Strategies for Bank PO exam

Gaurav Pal enumerates the strategies to be followed while preparing for the bank probationary officers’ exam in order to come out in flying colours.

A bank probationary officer or Bank PO is a post which is just one step short of becoming a bank manager. It is the gate way to the managerial life which can lead to one of the highest positions of the bank i.e., the General Manager. The first stage of becoming probationary officer is to crack the written exam. Almost all Banks have a similar pattern for this Exam. Generally, there is an objective test followed by a descriptive one. The candidates are required to adopt the right strategy to crack the exam to avoid last minute panic.

The bank PO objective test pattern consists of: Reasoning section, quantitative aptitude, test of English, general awareness and computer knowledge. In 95% of the exams, there are negative marks which are almost up to 0.25 for each wrong answer. It is also a must to clear all the sections as the banks want to make sure that their future manager is an all-rounder.
However in the descriptive pattern, essay type answers are expected. The time duration is of 60 minutes and the test is just for qualification purpose. So make sure that you unfailingly reach the magical figure of 40%.

Choosing study materials

The candidate needs to focus on fundamentals of mathematics and read a lot of material on general awareness, mainly focusing on the banking sector, since majority of questions will be from there. Basic computer knowledge will have to be brushed up as this section is high scoring.

You must prepare taking into consideration the difficulty level of the PO Exams, as PO is known for surprises. While choosing the study material, it is important to wisely choose the right books, which is difficult but importantin determining one's success in the exam.

Structuring a plan

The candidate should make a structured plan for all the topics and sections that can be asked in the exam. Start revising the most important topics first followed by the less important topics. Try to clear concepts topic wise instead of trying all the topics at the same time. Don't forget that only learning chapters will not take you anywhere, it is questions that you need to answer in the final exam.

So practice till you are perfect with a chapter and then move ahead. Try to solve at least five question papers as it will help you identify any difficult areas in the test papers that you have covered and need revision for. This will help you to increase speed in solving the paper, along with smooth and easy movement across sections. 

Maintaining the calm

It is important to study hard and spend a few hours daily on preparation but an hour or a half in your daily timetable demands you to be just by yourself. Exercise in this time to keep your mind, body and soul fit. Breathing exercises should be included in this regime in order to relieve the stress and be ready for intellectual challenges. Try to sleep at a fixed time every night. Avoid sleeping in the afternoons; a short nap may be helpful though. Avoid stimulating your sensory system with too much TV, arguments, or fights.

Whatever be the mode of preparing, personal effort is very much required as the competition will be very high. You have to know your exams really well. This means that you should know your syllabus, the exam pattern, Exam Notification and important chapters. 

General guidelines

 These are some important tips when deciding what chapter to study on any given day;
* If you have enough time for the exam, pick a chapter you are weak in and one that is important from the exam standpoint.

* If you do not have enough time, pick a chapter that you are comfortable with, have not practiced enough and is an important chapter.

* Any day, give priority to important chapters if you have not revised them or not practiced enough questions on them.

* If exams are just approaching, leave out any new chapters because it will create a lot of stress and anyway you cannot master it enough for the exam.

* Keep in mind important milestones coming up, like mock tests or school exams, festivals or family functions.

 So, get set go on the right track with proper strategies and come out in flying colors.

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