SBI PO Prelims Exam Analysis- Expected Cut Off & Preparation Tips


Last Minute Tips and Strategies for SBI PO Prelims 2018

The Preliminary Exam for SBI Clerk (JA) is already underway and the Preliminary Exam for SBI PO is scheduled for this weekend. As an aspirant, it is common to be anxious about the exam I am sure there are many doubts running in your mind how many questions should you attempt, what could be the possible cut-offs etc.

This article is an attempt to help address some of these queries. In this article, we are going to answer some of the critical questions including –

a. Given the sectional time limits, what is a good number of attempts in Verbal Ability, Numerical Ability and Reasoning Ability sections?

b. What is a “good” overall score in SBI PO Prelims 2018? How many questions and more importantly what kind of questions should I attempt to reach this score?

c. What might be the 90th percentile scores in each section and at an overall level?

Over the last few months, thousands of students have been taking model tests on our adaptive test engine platform – Our analysis is backed up by these students’ performance. Once the notification for the introduction of sectional time limits was out, we inculcated the same into our model tests for SBI PO Prelims 2018. We analyzed this data in along with the test results of the model tests for SBI PO Prelims 2017. The numbers are as follow.

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As an aspirant, it is common to be anxious about the exam – I am sure there are many doubts running in your mind how many questions should you attempt, what could be the possible cut-offs etc.

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Sectional Analysis for SBI PO Preparation

Verbal Ability

The average time spent in VA has increased by around 8 minutes from 12 minutes to 20 minutes on account of the introduction of sectional time limits. What is interesting is that though the number of questions attempted hasn’t changed largely, the sectional score has shot up by 45%. This tells us that students are spending a relatively greater amount of time on each question and answering them meticulously, in contrast to previous years.

This is an important insight for all of you – in the Verbal Section – do not try to attempt more questions but spend more time on the questions that you attempt to achieve higher accuracy. Attempting Reading Comprehension therefore now is a choice based on your strengths rather than just availability of time. Our suggestion is that you complete all the Vocabulary based Questions (Fill in the Blanks / Cloze Passage) followed by Grammar-based questions before you move on to RC, Para Jumbles and/or Critical Reasoning.

 Numerical Ability

Previously, students used to save time in other sections and use it up in this section. Given the sectional time limits, students can now spend only 20 minutes, down from 24 to 25 minutes from previous years.

Consequently, the number of questions attempted has come down by about 32%, from 17 to 11. But accuracy has improved and therefore, this didn’t affect the average sectional score (almost constant at 8 to 10 on average). The analysis says that students are choosing questions to attempt intelligently.

As an aspirant, the key take-home is that in Numerical Ability – you need to be really vigilant when it comes to choosing the right questions to attempt – it is okay to attempt a lesser number of questions but ensure that your accuracy is high. Further, we noticed that students tended to attempt more individual questions from Arithmetic and Mensuration rather than set-based questions from Data Interpretation which could take up a lot of time.

Reasoning Ability

Reasoning ability is by far the most affected section with an average sectional score falling from 17 to 7 (a drop of about 58%). The average number of questions attempted has also fallen, dropping from 22 to 12. One possible reason is that students were wedded to attempting puzzles which might have sucked out a lot of time with poor results.

The strategy for you here is not to get stuck at solving puzzles. Getting stuck at one difficult puzzle might eat away good 10-12 minutes of your time leading to pressure and panic, which might adversely affect other questions too. So, choose your questions wisely. Start with individual questions from Blood Relations, Directions, or Data Arrangements before you move on to the Puzzles.

Overall Test Analysis

At an overall level, the 90th percentile score has fallen by 9 points – VA seeing an increase of 4 points in VA but a decrease of about 2 points in NA and 15 points in LR. The 90th percentile scores are a good way of identifying the cut-off scores – passing which you will be shortlisted for the Mains Exam.

In a quick conclusion, we believe that this year, the overall cut-offs could come down. Last year, the cut-off was 51.50 which is reflected in our tests as well. This year, we expect the overall cut-off score to be around 42 to 43. Therefore, attempting 50 to 55 questions with high accuracy should be your target as long as the difficulty of the paper is comparable to last year.

In case you haven’t taken Mock Tests yet, rush to or other websites to take a few tests – not just to identify where you stand but also to fine-tune your strategies. All the best! Fight on!

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