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Essential tips for solving your banking exam paper

Banking is one of the fastest growing sectors and is one of the most preferred avenues of employment in India. Banking sector index has grown at a Compounded Annual Rate of over 51 percent since 2001. In the next five years, banks are expected to recruit almost 7.5 lakh people. It is because of its compensation schemes, job security, housing and medical facilities that the sector has always been attractive for job seekers.
As large number of officers, clerks and other staff will retire over the next two years; about 80,000 bank jobs are expected to open at public sector banks in the country, including SBI. Getting employed in a public sector bank will become more rigorous, with the nodal selection body introducing a third layer to the hiring process to eliminate not-so-serious candidates and prevent impersonation. Banks excluding SBI are estimated to hire 20,000 officers and 30,000 clerks next year. For this financial year, IBPS has cleared the recruitment of 16,344 officers, 3,784 specialist officers and 30,683 clerks in state-run banks. About 1.22 crores candidates registered with the IBPS over the past three years and 86 lakh turned up to take the common test. During this period, over 99.5 lakh candidates signed up for SBI jobs and 66 lakh of them appeared for the exam.

There are many entrance level and aptitudes taken by different banks for recruitments. From Probationary Officer to Clerical staff, Regional Rural Banks to Private Banks.

IBPS and SBI conducts the CWE Probationary Officer/MT exam for the Recruitment of Probationary Officer and Management Trainees, CWE Clerk for the Recruitment of Clerical Assistants, CWE Specialist Officer for the Recruitment of IT, Law, Engineering, Marketing and Other Professionals and CWE RRB Officer and Assistants for the Recruitment of Officer and Officer Assistants to Regional Rural Banks.

Apart from IBPS and SBI there are some more Banking Examinations like India Post Payments Bank Limited (IPPB), Bank of Maharashtra PO and Clerk and bank exams governed by NABARD.

All the above examinations divided into two parts Tier 1 & Tier 2 as Tier 1 called Pre exam and Tier 2 called Mains Exam.

If you are one of the aspirants who are planning to take banking exams in coming months, then you need to prepare a blueprint to guide your preparation. This will channelise your efforts in the right direction and take you much closer to success. Follow the tips mentioned below:

English Language: Verbal ability tests comprehending skills and your ability to interpret information given in English. While you need to have good grammar and vocabulary basics, it is vital that you have a good reading habit.

Proficiency in Cloze test, Para Jumble, Reading comprehension is developed not only through practice but reading as well. Read from as many diverse sources as possible and understand what you read. Try to improve your understanding of Economics and banking terminology and concepts. Be well versed with frequently used grammar rules in these exams such as tenses, preposition, subject-verb agreement and parts of speech errors. This is one topic where you can be sure about your answer provided you have followed it thoroughly.

It is always advised that you read the sentence carefully while attempting grammar questions as you might intuitively get your answer without knowing the rule being applicable. For RC skim through the passage, read the questions and then read the relevant parts thoroughly – this technique attempts to save considerable time and give you a leeway to focus extra time on other questions. Certain words in the passage are highlighted and their synonym/antonym is to be found. This synonym/antonym has to be with reference to the usage of that word in the passage. So, you need to read the relevant part of the passage and identify the synonym/antonym in the context of the passage.

Do read that part carefully because it could be used figuratively or metaphorically by the author and hence could have different meaning from the literal meaning of the word. Rather than focusing on mugging up numerous synonyms and antonyms of a particular word, try to learn the word with its shades of usage and collocations.

Quantitative Aptitude: Start your quantitative section with questions from probability, quadratic equations, approximation, arithmetic topics like time and work, time speed distance, mixtures, number series. These questions are generally easy to solve, require less time and you can easily achieve high accuracy. Questions from Simplification, Arithmetic Topics like Problems on Ages, Percentage, Average, SI and CI ,Profit and Loss, Ratio are difficult than above and may require more time to solve. Attempt them after solving first category questions.

Data Interpretation (DI) questions are going to play important role in improving your sectional and overall performance. As speed is an important factor in BANK exams, always used a stopwatch while solving them. For DI, learn Vedic Mathematics to improve speed. This section is time-consuming and hence, try to first identify the easier cases in the mock tests. Practise as many types of problems as you can so that you are prepared for anything.

Reasoning Ability: While solving this section – Do not assume any information. There are a few key words that change the whole meaning of the sentence or the question. For example, words such as all”, some”, none”, at least”, at most”, etc. are important. Not reading or forgetting these words may lead to incomplete or improper understanding of the question. There are always a few simple questions hidden between difficulty questions. Be on a look out for these questions and solve them. Compartmentalisation of topics is very important. One must know the topics one is comfortable with – from least to most. One also needs to know as to what could be the level of difficulty of questions one can handle in an examination scenario.

Use the last few days to formulate your strategy to attempt questions based on this understanding. Keep a notebook with yourself where you write important points and formulas. Take as many full length mock tests in actual test condition. That will help out on overall performance as it gives an idea of time management and difficulty of all topics. Review all the tests immediately to identify your weaknesses and work on them.

Mock tests help students identify their strong and weak points. Try different approaches during the few mock tests by changing the difficulty of the question paper and find the best approach for them. Section wise mock tests may also be helpful in this regard. Avoid any guess work and risky shortcuts.

General Knowledge: Besides reading national newspapers daily and updating yourself on current affairs on monthly basis make it a point that you dont miss any update regarding new appointments, who is who, prizes and awards, international summits, conferences, government welfare schemes and initiatives, sports tournaments, science and technology projects, books and authors and international organisations.

Last but not the least, keep your morale high while preparing, exude positive energy and shoot at the aim with 100 percent energy.

The author is Gaurav Goel, co-founder, TopRankers

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