SBI Clerk 2018: Section wise preparation

SBI Clerk 2018: Section wise preparation

SBI Clerk 2018: In this article we will be discussing two important sections, namely, reasoning and numerical ability, in detail.

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SBI Clerk 2018: The prelims were postponed last month and will now be conducted in June/ July.

The SBI Clerk 2018 preliminary exam is just a few days away. The exam will be held to fill over 9000 vacancies of Junior Associate post (customer support and sales) in clerical cadre across India. The selection will be made on the basis of an online preliminary and main examination and test of specified opted language. In this article we will be discussing the three sections of the examination in detail. Before we dive into the preparation strategy, let’s take a quick look at the SBI Clerk 2018 Exam pattern and syllabus for the two sections.

Read | Download SBI Clerk admit card 2018

SBI Clerk 2018: Prelims Exam Pattern

SBI Clerk 2018 has introduced sectional time limits in the prelims paper. This will warrant a change in both your preparation strategy for your exam as well as you question selection & exam attempt strategy. Following picture shows the pattern of SBI Clerk 2018 prelims exam.

1) English Language: 30 questions (30 marks) – 20 minutes

2) Numerical Ability: 35 questions (35 marks) – 20 minutes

3) Reasoning Ability: 35 questions (35 marks) – 20 minutes

Total: 100 questions (100 marks) – 1 hour duration

One can notice that the SBI Clerk prelims 2018 paper has essentially become 3 separate papers of 20 minutes each. That said, having an effective question selection strategy becomes of utmost importance. Making the most of these 20 minutes and attempting the maximum possible number of questions with a good accuracy factor is what will decide your fate in the examination. And to do this, it is important that you have a good clarity of concepts and do a thorough revision in these last few days.

Let’s now look at the syllabus followed by a few last minute preparation strategies.


SBI Clerk 2018 Syllabus for Reasoning

Let us first take a look at the detailed syllabus for reasoning in SBI Clerk 2018 prelims. Following are some important topics:

— Inequality
— Syllogism
— Alphanumeric and Numeric Series
— Coding – Decoding
— Blood Relations
— Direction Sense
— Order and Ranking
— Seating Arrangement Puzzles
— Miscellaneous

SBI Clerk 2018: Syllabus for Numerical Ability

Let us first take a look at the detailed syllabus for numerical ability in SBI Clerk 2018 prelims.

— Number Series
— Simplification/ Approximation
— Quadratic Equations
— Data Interpretation
— Problem on ages
— Profit and Loss
— Time and Work
— Percentages & Partnership
— Speed, Time & Distance
— Mensuration
— Boats and Streams
— Probability
— Averages and Mixtures
— Simple and Compound Interest

SBI Clerk 2018: Syllabus for English Language

— Vocabulary – Antonyms and Synonyms
— Sentence Completion
— Basic English Grammar
— Tenses, Articles, Prepositions, Subject-Verb Agreement, Parts of Speech etc.
— Reading Comprehension
— Error Spotting
— Cloze Test
— Sentence Rearrangement
— Para Jumbles
— Phrases and Idioms
— Fill in the Blanks

SBI Clerk 2018 Reasoning: Topic-wise Preparation Tips


It is one of the scoring topics in the reasoning section as it is not very time taking. Broadly, the inequality question type can be categorized as follows:

1. Direct Inequalities
2. Coded Inequalities

Practicing a good number of questions from this topic will help you improve both speed and accuracy.


A new pattern has been introduced in this topic. Here conclusions are given in questions and statements are given in answers. This is known as reverse syllogism. Practice all question types to master this topic.

Alphanumeric Series / Number Series / Alphabet Series

The key to this topic is a good observation skill which can only be developed through practice and clear concepts. Learn some shortcuts and common series patterns to be able to identify them quickly.

Seating Arrangement | Puzzles

Practice the questions of linear, circular and square seating arrangements. Some of the most important puzzle types are: floor-based puzzles, calendar related puzzles, scheduling and comparison-based puzzles.

The puzzles and seating arrangement questions consisting of negative information are usually on the tougher side. So, practice them well. Also, for seating arrangement questions, be thorough with the inward-outward facing concepts.

Blood Relations

A technique that many people find useful in solving the blood relation questions is to apply the question to oneself and solve accordingly. A caveat here is, never to assume the gender. Only consider what is mentioned explicitly in the question.

Direction Sense

Learn the concepts of directions, cardinal directions, sunrise, sunset etc. It’s preferable not to solve these questions verbally. Always draw a sketch.

Order and Ranking

There are rules and formulas for this chapter which you must know in order to solve them accurately in minimum time. Understand questions of left and right as well as top and bottom and between.

Preparation Strategy for Numerical Ability

In simplification, some of the most common topics (as per SBI Clerk 2016) are: surds and powers, ratios, percentages and BODMAS. It is important to have strong hold on your basics to be able to avoid any errors.

Some common series types in number series are: Squares and cubes, geometric, two-staged and mixed number series. Thus, it is advisable to memorize all squares up to 25 and cubes up to 20. This will make it easier for you to identify series at the first glance and hence, will help you improve your speed. The key to mastering this particular topic is daily practice. Attempting 4-5 questions, daily without fail and from various sources will go a long way.

Data interpretation is one topic that can be calculation intensive. Some recurring question types are: tables, bar graphs, line graphs and pie charts. Make sure you practice at least 1 question of each type everyday. This will help you comprehend the data sets more quickly as you will be familiar and also will help you increase your speed. Another important thing to do here would be to remember some fraction to decimal conversions. This will help you increase you speed of solving questions.

Preparation Strategy for English Language

Grammar forms the basis of important question types such as: sentence re- arrangement, idioms & phrases, error spotting, sentence correction etc. So, build on your grammar by referring to helpful books such as: Wren & Martin. You can also refer to custom made e-books such as: 100 important idioms. These help you with your preparation as they cover exactly what is covered in the exam.

Use the following tips as a guide to prepare for or to attempt RC questions. A good reading speed gives you an edge to score well in the exam, so make sure while preparing for RC you also work on your reading speed.

— Strictly stick to what is given in the passage and assume NOTHING else; even if it is true in day today situations. Do NOT make any assumptions whatsoever.

— It is essential to balance speed and accuracy to score well in any competitive exam.The best way in which you can gauge this is via practicing multiple mock tests. Mock tests not only condition you for the real time exam but also help you analyze your areas of strength and weaknesses.

— RC passages can range from a variety of topics such as: Philosophy, Psychology, Economics, Politics or even Science. We never know what might come our way. Hence, it is important that we establish a level of comfort with all such genres by reading from multiple sources. Newspapers, especially the editorials and the weekend specials are a good place to start.

— A major problem that all candidates face while solving RC questions is that they get confused between 2 options. This happens because we read to understand only what the statements say; whereas the RC questions demands our understanding of the writer’s/author’s perspective as well (this is known as reading between the lines).

— Just as for grammar, vocabulary is tested both directly and indirectly in the exam. There might be difficult words in the passage that may make it difficult for you to understand what is being talked about (indirect testing of vocabulary). There may be direct questions on synonyms, antonyms. Hence, reading from a variety of sources is a must. Make sure you add at least 10 new words every day.

Remember the mantra for successful preparation strategy:

Strengthen Concepts -> Practice and revise Daily-> Give 1 mock every alternate day at least-> Spend time on analysis -> Strengthen your strengths and improve on your weakness -> REPEAT


The author Abhishek Patil is the CEO and Co-founder of test preparation portal Oliveboard