How to crack Numerical Ability Section
As we have seen in the previous articles, the Numerical Ability section has 35 questions to be answered with in a time limit of 20 minutes.
In the last few weeks, we have focused on cracking various sections of the SBI Junior Associates Prelims Exam. We will be looking in-depth at the Numerical Ability section and the ways to maximise your score in it.
As we have seen in the previous articles, the Numerical Ability section has 35 questions to be answered with in a time limit of 20 minutes. There are quite a few significant changes as compared to the previous years. Let us understand these changes in greater depth and formulate a strategy to make the best use of them.
Sectional time limits
As we have highlighted in our past articles, the exam has sectional time limits this year. So, a candidate cannot save time in one section and use it in some other section. Previously candidates used to spend less time on Numerical Ability so that they can spend more time on Reasoning. This is no longer valid. Even if you are weak in a section, you need to use the entire time allotted to that section. You need to master a sufficiently large pool of topics in each section to utilize the entire time productively.
No sectional cut-offs
This year, there are no sectional cut-offs – only the overall cut-off matters. In the past years, candidates had to worry whether they cross the sectional cut-off in the areas of weakness. Quite a few candidates used to miss the cut-off in one area even though their overall score is above the cut-off high. Now, a candidate can answer the section with the objective of maximizing the overall score and get as many as possible in the individual sections.
In the past years, a candidate who is weak in mathematics had to worry whether they score at least 10 or marks in Numerical Ability section. This used to force them to attempt more questions than they could. This time, candidates can try scoring marks to the best of their abilities without worrying about the sectional cut-off. They can focus their attention on answering the 8 or 10 questions that they know well instead of forcing themselves to attempt 15 or more questions.
No negative marks
As per the notification, we get an impression that they might not be any negative marks. The moment you enter the examination hall, this will be the first instruction that you need to look for. In case there are no negative marks, it is essential that you mark you answer for every single question. The strategy will be completely different in case they mention anything about negative marks.
In Numerical Ability, there is very little chance of getting answers without solving them. So, in case there are no negative marks, try to solve and mark as many as you can and then mark some option for the rest of the questions. You will need to budget some time towards the end of the section to mark answers for questions that you haven’t solved.
In case you are decently sure about an answer, but you don’t haven’t completed the calculation, you get a chance to take some risk. However, do this only in your areas of your strength. Do this only a small number of times. Even in exam without negative marks, you don’t want to get zero marks for a question when you can get one mark by spend 10 more seconds.
Putting all this together
We need to answer 35 questions in 20 minutes which is a very high-pressure task. The first step in your preparation is to get used to this kind of time pressure. Plan to attempt only about 20 questions. Which means that you need to select 15 questions for leaving or for guessing in case there are no negative marks. Decide on a few question types that you must answer. Try to identify and attempt them before
you look at any other question. The time you spend in reading questions and leaving them is highly unproductive. You won’t even realize that you are wasting time. So, don’t keep reading the question unless they are part of your plan. Here are a few areas that you can focus on during the test.
- There will be about 5 questions based on BODMAS. These questions don’t require much background knowledge. These need to be attempted as soon as possible.
- After these, look for the questions on number series and finish them off. There will be about 5 such questions which can be answered even by those who aren’t very comfortable with mathematics in general.
- The next set to attempt will be the questions on simplifications using basic algebraic identities. These are again very predictable and will be like the questions that you come across in the various mock exams.
- Once you are done with the above areas, you need to decide on the next area to attack. Either you can look at completing one set of Data Interpretation or you can look at completing the questions on Arithmetic. In case you are strong at mathematics, you can even consider the questions on pure math.
- By focusing your attention on the right areas – during the preparation and during the test, you will be able to score very well in this exam. Do make sure that you are practicing the mock exams on portals like conduiraonline.com to convert your dream into a reality. All the very best.
This article - authored by Mr Adithya Lanka, was originally published in Telangana Today on 19th February 2018.