SBI Clerk vs SBI PO — Major Differences & Similarities

SBI Clerk vs SBI PO: SBI Clerk Prelims Exam is over, and the next exam is SBI PO (Preliminary and Main). Both these exams open the doors of  the prestigious State Bank of India for you, but obviously at different job profiles. The syllabus for both the exams are broadly the same, but there are some major differences in the pattern and type and topic of questions that are asked in the Main exams. As you have just taken the SBI Clerk Exams, it is advisable to know what differences you can expect in the SBI PO Exams.


SBI PO vs SBI Clerk — Basic Differences

ExaminationSBI PO 2021SBI Clerk 2021
DesignationProbationary OfficerJunior Associate
Selection StagesPhase-I (Prelims)
Phase-II (Mains)
Phase-III (Group Exercise & Personal Interview)
Phase-I (Prelims)
Phase-II (Mains)
Phase-III (Language Proficiency Test)
Exam TypeOnline Except for GE/PIOnline
CadreOfficer CadreClerical Cadre
Age Limits21 – 30 Years20 – 28 Years

Preliminary Level Exam

The pattern of the Preliminary Exam for both the exams is exactly the same. Needless to say, you can expect questions to be of a bit higher difficulty level in SBI PO Prelims Exam (as compared to SBI Clerk Prelims)

SLName of TestNo of QuestionsMarks
1English Language3030
2Numerical Ability3535
3Reasoning Ability3535

Main Exam | SBI PO vs SBI Clerk

As you all must be already aware, Sectional Timing and Variable Marking Scheme has been introduced for the first time in the Main Exam of both SBI Clerk and SBI PO. Still there are significant differences between the pattern of the Main Exams.

1General Awareness (Includes Banking/Finance Awareness)50 questions (50 marks)


Time allotted :- 35 minutes

40 questions (40 marks)


Time allotted :- 35 minutes

2English Language40 questions (40 marks)


Time allotted :-  35 minutes

35 questions (40 minutes)


Time allotted :- 40 minutes

3Quantitative Aptitude*50 questions (50 marks)


Time allotted :- 45 minutes

Not present
4Data Analysis and Interpretation*Not Present35 questions (60 marks)


Time allotted :- 45 minutes

5Reasoning and Computer Aptitude50 Questions (60 Marks)


Time allotted :- 45 minutes

45 Questions  (60 Marks)


Time allotted :- 60 minutes

6Descriptive Test-Not Present-Present – 50 marks


Time allotted :- 30 minutes

* Please note that the Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation & Analysis section of SBI Clerk and SBI PO exam respectively are overlapping. There were around 10 questions of Data Interpretation in the ‘Quantitative Aptitude’ section of SBI Clerk Main Exam 2021 and likewise you can expect questions from Quantitative Aptitude in the ‘Data Analysis and Interpretation’ section of SBI PO Main Exam.


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Based on the number of questions in each section and the respective time allotted to them, let’s have a look how many minutes you will be having per question in SBI PO Main, as compared to SBI Clerk Main :-

SLSectionSBI ClerkSBI PO
1General Awareness (Includes Banking/Finance Awareness)0.7 minutes/question0.9 minutes/question
2English Language0.9 minutes/question



1.1 minutes/question
3Quantitative Aptitude / Data Analysis and Interpretation0.9 minutes/question1.3 minutes/question
5Reasoning and Computer Aptitude0.9 minutes/question1.3 minutes/question

As you can notice, you got less than one minute per question in SBI Clerk Main, but you will get more than a minute per question in SBI PO Mains (Except General Awareness Section). Hence, though the difficulty level of SBI PO Main will be more than that of SBI Clerk Main Exam, you will definitely be having more time in your hands to solve the questions.

Also, Descriptive Test that you wasn’t present in SBI Clerk Main will be there in the SBI PO Main Exam to test your verbal written communication skills (Essay and Letter Writing).

Salary, Benefits, Career Progressions

ExaminationSBI PO 2021SBI Clerk 2021
Basic PayStarting Basic Pay is INR 27,620 with 4 advance increments in scale of 23,700-980/7-30560-1145/2-32850-1310/7-42020Starting  Basic Pay is INR 11,765 with possible increments along the scales of  11765-655/3-13730-815/3-16175-980/4-20095-1145/7-28110-2120/1-30230-1310/1-31450
Gross EmolumentsTotal  pay inclusive of allowances for a probationary officer would range from  INR 68,333 – 1,08,500/- per month depending on place of postingTotal  pay inclusive of allowances for an employee of clerical cadre would be  INR 23,600/- per month in a metro city such as Mumbai
Career ProgressionStarting Rank: Probationary Officer
Promotion #1: Junior Management Grade Scale-I (JMGS-I)
Promotion #2: Middle Management Grade Scale-II (MMGS-II)
Starting Rank: SBI Clerk
Promotion #1: Trainee Officer (TO) following 3 Years of Service + Written Test & Interview
Promotion #2: Middle Management Grade Scale-II conditional on successful completion of probationary period
Highest Rank AttainableChairmanDeputy General Manager

It is extremely important that you start your preparation without wasting any time. To take standardized Mock Test (according to the new pattern) for SBI PO, click here