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Expert tips to crack the IBPS Bank PO exam

By Aditya Johari
September 30, 2015 08:20 IST
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The IBPS preliminary exam for probationary officers tests your English, analytical and reasoning skills.

All public sector units, except the State Bank of India and its associate banks, currently recruit their employees through a Common Written Examination (CWE).

The exam is conducted by the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS).

The preliminary examination for probationary officers for public sector banks will be held on October 3, 4, 10 and 11, 2015.

More than 15 lakh applicants are expected to appear for the preliminary exam this year, of whom only 2.5 to 3 lakh will make it to the main examination. 

The one-hour exam comprises three sections -- English, Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude.

Here are some tips that will help you ace the exam.

The IBPS Bank PO exam will be held on October 3, 4, 10 and 11, 2015.

How to prepare for the exam

With just a few days left for the exam, it would be apt that you start solving previous year's papers.

You can find many of them over the internet or books from any of the recognised publishers.

To prepare for the Verbal section, you can read a book which is slightly above your reading standard.

Read this book daily for 1 to 2 hours and if required, take the help of a dictionary.

For quant section, you should go through all the formulae and practice vedic mathematics tricks for faster calculations.

Drill yourself

Since you still have at least some days for the exam, we would recommend you to attempt some mock exams in actual exam conditions.

Attempting these exams will let you know your weak areas, which you can either work on or avoid in the main exam.

What to do on Exam Day

  • Do not write everything on the paper
  • Do not experiment in the examination hall
  • Don’t make solving any question a prestige issue
  • Last but definitely not the least, DO NOT GUESS

Tips to optimise section-wise performance 

There are three sections and irrespective of your strengths in each of these areas, it is important that you clear the sectional cut offs.

Reasoning Section

This section is your golden goose.

You can score 100 per cent, if you know how to optimise your time. 

How to attempt

If you are good at reasoning, you can allocate 20 to 25 minutes for it -- 35 seconds per question to attempt all the questions.

Focus on your accuracy, as there is negative marking and you will be wasting time if you don't prioritise the right questions.

If reasoning is not one of your strengths, reserve it for the end and allocate no more than 15 minutes to it.

Your main focus should be to clear the cut off.

Types of questions 

You need to identify the easy reasoning questions, so that you can solve them immediately and have high accuracy.

Easy question types include Classification/ Odd pair, Series Completion/ Analogy, Direction based tests/ Direction Sense Test, Number, Ranking and Time Sequence Test and Alphabet test/ Dictionary.

Once you are done with easy questions, you should attempt 'medium difficulty' questions.

Your score depends on your accuracy, practice and comfort level.

Some of the 'medium difficulty' questions include Syllogisms, Inequalities, Blood Relations, Coding Decoding and Data Sufficiency.

If reasoning section is your strong point, you must try and attempt complex and time consuming questions.

Examples of this type are Seating Arrangement, Complex Puzzle, Floor Puzzle and Input Output Machine.

Although the first two types (easy and medium difficulty) are sufficient to clear the section, solving the complex ones will get you a high score in this section.

Verbal/ English Section

How to attempt

If you are good with English communication, you will be able to complete this section with flying colours in 10 to 15 minutes.

I would recommend that you always start your IBPS PO exam with this section only.

An attempt of 18 questions with good accuracy is enough to clear the cut off.

This section should not require more than 15 minutes.

Types of questions

For Reading Comprehension questions, you should first only take a cursory look at the paragraph, then while solving question, read that particular portion of the passage carefully.

For Cloze Test, if you are confused between two-three options, then simply move on to next question.

By the time you complete the passage, you should be able to figure out the right answer.

For 'Fill in the Blanks' type of questions, process of elimination is the best method.

For Spot the error /Sentence Correction, speak the sentence in your mind, whichever sounds perfect is your answer.

Quantitative Aptitude Section

If you are weak in Quantitative Aptitude section do not worry, you are not alone.

Most applicants have struggled in this section. 

How to attempt

If quant is not your strength area, you should attempt it after the Verbal section or in the end and allocate around 20 minutes for it.

Your aim should be to clear the cut off.

Types of questions

As have been said before, you need to start with easy and scoring questions. 

You can easily find 15-18 questions of this type.

Some topics which fall in this category are Simplification, Problems on Ages, Percentage, Average, Simple Interest, Profit and Loss, TSD, Ratio & Proportions etc

Then there will be time consuming questions.

You should attempt these questions only after you have attempted the easy ones.

These questions can decrease your accuracy and eat away your precious time, however there will be 12 to 14 questions of this type, so you need to attempt them as per your comfort level.

Examples of this type of questions are Probability, Quadratic Equations, Mixture and allegations, Time and Work, Time Speed and Distance, and Number Series.

Data Interpretation

Use approximation as much as possible, especially if options are not close.

Do as more mental calculations then using pen and paper.

Round off the numbers wherever possible.

Avoid doing long calculations, they can eat up lot of your time, without giving that much reward.

The author Aditya Johari is general manager of MockBank.com, a Bengaluru based online test preparation company for government/PSU jobs.

Lead image used for representational purposes only. Image: Sahil Salvi

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Aditya Johari