IBPS PO Mains Exam Analysis

The IBPS PO Main Examination was held on 18th November 2018. The examination was the culmination of the CWE PO/MT process for CRP Probationary Officers VIII. The successful candidates in this exam were called for the interview. In this article, we have provided an in-depth IBPS PO Mains exam analysis for the benefit of candidates. It would be helpful to know trends in the exam while preparing for the next instalment of IBPS PO exam.

IBPS PO Mains Analysis: Exam Structure

The IBPS PO Mains was divided into two parts, the objective test of 200 marks and descriptive test of 25 marks. Each part was allotted its own time limit and the maximum marks as described below:



Number of Questions

Maximum Marks

Time Limit


English Language



40 minutes

Data Analysis and Interpretation



45 minutes

General/Economy/Banking Awareness



35 minutes

Reasoning and Computer Awareness



60 minutes


Letter Writing and Essay



30 minutes

The examination was difficult and lengthy as compared to the previous editions. The following is the detailed section-wise analysis of the IBPS Mains exam 2018.

IBPS PO Exam Review: Objective Test

English Language: The English language paper focussed on reading comprehension and ability to analyse multiple passages in a short period of time. While the earlier pattern of questions was one long passage and 5-7 questions following that, this year there were multiple short passages with 2-3 questions related to the passage. There were about 5 passages sharing 21 questions for reading comprehension. The remaining 14 questions in the english language section were divided between the cloze test and sentence rearrangement type questions.

Data Analysis and Interpretation: The difficulty level of this section was high and consisted of short sets including data sufficiency questions. There were many caselet type question with questions where a statement was followed by some data and questions.

The major types of data interpretation questions are as follows:

  • Caselet
  • Lines and Tables
  • Radar

The number series questions upped the difficulty level by introducing a pattern where one series was provided and the logic was to be used to complete another series.

The arithmetic problems had a structure wherein the candidate had to analyse some data and determine whether the data was sufficient to solve the questions asked after the data.

The majority of the section covered by Data Interpretation and Data Sufficiency with only about 8 questions from LCM,HCF, Mensuration, Number Series, Time and Work etc.

General/Economy/Banking Awareness: This section was moderately difficult as was the case with earlier editions of the test. The current affairs question covered the period from May to November 2019. There were only a few questions on static topics from economy and banking awareness.

Reasoning and Computer Aptitude: The Reasoning and Computer Aptitude section was set at a high difficulty level. There were no questions asked about computers and only one on alphabet series. The majority of the questions were from sitting arrangement and puzzles, as well as a sizeable number of questions on logical reasoning. Questions from all other topics such as input/output and coding/decoding.

IBPS PO Exam Review: Descriptive Test

The descriptive test consisted of one letter and one essay on relatively simple topics. The following were the options provided:

Letter Writing: The letter was to be completed in 150 words. The topics are given below:

  • Write a letter to the editor on the types of pollution and how to reduce it.
  • Write a letter to your neighbour thanking them for their help in your hour of need.

Candidates had the option to pick one of the topics and write the essay.

Essay: The essay had an indicated word limit of 200 words. The following were the options out of which candidates had to choose one topic:

  • Fake news and strategies to combat it
  • Magazines and journals have switched to digital media
  • Does India need a universal health care system
  • The advantages of learning a foreign language

The next IBPS PO exam is expected to continue this trend. CWE PO/MT IX is expected to be as difficult as the last edition of the exam. This is in keeping with the increasing level of competition for the post of bank PO as well as the increasing diversity of roles that these officers are called upon to take on during their career. Serious aspirants should start preparation by solving previous years’ question papers and referring to the best IBPS PO books.

BYJU’S has a body of well researched study material and IBPS related information for use by candidates. It would be helpful for bank PO aspirants to follow our site for regular updates and notifications.

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