Monday, 11 January 2016

Tips to improve your Quantitative Aptitude in IBPS Bank Exams

Quantitative Aptitude - Tips to Improve Performance

IBPS Bank Exam Preparation: How can I increase my speed while preparing for the quant section for the IBPS Bank exam?

Hi, I am Anil Vaswani (Govt. Maths Teacher 2nd Grade) here. I am giving some tips for your Quant Section.

How can I increase my speed while preparing for the quant section for the IBPS Bank exam? 

Tips to master the Quantitative Ability section

Most of exams like IBPS PO/So/Clerk, club the mathematics sections of the exam with Data Interpretation & Analytical reasoning. In order to master this section of the examination, a few core skills need to be developed. These include a combination of accuracy and speed, the ability to perform simple/complex calculations under pressure and the ability to use reasoning while solving mathematics questions. Considering the nature and scope of these skills, practice should become the imperative for any student. The basic understanding and grasp of concepts is vital and should never be looked over. Along with these, one need to develop a certain set of advanced skills and learn a few short cuts so as to minimize the time you spend on each question.

Keeping an overall perspective of the examination in mind, there are a few factors that should always be kept in mind while solving questions and preparing for this section:

  • Quantitative Ability Section is combination of majorly simple concepts merger with advanced mathematics
  • The majority of questions asked in the exam are based on simple concepts, and this makes it an absolute must that one works on the concepts and does not fall into the routine of cramming questions itself. Also, while giving the exam, one should be on the lookout for these simple questions and make sure that one does not miss out these questions.
  • Accuracy plays a key role :One important determiner of your final score is your accuracy level. Any test is not only about the number of questions you attempt but also about the number of questions you got right. One does not necessarily have to solve all the questions in the examination to score well. Imagine the scenario where there are 30 questions in this section. One candidates , out of a total of 30 questions, solves 28 questions but with an accuracy of 40 to 50%. Net gain in this case: only 13 to 14 correct questions, plus a heavy penalty in terms of negative marking that pulls you down further. In case of other candidate , he solves 21-22 questions but with 90% accuracy. Net gain in this case: 18-19 correct questions accompanied with a small quotient of negative marking. Keeping an accuracy based approach can go a long way in improving your performance and improving your score radically.
  • Pacing yourself in the exam :Furthermore, an important aspect is moving onto the next question if you are stuck on a single question. It has been observed that certain students get stuck on one questions & spend 15-20 minutes on this question because they feel that can do this question. Thus although they are able to do that one question and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment, but however they fail to realize that they are probably missing out on 5-6 questions which they could have done in the same time. Hence moving onto the next question after spending the adequate time to a certain question is important. You can anyways come back to this question later, if time is available. Hence try to solve only easy questions in the section first & then only move to difficult ones.

  • Grasp over calculations a must : A good hold over calculation helps in decreasing the time spent on each question. Learning tables up to 25, squares up to 30 and cubes up to 20, performing fast multiplication and knowing ways to find squares and cubes of three digit numbers in a single step through Vedic maths helps you perform speedy calculations.
  • Keep in mind the importance of various topics : In addition to the, one should always know the amount of weight age one should give to each quantitative ability while preparing. For example, recent trends show that numbers, time speed distance, algebra and permutations and combinations are some topics that are frequently tested in the examination. Questions from topics like geometry, time and work and probability vary from set to set. However questions from topics like sets, clocks, piston and cisterns, binomial theorem have hardly been seen in recent years. This is not to discount the importance of these topics but one should always pay emphasis to topics which are in vogue.

Some additional tips for the section:
  1. One basic quality that operates in background while preparing for any examination is to be able to identify one’s strengths and weaknesses. A SWOT analysis (analysis of one’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) can go a long way in fine-tuning one’s preparation and help in identifying which areas to study and which to avoid.
  2. For data interpretation, strong base in calculations plus a way to easily identify the changes by looking at graphs is important. Rather than focusing on exact calculations, options should be kept in mind and thus certain leverage could be taken and questions should be solved accordingly. 
  3. Revising the concepts of all the chapters of mathematics from NCERT books of 6th – 10th standard could really prove to be very beneficial. This is can be really beneficial for those who have a weak base in mathematics. 
  4. Regularly practicing timed-tests really helps in revising concepts and perform better under time pressure. 
  5. Another thing to do is to make notes and summary of all formulas and shortcuts learnt, so that as and when you get time or feel the need, those can be revised. Do remember to work on all the important guidelines specified.
The above forms some fundamental tips that should be kept in mind while preparing for the mathematics sections of the examination, as well as when one sits for the examination. The essential tips given above are a reminder of the basic principles that we often overlook while solving questions in an exam and this can lead to ruinous outcomes. So in order to be successful, make sure you fine-tune your preparation using the tips given above.

Tips to improve your Quantitative Aptitude in IBPS Bank Exams

Improve Tips 1:

In no particular order, you could do the following things to improve your speed for the QA section

  • Throw your calculator away. It's your enemy and has no place on your desk or in your bag.
  • Learn square, cubes and multiplication tables and percentages/fractions. More importantly, just knowing them isn't enough. Start to consciously use this knowledge in your calculations instead of calculating the results every time.
  • Learn to approximate when possible and practical. Many questions can be solved by eliminating options through arriving at the approximate answers.
  • Use speed math techniques. You'll find these techniques wonderfully listed out in the speed math booklet by TIME, which is what I used. It really helps in improving your calculation speeds as many of the calculations in the QA/DI questions are simpler than they appear.
  • Use a timer every time you're practicing math. This will help you realize if you're actually making an improvement in your speed.
  • Keep practicing. There's no substitute for the sheer volume of questions you can solve on every topic, so that every kind of solution is at the tip of your fingers. You instantly know which question has what approach and also, you can judge whether you want to leave a question for later or not attempt it at all.
  • Memorise a few concepts like tables till 15, aquares till 25, cubes till 13, inverse to percentage till 25(like 1/3 is 33.33%). Apart from this learn basic Vedic Maths techniques for addition, subtraction, multiplication,etc. You can find them nicely given in TIME material. Use these concepts when you practice at home and during mocks.
  • Practice  oral calculation as much as possible. Your concept must be crystal clear. If you have any doubt the serch video of pushpindar gill on youtube. This video help you a lot.
Improve Tips 2:
Set a timer whenever solving quant(even when practicing.) Take small timed tests, 15 questions in 30 mins,etc.

Practice quick calculations(preferably orally). Memorize tables upto 17, percentages upto 30(1/x values). 

Workout many questions from specific topics like percentage, profit and loss, time speed and distance (these are the areas where speed matters the most.)

You do not need to calculate the exact answer everytime. Its an aptitude exam, not algebra.  Practice approximating calculations, and select the closest option.

Improve Tips 3: 
One of the best ways to improve your quant ability is to improve your mental calculation  aptitude.

When I was preparing for IBPS PO Exam, while travelling in a bus or while sitting in meetings where I felt I wasn't needed, I used to ask a question like 347*436 and then try and solve the question with an intentional handicap - no pen/paper and even without writing the question down using Vedic maths. So I actually had to remember the question and each digit of the answer right upto the end in my mind. Once I would complete the answer I would then use a calculator to check if I was right or wrong.

In the actual IBPS Bank exam (and for the mock IBPS), where I actually had a pen and paper with me, I suddenly saw my speed go up significantly.

In fact this exercise also is fun in groups where two people try and solve the same problem individually. You can then start benchmarking your performance and see if you are improving or not.

Tips 4:  
Solve as many sample papers in a real exam like environment. Though the D-day is one of its own kind you can do the following to maximize efficiency of your mock tests.:
  • Adhere to the duration. Use a clock and try to complete the paper in three hours.
  • No phone, no breaks, no T.v. only the test the whole duration (mostly three hours).
  • Analysis of how fast you attempted the paper and what were the short comings where you went fast, questions that took more time etc.
  Tips 5: 
  • The best suggestion would be practice. More questions you solve more will be your speed because solving more questions helps improve your approach to a question and you will know how to start a question which is the problem faced by most of the students. 
  • In exam most people waste their time mostly on recollecting the concepts they learned. If you belong to this category practice a lot of questions and revise all the learned concepts at least one time per week.
    • I haven't taken much competitive exams,but the competitive exams really need smart work than spending your time on a single subject or a question,first of all read the complete question paper and come to a conclusion what all you know and first try to attempt it,then go for the remaining and do it with a bit skill,you'll succeed.
Tips 6:
I presume you are interested in attempting a competetive exam set by an Indian educational institution.
You can try the following:
1. As many have already pointed out, practice is a key ingredient & i will second this claim too. However practice only helps when you have done  a number of other hings right too.
2. I believe that you can replicate what you have practiced in the exam if you are 'IN THE ZONE' during those crucial exam hours, I suggest that if you practice mock exams, do so at times (of day) when you will be giving your actual exam. Doing this will wire your brain to perform at its peak during those hours and you'll be comfortable attempting the exam.
3. Calm your nerves, a little meditation before leaving for the exam hall will help.
4. Go about solving previous years question papers. Also try to find out if there is set pattern that the exam follows & prepare accordingly.
Must for all IBPS aspirants:
  • Quantitative Aptitude - Free online Mock Test and Quiz - Click here

  •  Quantitative Aptitude - Notes Material and PDF Download

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All the best for your IBPS Exam!

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