Quantitative aptitude is an important part of all major competitive exams. Examiners use it routinely to separate wheat from chaff! For those who are good at it, maths turns out to be a highly scoring section. Since you are here it seems you also want to learn the tricks of preparing for quantitative aptitude. So let us begin with the overall strategy on how you should go about preparing for quant section.
What do you need to start?
You need three things before you start preparing for quant section – sufficient time, right mindset and the appropriate books.
Time to prepare
On an average, any aspirant should start their preparations at least three months before the exam date. This includes sufficient time to prepare for all sections including quantitative aptitude at a normal pace. This way you will not have any anxiety and can really focus on your preparations. At a minimum a brilliant student may only require one month to prepare. But it is bound to increase your tensions. So better start as soon as you can.
Mindset before you start preparing
A positive attitude is crucial to succeeding anywhere in life. Positive attitude simply means that you mentally stay focused on your goal and you ACCEPT that with the right amount of hard work you can achieve anything in the world. If you are not feeling confident about yourself, you should simply realise that thousands of people, just like you have cleared this exam. So how difficult can it be? If they can do it, so can you. Right? With the right mindset half your work is done.
Books, Study material, Coaching for quantitative aptitude
If you are preparing for a specific exam, just look around this website and you should be able to find the right books. If you want to buy new books, you can use the links to buy them online at a discount. Otherwise ask around your seniors or your friends. Feel free to ask in the comments below
It is important you have books and sufficient number of previous year question papers and test papers for practice. Look around in the exam sections and download sections. Again if you are not able to find something, let me know in the comments below.
Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. You would be an idiot if you think you have done a good work by saving money on your books. It can mean the difference between clearing and not clearing your exam, so choose wisely.
If you think you need personal coaching, take it. The cost would be nothing compared to the salary you will be able to earn. Again a word of caution. Almost 80% of the time coaching simply helps you follow a study routine. You start following a daily routine of studying and practice. If you think you can study from books and are motivated enough to follow a disciplined routine, you can avoid coaching.
Know the syllabus for your quantitative aptitude section
A wise person has said that you should know the way to your destination. Your syllabus is going to be the way to your destination. That is why before you start practicing any questions from quant section, it is important that you thoroughly read about the topics which are covered in your exam. This will give you a basic understanding of where you stand and which individual topics are going to be more difficult for you.
Use the menu on top of this page to access syllabus for your exam. Go through the topics one by one and make two lists of topic – the first list should contain topics you think would be easy for you and the second list should contain the difficult topics.
Know the exam pattern for your quantitative aptitude section
Not all topics listed in the syllabus are dealt in the same manner. Some topics are more important than the others. Again at Competition Digest we have done a lot of work in analysing previous years question papers to understand which topics are more important.
Just do to the relevant sections (use the menu above) and compare it with the list you had prepared above. Now you have a clear idea of what topics you really need to focus on. You should be roughly able to divide all topics into four parts – easy and important (important meaning that a lot of questions come from this section), easy but not so important, difficult and important, difficult but not so important.
Your roadmap to preparing the quant section
If you really want to clear your exam with good grades, don’t just read through this article like a story book! I have tried to breakdown preparation of quantitative aptitude section into simple actionable steps. It cannot get any simpler than this ! 😀
By now you have made your lists and are ready to roll ahead. You have a clear understanding of what topics are your strengths and what topics are your weakness. Good job. Now we can start practicing the topics and then later we will move on to practicing full length question papers. But before that let me workout a smart strategy to help you prepare.
1. Easy topics first – In the previous section we had divided topics into four sections, now is the time to put that to use. Start your quantitative aptitude preparation with the the topics that are easy but important. This will help boost your confidence and you will quickly finish some important topics. After this move on to Important but difficult topics, then cover easy but not so important ones before finally moving on to difficult but not so important topics.
TIP: If you feel you are short on time you may decide to leave the “difficult but not so important” topics, but do this only if you don’t have enough time.
2. Clear your basics and practice – There are just two things you need to do to practice quantitative aptitude questions – understand the basics and practice questions. Try to understand the fundamentals of the topic. Learn all the basic formulas, and try to clear your concepts. Then practice a few solved examples. But before referring to the solution of solved examples, you should try to solve them by yourself.
If you are not able to solve the question, find out the reason why – are you not able to understand the question? You don’t know the formula? You know the formula but don’t know how to use it? Once you know the reason work on rectifying it. Once you have covered the solved examples, practice sufficient number of problems (variety of problems) until you feel confident about the topic.
3. Follow a good schedule and stick to it. Following a schedule helps you in more ways than one. Going to coaching class is actually simply following a schedule. It helps you focus and to keep on moving at a steady pace. If you think you can do it at home, you might not really need to join coaching classes. Decide to spend at least two hours a day to prepare on quantitative section.
4. Maintain a single book where you practice and take notes – This will make it very convenient to refer back and also revise as we will see shortly.
5. The secret no one will tell you – Practice and studying is necessary but it is grossly incomplete without revisions. I recommend that you revise what you learn several times. Here is a simple routine you can follow:
a. Daily revision – When you get up in the morning just take your notes from previous day and revise them within a short period of 20-30 minutes. Try to remember the problems you had solved on your previous day, the formulas you had memorized, any mistakes you did and any other notes you might have have. You should also revise whatever you have studied in a day just before you go to sleep.
b. Weekly revision – This will require a little more time than your daily revision. Ideally you should keep a day in the week to only revise whatever you have studied and use the remaining time to relax. Go through all your notes, formulas, mistakes types of problems you have studied over the week and see if you need to put more efforts in a particular topic. You should also use this opportunity to judge if you are progressing at a good speed and will be able to cover the topics on time.
Following this revision cycle will ensure that you remember whatever you are learning.
6. WARNING: I thought I’ll put this in writing because I have seen a lot of students approach math as if they are reading a novel. You can not learn maths by reading. You need to practice it. By which I mean you need to solve problems on a piece of paper using your hands. It is only then that you realize if you really remember a formula, or whether you really understand how a formula is to be used and so on.
7. Previous years questions – It is very very important to solve previous years questions papers. So try to solve at least 5 years question papers. Almost 60-70% of your exam paper will be directly based on previous years question papers. So if you are able to do these properly within the allotted time, it is guaranteed that you will clear the written exam.
8. Practice full length mock papers – Once you are nearing your final exam, you should try to practice 3-4 full length mock papers and time yourself. I will be writing another post on how to practice mock papers so that you are better prepared for your final exam.
If you follow all of these steps, I can guarantee you that you will be able to clear your exam with good grades.
Which books to use for preparation of quantitative aptitude section ? Click here to know
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