[Studyplan] SBI PO Reasoning (High Level): Topicwise Approach, booklist, strategy, Cutoffs

IBPS, Studyplan382 Comments

  1. The structure of SBI PO Exam 2013
  2. Reasoning: Topicwise breakup SBI  papers
  3. Reasoning: SSC vs SBI
  4. Reasoning approach: Higher Level
  5. 3 Statement Syllogism
  6. Reasoning Approach: Usual topics
    1. Eligibility Test
    2. Math Operations+Inequality
    3. Sitting arrangement
    4. Non verbal
    5. Data Sufficiency
    6. Input Output
  7. Reasoning: Peripheral Topics
    1. DBT: Direction Based Test
    2. Coding Decoding
    3. Dictionary (Alphabet) tests
  8. How people dig their grave in Bank PO/Clerk exams?
  9. So, How to avoid  your grave?
  10. Cutoffs of SBI PO 2011 Exam
    1. Phase 1: sectional cutoffs (2010, 11)
    2. Phase 1: Marks of last candidate

The structure of SBI PO Exam 2013

Phase 1
Data Interpretation (DI)50
English grammar, vocab and Comprehension50
(1 hr)
Essay, précis, letter writing50
Phase 2GDPIGroup Discussion (GD)20
Personal Interview (PI)30
  • Phase 1 (250m) marks are are converted to out of 75
  • marks secured in Phase 2 (50m) are converted to out of 25.
  • Final Merit list of 75+25=100 marks.

Reasoning: Topicwise breakup SBI  papers

Direction based tests021
Dictionary (Alphabet) test023
Maths operations, inequalities366
Sitting arrangement1355
Eligibility Test055
Odd pair300
Data Sufficiency500
Input output300
Subtotal: Reasoning (Usual)332525
High Level
Course of Action060
Cause effect120
Strong/weak argument305
3 statement Syllogism655
Subtotal: Reasoning (Higher level)122020
Non Verbalnon-verbal (image based)555
Total: Verbal Reasoning (usual+higher)+Non verbal505050
  • 2008’s SBI  PO paper doesn’t follow this pattern of “High level reasoning” (or tougher data interpretation Qs like those of 2010’s papers). Hence 2008 is ignored from the analysis.

Reasoning: SSC vs SBI PO



Non verbal reasoning involves usual image-series+ paper-folding, mirror reflection test, dice/cubes.paper-folding, mirror test, dice/cubes= not asked.
2 statement syllogism x at most 2 questions.3 statement syllogism, minimum 5 questions.
Lot of Qs. From Analogy, series, and odd pairs.Hardly.
Barely any question on higher level reasoning.(assumption, inference etc.)Lots of.

Anyways, let’s start.For the purpose of efficient preparation, I classify reasoning topics into two categories.

Core topicsMajority of the reasoning is asked from these topics. Often in a set of “5 Questions.”
So Cost:Benefit ratio is quite good, if you master these topics.
Chillar (peripheral)Barely 2-3 questions from each topic.

Observe this chart:

SBI PO Reasoning Strategy

Reasoning approach: Higher Level

Based on the previous papers of SBI, we can see that higher level reasoning is made up of following topics

  1. Fact-assumption-inference-conclusion
  2. Course of Action
  3. Cause effect
  4. Strong/weak argument
  5. Three Statement Syllogism
  • While both R.S.Agarwal and BS Sijwali’s books have covered these topics,
  • but problem with both of those books= they merely give you a few solved exams and then give a big list of practice questions.
  • But the basic concepts/ theory /underlying principles are not covered in depth.
  • Then You often face the doubt “why option A is the answer and why not “B” option?” OR  “why is this an inference and not an assumption?”
  • So, for SBI PO’s higher level reasoning questions (assumption, inference, strong/weak argument etc), refer to “Analytical Reasoning by MK Pandey (BSC publication)
  • MK Pandey not only helps you for Higher level reasoning, but also for provides some speed-techniques for usual reasoning topics (such as input output, arrangement, eligibility test, coded inequalities etc.)

Anyways the study approach for Higher level Reasoning (for SBI PO) should be like following:

Higher Reasoning TopicChapter Number
MK PandeyRS Agarwal
  1. Statement-Assumption
  1. Inference, conclusion
55, 6
  1. Strong/ Weak argument
4, 92
  1. Cause effect
  1. Course of Action

For example, pickup the topic “Assumptions”.

  1. First understand theory from MK Pandey’s Chapter #3, solve all sums given in MK Pandey.
  2. Then move to RS Agarwal’s Chapter #3 for extra practice. (or if you’ve BS Sijwali, go to Chapter #23).

To solve the last three categories of questions (Strengthen / Weaken arguments, cause-effect, course of action), you must know what’re the facts, assumptions, inferences and conclusions in the given statements. Therefore, preparation sequence should be: assumption topic–>inference–>strengthen  / weaken arguments and so on…

3 Statement Syllogism

All cats are dogs…..

To master 3 statement syllogism, first you’ve to master the 2-statement.Understand the UPUN method explain in these two articles articles:

  1. Two Statement Syllogism Click ME
  2. Three Statement Syllogism Click ME

Then do all sums given in Chapter 11 of MK Pandey and finally Chapter 1 of RS Agarwal (under Logic portion).

Reasoning Approach: Usual topics

In Decreasing priority order.Chapter Number
MK PandeyRS Agarwal
  1. Eligibility Tests
  1. Math Operations
  1. Sitting Arrangement
206 (Puzzle Test)
  1. Data Sufficiency
  1. Input Output
13 to 167

Eligibility Test

First you’re given a passage with conditions like,

“Applications are invited for xyz post. If candidate has graduation with 50% marks and 3 years work experience…. then forward letter to Deputy manager, else …. forward letter to….”

  • Then five questions are given, each has a unique case like “If Rahul Gandhi has **% in graduation and ** years of work ex and….then what to do?”
  • This is known as “eligibility test”- very commonly asked in BankPO exams. Advantage=If you get the question, it’s a set of 4-5 questions. (helps you clear sectional cutoff).
  • Problem=can be time consuming, if not practiced @home.
  • First understand the techniques and tips given in Chapter 12 of MK Pandey. Then practice all the  sums given in Chapter 18 of RS Agarwal.

Math Operations+Inequality

They’re usually of three types

+ means x,
x means – and..
  1. Inequality
[email protected] means “P is not smaller than Q”
P%Q means “P is neither smaller not equal to Q”
  1. Relationship
P#Q means P is brother of Q
P^Q means P is sister of Q
  • Again, math operation questions are pretty common in BankPO exams
  • Problem= you may get wrong answer or waste lot of time.=need maximum practice at home.
  • Approach: All theory and all sums of Chapter 17,18,19 of MK Pandey.
  • Then practice all the sums given in Chapter 18 of RS Agarwal.

Sitting arrangement

Can be of following types

  1. Circular table
  2. Rectangular table
  3. Blood relations (A is mother of B who is sister of C and…)
  4. Appointment (Arranging lectures from Mon. to Sat., name of professors vs subjects)
  5. Complex (Person, building floor, occupation etc.)
  • Advantage=Minimum 1 set (=5 questions) always asked in BankPO exam. (=helps clearing the sectional cutoffs).
  • Problem= can be “sitters” (=very time consuming), If not practiced @home.
  • Approach: Understand the techniques explained in Chapter 20 of MK Pandey.
  • Then practice all the sums given in Chapter 6 (Puzzle Test) of RS Agarwal.

Non verbal

  • Usually five questions.
  • Practice is “must”. Try to solve the question by eliminating the “unfit” cases first.
  • Solve all the questions in RS Agarwal==> Non Verbal portion ==>Series, Analogy and Classification.
  • You may ignore mirrors and paper folding, because usually they’re usually not asked in BankPO exams. (However they’re important for SSC-CGL exam).

Data Sufficiency (DS)

  • It is very easy to make mistakes in these question.
  • Theoretical part must be absolutely clear in your mind.
  • So first clear the theory from Chapter 7 of MK Pandey. Practice all exercises.
  • Then practice all sums given in Chapter 17 of RS Agarwal.

Input Output

  • Chapter 13 to 16 of MK Pandey then practice Chapter 7 of RS Agarwal.

This ends the core topics. Now, Moving to the peripheral topics (i.e. “Chillar” topics).

Reasoning: Peripheral Topics

Peripheral TopicsChap.# in RS Agarwal
  1. Coding Decoding
  1. Direction Based Tests
  1. Dictionary (alphabet) arrangement

DBT: Direction Based Test

E.g. A man walks 1 km towards East and then he turns to South and walks for 5 kms. Then he………Now how far is he from the starting point?

This is a “no-excuse” topic. Practice all sums given in Chapter 8 of RS Agarwal.

Coding Decoding

Can be of two types

Health is written as GSKZDG then North will be written as453945 means “decide” then 8978 means…

Sometimes you’re given a “matrix table” and you’ve to decode the words accordingly. Do all the sums given in Chapter #4 of RS Agarwal.

Dictionary (Alphabet) tests

Chapter #10 of RS Agarwal.


  • Once ^all of above is done, get an overview of the misc. topics such as sequence, series, odd pair, dice, cubes, clocks, calendars, Venn Diagrams etc. from RS Agarwal’s/BS Sijwali’s book.
  • This concludes the preparation of reasoning section for SBI PO.
  • How to approach  GA+Marking+Computer, explained in separate article: click me (with free study material for computer, IT, economy etc.)

How people dig their own graves in Bank PO/Clerk exams?

  1. They underestimate the level of competition.
  2. They buy the books, magazines, download PDF files from internet and so on. But they only “gather” material. They never “process” the gathered material.
  3. They just spend time in day dreaming and facebook, TV, SMS, PC/mobile games, cricket, loitering around etc.
  4. They start serious preparation only AFTER receiving the exam call letter.
  5. During the exam, they think, “ya ya ya the marketing and English section is “pappu” so I’m going to solve all questions here. And after that, I’ll go to maths and reasoning section.”
  6. They get stuck in lengthy calculations of Data interpretation (because they’ve never practiced multiplication and division @home). And often make silly mistakes in calculation =negative marking.
  7. They waste lots of minutes in sitting arrangement/eligibility test/non-verbal reasoning type questions.

Ultimately they cannot even cross the sectional cutoffs.( Getting in the final merit list is a far cry.)

So, How to avoid  your grave?

  • Maximum revision + Maximum practice @home.
  • Mind will always find excuses (my cousin’s wedding, workload @office, I’m not in the mood….) but while you’re making those excuses, someone somewhere is busy reading books and doing sums.
  • The train of success doesnot show mercy on anyone, no matter how good the excuse is, this train will not wait for you.
  • So always remember Anil Kapoor from Tezaab: “time hotaa nahi hai, time nikaalnaa padtaa hai”. (There is no time as such, but you’ve to take out time (to study)).”
  • Donot “HATE” reasoning. In fact, Syllogism, sitting arrangement, eligibility test etc. reasoning questions can be solved with maximum accuracy in short time (once you’ve mastered them). So don’t consider them your enemies, make them your weapons. They’ll be immensely helpful in scoring high marks.
  • When you get the question paper, you don’t have to solve all questions in a continuous sequence i.e. Reasoning question from 1 to 50. Then English 1 to 50 then DI from 1 to 50…
  • Instead, first try to tick minimum 10-15 in each section first, and then come back and solve remaining questions.

MK RS Sijwali

Cutoffs of SBI PO 2011 Exam

Phase 1: sectional cutoffs (2010, 11)

English Language501010135510
General Awareness507711669

Phase 1: Marks of last candidate

Now the marks scored by last candidate from Phase 1 to GDPI (Phase 2), in each category.

Phase 1(2011)250

Courtesy: Mr.csl80 of pagalguy forum, for providing the cut off data and other essential inputs regarding this exam.

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books
  2. Environment by ShankarIAS
  3. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  4. Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania (Hindi | English)
  5. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  6. Bipin Chandra: Post Independence
  7. Fast-track to Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
  8. MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning
  9. Disha’s Topicwise Paperset (Hindi | English)
  10. School Atlas
  11. Mains: Language papers
  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha

So far 382 Comments posted

  1. devesh

    sir mujhe graduation mai exact percentage nhi pta hai pr mai ye janta hoon ki 62 ya 63 % hai to sir mai eligible hoon ya nhi ya fir age jake problem honge plz raply sir…???

    1. neelam tamta

      mark sheet nhi hai kya usme dekh lo simpleeeeeeeeee.

    2. Sanket

      You r eligible

  2. jagabandhu jena

    pls send me the useful information abt books for reasoning and quantitative aptitude..besides r.s. agrawal.


    1. Gurdeep singh

      Good info


    sir plz give some guidance on preparation for data analysis and interpretation part. thanks in advance.

  4. megha

    sir plz tell about the study plan of Data Analysis&Interpretation and English Language (Grammar, Vocabulary, Comprehension etc.)
    sir i really need your help…………………sir plz plz plz help me

    1. Piyush Tripathi

      you can refer Data interpretation by Arun Sharma.
      Further on if you want to get more exposure on DI, kindly go for Career launcher Study material on data analysis.
      The worked out examples and level of question of both book will assist you to sharpen your skill of time bound question solving.

      1. pravallika

        can i knw if they are short cut techniques explained in DI arun sharma book

  5. Satish

    Very helpful for SBI PO exam..

  6. NileshShirsath

    This is very good information I have ever got about SBI PO.. Doing nice job.. Best luck Mrunal

  7. Sahil

    Sir i am seeking my graduation from distance education. Am i eligible for sbi po exam? I somewhere came to know that candidates seeking graduation need not to apply.

  8. prachi

    Sir plz provide me arithmetic/maths problems tricks to solve quickly

  9. RAHUL

    Hi Mrunal

    I am attempting the SBI PO 2014 exam for the 2nd time this year I think I lost out earlier due to time management also i feel i took lot of time in reasoning I also need to work on my general awareness. I am quite comfortable with concepts just need to brush up few areas of reasoning. I am planning to join test series of career power and focus more on giving tests rather than again going through all concepts. Kindly recommend me what kind of strategy i should follow considering just 2 months are left and I am working also so I can devote time early in the morning about 2 hrs. Kindly suggest what should be done to crack the exam

  10. Smita

    Sir,Please suggest me best book for SBI Po-Specially for Reasoning & Maths.

    1. Mo Azhar Shaikh

      For Maths and Reasoning R S Aggarwal will be Best For success. You will go through thistle book Insa Allah you will be succes. Best of Luck.

  11. Priya

    sir,plz tell me about the study plan of data analysis&interpretation and.. English Language .In DI I Take a lot of time to solve it. so ,plz guide me. ….

  12. rini

    sir plz name send for po books

  13. anmee

    Hi sir
    while filling my sbi po form i have filled my date of birth incorrect and submitted the form and payed the fees online ie the form submission is completed ( with wrong date of birth…..month and year are correct only date is mistyped) .I want to know sir what are options left for me , to fill form again ie 500 rs ka chuna or would it b possible that at time of document verification(only if i clear Phase 1) this issue can b sorted.Kindly rply sir.

  14. Amit yadav

    Reasoning syllabus for sbi po

  15. Pankaj

    i am an b.tech in information technology.
    in the form you are given four choices to be choose in graduation status.

    my question to you is what option do i choose their ie science or other,

    please reply as soon as possible.

    thank you.

  16. jay Ganiger

    I find the info very helpful, but you’ve not mentioned anything about the descriptive english exam. Pls do

  17. shahid

    i wrongly filled my date of birth ..whatcan i do to correct it…. in sbi po form..



    To get the call letter for the Interview, one should score atleast 30 marks in each section for the general category. Is that True??


      yes it is…

  19. Mohsin

    I am working in a nationalized bank and just completed 2 years. Will it be prudent to start as scale I again?

    1. Dumb&Dumber

      Just listen to what your heart says…Good Luck!

  20. Mohsin

    I am working in a nationalized bank and just completed 2 years. Will it be prudent to start as scale I again in SBI?

  21. rupa

    sir,,,,,i’m a biology student,,,,,so i’m afraid of arithmatic….so pls tell me how to solve maths problems quickly…………..i’m so timid for that………..pls help me sir……………..

    1. Piyush Tripathi

      In modern competitive world you will have to be brave….
      make a planned approach to learn Quantitative Aptitude.
      no doubt, techno guy enjoy the advantages but I have seen worst in them too …
      on the other hand I have taught student from Home Science background in my class and their performance have been considerable.
      you should start with the articles here in this website(Thanks to Mrunal SIr) even I was benefited by his articles.

  22. charandas

    sir pleze tell me wich book is better for DI as per your knowledge

    1. udit

      best book for DI is Arun Sharma.

      1. Piyush Tripathi

        Udit !
        Undoubtedly it is best 🙂

  23. nibha


  24. Ank

    plz give a link to data interpretation study plan and enlish for sbi po or plz post on these topics no details can be found here about these topics

  25. glory

    i’ve applied for sbi po 2014..this time they are conducting online test… so do we have choice of selecting which section to solve first. plz tel me hoe this online test process appears

  26. Nikhil

    please refer a book for solved papers of sbi po 2014

    1. Piyush Tripathi

      you can have Arihant SBI PO practice sets

  27. rajani bandaru

    very nice support to us.and your articles are much usefull to us.thank you.
    one suggestion its better to provide these kind of articles for exams of govt companies like HAL,HSL,ONGC,STEEL PLANT


    Good morning sir, this is dinesh kashyap who wants to ask question about SBI PO 2014 related , sir suggest me what numbers of question should attempt in each part with how many timings.
    what strategy should apply to passed the descriptive exams

    1. Dumb&Dumber

      For a start, you should stop referring yourself in the third person.

  29. Kaizer

    Hi Guys,
    Please can anyone tell me whether the following is the correct and accepted format for formal letter writing for SBI descriptive.

    Co. Name
    Co. Address.

    Branch Manager



    Respected Sir/Madam,

    ***************** BODY OF THE LETTER***************

    Yours Truly
    Mr. Xyz

  30. Quantitative aptitude section..?

    Kindly clear my doubt….
    There doesn’t seem to be a separate section for quantitative aptitude in SBI PO exam’s syllabus.(we have this section in bank SO exam). Does this mean that there wont be any quants questions in the PO exam..?

    1. Kaizer

      No there is no seperate section for this, however they can ask you questions related to profit & loss, %, ratio & proportion etc in the Data interpretation (DI) i.e. in the graph.. so be prepared, the questions in yesterdays (15/06) set were a bit difficult especially DI& Reasoning sections.

    2. Piyush Tripathi

      Please note that Data interpretation involves variables to be plotted in bar,line pie etc….
      it is obvious they do not need to ask such question separatly which involves calculation….BY asking question on DI they will judge your quantitative aptitude skill.

  31. rajesh

    sir, kindly requested you please mention the success stories of bank po , their strategy, how they study,which book they prefer for each section and how they manage their time. so that aspirant get the ideas to crack po exams

  32. suni

    Sir please post study plan of SBI bank cerk exam, and RRB po and clerk study plan….with satudy strategy……thank u sir for all ur guidence and current affair articles…….

  33. vinay dandin

    thank u sir …. is logical reasoning useful for upsc

  34. fox

    is there any percentage eligibility criteria like 60% for general class for sbi po for coming 2015 exam, i had talked to one of the sbi employee, he told me der no such criteria right now, i just want to confirm on the same, whosoever has reached interview or gd round, please share der expierience on whether they ask for any specific percentage range to get selected or not, i mean simple graduation is only the basic eligibility, right with no % drama?

  35. Praveen

    Mrunal sir

    Kindly update you site about SBI Po 2015 Pattern of Study and tips to crack the exam. According to new notification it has Prelims Mains and Interview.

  36. rohit

    sir give some suggestion regarding preparation without couching (at home). how can i prepare my self for examination bank PO

  37. Martina

    I just to know the techniques how to answers the questions correctly within the stipulate period of time
    of my SBI PO Exam 2015.

    With thanks.

  38. Martina

    For SBI PO Descriptive paper, would you kindly give some sample precis,letter writing and essay for preparatiion of
    my SBI PO EXAM 2015.


  39. trilok

    sir plz gudaince the sbi po exam discripitive paper

  40. dev

    please send me online study material of sbi po

  41. sona

    Anybody has attended training for SC/ST? Are they helpful ? pls reply.

  42. rupali chouhan

    I need complete systmaitic syllabus of sbi bank po plese help. Thank u

  43. Devan

    sir,plz upload the new phase of SBI, pattern…….Some MORE description

  44. Rajesh

    You stupid fellow rs aggarwal book is waste see ibps po 2014 sbi po 2015 question how they are asking question pattern no rs aggarwal no bs sijwal no mk pandey .one question is not getting from these books why are you cheating the children to buy those books. Even clerk range not enough for these books

  45. M jyosthna

    Helo sir , I follow your suggestions and website . Please update sbi po , IBPS PO format as per 2015 pattern to crack the exam..PLease do it sir …We are waiting for your strategy sir please !!!!!!!!!

  46. sibu kumar

    Respected sir, i am preparing for bank po but my english is weak so please tell me which book is best for prepration.

  47. sahaj

    thanks for motivating aspirants like us .. at this time your information is acting like a torch in a room full with darkness …once again sir thank you sir..keep up the good work.

  48. Anshuman

    Sir, Please post some updated information, it’s almost 2016 and these info are too old to follow. I’m waiting for your response(* I’ve never waited for response from my girlfriend like this), so please reply.

  49. Nikita khatri

    Thankyou so much for this informal.
    I was so confused for reason, but not now.

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