Analysis of IBPS PO (Prelim) Online exam held in Oct 2017 (All Slots)

The IBPS PO exam was held in 12 slots, on the 7th, 8th and 14th of October 2017. The detailed analysis, including the changes in the exam pattern, as reported by our students are enumerated below:

English continued with its horror trail that it had begun a couple of years ago, and once again succeeded in taking the wind out of students' sails! Questions were aimed at testing a candidate's knowledge and application of grammatical concepts and rules, and hence the manner of their presentation too was novel and unlike that seen earlier. Though some old question types were tweaked and presented differently, conventional questions types also appeared in this section.

The uneven distribution of topics across all the slots was another feature of this year's exam, as opposed to the trend in previous years. The topics were spread arbitrarily in various slots.

Till the previous year, all the questions on a sub-topic in any given section used to be in a sequential manner in one part of a section. However, this year they were seen to be distributed randomly and were not given in any order of succession.

We at T.I.M.E. ensure that both the basics and functional aspects of every topic are discussed in our sessions, and students made to work out on exercises that reinforce these inputs.

The analysis of the exam held across all slots, as reported by our students, is presented below.

Snapshot of the Exam:

Duration of Exam 60 Minutes
Quantitative Aptitude 35 Questions
Reasoning Ability 35 Questions
English Language 30 Questions
Total Questionss 100
  1. No of choices per question: 5
  2. Each question carries one mark.
  3. Negative Marking: 0.25 of the marks assigned to that question.

The analyses of the individual sections are given below.

Quantitative Aptitude:

This section can be rated as moderate and was calculation based. No new question types / pattern of questions were asked in this section in any of the slot.

Common topics for all slots:

  • There were 5 to 6 questions on Approximations. These questions were of moderate difficulty level .
  • There were 12 questions (2 sets) on Data Interpretation, and almost all of them involved a lot of calculations.
  • The Individual questions varied from 12 to 13 in number. These were a combination of easy, moderate and difficult ones.

Variation in topics in some slots:

  • In some slots there were 5 questions on Number series where as in some slots questions on Quadratic comparisons were given instead of questions from Number series.

A student could therefore, have solved around 17 - 19 questions in approximately 20 minutes (recommended), if he chose judiciously.

Topic No.of Questions
Data Interpretation (2 sets. Line graph and Table in most of the slots) 12
Number Series (Missing number) / Quadratic Comparisons 5
Approximations 5 - 6
Individual Questions (Ages, Time & Work, Time & Distance, Mensuration, Averages, Mixtures & Alligation, Profit & Loss, Partnership, Ratio, Simple & Compound Interest) 12 - 13


  • This section has been given a 'Moderate' tag.

Common topics for all slots:

  • There were 20 questions on puzzles (Linear, Days and Colour based, Floor etc..), which ranged between moderate and difficult. However few students report that there were 25 questions on puzzles in their exam slot.
  • There were five questions on Direction Sense, Blood Relations and Ranking and were of easy to moderate difficulty level.

Variation in topics in some slots:

  • The weightage of questions from topics of Deductions, Symbols-Notations, Coding-Decoding and Input-Output were not uniform across slots. In some slots there were questions on Input-Output. The questions on Input-Output generally asked in Main examination. In some slots there were questions from Deductions. The questions from Coding-Decoding and Symbols-Notations were asked in about 9 to 10 slots.

About 15-17 questions could possibly be solved in 25 minutes (recommended). The topic -wise split, as reported by our students, is as given below.

Topic No of Qs
Puzzles (Linear, Days and Colour based, Floor etc..) 20
Deductions (Syllogism) 3 – 5 (in some slots)
Symbol-Notation based conclusions 3 – 5 (in some slots)
Input-Output 5 (in some slots)
Coding-Decoding 3 – 5 (in some slots)
Miscellaneous (Blood Relations, Direction Sense, Ranking etc..) 5

English Language :

  • This section has been given a 'Moderate – Difficult' tag.
  • Cloze test passage and PFQs were missing from this section.

Common topics for all slots:

  • The lone Reading Comprehension passage was conventional in its presentation, and comprised 10 questions split into the familiar 6 detail questions + 2 antonyms + 2 synonyms manner.

Variation in topics in some slots:

  • The question on Phrase Replacement has been modified. Here, a sentence had been given with a part in bold font. This was followed by three phrases numbered (I), (II) and (III), from which one of more could be picked from five choices listed below them.
  • Questions of Error Identification involved five complete sentences labelled (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5), and aspirants were expected to mark the grammatically incorrect one as their answer. This pattern too has been restructured and presented differently.
  • Questions on Sentence Odd Man out have been revamped and were hence formidable to crack. Instead of choosing one sentence that was not in sync with the rest out of the given five, the new presentation involved a long-winding sentence divided into five parts labelled A, B, C, D and E. The test-takers were directed to use four out of these five parts to construct a logically and grammatically correct sentence, and pick one of the five choices corresponding to the correct order.

Thus, about 12-14 questions could possibly be solved in 15 minutes (recommended) in the English section. The break-up of the questions is as follows:

Topic No of Questions
Reading Comprehension 10
Error Identification(Identify the part(s) which has 'NO' error) / Sentence OMO 10
Phrase Replacement 10

Over all, the paper was a combination of easy, moderate and difficult questions across all the three sections and can hence be rated as 'Moderate'

Good Attempts and Expected Cutoffs:

Test Area Good Attempts Expected Cutoff
Quantitative Aptitude 17 - 19 8 – 10 Marks
Reasoning Ability 15 – 17 7 – 9 Marks
English Language 12 – 14 6 – 8 Marks
Overall 45 - 50 43 – 47 Marks