The State Bank of India (SBI) organizes the PO exam to hire probationary officers for all its branches across the country. This exam comprises 3 phases – the Preliminary exam and the Main exam, followed by Group discussion and Personal Interview. Candidates have to qualify for all three stages to make it to the final merit list. A recruited candidate may be placed in any branch of the SBI. It completely depends on their score and rank on the merit list.

Let’s discuss how marks are calculated under the SBI PO recruitment process and on what basis is the final merit list prepared. Moreover, you can visit BYJU’s Exam Prep to prepare for the SBI PO 2021 exam.

The SBI PO recruitment process

The candidates who clear the Prelims can appear for the PO Main exam. Then, you have to clear the group discussion and personal interview as well, to climb up to the final merit list. However, the marks obtained in the prelims are not considered for the final result. But you need to score high in prelims to qualify to the next stage.

1.     The Prelims

The Preliminary exam comprises 3 parts – English Language, Logical thinking and Reasoning, and Numerical Aptitude. This exam contains only objective-type questions. A negative marking of 0.25 will be applied for every wrong answer. The time duration of this exam is only one hour.

Listed below is the section-wise weightage of the Preliminary exam:

  • English Language – 30 marks
  • Logical thinking and Reasoning – 35 marks
  • Numerical Aptitude – 35 marks

2.     The Mains

The PO Mains exam is conducted in two stages – Objective and Descriptive exams. SBO conducts both the stages of the mains exam online. The Objective test is based on concepts such as Reasoning, computer knowledge, General Awareness, English language, and Banking awareness. Also, the time allowed for the Objective exam is 3 hours. Listed below are the subject-wise weightage of the Mains- Objective exam:

  • English language – 40 marks
  • General awareness, Economy, Banking awareness – 40 marks
  • Reasoning and Computer aptitude – 60 marks
  • Data analysis and interpretation – 60 marks

On the other hand, the Descriptive exam requires the candidates to write an essay and a letter. However, the time allowed for this exam is only 30 minutes. Here are the features of the Descriptive test:

  • All the questions are based on the English language, such as essay and letter writing.
  • The maximum mark for this test is 50.
  • The time duration allowed for this test is 30 minutes.
  • Moreover, both objective and descriptive tests are held on the same day.
  • However, only the answer sheets of the candidates who clear the objective test will be checked.
  • The descriptive test begins right after the objective test concludes.

3.     Group Discussion and Personal Interview

Only candidates who score the cut-off in the mains exam can appear for these rounds. Following the group discussion, SBO will call the selected candidates for the Personal Interview. They will analyze the behavior, personality, and qualification of the candidate in this round. Given below are the aspects of this round:

  • The Group discussion round carries 20 marks.
  • Personal Interview carries a maximum of 30 marks.
  • The final merit list depends on the marks obtained by the candidate in the Mains exam and the Discussion and Interview rounds.
  • They do not count marks scored in the Prelims for the final merit list.
  • The final merit list is formulated after the document verification of the candidates.

How do they calculate the final marks in the SBI PO exam?

They calculate the final score of a candidate based on his performance in the Mains exam and the GD & PI rounds. Only candidates who clear these two stages can make their way into the final selection. Moreover, they convert the marks scored in the written tests, out of 250, to that out of 75 marks. Similarly, they convert the marks scored in the Group Discussion and Personal Interview, out of 50, to that out of 25 marks.

Conclusively, the final list contains the names of candidates based on their aggregated marks out of 100. They then sort this list by categories to which the candidates belong. SBI then sifts the highest-scoring candidates. Lastly, SBI displays this final merit list on their official website for reference.

How do they prepare the final merit list?

The final merit list does depend on the marks scored by a candidate in the prelims. This is because the prelims only act as a qualifying round. Those who score high in this exam qualify for the Mains. However, you must score high in the Mains to get yourself a rank in the merit list. Hence, the candidates should ace the Mains and the GD & PI round separately. SBI will select only those candidates who clear both phases.

This process is done after the normalization of the marks scored in both stages. However, the marks obtained in both phases are aggregated to that out of 100 and then analyzed for ranking. SBI carries out this process of normalization to avoid bias in case of varying difficulty levels of question papers. This is because the PO exam may commence in multiple shifts.

The final merit only contains the names of the top-scoring candidates from every category. Hence, only the top rank-holders of all the categories stand the chance to feature in the merit list.

Final recruitment stage of SBI PO post

After a candidate clears all the selection stages of the SBI PO exam, he/she appears for the document verification. The bank recruits only those candidates who submit their documents and get them duly verified.

Following are the documents that the SBI expects from the selected candidates for verification:

  • Interview admit card copy
  • Proof of age – Class X certificate for date of birth verification
  • Duly filled copy of online SBI PO application form
  • Educational certificates and mark sheets
  • Community certificate to verify your category
  • Disability certificate if necessary
  • Pension proof and documentary proof needed for ex-servicemen
  • Experience certificate, if you have worked anywhere else
  • If you are a citizen of another country, you need to submit an eligibility certificate issued by the Indian government


SBI appoints the candidates who qualify for all the levels of selection in the SBI PO exam as provisional officers. However, the bank may place them in any branch based on their rank. Also, students consider SBI PO as one of the toughest competitive exams in India. Hence, this exam is the gateway to achieve your dream of becoming a probationary officer. However, you need to be careful with the preparation and progress through all the levels with success.

Stay Connect with our education blog India.