With the Indian government expanding their financial services to Tier 2, 3 and 4 cities, the country’s banking sector is expected to create more than five lakh jobs over the next five years, says a recent report by Randstad. In addition, there would be enhanced employment opportunities in the private sector banks too.
Clearly, it is an exciting time to start a career in banking. There are mainly two categories of vacancies you can apply for – the clerical posts and probationary officer (PO) posts. In either case, you need to clear written examinations and a subsequent face-to-face interview, for the final selection.
The minimum and maximum age limits to apply for the clerical post examinations are 18 years and 28 years, respectively. Educational qualifications required lacks uniformity. Some banks may require a minimum of 40 percent while others might need at least 60 percent marks in 10+2. Another common requirement is a minimum 60 percent in Mathematics in the 10th standard. In addition, the candidate needs to be proficient in the local language of the state. Proficiency means, to be able to speak, read and write fluently.
For the officer’s post, the age limits are 21 years and 26 years respectively. Also, you must have a graduation degree to be able to apply for the Bank PO entrance examination. Some banks might only accept applications from the first class graduates while others may have a minimum requirement of 55 percent mark in graduation. Postgraduates might enjoy some relaxation in the qualifying marks. For some positions, a management degree or diploma is preferred.
Here are the tips to prepare for the bank exams in India.
1. Enhance your command over English
This will help in two ways. First, there is a section on English where the focus is on vocabulary, reading comprehension, spelling and grammar. Strong English language skills will help you secure a good score in this section. Secondly, if your English is good, it will help you read and understand the questions in other sections fast, because most exams set papers in English. That means good knowledge of English is a prerequisite to scoring high marks in other subjects, such as, mathematics and reasoning ability.
2. Learn some shortcut methods for mathematics
The mathematical problems you need to solve in a bank exam may not be the toughest ones, but it often boils down to how quickly you can solve them. Picking up some shortcut techniques for problem solving will definitely help improve your speed. It is never a good idea to try solving the sums in the traditional way. You can even consider taking classes for learning the tricks and shortcut methods for mathematics.
3. Reasoning is all about practice
Questions in the reasoning section would be simple. All you need is to prepare well by solving some test papers for each type of reasoning. Some common types include series-based questions, coding-decoding, syllogisms, and questions on seating arrangement or blood relations. A thorough practice will make you familiar with the different types and help you attempt the reasoning questions with confidence.
4. Focus on certain general-awareness topics
General awareness is a vast subject. However, when preparing for a bank exam, you mainly need to be aware of the recent international conferences and summits, awards and prizes, initiatives and welfare schemes floated by the government, sports tournaments, technology and science projects, books and authors. Most of the questions will be on these topics.
5. Boost your financial awareness
This section is not included in some clerical-level bank exams, but almost all officer-level exams have this section in the preliminary round. Make sure you are familiar with macroeconomic indicators, financial and banking terms, any recent monetary and fiscal policy announcements, market developments, and so on. You should also have knowledge of the Indian Banking System.
Typically, you need to clear a preliminary examination, a final written examination and then an interview. Each stage will be an elimination stage. Depending on your knowledge and skills, you should start preparing around six to 12 weeks in advance.