Analysis of SBI PO 2017 Main exam

The SBI PO 2017 Main examination held on the 4th of June 2017, 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 and thankfully, as per expectations. The sectional and overall cutoff is expected to be lower than that of SBI PO 2016 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:

SBI PO 2016 Main – Para Odd Man Out Questions asked in this exam, wherein test-takers were asked to mark off the out of context sentence, were actually an extension of the previously commonly asked Paragraph formation or Para jumbled questions, which were slightly tweaked to create this so-called newness. The thought process applied to crack these questions is similar to the one used for the PFQs, and so there is little to be foxed by with this presentation.

Sentence starters, that require joining two similar or contradictory sentences or ideas using conjunctions or idiomatic phrases, are a test of grammar and understanding of idea flow.

In SBI PO Main 2017 too, there were a few such 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 lengthier in terms of the number of sentences, and direct grammar questions were posed in a novel manner.

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 variable marking scheme in the DI, English and Reasoning sections of the objective test.

(A) Objective Test:

S.No Name of Tests No. of Qs Max Marks Duration
1 Reasoning & Computer Ability 45 60 60 Minutes
2 Data Analysis & Interpretation 35 60 45 Minutes
3 General Economy / Banking Awareness 40 40 35 Minutes
4 English Language 35 40 40 Minutes
Total 155 200 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 was variable marking scheme, similar to last year. Questions on Data Comparision (5Qs) and one set of DI - 5Qs (based on Marked price and Discount) carried one mark each and the rest of the questions were of 2 marks each.

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, Data Comparision and Probability. The difficulty level of these question types can be pegged between moderate and difficult. There was one set of 2-3 questions on Mixtures-Alligations.

Topics No.ofquestions Difficulty Level
Double pie charts + Table (based on Boats & Streams) 5 Difficult
Line graph + Table (based on Time & Work) 5 Difficult
Line graph + Table (based on Marked Price and Discount) 5 Difficult
Data Comparison 5 Moderate - Difficult
Data Sufficiency ( Three statements ) (P&C, Numbers, Mensuration, Partnership etc..) 5 Moderate - Difficult
Mixtures & Alligations 2-3 Moderate - Difficult
Probability(set-based) 5 Moderate - Difficult
Miscellaneous 2-3 Moderate - Difficult


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

Overall, this section has been rated as both difficult and time-consuming. No question was asked from Computers, a trend noticeable in the SBI Clerk 2016 Main exam and SBI PO 2016 Main exam.

The following table gives the break-up of various question types. There was variable marking scheme, like last year.

Topics No.ofquestions Difficulty Level
Puzzle (Linear Arrangement, FloorArrangement, Square Arrangement, Distribution, Photo frames & Shelves etc..) 22 Difficult – Very Difficult
Input / Output 5 Difficult
Symbol Notation (Inequalities) 5 Difficult
Data Sufficiency (Three statements) 3 Moderate - Difficult
Critical Reasoning 8 - 10 Moderate - Difficult

There were a total of 22 questions on puzzles which are very difficult to crack. The questions on Input-Output and Symbols & Notations were presented in a different format, away from the common presentation.

English Language:

A part of this section was a shocker! Following the pattern set by the exam last year, the cloze test set was conspicuous by its absence.

Para jumbled / formation questions (PFQs) – This year, the pattern changed a wee bit. The first and the concluding sentences were fixed, while the order of the remaining four had to be sorted out. This is just a slight deviation from the commonly and routinely asked PFQ, and candidates had to more or less adopt the same approach.

Error identification questions (10 Qs) – Five were like the originally asked ones, while the remaining five were presented with a minor modification. Instead of planting one error in only one of the four parts of the given sentence, the test-taker was given the choice of a possibility of multiple errors in the sentence, and five choices with various combinations from which to choose.

Fill in the Blanks – In the pace of the original one sentence with tow blanks, two sentences with two blank spaces were given. The candidate had to fill both the pairs of blanks with the same set of words. This is not an entirely new question, as you would realise; it is a minor alteration of the earlier type, and it is very obvious that the approach remains the same, provided one stays calm.

Phrase replacement – Here too, there was only a small change introduced in the pattern. There were a number of words / phrases in bold in the same sentence, and the test-taker had to pick that choice which presented those that were erroneous and needed to be replaced. Not a great difference, but certainly one that needed one to be attentive, alert and aware.


Reading Comprehension – While one passage had five questions and this set conformed to the original pattern, the second RC was formatted differently. All the paragraphs were split and numbered, and questions were posed from individual paragraphs. The same approach that one adopts while answering RC related questions was necessary for successfully attempting this part too. Difficult, but not unachievable if one keeps track of the linking thread, and understands what was asked, properly.

Central idea – This can be labelled as a 'new' and 'never-asked-before' question type. A sentence was given at the beginning of three paragraphs. This sentence was used in each paragraph. Later, the candidate was asked to identify that para which bore the central idea of this given sentence. This was challenging, and would have really knocked out the candidate's brains working it out.

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 10 ( 2 passages) Difficult
Error Identification 10 Moderate - Difficult
Phrase Replacement 5 Difficult
Para Jumbled Sentences 2 Moderate - Difficult
FIB ( 2sentences with 2 blanks each) 5 Difficult
Central Idea of the Sentence in the given Paragraph 3 Difficult

General Awareness:

As reported by our students, about half of the questions asked here were on Current Affairs and the remaining on Banking Awareness and Union Budget.

(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 that you have deposited money in your account through ATM but the amount has not been credited into your account.
  2. A letter to be written to the editor expressing your concern over the impact of news through social media.
  3. A letter to be written to your sibling giving him / her advice about issues related to stress and anxiety.

Essay writing [30 Marks, 150 words]-

  1. Write an essay on the impacts of technology.
  2. Travelling teaches us more compared to books and documentary. Please elaborate this in an essay written in support of this statement.
  3. Effects of social media.