The week before SNAP 2010

The SNAP test conducted by the Symbiosis International University (SIU) is going to be conducted on Sunday, the 19th of December. A few tips on the test and an analysis of the previous editions of the test below.

The Overall Picture:

The SNAP Test as mentioned on the official website is reported to be consisting of 180 marks. How these marks will be distributed this time will be interesting. While the 2007 and 2009 versions of the test had 150 questions, SNAP 2008 managed to spring a surprise by including two-markers across all the sections thereby reducing the number of questions to 135.

The paper is traditionally easy and the overall cut-off used to hover around the 45% mark (81 out of 180) in the pre-2009 era. This could be attributed to a fewer number of serious aspirants taking the test and the presence of a General Awareness Section for which very few strong aspirants ‘prepare’. Last year saw a rise in the overall cut-off to an unlikely 107/180 which surpassed all the institutes’ predictions. This was probably due to an easier paper and also due to the CAT fiasco to a certain extent as students might have been interested in securing a few calls. What happens this year will be interesting to see.

Quantitative and Data Interpretation & Sufficiency Section:

This section is nowhere near the typically feared quantitative section of the various entrance tests. Full of sitters, the key here is to attempt as many questions as possible in around 25-30 minutes and then move over to the other sections. A good hold on the basics is the only thing required to crack this section. If one is comfortable with the basic formulae and concepts, one can easily sail through the quantitative part of the section.

The topics commonly focused on are:

1. Ratio, proportion and variation

2. Averages, mixtures and alligations

3. Time, speed, distance

4. Time and work
5. Basic questions on probability and permutations and combinations

6. Basic geometry

7. Percentages

The Data Interpretation part, last year consisted of simple table and pie-chart based caselets which involved a few calculations. There was also a simple set on Venn diagrams. This part was also very do-able with a bit of application.

There were also a few puzzles/visual reasoning questions which made an appearance in this section. Again, easy-moderate difficulty level.

There wasn’t even a single data sufficiency question which made an appearance in SNAP 2009. But in the preceding years, there have been a couple of questions from this area.

Also, last year saw a couple of questions with incorrect options. Marks were awarded for these questions irrespective of the response and if one does encounter such errors in the paper, it would be advisable not to waste much time over such questions and move over to the next question.

General English Section:

This section consists of Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. However, the weightage given to the Reading Comprehension part has gradually reduced over the past few years. In 2007 what contributed to 4 passages and 19 questions came down to 3 passages with 12 questions in 2008 and last year’s edition had a solitary RC passage with 3 accompanying questions. This year might see a rise in the number of questions dedicated to the RC part. But then, even when it had a significant weightage, the passages were easy to read and the questions, barring a few which focused on the central idea and interpretation, were quite straightforward.

The Verbal Ability part, again focuses on the basic rules of English usage and basic vocabulary. A good reader would be in a good position to answer all the questions from this area. Last year, there were a few questions which required one to know the spellings of commonly used words. The fill-in-the-blanks questions require a basic knowledge of conjunctions, pronouns and verbs. There were a couple of questions which required one to spot the missing punctuations in a sentence. Also, there were a couple of questions each on synonyms, idioms and phrases, antonyms and match-the-following. A significant part was devoted to the sentence correction questions which were again, easy-moderate in nature. A few questions required knowledge about the basic figures of speech and were again easy for a prepared candidate.

But in the years before that, the verbal ability section used to have a fair share of moderate-difficult questions which could be cracked only by a few candidates. Also, there were a couple of parajumbles which appeared in both 2007 and 2008 versions of the test.

General Awareness Section:

Supposedly a nightmarish section, this section used to be the make or break section for many when sectional cut-offs were considered. But with the sectional cut-offs scrapped this time, as will be described later, one need not worry about this section anymore. But still, picking a few sitters and doing them correctly will surely fetch a few bonus marks thus boosting the overall score. This section has always had a good mix of both static general knowledge questions and current affairs and a well read candidate can hope to score 10+ marks in this section in almost no time.

Few of the areas which have been focused on in the past few years are:

1. Abbreviations and names of the various branches of science

2. Brands

3. Government Projects

4. Sobriquets

5. Sports events winners/record holders

6. World Organizations

7. Prizes

8. World’s largest/smallest/tallest/shortest

9. Popular inventors

Analytical & Logical Reasoning:

This section, which traditionally has had two-mark questions contributes to nearly half of the total score. The section does not vary much with respect to the difficulty levels as compared to the other sections but, the rewards definitely do. So, the most commonly used strategy is allocating a disproportionately high amount of time to this section and scoring heavily. Maybe due this reason, last year saw the sectional cut-off rising to a staggering 65% (39 out of 60).

The section had a few critical reasoning questions, a few questions on syllogisms, a few on alpha-numeric reasoning, a couple of visual reasoning questions, four DI sets and the rest being simple reasoning based questions. One of the sets was calculation intensive but the other questions were quite doable. One has to keep an eye on which blanks are missing in the syllogism questions. The options might be confusing and under pressure, one can go for the incorrect option. Also, for the critical reasoning questions, if the inference/conclusion of a paragraph is asked, it cannot be a sentence directly quoted from the paragraph.

Sectional Cut-offs:

The University has reportedly communicated to the associated institutes not to have any sectional cut-offs for their courses. Previously, SIBM-Pune used to have sectional cut-offs. But, this time they have made it clear that there won’t be any sectional cut-offs in the ‘Coffee with SIBM’ event, on their forum and as is evident from this query which is answered on the Directors’ Forum.

OMR marking:

Although a very negligible aspect of the test, it is very important to remember that the OMR sheet has to be marked with a ball-point pen and once marked, one cannot change the response, so one has to be a bit careful while marking the answers.

Also, in case one marks a wrong answer and becomes aware of it during the test, it is advised to mark another random option so that the response to the question is not considered and one doesn’t end up losing any marks.