Banks jobs are currently among the most promising and sought-after professions in India. More than 20 lakh aspirants appear every year for bank exams conducted by Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS), Reserve Bank of India (RBI), State Bank of India (SBI), and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs ) for the post of clerical, probationary officer (PO) and specialist officer (SO) levels.
With consistently increasing competition among aspirants, the level of bank exam difficulty has also been getting higher day by day. It is for this reason that aspirants taking these exams need a lot of perseverance and determination, together with discipline, to be able to succeed. If you are aspiring to crack one of these exams and land yourself a lucrative bank job, the following tips to prepare for bank exams could come handy:
Know bank exam pattern and syllabus
It is very important for aspirants to understand the nature of questions that might be asked, and in what pattern, for the various bank exam types. These exams are conduced in two stages and below are the key topics for banking exams:
Test of Reasoning/Mental ability/aptitude
The topics include syllogism, input-output, puzzle, odd-one-out, etc, carry high weight. And as far as bank exams are concerned, you can develop a sound command over these topics with six months of preparation.
You need to learn speed maths tricks, and together with a basic knowledge of all topics it will help you select questions in your bank exam. Basic topics include simplification, average, percentage, ratio-proportion, profit and loss, data interpretation, etc. You can master these topics with gradual and consistent practice. You should take 4-6 months to develop a good command over these.
These include basic school-level grammar and reading comprehension. A decent vocabulary bank will be required to attempt the required number of questions in your bank exam. The basic preparation strategy will include brushing your grammar and reading newspaper and journals daily to improve your vocabulary.
General awareness, including computer knowledge
These topics are mostly part of Phase-II exam and need a regular reading of current events. In bank exams, you are normally asked questions related to banking and finance in relation to the country’s economy. There are a lot of sites offering current events and banking awareness that you could use to prepare for Phase–II of the exam.
Functional knowledge (Specialist officers)
If you are taking a bank exam for specialist officers like marketing, HR, finance or agriculture, you will need to brush up the core concepts that you studied during your post-graduation.
Past-year questions and analysis
It is very important that you go through past-year bank exam question papers available online or in the book format to get familiar with the type of questions are are usually asked.
Attempt online bank exam mock tests
All bank exams these days are conducted in the online mode, so it is important for you to understand and gauge your ability to attempt questions when taking exams online. There can be a vast difference between the attempt in the paper-pencil mode and the online mode. Compare your score with that of the cut-offs and see where you stand. A topic-wise analysis will help you know your weak areas so that you can then work on them.
Proper schedule and hard work
To enjoy studying and to get getting the desired result without getting too tired, it is important for you to follow discipline and control your mind. Make a proper schedule and give enough space to every section, especially your weak areas.
In brief, I recommend the following timelines if you are starting your preparation for bank exams after completing your graduation:
- 4-5 hours of study, breaking time among subjects and brushing your vocabulary and general awareness. While attempting topic-wise preparation, also get a feel of past-year questions for the same topic. Do this for 3-4 months. If you find areas that are weak, join a coaching institute or watch YouTube channels of reputed teachers on the same topic.
- Start attempting bank exam mock tests in the paper-pencil mode. Attempt 1 test every alternate day and attempt both phases – I and II. You will not get enough time to prepare for Phase–II later. Do this for 30 days.
- Start attempting bank exam online tests. Attempt one test every alternate day. Try at least 30-40 tests when you are preparing for the first time. You can also attempt actual exam tests to know your score.
With the approach elucidated above, maintaining a proper discipline and remaining focused, I’m sure you will be able to clear these exams.
All the Best!