SBI PO vs IBPS PO Which one is better ?


Probationary Officer or in short PO is gateway to Bank career. A PO can be elevated to top most post in a Bank. Currently there are two main exams for PO post. One is SBI PO and other is IBPS PO.

State Bank of India or SBI is largest bank of India. It has separate exam for recruitment of Probationary Officers. Note with recent merger of SBI associate banks the number of vacancies for SBI PO will increase. The associate banks positions will also be filled by SBI PO entrance exams only.

With this recent merger the network of SBI has also increased.Candidates clearing PO exam will be posted in branches of SBI (or SBI associates which is now known as SBI only).

In India along with SBI we have many other Government Banks. Most of these Government Banks fill in their Probationary Officer vacancy with IBPS PO exam. IBPS PO is a common examination process conducted by IBPS for recruitment of PO.

At present there are 21 nationalised banks select candidates for the post of PO using results of IBPS PO exams. IBPS only conducts written examination. Group discussion and interview will be conducted by the individual Participating banks.

SBI PO and IBPS PO comparison

Candidates preparing for Bank exams have many questions in mind. They want to know which bank they should opt for. Candidates are interested to know difference between SBI probationary officer and other Bank probationary officer.

They are interested in knowing the pay package offered by SBI and other banks. The different benefits and other perks. Also they want to know if the preparation method is different. The selection process of both IBPS and SBI.

All these questions are not answered anywhere. They have to many a places to gather the information. So we are writing this  post to give them easy comparison between these two important posts.This article will save you time and effort. You can focus on preparation of the exams.

In order to assist you and provide you all the answer to your such doubts we bring herewith a precise comparison of both the pattern of exams so that you can proceed with your preparation in a right manner.

Below are different parameters on which we are comparing both the posts. This will help you make your decision. It will also help you understand difference between two posts clearly.

1.Purpose of both exams

SBI PO : For  recruitment of PO only for all the branches of SBI

IBPS PO: For recruitment of PO’s for several nationalised bank’s together, at present 21       nationalised bank’s participate in the process. Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS)  merely conducts common written test.

Group discussion and Personal interview will be conducted by individual banks. Candidate applying for IBPS shall have option to prioritise banks as per their choice while applying , based on their score and their preference they will get call for further rounds of selection

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2. Possibility of getting Call for GD & PI

The possibility of getting call for GD & PI will be more in case of IBPS PO examination as compared to SBI PO. Incase of SBI PO, the number of vacancies are  limited compared to IBPS PO, as SBI recruits only for their Branches, where in case of IBPS several banks come together and make selection, hence probability is high in case of IBPS PO.

Moreover, In case of  SBI the ratio of Number of applicant to vacancy is very high. The ratio was 1200: 1 in case of SBI PO. This means for every single vacancy there were 1200 candidates appearing for exams.

In case of IBPS PO the ratio was 700:1. So the number of posts was more in case of IBPS PO. It means competition was less in case of IBPS. You have 500 more candidates fighting for a vacancy in case of SBI exams.This makes SBI exam difficult than IBPS exams.

3. Basic eligibility criteria :

Eligibility criteria more or less remains the same , with basic education qualification of graduation and in age criteria in case of SBI PO, the minimum age limit is 21 years where as IBPS PO considers 20 years of age. maximum age limit remains the same in both the cases.

So in most cases if you are eligible for IBPS exams then you are also eligible for SBI exams. In fact you should always fill in form for both the exams.

4. Examination Pattern :

The selection process for both the exams are same. Both exams have two written tests

  • Preliminary written test
  • Main written test

Candidates clearing the preliminary written test are allowed to appear for Main written test. Successful candidates in Main exams are allowed to appear for Interview.The selection process is same but there are some important differences which we point out below.

Written Test

The Preliminary exams of IBPS PO and SBI PO are same. Both of them have Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning Ability and English Language. But the Main exams are different.In case of SBI  PO exams , there is objective test  of 200 marks and descriptive test of 30 marks , where as in case of IBPS exam the mains comprises of objective question of 200 marks and there is no descriptive questions .

In the mains examination , the objective questions will be on reasoning , computer awareness, DI, GA/ GK and English. In case of SBI examination reasoning & Computer awareness will be in same paper, where as in IBPS PO exam there will be separate paper for both the section.

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I personally feel that  Mains examination of IBPS will be of lesser difficulty then that of SBI as because descriptive section will be a critical and deciding factor. The descriptive question are generally from banking and economy  in the form of  essay writing , letter , etc.


In case of SBI Examination , the marks obtained in the phase I written tests will not be added to in the total marks considered for selection , only the marks obtained in the mains will be considered along with the marks of GD& PI. In case IBPS , qualifying prelims will take you to main , qualifying mains will help you to qualify for interview.

It is also said , that weight age of  score of Personnel Interview is much higher than IBPS PO , generally the marks of PI in SBI PO is 100, in case of IBPS PO though the PI is conducted for 100 marks but weight age is 30%.

In case of Quantitative aptitude , in IBPS more questions from arithmetic section, whereas in SBI PO exams more questions are from DI section, hence level of difficulty is comparatively high in case of SBI PO exam.

For English section, SBI gives more weight age  compared to IBPS , they have separate descriptive test for English section as well.

Candidates appearing for IBPS PO must focus a little more on computer section, as it is standalone section where as in SBI PO this section is clubbed with marketing questions, so for SBI PO  a little focus on Marketing questions is essential.

5.Career path and Salary:

Career path of other PSU banks and SBI is same but there is variation in the pay scale as given below :

In case of SBI Po, the PO are paid 4 increments extra at the time of joining compared to IBPS Po, there will be around Rs.5000-6000 variance in the pay in SBI compared to other banks.

Though different banks have different structure for perks, but compared to all banks perks of SBI is more  viz newspaper allowances, conveyance allowances, furniture allowances , medical allowances, mediclaim, TADA amount,entertainment allowances, in all such allowances the SBI gives more benefit than other public sector banks, so if you square off the gross income of both SBI and Other public sector banks difference of around Rs.8000/- P.M will be visible and SBIans will be the gainer.

In all banks a PO can become top officer in a bank.So development path for a PO in SBI and other banks are same.

6.Work Challenges :


SBI being largest PSU bank with  large number of branches and huge customer base of all classes  so work pressure will be more compared to other PSU banks, number of customer to be handled will be more, queries and issues of customers will be different from one another , maintaining clam and patience will be more demanding in case of SBI compared to other PSU banks.

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As SBI branches are spread Far & wide all over country , you can be posted anywhere in India even in Rural and Semi Urban areas. Note this is one major drawback of SBI PO job. Many candidates do not prefer SBI PO job for this very reason.

Rural posting for three years or more is important to grow your Career in SBI. If you are not opting for rural posting then your growth will be impacted.


Banks in IBPS have major exposure in one part of India. They do not have that much exposure in other part of India. For example Corporation bank have deep roots in southern part of the country. But they do not have much presence in Northern part of country. Similarly United Bank of India has good amount of branches in Eastern part of India but in other parts it does not have much branches.

So if you are from Eastern part of India getting job in United Bank of India then higher chances is that you will be posted in that part only. Similar is the case with other Banks recruiting based on IBPS results.


Both IBPS PO & SBI PO is good job in their own respective terms,  you cannot categorically  decide which is the best one. As the exam pattern is more or less similar so you can prepare  for both the exams simultaneously.

Of course! for SBI you have to put extra effort and be more meticulous with your preparation considering  the level of competition  and level of difficulty. Both the exams are very popular among aspirants willing to joining Banking Industry .

Our Preparation Materials

You will find every thing you need to prepare for SBI PO and IBPS PO on this very site. Below are the links to free online tests, mobile apps and download materials you will need to prepare for the exams. I have also listed books recommended for IBPS PO as well as SBI PO. Note you can buy one of the books it will be helpful for both the exams.

IBPS exam papers guide free download

Android Apps for IBPS SSC Railway LIC exams

IBPS Banking Awareness Knowledge online tests

IBPS Computer Knowledge online tests

IBPS English Language online test series

IBPS Logical Reasoning online test series

IBPS Quantitative Aptitude Online test series

Recommended Books


Comprehensive Guide to SBI Bank PO Preliminary & Main Exam


Comprehensive Guide to IBPS-CWE Bank PO/ MT Prelim + Main Exam

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