Analysis of SBI PO 2018 Main Exam

The SBI PO 2018 Main Examination held on the 4th of August 2018, as per the feedback received from our students, was along expected lines with regard to unexpectedness, or in simple words, was mind-boggling!

The overall examination can be rated as tough. Data Interpretation and English sections were difficult, while the Reasoning section was very difficult. The General Awareness section was easy to moderate and thankfully, as per expectations. The sectional and overall cutoff is predicted to be lower than that of SBI PO 2017 main examination.

Surprise elements seem to have become a norm in all Bank exams, and the SBI PO Main exam was no exception to this. Certain unforeseen factors that popped up out of the blue created problems for candidates in terms of accuracy of answering and time management.

Students, let us now understand what these 'surprise elements' are! These are our age-old conventional and commonly asked questions presented to us in different formats, that take the wind off our sails during exams. Which is why test-takers get agitated upon coming across such questions in Bank exams.

Let us present a few examples to elucidate this point:

In this exam, there were a few surprise elements where the same old question had been twisted a bit to give rise to a seemingly new question type, and also panic among candidates.

The RC passage was presented differently, the PFQs were asked differently and new pattern of cloze test, FIBs were asked.

In the Reasoning section too, it rained NEW MODELS!!

Thus, you need to keep your cool when confronted with such questions in your exams. Be thorough with your concepts and think logically to overcome this hurdle called 'surprise elements'!!!

The snap shot of the exam is given below. There was no mention of marks assigned per question in any of the sections.

(A) Objective Test:

S.No Name of Tests No. of Qs Duration
1 Reasoning & Computer Ability 45 60 Minutes
2 Data Analysis & Interpretation 35 45 Minutes
3 General Economy / Banking Awareness 40 35 Minutes
4 English Language 35 40 Minutes
TOTAL 155 3 Hours

The section wise analysis of the above mentioned session, as reported by our students, is given below.

Quantitative Aptitude:

This section can be rated as moderate - difficult and time-consuming.

There were 3 DI sets (details given in table below). All these sets were difficult and time-consuming.

There were 5 questions each on Data Sufficiency and Data Comparision. The difficulty level of these question types can be pegged between moderate and difficult. There were three sets of caselet based quant questions on Time & Work, Profit & Loss, Partnership.

Topics No. of questions Difficulty Lev
Table (Missing data) (based on sales commission) 5 Difficult
Bar graph (based on salary & expenditure) 5 Difficult
Bar graph 5 Difficult
Data Comparison 5 Moderate - Difficult
Data Sufficiency ( Three statements ) (Boats & Streams, Probability, Partnership etc..) 5 Moderate - Difficult
Caselet based quant questions (Time & Work, Profit & Loss, Partnership) 10 Moderate - Difficult


This section can be given a 'very difficult' tag.

Overall, this section has been rated as both very difficult and time-consuming. No question was asked from Computers, a trend noticeable in the last couple of years.

The following table gives the break-up of various question types.

Topics No. of questions Difficulty Level
Puzzle (Matrix + Symbols + Quant based, Blood Relations + Quant based, Distribution + Comparison, Floors & Flats model etc..) 23 Difficult – Very Difficult
Direction sense with symbols (NEW MODEL) 4 Difficult
Input / Output (NEW MODEL) 3 Difficult
Coding-Decoding (NEW MODEL) 5 Difficult
Data Redundancy (based on single puzzle) 3 Moderate - Difficult
Critical Reasoning 5 - 6 Moderate - Difficult

There were a total of 23 questions on puzzles which were very difficult to crack. The questions on Input-Output, Direction sense based on symbols and Coding-Decoding were presented in a different format, away from the common presentation.

English Language:

Let us take a look at each question type of the English section.

Para jumbled / formation questions (PFQs) – This year, the pattern changed quite a bit. While there were three questions from the commonly asked PFQ type where six sentences are given that have to be arranged in their logical order, the second type was way different from the former. Out of the seven statements labelled A to F, the middle one that is, statement (D) was fixed, and the ones that preceded and followed it had to be sequenced. Though it may seem just a slight digression from the earlier ones, it would certainly have been more time-consuming. However, the approach needed to be applied here is more or less consistent, and the difficulty level can be pegged between moderate to difficult.

Fill in the Blanks – A single sentence with three blanks was given, followed by six words. The test taker was expected to choose a pair of words for each of the blanks given, and complete the idea thus fractured by the gaps. This is an entirely new question. Thiss too can be rated as tedious.

Reading Comprehension – While one passage was the usual one followed by questions, the other one was way different. It stretched across six paragraphs, and in each one sentence was given in bold. Among the questions asked were those that asked the exam aspirants to choose a sentence that best replaced the highlighted one, or leave it untouched, if it were logical per se. Very difficult, but not unachievable if one keeps track of both the linking thread and the idea flow!

Cloze Test: This question type was also presented in a novel way. Instead of the words which were used to fill up the blanks, phrase/sentence were given.

This section can be rated as difficult, as here, students had to not only deal with the surprise presentations, but also understand how to answer them.

Topic No of Questions Difficulty Level
Reading Comprehension 14 ( 2 passages) Difficult
Cloze Test 5 Very Difficult
Para Jumbled Sentences 5 Difficult
FIB ( 1 sentences with 3 blanks each) 5 Difficult
Direct Synonym/Antonym 1 Moderate
Miscellaneous 5

General Awareness:

This section was the saving grace in the entire paper.
As reported by our students, about 70 % – 80 % of the questions asked here were on Current Affairs and the remaining on Banking Awareness, Union Budget, Monetary policies, FDI etc...

(B) Descriptive Test:

This section carried Letter and Essay writing. There were three letters given and the candidate had to write a letter from among them. Among the 3 essays given, one had to be chosen by the test-taker. What was noteworthy was that both the letter and essay were to be written in 150 words each.

Letter writing [20 Marks, 150 words] -

  1. A letter to be written to your branch manager about failed UPI transaction.
  2. A letter to be written to the branch manager regarding subscription of a monthly journal.
  3. A letter to be written to concerned authority regarding the use of pesticides in production of fruits and vegetables.

Essay writing [30 Marks, 150 words]-

  1. Bitcoins.
  2. About projects and assignments given in school.
  3. Mansoon creates havoc every year. Suggest some measures to make the cities better.