of Logic Gates
  • Memory
  • Computer Abbreviation
  • Computer Hardware
  • Operating System
  • Computer Fundamentals/ Terminologies
  • Number System

SBI PO Mains Descriptive Test Syllabus

  • Candidates are given 30 minutes to complete Descriptive paper
  • There are a total of 2 questions in this section namely Letter writing and Essay Writing
  • The letter and essay could be asked to be written on any topic relating to banking reforms, social/political or economic policies.
  • Each question is of 25 marks which brings the total marks to 50.

Note: Descriptive papers of a candidate will be checked only if they qualify in the Objective test as per the qualifying marks decided by the Bank.

Also check- SBI PO 2021 selection process

Interview Syllabus

SBI PO 2021 Group Discussion/ Interview syllabus

  • The Group Exercise will be held for 20 marks and for personal interview, 30 marks will be allotted.
  • The OBC aspirants, who will qualify the Group exercise and interview round, should submit the ‘Non Creamy Layer’ clause.

The aspirants, who will appear for the SBI PO Group Discussion and Personal Interview, will get the burning and current topics. Some of the popular topics of SBI PO GD and PI are highlighted in the following:

  • Impact of COVID-19 in the world.
  • Reservation System in Government Jobs
  • Gold Monetisation Scheme
  • FDI in India
  • Is Right to Freedom being misused?
  • Cleanliness should be the fundamental duty of every citizen.
  • What are the merits and demerits of One Rank One Pension scheme?
  • What measures should be adopted for avoiding NPA?
  • SBI Merger: Pros and cons?
  • What do you think about reservations in education and jobs?
  • How is Swaach Bharat Abhiyan currently important for India?
  • NSG is the need of the hour for India.
  • Rail budget should have merged into the general budget much earlier.
  • Women employment is possible through mass awareness rather than launching programs.
  • Is the government just renaming the old schemes?
  • Wind power Vs Solar Energy?
PO Books

Best Books for SBI PO Preparation

Section Wise best books for the SBI PO Preparation have been highlighted in the following section:

SBI PO Books for Reasoning Preparation

Book Name Author/Publisher
Bank PO Reasoning: Chapterwise Solved Papers 1999 to till Date 7330+Objective Questions Think Tank of Kiran Prakashan, Pratiyogita Kiran, KICX
Bank PO Reasoning Chapterwise Solved Papers Arihant Experts
Chapterwise Solved Papers 2000-2015 Bank PO REASONING Arihant Experts
Computer Awareness for General Competitive Exams (Objective with Subjective) Soumya Ranjan Behera

SBI PO Books for English Preparation

Book Name Author/Publisher
Bank PO English Language Chapterwise Solved Papers Arihant Experts
Objective English for Competitive Examination Hari Mohan Prasad, Uma Sinha
Objective General English (Old Edition) R S Aggarwal

SBI PO Books for Quantitative Aptitude Preparation

Book Name Author/Publisher
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations R S Aggarwal
Shortcuts in Quantitative Aptitude with 4 eBooks for Competitive Exams Disha Experts
Bank PO Quantitative Aptitude Chapterwise Solved Papers Arihant Experts
Chapterwise Solved Papers 2000-2015 Bank PO QUANTITATIVE APTITUDE Arihant Experts

To know more about the SBI PO Prelims important books, click here.

SBI PO Books for Computer Awareness

Book Name Author/ Publisher
Objective Question Bank of Computer Awareness for General Competitions Arihant
Objective Computer Awareness R Pillai Arihant

SBI PO Books for General Awareness

Book Name Author/ Publisher
Banking Awareness Arihant
Banking Awareness RPH Editorial Board Ramesh Publishing House
Banking Awareness for SBI/IBPS Bank Clerk/PO/SO/RRB & RBI exams Disha Publications


Ques. Is there any negative marking in the SBI PO exam?

Ans. Yes, the aspirants will get a deduction of 0.25 marks in case of every wrong answer.

Ques. Is there any sectional cutoff for each section in the SBI PO Exam?

Ans. No, the State Bank of India has removed the Sectional Cutoff for SBI PO Prelims and Mains examination.

Ques. When can I apply for the SBI PO exam 2021?

Ans. Once the notification is released, the aspirants can apply for the SBI PO 2021 from the official website.

Ques. What is the marking scheme of SBI PO exam 2021?

  • Prelims will be 100 marks exam
  • Mains will be 250 marks exam
  • GD and PI will be 50 marks exams.
3 Months Crash Course

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


I have heard that SBI PO exam divided into two exams including Objective test and Descriptive test, is it true?
jaya garg

Hi. Yes, the SBI PO mains exam is divided into 2 levels which are held on the same day as declared on their official website. The name of the test include Objective test and Descriptive test.

shivkumar dama
I got less score in English, will it affect the sectional cut-off at SBI PO?
jaya garg

Hi. No, there will be no provision of sectional cut off. There is no compulsion that candidates need to clear the minimum qualifying marks in each section of the test, but make sure that you get a good overall cut off to get considered for further rounds.

shatakshi patki
Will English section included in the exam and will the score obtained in prelims considered later?
jaya garg

The prelims test is taken online and there are 3 sections in the exam including English Language, Quantitative Aptitude, and Reasoning Ability. But the marks obtained by students in prelims will not be considered while making the final selection or in total mark.

how to prepare for sbi po interview?
jaya garg

Hi Riyaz. You must brush up on the banking and economic awareness topics you prepared for the examination. Also, stay updated with the latest banking interest rates, types of bank accounts, etc. More information is presented here.

sakshi kharb
Difference between sbi po Or ibps po
swati srivastava

Hi Sakshi, Greetings from Collegedunia. SBI PO is conducted to recruit probationary officers for state bank of India. IBPS PO is a selection process for various Indian Banks. For more details visit: SBI PO 2020

Is the syllabus for SBI PO prelims and mains similar?
jaya garg

Hi Vipasha. The syllabus of SBI PO Prelims syllabus and Mains syllabus is quite similar in some aspects. Reasoning Ability and English Language sections are more or less similar for the SBI PO Prelims and SBI PO Mains. Check detailed syllabus for prelims and mains here.

sumit kumar
Sir/mam I am studying in bsc 1st year and and I want to clear spi or ibps exams 2023 in first attempt just because I have many time so suggest me something what should I do . Pls ...
devnath tiwary

Dear Sumit Paper

Greetings from Collegedunia. You can keep on preparing for SBI Po with our mock tests and practice papers. For more details, kindly go through this link – SBI PO Sample Papers

srishti thakur
sangeeta rawat
Hi Srishti, Please check this link, it will help you for the preparation of PO test Practice Papers
Sir / Madam , Does SBI comes under IBPS? or not.
bhawna vedwal
Hello Likitha, No, IBPS PO is different from SBI PO. They both exam conducted separately.