(And other topics of Quantitative Aptitude)

Compared to the IBPS Test, SBI Test gives more importance to Data Interpretation and Data Analysis. This is because, more than Arithmetic, it is the large volume of Data that a Bank Executive has to deal with, day in and day out. Ability to Read, Interpret, Analyze, Consolidate, Surmise etc. the large volume of data in the form of Reports, Tables, Charts, and Graphs is an important attribute. Hence the stress on Data Analysis and Data Interpretation, in preference to a Quantitative Aptitude Test. (Of course, some questions, 5 to 10, on other topics of Quantitative Aptitude, can also be expected.)

Some Pre-requisites.

1. Comfort with numbers Being Number-friendly. Here is an interesting anecdote:

We have heard of Srinivasa Ramanujan, most famously linked with a number known as the Ramanujan number. A story is that, once, Prof Hardy, a well-known mathematician of Cambridge University visited Ramanujan who was then hospitalised in London. Prof Hardy said that he came in a taxi, which had a very uninteresting Registration number, 1729. “No”, said Ramanujan, “that is a very interesting number. 1729 is the smallest number, that can be expressed as the sum of two different cubes, in two different ways.” From that day, 1729 came to be known as the Ramanujan number. 10^3 + 9^3 = 1000 + 729 = 1729 or, 12^3 + 1^3 = 1728 + 1 = 1729,

Let us too, toy around with numbers; even if no number gets to be known in our name, we can at least crack easily, the numerical part of the exam, without any difficulty.

2. Learn well, topics like Ratio & Proportion, Percentages & Averages. These will be used extensively in interpreting and analysing data.

3. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft once said, “If I have a tough task to be done, I give it to the laziest fellow in the team; being lazy, he will surely find the easiest way to do it.” Yes, (Be lazy); find out the smartest ways to do the problems in these topics, much faster than & ahead of others.

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4. Practise well and be adept in using speed maths / short-cuts relating to these topics. Some items you should develop speed in are:

Simultaneous addition and subtraction of up to six 5 digit numbers

  • Multiplication of three / two-digit numbers by three / two digit numbers.

  • Square roots of up to 4 digit perfect squares

  • Cube roots of up to 6 digit perfect cubes

  • Multiplication by 5, 25, 75, 125

  • Division by 5, 25, 75, 125

  • Short-cuts in division.

  • Conversion from Fractions to Decimals to Percentages and vice versa; and calculations using one instead of another.

  • Pythagorean triplets (Groups of three numbers satisfying Pythagoras’ theorem).

5. Learn by heart Squares of numbers up to 30 & Cubes of numbers up to 15 – (Stick the list on your study table for frequent glance & quick memorizing.)

6. Practice doing all calculations mentally as far as possible, without taking pen to paper. The moment you begin using pen & paper, you have begun to waste time; the greatest damage you can do to yourself, in a competitive exam of this type.

7. Practice using the method of Approximation / Substitution, as a quick method to find answers.

Tips for Interpreting Data

  1. Have a cursory glance at the given chart / table / graph and understand quickly what it represents.

  2. Check by a careful glance, and mentally, without doing any actual calculation, the units used, relation between the different units, and ensure that the appropriate totals of the columns & rows of the chart / table are correct.

  3. Some graphs / diagrams will give you the answer to a question, by a mere glance at the diagram. Practice to extract these answers merely by looking at it intelligently & without use of paper and pen. Using pen and paper where it can be avoided, is a waste of time.

  4. The Intellectual capability you develop during your preparation for the Test of Reasoning should come to your aid to understand and make deductions from the diagrams before you. Very often, understanding and interpretation of a diagram or a table or graph, is a matter of looking at intelligently, rather than doing certain arithmetical operations involving the figures reported therein.

  5. Some questions make you perform unnecessary steps or lengthy calculations. Practice and Experience will give you the ability to identify such steps and avoid doing them.

  6. If required to do calculations, do them using your knowledge of Ratio & Proportion, Percentages & Averages appropriately. Use Speed maths / short cuts / approximations / substitution methods to identify the correct option answer.

  7. Some questions require you to perform lengthy operations, resulting in wastage of time. The large number of practice tests you take, should give you an idea of such questions; avoid them, or keep them towards the end of the test.

Last, but not the least. Right from our pre-primary days, we were taught by our parents and teachers to attempt all the questions. Please unlearn this. Since, negative marks are involved, it is smartness not to invite negative marks, In the scenario, if you do not know an answer, it may be smart to leave it unattempted, rather than waste time over it and earn -0.25 marks for the final wrong answer. During the time spent to earn penal negative marks, you could have attempted other questions which would have earned you some positive marks. Besides, the negative marks would eat into or reduce the good work you have already done in other questions. Leave boldly, what must be left untouched. No need to feel guilty about it.

"Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right" - Henry Ford

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