The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection, popularly known as the IBPS is an autonomous body. It conducts recruitment examinations for all Public Sector Banks except the SBI. Over the years, it has also provided services related to assessment and testing for various banks. The institute is governed by a board of nominees from different government bodies and banks such as the RBI, Ministry of Finance, IIT Mumbai, NIBM and IBA. It was constituted in 1984 from the original examining body under the National Institute of Bank Management. The centralised examinations covering all public sector banks’ recruitment started on a limited scale the same year. The process was made fully online in the late 2000s. The IBPS conducts the following examinations:

  • IBPS PO Examination
  • IBPS SO Examination
  • IBPS Clerk Examination
  • IBPS RRB Examination

The above IBPS exams recruit employees for PSBs at various levels. We will discuss these examinations one by one:


The IBPS PO exam is officially known as the Central Recruitment Process: Probationary Officer/Management Trainee or CRP PO/MT for short. It was started in 2011 replacing different exams of the IBPS that recruited bankers separately for each PSB. Probationary officers form the management cadre of public sector banks. The IBPS PO exam process consists of the following stages:

  • Preliminary Examination
  • Main Examination
  • IBPS PO Interview

The IBPS PO results are declared based on the performance in the main exam and interview. You can find more information on IBPS PO here.


The IBPS SO exam is conducted to recruit specialist officers who form the technical, financial and legal cadres as well as support functions of the public sector banks. It is officially known as the CRP Specialist Officers. It consists of three stages which are:

  • Preliminary Examination
  • Main Examination (Professional Knowledge Test)
  • IBPS SO Interview

The IBPS SO results are based on the candidate’s performance in the Professional Knowledge test and specialist officer interview. The syllabus for SO is based on the domain for which recruitment is being conducted and candidates should read the notification carefully while applying.

IBPS Clerk Examination

The IBPS Clerk examination consists of just two Common Written Examinations. It recruits clerks for PSBs who form the bulk of the banks’ workforce. The exam is officially called the CRP Clerical and is conducted in two stages as listed below:

  • IBPS Clerk Preliminary Examination
  • Clerical Main Examination

The recruitment of clerks is done statewise. Candidates appearing for the examination in a state or Union Territory can be employed by the PSB only within the state/UT boundaries during the probation period. The IBPS clerk results are based on the performance of the candidate in the Main examination. For more details, you can read about IBPS Clerk here.


The Regional Rural Banks recruit their staff through the CRP RRB process. The IBPS RRB examination recruits clerks, managers and specialist officers at the following levels:

  • Officer Scale-III(Senior Manager)
  • Officer Scale-II(Manager/Specialist Officer)
  • Officer Scale-I(Assistant Manager)
  • Office Assistant(Multipurpose)

The recruitment process for Office Assistants consists of two stages:

  • Stage I: RRB Office Assistants Preliminary Examination
  • Stage II: RRB Office Assistants Main Examination

Assistant Managers for rural banks are recruited through a three-stage process as described below:

  • Stage I: RRB Officers Preliminary Exam
  • Stage II: RRB Officers Main Exam
  • Stage III: IBPS RRB Interview

Specialist Officers, Managers and Senior Managers for RRBs are selected through a two-stage exam. The syllabus includes professional knowledge in the case of specialists. The RRB exam pattern for Scale-II and III is as follows:

  • RRB Single Level Examination
  • IBPS RRB Interview

The recruitment of candidate’s for these positions is based on their performance in the main examination. In the case of officer candidates, the marks secured in the interview are also taken into account. You can find more details about RRB exam here.

IBPS Eligibility

The IBPS has different eligibility criteria for each examination. These criteria are based on the requirements of the participating banks. The basic eligibility criteria for appearing in any IBPS exam are:

  • Indian Citizenship or Citizenship status as mentioned in the exam notification.
  • Graduation or Above
  • Age limit as specified in the respective IBPS notifications.
  • No history of a criminal conviction or ongoing prosecution in any court of law.

You can read the detailed eligibility criteria for IBPS PO and Clerk from the links given below:

IBPS Syllabus

The basic syllabus for all IBPS examinations is similar to each other. However, depending on the position for which the exam is being conducted, sections for professional knowledge are added. The following table gives links to the syllabi for IBPS PO and Clerk exams:

The complexity of the papers also depends on a number of factors such as the position for which the exam is being held, and the educational eligibility criteria as well as experience required for the position.

Apart from conducting these examinations, the institute also provides banks with services related to talent assessment and recruitment. Though banks like State Bank of India and Reserve Bank of India conduct their own examinations, such as SBI PO exam and RBI Grade B exams, the software and methodology used by them are developed by the institute. The IBPS official website provides access to candidates for IBPS notifications and mock tests. It helps them to familiarise themselves with the pattern of examination and the software environment in use. It also hosts the webpages for applying for exams for the time period the application window is active. Also, the official website and notifications state that merely being allowed to appear in the exam does not confirm eligibility, hence aspirants should make sure they fulfil all criteria for eligibility before they apply for an IBPS exam.

The IBPS examinations provide a gateway to a great banking career and a chance to enter public service. Due to this the competition level of these exams is increasing day by day. Candidates should develop effective strategies for the institutes’ detailed exam process. Knowing the syllabus of IBPS recruitment exams as well as studying the exam pattern itself is a good start. It should be supplemented with excellent study material and IBPS books.

BYJUS’ has well-researched study material aimed for IBPS aspirants’ success. Candidates can use this material and the strategies available on the website to clear bank exams and fulfil their ambition of joining the country’s burgeoning banking industry.

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