What are the top banking exams in India?

By NIIT Editorial

Published on 04/07/2020

6 minutes

Owing to the security and stability associated with bank jobs, many find banking as a lucrative career.

There are as many as 22 major bank exams in the country. The difficulty levels, too, are diverse, with varying opinions about which bank exam is the toughest!

Here’s a list some of the most popular bank exams that attract the highest number of aspirants in the country right now-

a) IBPS exams

The IBPS (Institute of Banking Personnel Selection) is an autonomous body that conducts recruitment examinations for all public sector banks in India. The exams are conducted for various posts and profiles as follows:


The IBPS PO (Probationary Officer) is responsible for the business of the bank, supervision of the clerks and business development. The IBPS exam for the post of the Probationary Officer is conducted in three stages- preliminary, mains and interview. A candidate must clear all three to get selected.

The preliminary exam includes the English language, a numerical ability test and reasoning. The IBPS mains exams test your reasoning, computer aptitude, English skills, data analysis and interpretation and general/economy awareness.

ii. IBPS Clerk

An IBPS Clerk is responsible for data entry and other clerical works that come up in the bank.

The IBPS exam for clerk is also conducted in three phases of preliminary, mains and interview. Similar to the PO exam, the preliminary exam consists of English language, numerical ability and reasoning tests. The mains exam includes reasoning and computer aptitude, English skills, data analysis and interpretation and general/economy awareness tests.

A candidate must secure a minimum cut-off to get selected at his/her choice of bank. 

b) SBI exams

Although SBI is a public bank, it recruits personnel through its exam instead of IBPS. SBI careers are highly coveted, given the bank’s reputation. You can appear for the following SBI bank exams:


The SBI PO is responsible for the bank administration, supervision of clerical work and furthering the business interests of the bank. The SBI PO exams consist of preliminary, mains and an interview.

The preliminary exam consists of tests on the English language, numerical ability and reasoning. The mains exam has two sections: objective and descriptive. The objective section covers reasoning & computer aptitude, data analysis & interpretation, general/economy awareness and English language. The descriptive section includes letter and essay writing.

After clearing the mains exams, a candidate must clear a group exercise and interview to make it to the merit list. The final merit list is based on the aggregate score of mains exam and group exercise/interview.

ii. SBI Clerk

The SBI clerk is involved in data entry and direct interaction with the customers of the bank.

Similar to the SBI PO exams, the clerk exam will have preliminary, mains and an interview. The preliminary exam will test your English skills, numerical ability and reasoning. The mains exams cover reasoning & computer aptitude, data analysis & interpretation, general/economy awareness and English language in the objective section and letter and essay writing skills in the descriptive section.

c) RBI exams

RBI (Reserve Bank of India) is the bank to the Indian Government. Working for the bank means that you are directly in the service of the nation. Being associated with the bank is thus a matter of great prestige. You can appear for exams for the following positions to work with the RBI-

i. RBI Grade B Officer

The Grade B officer is an entry-level manager in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The Grade B Officer exam consists of 3 stages – A preliminary examination, a mains and a personal interview. They check your general awareness, quantitative aptitude, reasoning ability and English language skills in the prelims. The mains features questions based on economic and social issues, English language, finance and management, economics and statistics. The personal interview consists of questions on General Awareness and interpersonal skills.

ii. RBI Assistant

The RBI Assistant is responsible for data entry and other day-to-day operations of the bank. This exam consists of preliminary and mains level, both of which have to be cleared to reach the final level- the language proficiency test. The preliminary exam consists of reasoning ability, numerical ability, and the English language. The Mains exam includes reasoning ability, English language tests, quantitative aptitude, general awareness and computer knowledge. Upon qualifying the mains exam, candidates have to appear for a language proficiency test which is conducted in the official language of the concerned state.

d) NABARD Recruitment for Grade ‘A’ Officer

NABARD conducts examinations for an assistant manager (grade ‘A’ officer) consisting of preliminary, mains and an interview. The preliminary exam consists of the following tests- quantitative aptitude, reasoning, English language, computer aptitude, general awareness, economic and social issues, agriculture and rural development. The candidates who clear the prelims are eligible for the Mains.

The paper for the mains covers descriptive writing skills in English, economic and social issues along with agriculture and rural development for general posts and agriculture issues for candidates applying for manager agriculture post, and legal services: proficiency in interpreting various laws viz., banking, company, industrial and cooperative laws, cyber laws, commerce/property transactions, rural non-life insurance, direct financing, staff matters etc.

The final stage is the interview process, and the merit list for the NABARD Recruitment is prepared by aggregating the score in the mains and interview phases.

e) IDBI Bank Specialist Cadre Officer

The IDBI career is quite appealing, thanks to the perks associated with working for a government bank. For a career in IDBI bank, aspirants can apply for Specialist Cadre Officer in different functional areas.

The exam involves two stages: online test and interview. The online test consists of reasoning, English language, quantitative aptitude, general/banking awareness and stream-specific questions. One must clear all the stages to qualify for the interview in the final stage.

These bank exams see Lakhs of aspirants every year. However, owing to limited posts for bank jobs, there is fierce competition to make it to the final list. Hence, there are chances that you might not make the cut. You need not worry even if you don't; because NIIT offers a range of programs- from short term banking courses like Tally Accounting and Introduction to GST to full-fledged banking courses after graduation like PG Diploma in Sales & Banking.

Contact your nearest centre to know more about these programs. Our counsellors will also help you in understanding which course is perfect for you.

Reviewed on 19th July 2024

What are the top banking exams in India?