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SBI Clerk vs SBI PO Difficulty Level

The State Bank of India (SBI) is one of the most prestigious banks in India, and its recruitment exams for Junior Associates (Clerks) and Probationary Officers (PO) are the most demanded exams by the aspirants. While both positions offer promising career prospects, they differ significantly in terms of responsibilities, career growth, and most importantly, the difficulty level of their respective entrance exams. This article aims to provide a detailed guide for the difficulty levels of the SBI Clerk and SBI PO exams, helping aspirants understand what to expect and how to prepare effectively.

SBI Clerk & SBI PO

SBI Clerk Exam:

  • Position: Junior Associate (Clerk)
  • Responsibilities: Handling customer interactions, maintaining transactions, and other clerical duties.
  • Selection Process: Prelims and Mains exams.

SBI PO Exam:

  • Position: Probationary Officer
  • Responsibilities: Managerial tasks, handling business development, and customer service.
  • Selection Process: Prelims, Mains, and an Interview phase.

Exam Pattern & Syllabus

SBI Clerk Syllabus & Exam Pattern:

  • Preliminary Exam
    • Sections: English Language, Numerical Ability, Reasoning Ability
    • Duration: 1 hour
    • Total Questions: 100
    • Marks: 100
  • Main Exam:
    • Sections: General/Financial Awareness, General English, Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning Ability & Computer Aptitude
    • Duration: 2 hours 40 minutes
    • Total Questions: 190
    • Marks: 200

SBI PO Syllabus & Exam Pattern:

  • Preliminary Exam:
    • Sections: English Language, Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning Ability
    • Duration: 1 hour
    • Total Questions: 100
    • Marks: 100
  • Main Exam:
    • Sections: Reasoning & Computer Aptitude, Data Analysis & Interpretation, General/Economy/Banking Awareness, English Language
    • Duration: 3 hours
    • Total Questions: 155
    • Marks: 200
    • Descriptive Test: Letter and essay writing
  • Interview
    • Group Exercise and Interview: 50 marks

SBI PO & Clerk Difficulty Comparison

  • Preliminary Exam:
    • SBI Clerk: The prelims for SBI Clerk are generally considered easier as they primarily test basic concepts and quick problem-solving skills. The questions are straightforward, focusing on fundamental topics.
    • SBI PO: The SBI PO prelims, while similar in structure, tend to have a higher difficulty level. The questions are more complex and require a deeper understanding of the concepts.
  • Main Exam
    • SBI Clerk: The main exam is moderately difficult, with more emphasis on speed and accuracy. The questions are designed to test a candidate’s proficiency in clerical skills, general awareness, and basic reasoning and numerical abilities.
    • SBI PO: The main exam for SBI PO is significantly more challenging. It includes advanced reasoning, complex data analysis, and an in-depth understanding of banking and economic concepts. Additionally, the descriptive test adds another layer of difficulty.
  • Interview & Group Exercise
    • SBI Clerk: There is no interview phase for the SBI Clerk exam, making it less challenging in terms of the overall selection process.
    • SBI PO: The interview and group exercise phase is a critical component for the SBI PO selection. This stage assesses a candidate’s communication skills, leadership qualities, and ability to handle managerial responsibilities, making the overall difficulty higher.


While both the SBI Clerk and SBI PO exams are competitive, the SBI PO exam is undoubtedly more challenging due to its selection process and the depth of knowledge required. Aspiring candidates must assess their strengths and career goals to choose the right path. Effective preparation, consistent practice, and a strategic approach can help candidates succeed in either exam.

Whether aiming for a clerical position or a managerial role, dedication and hard work are key to cracking these prestigious exams.

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Which exam is tougher, SBI Clerk or SBI PO?

The SBI PO exam is generally considered tougher than the SBI Clerk exam due to its more comprehensive syllabus, complex questions, and additional interview phase.

What are the main differences in the exam pattern between SBI Clerk and SBI PO?

The SBI Clerk exam consists of Prelims and Mains, while the SBI PO exam includes Prelims, Mains, and an Interview phase. The Mains for SBI PO also includes a descriptive test.

Is there an interview phase for the SBI Clerk exam?

No, the SBI Clerk exam does not have an interview phase. The selection is based on the performance in the Prelims and Mains exams.

What makes the SBI PO Mains exam more difficult than the SBI Clerk Mains?

The SBI PO Mains includes advanced reasoning, complex data analysis, in-depth banking and economic questions, and a descriptive test, making it more challenging than the SBI Clerk Mains.