The Intelligence Bureau ( Ministry of Home Affairs ) conducts the ACIO exam for recruitment of assistant central intelligence officers. It is a Grade – II, Group – C ( Non-gazetted, Non-ministerial ), executive post with the Intelligence Bureau.

It is a very prestigious exam similar to other government exams such as the SSC CGL. When it comes to exam pattern, the sections / syllabus / topics are similar however, the presentation is differs. Thus, the exam attempt strategy varies accordingly.

In this post we would discuss each of the sections of the IB ACIO exam in detail. We would take a look at the common question types and provide preparation tips for the same. Let us first take a look at the examination pattern.

IB ACIO Exam 2017 : Exam Pattern

IB ACIO Tier-I Exam : Paper Pattern ( Objective Type )

Section No. Of Questions Marks Time
General Awareness 25 25 60 minutes
Quantitative Aptitude 25 25
Logical/Analytical Ability 25 25
English Language 25 25
Total 100 100

*There will be negative marking of ¼ mark for each wrong answer.

IB ACIO Tier-II Exam : Paper Pattern ( Descriptive Type )

Section Marks Time
Essay Writing 30 60 minutes
English Comprehension & Précis Writing 20
Total 50
  • Only those candidates would be called for Tier-II exam who qualify a certain standard in Tier-I. For Tier-II examination, there is a minimum cut off of 33%.
  • On the basis of their combined performance in Tier-I and Tier-II, the candidates would be short listed for the interview.

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  • The final selection would be made on the basis of combined performance in all the selection stages.

IB ACIO Exam 2017 : General Awareness Section

In this section most of the questions would be related :

  • Security issues
  • Geo-political issues
  • Social issues
  • Issues related to war, scams etc.
  • About intelligence agencies like CIA, IB, KGB etc.

It is important to understand the issues along with knowing the “what-s” and the “when- s”. Reading newspapers regularly should help you cover all the necessary current affairs.

Other topics that you should prepare are :

  • History
  • Polity
  • Geography
  • Culture

For this, the best resource would be the NCERT books.

IB ACIO Exam 2017 : Quantitative Aptitude Section

The quants are similar to the ones asked in the SSC CGL paper. The difficulty level is also found to be more or less the same. One can expect some direct questions. Also, the questions in the IB ACIO exam tend be more tricky than lengthy. Hence, it is a good idea to have a stronghold over the basics and then move on to keeping short tricks handy.

Some important topics for the quant section of the IB ACIO 2017 exam are mentioned below.

  • Simplification / Approximation
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Number Series
  • Averages
  • Time, Speed and Distance
  • Age Based Problems
  • Averages, Mixtures & Alligation
  • SI & CI
  • Percentages, Partnerships, Profit & Loss
  • Time & Work

IB ACIO Exam 2017 : English Language Section

The questions types in this section can be broadly categorized under 4 main categories.

  • Grammar : Error Spotting, Phrase Replacement, Fill in the Blanks, Active & Passive Voice, Direct & Indirect Speech
  • Vocabulary : Phrase Replacement, Error Spotting, Cloze Test, Spellings, Synonyms & Antonyms, Phrase – Idiom Meaning, One Word Substitution, Fill in the Blanks
  • Reading Comprehension : Vocabulary-based, Fact-based and Inference-based
  • Verbal Ability : Para Jumbles and Sentence Jumbles

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One must realise that scoring in the English section is always easier as it is less time consuming. However, there is a caveat : one MUST establish a stronghold over basics such as grammar and vocabulary. In the following section, we share some tips for the RC section. Many people face problems here, so read the following tips to ace your RCs.

  1. Strictly stick to what is given in the passage and assume NOTHING else; even if it is true in day today situations. Do NOT make any assumptions whatsoever.
  2. It is essential to balance speed and accuracy to score well in any competitive exam. The best way in which you can gauge this is via practicing multiple mock tests. Mock tests not only condition you for the real time exam but also help you analyze your areas of strength and weaknesses.
  3. RC passages can range from a variety of topics such as: Philosophy, Psychology, Economics, Politics or even Science. We never know what might come our way. Hence, it is important that we establish a level of comfort with all such genres by reading from multiple sources. Newspapers, especially the editorials and the weekend specials are a good place to start.
  4. A major problem that all candidates face while solving RC questions is that they get confused between 2 options. This happens because we read to understand only what the statements say; whereas the RC questions demands our understanding of the writer’s/author’s perspective as well (this is known as reading between the lines).

IB ACIO Exam 2017 : Logical / Analytical Ability Section

Important topics for the reasoning section.

  • Similarities and Differences
  • Analogies
  • Spatial Visualization and Orientation
  • Problem Solving
  • Analysis
  • Judgement
  • Decision Making
  • Relationship Concepts
  • Arithmetic Reasoning
  • Verbal and Figure Reasoning

General Tips

  1. We suggest the following preparation strategy :-
Brush up concepts from NDMIAS IB Early Birds Study Modules -> Practice NDMIAS Early Bird Mock Tests Questions -> Solve Previous year question papers -> Revise -> Take Early Birds Full Mock Tests 

  2. After learning each topic, take a sectional topic to measure your progress. Continue learning and  practicing till you’re thorough in that concept and then move on to the next one.

     3. Chances of questions similar to ones that appeared in 2016 appearing in the 2017 exam are high. Solving previous year reasoning question paper will familiarize you with the question patterns and difficulty levels. 

4. Revision is important to retain the concepts learnt. Revise each concept 2-3 times before the exam. It’s also important that you practice after revising each topic to master it.

5. Take full-length mock tests after your preparation to measure your progress. Mock tests provide you instant feedback in the form of analytics, which will help you determine your speed & accuracy in solving questions and identify your strong and weak areas. You can also use your performance analysis to fine-tune your preparation by practicing more questions from topics you’re weak or slow at.

Hope this helps.

All the best



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