In the last few days we at IMS have been flooded with panic calls regarding the change in the IBPS Mains Pattern and trust me, I am not surprised. But isn’t it much ado about nothing?

We humans have always been slaves of routine. We like to do things the same way it has been done for eons. We hate change and even a minor one can create ruckus in our lives.

However change is mostly not in our hands and often not favourable to us. We just have to deal with it positively!

Moreover the same change is applicable to all candidates and not just you. It’s an even game!

What has changed and how do you deal with the changes?

  1. Number of questions has decreased from 200 to 155 and the total time allotted to attempt the objective test has increased from 140 to 180 minutes.

This basically means good news for those students who have sincerely prepared for the exam. It suggests the exam is veering away from being a speed-based test to one which tests the student on the understanding of fundamental concepts of the subject.

The increased time limit probably indicates  a marginal increase in the difficulty level of the questions.

Basically that would mean it tests real subject knowledge and not tricks and techniques which are memorised by students without a real understanding of the underlying concepts.

Taking a cricket analogy, it is easier for a Team like Afghanistan to upset Team India in a limited overs match than in test cricket because the latter tests the skills of the team more. Similarly a student who has prepared well for the exam has a better chance of clearing it this time around. There are lesser chances that he or she will be pipped to the post by someone who just got lucky on the exam day.

  1. Descriptive Writing has been reintroduced in the mains carrying a weightage of 25 marks to be attempted in 30 minutes

This is also not something entirely new. It has been part of the exam in the past and it just made a comeback this year. Moreover those of you have prepared for the SBI exam would have already practised your essays/ letters.

  1. Separate section for Data Analysis & Interpretation has been introduced in the Mains

This area was anyway part of the syllabus even earlier (just that it was not a separate section) and the adage in the mains is to prepare on all areas and try to score as high as possible irrespective of weightage or marks allotted to each area (since the marks scored in the Mains is considered for final selection). So whether a certain area carries a weightage of 2 marks or 20, you have to give your 100% towards your preparation.

 4. Time allotted to various sections has changed

What you will have to focus on to get used to the change in time limits, is to attempt a lot of mock tests to get used to the new format.

So to summarise, this change in pattern basically augurs well for the student who has prepared well for the exam. So leave aside your worries and give it your 100%. All the best!


Here is a detailed comparison of the IBPS PO Mains Objective Test patterns for 2016 and 2017.

IBPS PO Mains 2016 – Objective Test

 Name of the Section Questions Marks Time Slot
(in mins.)
Reasoning Ability  50  50  40
English Language  40  40  30
Quantitative Aptitude  50  50  40
General Awareness (with special reference to Banking)  40  40  20
Computer Knowledge  20  20  10
 Total  200  200  140 minutes


IBPS PO Mains 2017 – Objective Test

 Name of the Section Questions Marks Time Slot
(in mins.)
Reasoning Ability & Computer Knowledge  45  60  60
English Language  35  40  40
Data Analysis & Interpretation  35  60  45
General Awareness (with special reference to Banking)  40  40  35
Total  155  200  180 minutes

Stay tuned for more updates on IBPS Exams!


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