Sunday, April 29, 2012

How to prepare for Bank Exams

Recently there was global meltdown, initially started with sub-prime crisis and subsequent collapse of financial and banking sector of USA, which led to shut down of major banks in USA and there raised a sort of unrest ,resulted in massive job cuts in private sector especially software field in which we are most dependent on overseas projects. All these consequences created a notion in people that there is no job security in recent times.

In spite of all these major things happening Banking Sector in India stayed robust. Now a day's banks went global and started operating in various branches around the world. The modern computerized techniques used in banking operations reduced the risk of making mistakes for the employees; in calculations, counting and maintaining data of different customers of the bank. Bank Probationary Officers as well as Bank Clerical jobs emerged as lucrative careers. Especially at this time of turbulence; bank jobs in public sector seem to be a safe bet. Bank jobs not only provide us good salaries but also provide us good social status.

Atleast above 70% would be a fairly good score. Applicants with commerce, financial and Math background have more chances for success rather than applicants with other backgrounds.

How to get Information about the Jobs:
As Jobs in the bank have been declared by the banks very frequently at this point of time, the aspirants are advised to visit the websites of respective banks for the upcoming bank exams section frequently, to check recruitment of bank Probationary Officers or Bank Clerks. Also visit various other sections of the website to know tips on how to prepare for bank exams, how to prepare for interviews, group discussions and written part of the bank exams. You can also visit various other links to know about the job, salaries, perks, roles & responsibilities of bank jobs.

State Bank of India, the largest bank of the country, having wide network of branches in India & abroad has announced another massive recruitment exercise. This time the bank has announced 1000 vacancies of Probationary Officers.

Punjab National Bank which is one of the leading public sector banks of the country has declared massive recruitment. The bank is having more than 5000 branches spread over all parts of the country. The bank has announced one of its biggest recruitment exercises of 6428 Clerks.
Information of few useful Books.

Magical Book Series: Money, Banking & Finance by N.K. Sinha

This is a very useful book for the preparation of banking interviews and reasonably priced. You will find lots of information in this book on banking and financial environment, important concepts, terminology, financial institutions, important policies etc. The book is covering most of the information on which questions are generally asked in banking interviews.

Apart from these books you should also take help from Competition Success Review which is such a good book for the preparation of interviews. Also refer to the section on Interview preparation in this website for some very useful tips and methods.

Basic eligibility for bank exams:
Age to be between 18 28 yrs, as on 01.01.2011; little variations may be there from bank to bank.

Completion of a Degree (any discipline) from a recognized university is a must.
Able to read/write & speak in languages mentioned by the banks that are recruiting; most commonly must be fluent in English & Hindi (sometimes local language of the place where the bank is located).

Knowledge in computer operations is required in most of the banks
After passing all the eligibility criteria and applying for the examinations. A Common Written Examination (CWE) will be conducted by the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) as a pre-requisite for selection of personnel for Probationary Officer/ Management Trainee posts/Bank clerks in the Public Sector Banks.

Pattern of the Common Written Examination for PO's:
Selection of PO's is made on the basis of performance in written test and interview. Sometimes group discussions are also included in selection process. The pattern of the written test is more are less similar in all the public sector banks. The written test includes objective and descriptive type of questions.
The candidates shall be required to qualify in each objective test as per the cut-off marks determined by individual banks. For wrong answers there is provision for the negative marking which is normally 1/4th i.e. one marks will be deducted for four wrong answers.

Objective tests include Test for general awareness, Test for English, Test for quantitative Aptitude and Test for reasoning. The test lasts for the duration of nearly 2 hrs and for 200-225 marks, 50 marks for each subject roughly, conducted in English and Hindi languages. Bank Clerical exams have Clerical Aptitude test in some of the banks.

Descriptive test include of 4 questions out of which the candidates are required to attempt 3 questions only. The test will be of 60 marks (i.e. 20 marks for each question). The test will be only qualifying and the marks obtained therein shall not be reckoned for preparing the merit list. The candidates shall have the option to answer the descriptive test either in English or Hindi. Selected candidates in the written test are called for interview and Group Discussion.
This is the General pattern of Bank PO Exams, however now-a-days each bank is coming up with slight difference in the pattern of exam. So, better keep a check on exact pattern for coming exams on an ongoing basis.

Preparation tips for Bank Exams:
Writing the bank exams with short term preparation at the moment of the exam does not workout. Serious preparation at least eight months before is needed. For an aspirant who is willing to get success in bank exams right strategy, planning and approach are essential for preparing. If you succeed in choosing a right approach and right study material to read half of your job is done. As these examinations are completely different from school and college examinations; we are supposed to get minimum qualifying marks in each section. We have to work on some basic and crucial concepts and should manage to get best study material available in the market.

First we have to prioritize all the sections of the test according to good scoring possibility; in the priorities reasoning should be on the top of the list, then follow General awareness, Quantitative aptitude and English respectively. English is just qualifying exam; so you can just attempt all the questions just to qualify. Before appearing the exam know whether English is qualifying or marks are counted. General awareness is an easy scoring subject (you can score more than 80%).This consists of mainly current affairs and happenings in India and around the world, in the past 6-8 months. You need to devote some time on regular basis reading current affairs from different News Papers and magazines and keep yourself current. Quantitative Aptitude part is a general and basic math which is not very hard. The only thing is you need a lot of practice on regular basis and exact and thorough understanding of the concepts clearly. Practice should be in such a way that you answer the questions in an accurate and quick manner. The most crucial and the part on which your success depends is Reasoning test. This is the toughest part of the exam for most of the aspirants. You should understand the concepts and solve the old model papers and it will be more useful if you solve more and more questions; because more or less similar questions based on certain concepts appear in most of the PO's question papers.

Descriptive part don't require more preparation, because any fairly good student can answer this part and more over it is only a qualifying exam. Most of the aspirants qualify in this exam very easily; so nothing to worry about Time management in the Exam.

Even though you know all the answers and solutions for all the questions; if you can't solve them in given time it is of no use. Therefore, presence of mind and time management are major Keys for your success. In quantitative aptitude and reasoning right from the beginning of practice, make it a habit to solve with in certain time limit. Rigorous practice not only improves your accuracy; but also accelerates your speed in arriving at genuine and correct solutions.

Most of your success depends on how you divide the time between different sections. Generally English and General awareness do not require more time, because most of the questions are direct and do not require more thinking or analysis. So, try to complete both the sections within 30-40 min maximum. The more time you save in both these sections can be used in solving other two sections. It is good to contribute 35-40 min; quantitative aptitude has direct application of shortcuts and formulas; which can be achieved by more practice. Maximum time of 60 min or more can be contributed to Reasoning test; because it needs logical and analytical thinking.

Time management gives you competitive advantage over the other aspirants, who are attempting the same exam. More over time management is always useful in all aspects of your life; may it be your career or any occasion. You will learn proper use of time; so that you will not be wasting your precious time on unnecessary things and this in turn helps you in prioritizing things.

Scores:
If you really prepare well you can easily score 85% and above in math and general awareness and 80% is good percentage in reasoning test. If you get 70% you will have fairly good chances for an interview call and if you score overall 80%, you will definitely get an interview call.

Preparation for Interviews and Group discussion:
The aspirants have to prepare well ahead of time for interviews and group discussions; because it requires a good command over communication skills. Immense and regular practice makes you well worse in these aspects and no doubt improve your communication skills.

Few tips for interview: Keep specific answers for all the generally asked questions. Dress in a proper formal manner, look and be polite, answer in more pleasing and confident manner.Some of the commonly asked questions in the interview:
Tell me about yourself?
Why do you want to enter banking?
What significant trends do you see in the future in Banking Industry?
Explain how you would be an asset to this organization or why should we select you for this position?
What is your greatest strength and greatest weakness?
Do you think you are overqualified for this position?

Few tips for Group discussions: Here are few tips which give you cutting edge in group discussions as compared to other aspirants. Group discussion should be done in a very careful manner; because it is the way to test your communication skills, Leadership skills and your ability to work in teams.
Be polite with a slight smile on your face; have a positive approach over the topic you are speaking, this gives a good impression to the evaluators.
Initiating the discussion gets you an edge over others; but never ever initiates the discussion if you are not comfortable with the topic.

Do not speak in a hasty manner. Be, a good listener during the course of discussion. If you pay attention on what others are speaking, you can build upon the discussion and you can express your own views on the topic and you can even try concluding the topic. This builds up your image in the view of evaluators.

Be cool and never get indulged into arguments. If at all any arguments arise in due course accidentally; pacify them in a more matured manner by putting forth genuine views , so that other aspirants are soothingly persuaded.

If you prepare well in this sequence it is easy to crack the bank exams and come out in flying colors.

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