How to crack IBPS Clerk 2019 prelim exam

The IBPS notification for IBPS Clerk Exam for 2019 is now out and it’s time to prepare in right earnest for the examination. One needs to thoroughly prepare in order to crack the exams. The better prepared you are, the higher are the chances of you getting selected.  

IBPS Examination 

This exam is conducted as an online examination and it happens in two phases. The first phase is the Preliminary examination phase and the second is the Mains examination phase. Aspiring candidates need to clear both the exams to get selected. 

Each exam will have cut off marks based on which candidates are selected or rejected.  

Pattern of the paper

The first phase of the IBPS clerk’s exam is the preliminary exam. A total of 100 questions will be asked in a span of 60 minutes. The paper comprises the following sections

Subject  Questions Asked  Marks  Time  


English Language 30 30  20 
Numerical Ability  35 35 20
Reasoning Aptitude  35 35 20


Also remember that wrong answers carry negative marks. 0.25 marks are cut per wrong answer, however, there is no penalty for unanswered questions.  

How do you prepare for the exam?

Since the marks of the preliminary do not carry forward to the marks that determine the final score, you don’t have to worry about topping the exam. Just focus on clearing the preliminary exam. 

Three critical factors play an important role in you clearing the exam. They are: 

  • Speed – since you have to answer 100 questions in 1 hour, you must be very fast at answering the questions. There are several shortcuts, tricks available to do so. Some tips are listed below in the article. 
  • Accuracy – speed without accuracy is of no use. Remember that for each wrong answer you will be penalized by 0.25 marks. So you have to ensure that your number of correct answers are high so that you can easily qualify. 
  • Managing Time – since there are three sections to answer, you need to have a good time management plan in mind. You need to think of how you will divide your time between each section and plan for how much time you want to invest per question. Continue to read this article for some tips on preparing for the preliminaries. 

Method of Preparation for IBPS Clerk Exam

The method of preparing for this exam is neither difficult nor is it impossible. By following the pointers given below strictly, you can definitely come out with flying colours.

Solve previous years question and analyse where you stand

Aim to solve question papers of the previous 4-5 years at a minimum. This will give you a good idea of the type of questions and the level of complexity of each question asked. You will also get an idea of which topics tend to carry maximum weightage. This data will be extremely helpful to you when you prepare your strategy and preparation time table. 

Familiarize yourself with the complete syllabus

Get to know the entire syllabus thoroughly so that you prepare for the exam taking every topic into account. Once you go through the entire syllabus, mark the topics that are easy and tough for you. This will help you decide which topics to spend more time on to get to know better.

Plan your study preparation 

To crack this paper, you need to begin by planning your preparation using strategies that work. You would have got a fair idea of what works for you after solving the previous year’s papers. So, accordingly, put together all the study material that you need.  For example, you may want take up the sections with more weightage and those that you can solve quickly and correctly should be taken up first. Others can be done later.

Then work on your goals and targets. Once you set your goals and targets, you can determine your study progress and you can see how close you are to achieving your goal. Once you know what you’re up against, create a timetable that’s realistic and one that you can stick to. 

Proper Utilization of Time

Set aside a lot of study time and develop a routine. Don’t make a very rigid timetable with no time for other pursuits. Make it realistic so that you incorporate other aspects of your life too. 

When you study, spend more time on topics which you are weak in. You might prepare well in some subjects or topics, but if that leaves you with no time for the rest of the syllabus, it doesn’t make sense. While setting a timetable, you should also learn good time management principles as this will help you in cracking the exam successfully. 

Practice regularly 

If you practice regularly, you will find that it makes a difference to your ability and to your overall confidence level. Over a few weeks, you will gain mastery in your various subjects and also have strong concepts. Practicing regularly also helps you with speed and accuracy. 

Create short notes and use cheat sheets containing formulas and tricks  

Notes are a great tool that not only help you while preparing but also while revising in the end. As you study, create your own short notes and cheat sheets that contain formula, quick tips, shortcuts, abbreviations and diagrams etc. Work on short tricks that you can use to solve a problem and note it down. Since you have many questions to solve in a specified time, shortcuts are a great tool to reduce time. This is a great tool for revision as you go ahead in your preparation as well. 

Refer to your notes make notes towards the end of your preparation as a revision tool. 

Prepare for the exam using online resources

There are plenty of sites that offer mock exams to help you prepare. Since the Internet has proved to be a fund of knowledge, it is strongly advisable to use it to learn through this mode. 


Take as many mock tests as you can and attempt them regularly. Mock tests are a great way to check where you stand as it helps you to zero in on your areas of both weakness and strength. By spotting your areas of weakness, you can convert them quickly into your strengths.  

Taking online tests regularly will help in two ways:

Understand your strength and weakness:  Attempting online tests will make you comfortable with the pattern and help you assess where you are going wrong. With regular practice it becomes easier for you to solve any time of questions as time goes by. 

Time management: When you appear for this exam, it’s not just accuracy that you should focus on but also speed. For you to work at the required speed, you need to practice by doing as many practice tests as possible. Yet another tip while taking a practice test is to not spend too much time on one question as this will only make you lose time on others. 

Revise, revise, revise

As you come to the end of studying each topic, reserve a month for revision. However, don’t spend too much time on it as it could be an obstacle in your path of overall preparation. The short notes that you had been taking earlier will come in handy now to complete revising your syllabus. This is a critical part of your preparation, so don’t take it lightly. 

One final tip – go back to your basics 

Basics are the foundation to better understanding. To begin preparing, it’s critical to understand the basics of each topic so that you can solve questions relating to this topic correctly. Your fundaments and basics should be strong and you should be clear about each and every concept. With strong basics, you can crack the paper with great ease. 

For example: 

English: For the English section, you must have a strong hold on grammar. Develop reading habits. Make sure to read English newspapers and magazines such as the Hindu or Frontline regularly. 

Note down words or phrases that you do not understand and find out the mean of the words. Also ensure that your spellings are correct. You can include these words with the right spelling in your notes and revise them regularly. 

Also listen to English news channels such as BBC news. Reading will not only improve your language skills but will also increase your overall general knowledge about the world.

Reasoning: For reasoning, focus more on analytical reasoning. You must devote time to understand or brush up on each concept. Then practice, practice and practice a little bit more. Topics that are covered in this section include number series, coding, and decoding, statement and argument, alphabet test, input and output, number ranking, comprehension reasoning, problem-solving etc. 

Work on a good strategy to crack this section and practice accordingly.

Numerical ability: This section is all about basic mathematics, so it goes without saying that you need to get your basics right. You should work on the following concepts in mathematics such as Arithmetic, Percentage, Profit and Loss, Work and Time, Distance and Time, Simple and Compound Interest, Averages, Partnerships, Data Interpretation and Probability.

Train yourself to solve the maximum number of questions in the shortest possible time. Memorize squares and cubes of numbers 1to 30, it should be on your fingertips. Also memorize formulae thoroughly.  


While this exam is competitive and the standards have only gone up, you can crack this exam with solid planning and practice. Understand the pattern and syllabus clearly, plan properly and stick to your plan. Make it a habit to revise what you have studied every day. And while you are busy study, don’t forget to take breaks and keep yourself fit. A balanced diet, good sleep and a little bit of exercise will keep you fit both mentally and physically. 

Good luck and all the very best!

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