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Cracking Quantitative Aptitude & Numerical Ability for Banking Exams

A] Weightage of Quantitative Aptitude/Numerical Ability in Banking Exams

Exam Weightage to QA Section
(Objective Questions)
[ in marks unless otherwise specified]
Prelim Mains
SBI PO 35/100 35/155 (questions)
SBI Clerk 35/100 40/200 
IBPS PO 35/100 60/200
IBPS Clerk 35/100 50/200
IBPS RRB 40/80 50/200
RBI Grade B 30/200

As we can see above, Quantitative Aptitude or Data Interpretation based questions account for a large portion of marks in both prelims and mains of nearly all Bank PO/Clerk exams. Candidates often get bogged down by this as quant requires calculations but with practice and applying tricks, this section can be extremely scoring with a high level of accuracy. For this having a good idea about how to prepare for QA/DI is very necessary.

B] QA/DI Section Syllabus and Pattern for Baking Exams

Broadly speaking, the QA/DI can be divided into a few repeatedly asked topics and miscellaneous topics that appear from time to time but in a set pattern. Once, the syllabus and pattern is understood candidates must create a topic-wise strategy to practice and revise the concepts and tricks. 

I] Core Topics: These topics will definitely appear year after year in banking exam QA/DI section. They are usually of a standard level and with practice, these can be solved with ease. These are the main chapters and should be focused on:

Topic Number of Questions Expected Subtopics/Types of Questions
Number Series 5 Complete the Series, Fill in the Missing Number
Simplification 5 BODMAS Rule, Approximations, Square & Cubes, Surds & Indices, and Decimals.
Quadratic Equation 1-3
Data Interpretation 5-10 Subtopics: Average, Percentage, Profit and Loss
Question Type: Tables, Pie Chart, Line Graph, Bar Graph


II] Topics of Medium Difficulty:
These topics can be very scoring if the right strategy is applied. There is some overlap between this and the above section as questions of varying levels can be asked from the same topic.

> Average: Basic questions on measures of central tendency such as mean, median, mode and percentiles may be seen in this section. Questions on change in number of observations and change in average may also be asked.

> Percentages: These questions have a standard formula to be used and calculations are usually simple. Only understanding the question and being able to apply the same is required.

> Profit & Loss: Formulae are very important foe this topic. Formula for Profit, Loss, P&L percentages, S.P., C.P. etc. as well as discounting is important.

> Interest: Simple and Compound Interest formulae should suffice for this topic but candidates must take care of paying attention to number of months, Principal, Amount etc. Silly mistakes can easily take away easy marks here.

> Ratio & Proportion: These sums may be direct or are often clubbed with time and work sums (such as number of persons working and a particular task/pipes and cisterns)


III] Tricky or Difficult Topics

Topic Type of Questions Asked
Permutations & Combinations Letter Arrangement, Linear/Circular Arrangement of persons etc.
Probability Differently coloured balls being drawn out of a bag, Sides of a Dice, Picking Cards from a Pack
Time, Speed & Distance Questions on Train and Station; Police and Thief, Boat Upstream/Downstream etc.
Algebra Simultaneous Equations, Questions on Age etc.
Time & Work (including Pipes & Cisterns) Work Efficiency, Work Done and Wages
Mensuration & Geometry Questions based on formulae for volume and surface area for Cubes, Cuboids, Square, Rectangle, Cylinder, Sphere, Circle, Semicircle, Cone etc. Learning all the formula is a must for these questions.
Mixtures & Alligations Milk/Oil and Water, Purity of Mixture etc.


C] Sources for QA/DI Section in Banking Exams

A topic-wise approach is the most effective way to go about preparation. Various books and worksheets can be found for this purpose. Aspirants should solve one topic at a stretch with a timer and revise the ones skipped and those which were answered wrong. As for sources to prepare from, RS Agarwal and Quantum CAT are good books for preparation. Past year paper’s must be solved without fail as well.

Candidates must keep in mind that it is not necessary to attempt all the questions in Quant section. Sometimes, it is more effective to skip especially tricky questions as they eat away on precious time. Focus on topics that have been repeating themselves in a set pattern – these are guaranteed marks and can boost your score.

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