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

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  3. CAPF-2014 answerkey after that
  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
GA+Marketing+Computer 50
Data Interpretation (DI) 50
Reasoning 50
English grammar, vocab and Comprehension 50
(1 hr)
Essay, précis, letter writing 50
Total 250
Phase 2 GDPI Group Discussion (GD) 20
Personal Interview (PI) 30
Total 50
  • 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

2011 2010 2010(Asso.Banks)
Coding-Decoding 6 3 5
Direction based tests 0 2 1
Dictionary (Alphabet) test 0 2 3
Maths operations, inequalities 3 6 6
Sitting arrangement 13 5 5
Eligibility Test 0 5 5
Odd pair 3 0 0
Data Sufficiency 5 0 0
Input output 3 0 0
Misc. 0 2 0
Subtotal: Reasoning (Usual) 33 25 25
High Level
Fact-assumption-inference-conclusion 2 7 10
Course of Action 0 6 0
Cause effect 1 2 0
Strong/weak argument 3 0 5
3 statement Syllogism 6 5 5
Subtotal: Reasoning (Higher level) 12 20 20
Non Verbal non-verbal (image based) 5 5 5
Total: Verbal Reasoning (usual+higher)+Non verbal 50 50 50
  • 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 topics Majority 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 Topic Chapter Number
MK Pandey RS Agarwal
  1. Statement-Assumption
3 3
  1. Inference, conclusion
5 5, 6
  1. Strong/ Weak argument
4, 9 2
  1. Cause effect
10 8
  1. Course of Action
6 4

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 Pandey RS Agarwal
  1. Eligibility Tests
12 18
  1. Math Operations
17,18,19 13
  1. Sitting Arrangement
20 6 (Puzzle Test)
  1. Data Sufficiency
7 17
  1. Input Output
13 to 16 7

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

Type Example
+ means x,
x means – and..
  1. Inequality
P@Q 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 Topics Chap.# 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

Words Numbers
Health is written as GSKZDG then North will be written as 453945 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)

2011 2010
English Language 50 10 10 13 5 5 10
General Awareness 50 7 7 11 6 6 9
DI 50 10 10 13 4 4 8
Reasoning 50 10 10 13 8 8 12
Descriptive 50 18 18 20 18 18 20

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
OBC 99
GEN 110

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

Mrunal’s Recommended Booklist

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अब तक 362 कमेंट्स लिखी गयी

  1. devesh says:

    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…???

  2. jagabandhu jena says:

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


  3. ARCHITA says:

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

  4. megha says:

    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

    • Piyush Tripathi says:

      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.

  5. Satish says:

    Very helpful for SBI PO exam..

  6. NileshShirsath says:

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

  7. Sahil says:

    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 says:

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

  9. RAHUL says:

    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 says:

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

  11. Priya says:

    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 says:

    sir plz name send for po books

  13. anmee says:

    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 says:

    Reasoning syllabus for sbi po

  15. Pankaj says:

    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 says:

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

  17. shahid says:

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

  18. POOJA BHAT says:


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

  19. Mohsin says:

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

  20. Mohsin says:

    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 says:

    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……………..

    • Piyush Tripathi says:

      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 says:

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

  23. nibha says:


  24. Ank says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    please refer a book for solved papers of sbi po 2014

  27. Piyush Tripathi says:

    SBI PO 2014 admit cards are available for download

  28. rajani bandaru says:

    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

  30. Kaizer says:

    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

  31. Quantitative aptitude section..? says:

    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..?

    • Kaizer says:

      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.

    • Piyush Tripathi says:

      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.

  32. rajesh says:

    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

  33. suni says:

    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…….

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