Preparation Guide for IBPS Clerk Prelims: Subject Wise Strategy

An overview to IBPS Clerk preparation

IBPS has released the notification of filling vacancies of 7,275 clerks. Although the preliminary exam is on Dec 8, 2018, this is the right time to start your preparation. The competition is going to be intensive as there are lakhs of aspirants who will be applying for these vacancies.

For an undiluted preparation, you should keep in mind the exam pattern & syllabus for this exam. The preliminary exam is the gateway for the mains exam and will not be considered in the final selection.

Therefore, you just need to clear the sectional as well as overall cut-offs. Take a look at the past year cut-offs and try to solve those papers in a controlled environment to see if you are able to clear the cut-offs.

IBPS Clerk Exam Pattern

Let’s have a look at the exam pattern:

  • All the tests will be conducted in English and Hindi mediums except the test of General English.
  • Candidates need to clear the sectional cutoffs in each of the sections and the overall cutoff as well.
  • A negative marking of 0.25 mark is applicable per incorrectly answered question.

Since there are 30/35 questions in each of the sections which need to be solved in 20 minutes, it’s clear that you need to run a race against time. So when you practice now, focus on time management and question selection. Since all the questions carry equal marks, start with easy questions and move to the difficult ones as you proceed.

Preparing for the English Language

Reading a good English newspaper is the key to achieving a good reading speed. When reading a newspaper, proceed only when you understand what is being discussed. Also, use a dictionary to understand difficult words as you come across them. This would definitely help in tackling Reading Comprehension questions. Also, get hold of all the basic grammatical rules which would definitely help you in solving questions related to spot the error, fill in the gaps, cloze test etc. Solving sectional tests would definitely help you up your ante in your performance.

Preparing for Quantitative Aptitude

Conceptual clarity is a must to sail past this section along with sectional cut-off. Remember the formulas, tricks & shortcuts related to each of the topics. More importantly, you need to understand where to apply which formula/shortcut. The skill of applying the right formula/shortcut at the right place comes with practice.

When you practice sectional tests, you are under pressure to solve questions in a controlled environment which is where you learn the art of applying the correct formula/shortcut. Obviously, conceptual clarity is a prerequisite.

Once you finish a sectional test you get an analysis which highlights your weak areas. You should work on those areas and improve upon them. Sectional tests will also expose you to new types of questions which mix more than one concept.

Preparing for Reasoning Ability

Try to understand the logic and reasoning behind all the important topics such as inequalities, syllogism etc. Practice a lot by solving previous years’ papers and see if you can clear their sectional cut-offs.

Looking at the trends of other papers like SBI PO, it has been observed that the questions which come nowadays involve more than one concept and therefore are difficult to solve. You can find new types of questions in sectional and mock tests which will help you be prepared for the actual exam in a better way.


The topics which are asked in the preliminary exam will also be asked in mains exam. So give your best shot when it comes to understanding the concepts of different sections. So, get hold of the exam pattern, syllabus and practice a lot.

You can solve previous years’ papers in a controlled environment to see how good you are and whether you are able to clear the cut-offs. For practice go a step beyond and take mock tests which simulate the actual test to a great extent. Wishing you all the best for your preparation!


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