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How to prepare for the IBPS Clerk exam in 2021?

by Intizar Ali
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IBPS stands for Institute of Banking Personnel Selection and is the conducting body for the IBPS clerk exam. The IBPS prelims exams are scheduled to be held in December 2021 tentatively. IBPS recruits clerks to various dignified banking organizations in India. Lakhs of candidates appear every year for the IBPS clerk exam. If you prepare seriously, you can easily crack this exam. This is a great opportunity to work in public sector banks. You can even crack this exam with the right strategy and plan. The number of vacancies released this year is more than last year. This means that the competition will be tough. It is expected that the level of questions in the prelims exam will be from moderate to tough. Such government exams are unpredictable, so it is better to prepare yourself accordingly. 

The most important and primary aspect of any exam preparation is to understand the pattern. There are two stages in the IBPS clerk exam:

  1. Prelims exam
  2. Mains exam

Both the exams are conducted in online mode. According to the latest notification, there will be sectional cut offs too. There will be a negative marking of 25% of the marks assigned in each question for incorrect answers. This will be followed both in the prelims and mains exam. The cutoff score of each section is different. The details of both the exams are as follows:

  • Prelims exam: This exam is conducted for a total duration of 1 hour. Prelims exam is only the qualifying phase for the mains exam. The marks scored in the prelims exam are not considered in the final merit list. But this exam is crucial since it is the qualifying exam, so you must prepare thoroughly for this exam. Questions are multiple-choice types. All the sections except the English language section are conducted in both Hindi and English language. There is a sectional cutoff of 25 marks and a sectional time limit of 20 minutes in each section. Candidates who crack this exam are required to appear for the mains exam.
SectionNumber of questionsMarks
English language 3030
Numerical ability 3535
Reasoning ability3535
  • Mains exam: There is a sectional time limit for each section. This is a computer-based online test and the questions are multiple-choice types. The final merit list is prepared on the basis of marks obtained in the mains exam. 
SectionNumber of questionsMarksDuration
General English404035 minutes
General and Financial awareness505035 minutes
Reasoning Ability and Computer Aptitude506045 minutes
Quantitative Aptitude505045 minutes
Total100200160 minutes

Another important step in exam preparation is to understand the syllabus. Many candidates make the mistake of piling up a lot of resources and getting deviated from the important topics. Stick to the syllabus and do not get influenced by the variety of study materials and resources. Always download the latest syllabus from the official website. Keep your resources concise and limited. Quality is more important than quantity. Since you have limited time for preparations, referring to a lot of books will leave you with an incomplete syllabus and hence low confidence. Once you have the proper syllabus and resources, the next step is to focus on your planning. Though your planning and preparation should be unique and must align with your conditions, here we discuss a few useful tips that you can consider to boost your preparation.

  • Read the newspaper every day. This will make you better in the current affairs and general awareness section. Apart from that, it will enhance your reading skills. Another important benefit of reading a newspaper is that it will improve your vocabulary which is an important part of the English language section. Always note down the new words that you come across in the newspapers and try to prepare short notes. You must prepare short notes also for general awareness. These will come in handy during your revision. 
  • Brush up on basic grammatical skills. Though English might seem easy to some candidates, it is a scoring section and you must try to be as accurate as you can. Solve practice papers regularly and do not skip the English section as it can make significant changes in your score. 
  • Solve previous years’ question papers. This will give you an idea of the difficulty of questions in the exam. This will also give you an idea of important topics that you must focus on. The more you practice, the better you get. Refer to reliable sources for solutions to understand how to approach the questions.
  • Reserve time for mock tests in your schedule. Candidates wait for the last moment to solve IBPS clerk mock test. This is not the right strategy and can lead to panic. You must solve mock tests simultaneously while reading. You can identify your weak areas when you attempt the mock tests, and you can go back and brush on those topics. The more mock tests you solve, the more confident you will get. Even if you do not score well, it will still improve your skills. It helps your mind to adapt to an exam-like scenario with limited time. This is the best way to practice time management. Since both prelims and mains have sectional time limits, time management becomes an important criterion for your success in this exam. Always practice questions in time-bound environments. This will improve your skills. 
  • Remember the formulas. Try to make a formula sheet with all formulas in one place. Accuracy is very important in this exam and since there is a sectional time limit, there are high chances that you might make mistakes in mathematical questions in a hurry. The best way to deal with this is regular practice. The more you practice, the faster you get. This way you revise the formulas again and again. Another benefit of solving practice papers is that you go through the shortcuts and tricks again and again. This way you do not forget them in the final exam. 

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