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Is SBI PO Tougher Than CAT?

One of the question that we come across most of the time is- Is SBI PO tougher than CAT? Before diving into the answer of this question, its important to understand that SBI PO is a recruitment test while CAT is an entrance test to get admission into various top- B schools. The exam pattern, syllabus everything is different. In this article, we will discuss this topic in detail on various factors like exam pattern and syllabus, no of seats/vacancies etc to give you an overall analysis of both the exams

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Is SBI PO Tougher Than CAT?

SBI PO is an exam which is conducted to recruit candidates for the post of Probationary officers while CAT is an entrance exams to get admission into top B-School. It is very important to understand that the purpose of these exams makes them different from each other because exams are set on the basis of the purpose of the posts or admission. For e.g. a student preparing for IIT will be asked questions on Physics, chemistry and maths. Similarly a candidate for the post of probationary officer is tested on the skills required for the respective post and same goes for the CAT as well. 

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Exam Pattern

SBI PO: Exam Pattern

Given below is the exam pattern of SBI PO. It is a three stage recruitment process namely: Prelims, Mains & Interview. Prelims is just qualifying in nature.

Phase-IPreliminary Examination

S.No. Name of Tests(Objective No. of Questions Maximum Marks Duration
1 English Language 30 30 20 minutes
2 Quantitative Aptitude 35 35 20 minutes
3 Reasoning Ability 35 35 20 minutes
Total 100 100 60 minutes

Phase – IIMain Examination

This is the second stage of the recruitment process of SBI PO. The marks of this stage along with interview are counted in the ratio 75:25.

S.No. Name of Tests(Objective) No. of Questions Maximum Marks Duration
1 Reasoning & Computer Aptitude 45 60 60 minutes
2 English Language 35 40 40 minutes
3 Data Analysis & Interpretation 35 60 45 minutes
4 General/ Economy/ Banking Awareness 40 40 35 minutes
Total 155 200 3 Hours

Interview: This is the final stage of recruitment process and its marks are also considered for preparing the final merit list.

CAT: Exam Pattern

Given below is the complete overview of the CAT exam which is a single window entrance exam.

Total Questions in CAT Exam 100
Total Marks 300
Total Sections 3
Total Exam Duration 3 Hours
Mode of Paper Online Only
Question Types MCQs and Non MCQs (TITA)
Making Scheme +3 For Correct Answers

-1 For Incorrect Answers

0 For Unattempted Questions

Section Names 1. Quantitative Aptitude

2. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

3. Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation

CAT Exam Pattern: Details

Given below is the complete details of the CAT exam.

CAT 2019 Sectional Pattern

Section Name Number of Questions Duration
Quantitative Aptitude (QA) 34 60
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)  VA: 10 60
RC: 24
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) DI: 16 60
LR: 16
Total 100


Based on the exam pattern, you can see that SBI PO is a much longer process and with more stages than in CAT which is a single stage recruitment process. There are several college in which Interview and GD are conducted but mostly candidates securing good marks in entrance exams are able to make it through. This is not same in SBI PO as we have seen many cases where students who score exceptionally well are not selected because of less marks in Interview. So based on this we can conclude that this particular point indicates that SBI PO is tougher than CAT.

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SBI PO Vacancies

We have seen that the vacancies of SBI PO varied from 1500-2200 over the last seven years. Based on number of vacancies candidates will be shortlisted for subsequent stages i.e. SBI PO mains SBI PO 2020 Interview.

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CAT: Number of Seats

Given below is the college-wise cut seats to get admission into top-B schools. There are other B-schools also except given in this list so which increase the number of seats more.

Is SBI PO Tougher Than CAT?_60.1

Source: timesnownews


SBI PO is a recruitment test and that is why the number of vacancies released every year differs. In one year it can be more while in other it can be less which is not the same case with CAT. It’s an entrance exam and hence number of seats remains same every year or either increases but hardly decreases and this is another point which indicates that SBI PO is tougher than CAT.

Also Read,

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SBI PO Cut-Off

Given below is the complete list of the cut-off for SBI PO.

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Here is the SBI PO Final Cut-off Analysis of previous years:

Is SBI PO Tougher Than CAT?_80.1

NOTE: The above graph shows SBI PO Cut-off trends from 2016-2019. The minimum qualifying marks are of UR (Unreserved Category).

CAT : Final Cutoffs for IIMs

Given below is the complete list of CAT cut-off for the previous year. This will help you to get an idea. The cut-off for CAT remains fix over the years. For e.g- If IIM Ahmadabad takes admission at 99 percentile then it will take admission at 99 percentile every year. 

IIM  Expected Cutoff 
IIM Ahmedabad  99 
IIM Bangalore  99
IIM Calcutta  99
IIM Lucknow  97-98 
IIM Indore  97-98 
IIM Kozhikode  97-98 
IIM Amritsar  95-96 
IIM Nagpur  95-96 
IIM Sambalpur  95-96 
IIM Trichy  94-95 
IIM Raipur  94-95 
IIM Ranchi  94-95 
IIM Kashipur  94-95 
IIM Vizag  92-94 
IIM Udaipur  92-94
IIM Bodhgaya  92-94
IIM Shillong  90 
IIM Sirmaur  90 
IIM Jammu  90 


As we can see that the cut-off of SBI PO is in marks while the cut-off of CAT is in percentile.  Hence comparing them and saying that CAT is tougher will not be a right thing. The cut-off for SBI PO varies greatly over the year while the percentile for CAT remains the same.


From considering the above stated facts, we can understand one thing that both the exams are different from each other and serve different purpose. You can easily crack both the exams with right strategy and approach. Hence, the best thing to do is to work hard and achieve your dream.

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