How to approach Basic numeracy?

Basic numeracy is an integral component of CSAT II. Almost every year, 15-20 questions appear from this topic. This is also one of the most dreaded topics for aspirants. The sheer bulk of syllabus might be intimidating.

Here is how to approach this topic.

First of all, there are around 15-20 chapters in this topic out of which few are highly important and a few are irrelevant. Here is the list of must do topics:

Must do

1. Number systems – Concepts on LCM and HCF, Even-odd numbers, basic divisibility rules

2. Algebra – Linear equations, Quadratic equations (You can skip inequalities)

3. Ratio and proportions

4. Percentages

5. Profit and Loss

6. Average – Including mixtures and alligations

7. Time Speed and Distance

8. Time and work

9. Sets and venn diagrams

Important topics

10. Partnerships

11. Interests

12. Permutations and Combinations

13. Sequences and Series

14. Clocks and Calendars

Not so important topics

15. Geometry


Area and perimeters

Volume and Surface area of solid figures


The must do 9 topics will garner you 70-80% of marks in
basic numeracy. There was hardly any question from not so important topics.
UPSC won’t ask formula based questions. Usually, the questions asked are logic
based and hence there is no question from Geometry or area & Perimeters.

You can do the most important 9 chapters in 15 days and this
will give you immense confidence.

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