The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) is an autonomous body that conducts banking exams for public sector banks in India. Among the various exams conducted by the IBPS, two of the most popular and sought-after exams are the IBPS Clerk exam and the IBPS PO exam. Every year, a large number of students appear for the IBPS Clerk and IBPS PO exams in India. However, the number of candidates appearing for each exam may vary from year to year.
IBPS Clerk and IBPS PO exams have their own unique features, and both offer different career paths in the banking sector. Probationary Officers (PO) selected through the IBPS PO exam play a crucial role in the smooth functioning of a bank and ensuring the satisfaction of its customers. While the job responsibilities of the IBPS Clerk primarily include the day-to-day operations of a bank, such as account opening, cash management and customer service.
Both these exams are conducted annually, and aspirants who wish to pursue a career in the banking sector apply for them in large numbers. In this article, we will compare these two exams on various parameters to help aspirants understand the differences between them and make an informed decision.
Job Profile and Responsibilities
The job profile of a Clerk and a Probationary Officer (PO) in a bank is different. A Clerk’s primary responsibility is to handle the everyday operations of a bank; on the other hand, a PO’s role is more strategic, and they are responsible for supervising and managing the work of the clerical staff, ensuring compliance with banking regulations and driving business growth. Here is a comparison of the job responsibilities of IBPS PO and IBPS Clerk.
- Customer Service: Both IBPS PO and IBPS Clerk are responsible for providing excellent customer service to clients, addressing their queries and concerns and guiding them through various banking transactions.
- Accounts Management: Both IBPS PO and IBPS Clerk are responsible for managing customer accounts, but IBPS PO is responsible for managing larger accounts and dealing with more complex transactions.
- Cash Management: An IBPS Clerk is responsible for managing cash transactions, such as accepting deposits and withdrawals, while an IBPS PO may not be directly involved in cash transactions.
- Data Entry: Both IBPS PO and IBPS Clerk are responsible for entering data accurately into the bank’s computer system and maintaining records.
- Loan Processing: An IBPS PO is responsible for processing loan applications and verifying borrower information, while an IBPS Clerk may not be directly involved in loan processing.
- Financial Analysis: An IBPS PO is responsible for conducting financial analysis to evaluate the creditworthiness and risk of potential borrowers and assess the financial health of existing clients. IBPS Clerk is not involved in financial analysis.
- Sales and Marketing: An IBPS PO is responsible for promoting banking products and services to customers and developing strategies to increase business, while IBPS Clerk is responsible for performing various clerical tasks such as filing, document verification and record keeping.
Salary and Growth Opportunities
The salary and growth opportunities for a PO are higher than that of a Clerk. A PO gets a higher salary, and there are more opportunities for growth and promotion in the banking sector. A Clerk’s salary is lower, and growth opportunities are limited.
The eligibility criteria for both exams are similar, but there are a few differences. To appear for the IBPS Clerk exam, a candidate must have a graduation degree from a recognised university and be between 20 to 28 years of age. For the IBPS PO exam, a candidate must have a graduation degree from a recognised university and be between 20 to 30 years of age.
The exam pattern for both the IBPS Clerk and IBPS PO exams is different. The IBPS Clerk exam consists of two phases – Prelims and Mains. The Prelims exam comprises three sections – English Language, Numerical Ability and Reasoning Ability. The Mains exam comprises four sections – General/Financial Awareness, General English, Reasoning Ability & Computer Aptitude and Quantitative Aptitude.
The IBPS PO exam, on the other hand, consists of three phases – Prelims, Mains and Interview. The Prelims exam comprises three sections- English Language, Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning Ability. The Mains exam comprises five sections – Reasoning & Computer Aptitude, General/ Economy/ Banking Awareness, English Language, Data Analysis & Interpretation and Descriptive Writing.
The difficulty level of both exams is different. The IBPS Clerk exam is considered easier than the IBPS PO exam. The questions asked in the IBPS Clerk exam are generally of a moderate level of difficulty, whereas the IBPS PO exam questions are more challenging. The competition level for IBPS PO is also generally higher than for IBPS Clerk due to the higher job profile and salary offered to the POs. The cut-off marks for both exams are released separately. However, the cut-off for the IBPS PO exam is generally higher than that of the IBPS Clerk exam, indicating the level of difficulty of the exam.
The amount of time required to prepare for IBPS PO and IBPS Clerk exams can vary based on several factors, such as the individual’s prior knowledge and experience, study habits and the amount of time they can dedicate to studying. However, generally speaking, the preparation time required for both exams is similar, and it can range anywhere from 4-6 months or more, depending on the individual’s level of preparation and dedication.
The IBPS PO exam is considered more challenging than IBPS Clerk, and it requires a more comprehensive understanding of various topics, such as Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning Ability, English Language and General Awareness. Also, the IBPS PO syllabus is more exhaustive than the IBPS Clerk syllabus. So, candidates who have already appeared for the IBPS PO exam may find it easier to prepare for the IBPS Clerk exam.
Hence, it is not appropriate to say that one exam is better than the other as both IBPS Clerk and IBPS PO exams have their own unique features, and both offer different career paths in the banking sector. It only depends on the individual’s interests, career goals and strengths to decide which exam is better for them.