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How To Prepare Quantitative Aptitude Section Of IBPS

Published on Wednesday, December 11, 2013
It is a common misconception amongst many aspirants that QA is the most “uncrackable” section of the IBPS exam. While I do not mean to say in any way that QA is an easy section, I certainly do not understand the excessive hype and panic it creates amongst aspirants. The truth is that a proper mindset and a bit of hard work can help an aspirant achieve a great score in the section irrespective of his or her past academic background. So I urge all future IBPS exam aspirants to get rid of the unnecessary fear and start preparing in a meticulous and confident manner. Here are a few tips from my side to all future IBPS PO/Clerical aspirants.

Tips for Quantitative Aptitude


At least 5 months before the exam, start your preparation. You should put in at least 2 hours every day for QA/DI preparation. If you miss out for some reason on a given day, make up for it on the other day or at the end of the week.


No matter what people say IBPS exams test nothing but your basic concepts on a topic in Quant. While for CAT aspirants Arun Sharma and Quantum CAT are great books, PO aspirants do not need to delve into such depths of QA. Rather, you can prepare very well from a book like Quantitative Aptitude by R.S. Aggarwal. It will help develop and test your basics without getting into unnecessary details. However, the ones who want to practice even more can do the LOD 1 questions of Arun Sharma and the introductory exercises of Quantum Cat. Do not waste time by doing tougher sums from these books as it is not required. For questions on number series, please use the R.S. Aggarwal verbal and non-verbal reasoning book – it has plenty of questions to practice. Non-science background students need to learn Permutations and Combinations and Probability. For that it is good to take the help of a tutor or a friend who knows the topics well. Revise a lot after u have completed all the chapters. It helps you build speed and familiarity. If you follow the steps mentioned above, questions on QA will be a cakewalk for you.

The need for speed

Speed plays a major role in both clerical and PO exams of IBPS. You are required to do calculations at lightning speed. It also is a major differentiator between a successful and an unsuccessful candidate. For this learn the tips and tricks of faster calculations from any Vedic mathematics book. You can get hold of the Trachtenberg book for speed mathematics. It’s a great way of developing speed and extremely fun to learn. Learn squares up to 50 and cubes up to 12 by heart. Additionally, learn the tricks to find out squares quickly. If possible you can get hold of the study material of any renowned coaching centre to add the finishing touch to your speed preparation. Do not forget to practice calculations every day. Do not lose touch with it. It will help you to quickly solve the calculation type questions and also forms the foundation for DI.

DI-Practice Makes Perfect

Data Interpretation questions can make or break a candidate’s chances of cracking the IBPS exam. At times the questions are lengthy – eating up a lot of time. However, I strongly believe the DI in a PO exam is easy in terms of difficulty. Familiarity with the basics of tables, line graphs, pie charts and bar diagrams and a whole lot of practice(making use of speed maths techniques) can help achieve a near-perfect score. DI basics can be learnt from the Nishit Sinha book on Quantitative Aptitude for CAT. Do only the Easy and Moderate Questions from the book. However the best source of practice for DI would be the past year questions of IBPS. You can get hold of any coaching institute material for reference too. Do 1 or 2 DI caselets every day.

Time and Tide Wait For None

While accuracy matters a lot in the QA/DI section, you must not forget in any way the fact that you do not have unlimited time for it during the exam. So, please try to time yourself even during practice. You must learn to answer questions in less than a minute. In no case should you spend more than 40-45 minutes on this section during the exam. You have other sections to handle too. So, keep a track of the time and stick to the sectional time limit while giving mock tests or solving previous year papers.

Final Tips and D-Day Do’s And Don’ts

If I can do it, so can you and yes I am an average student. Do not get demoralized at any time during the phase of your preparation. Remember, as a human you are prone to make mistakes and improve yourself in the process. Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts for the exam day that you should keep in mind: 


  • Do go through/scan all the Quant questions first and select/mark the ones that are the quickest to solve. Do them first and do the other ones later if time permits. 
  • Do the DI questions that take less time first. The relatively time-consuming DI questions should be done later. 
  • Do be careful enough to avoid the “speed-breakers” both in QA and DI. Identify them first before you start solving the section. They can reduce your overall attempts. 


  • Don’t look into someone else’s screen – you’ll not gain anything from it. On the contrary, you’ll lose valuable time. 
  • Don’t give more than 40-45 minutes(includes time taken to scan/mark questions) do the Quant section no matter what. U need to give adequate time to other sections to achieve sectional cutoffs too. 
  • Don’t get tensed during the exam. If the questions are difficult/lengthy, they are so for every other candidate. IBPS is known to surprise candidates with questions of varying levels of difficulty. 
  • Don’t be under the impression that you need to do all the questions in the section without sticking to the time-limit. Just stick to the time-limit and maximize the number of attempts within the limit. 
  • Do not have any preconceived notions about the cut-off as it varies from year to year. If it has come down this year, there is no reason to believe that it will not increase in the next year. So it is in your interest to maximize your attempts while maintaining accuracy. Obviously, your attempts will depend on the level of difficulty of the paper. 
The famous proverb “Rome was not built in a day” definitely applies to the preparation plan for the QA section of IBPS PO/Clerical exam. Patience, confidence, calmness and hard work are traits that will differentiate a successful candidate from an unsuccessful one. These traits can be developed by almost anyone. All you need is the will. All the best to all IBPS PO/ Clerical aspirants!

This Article is written by SUBHABRATA CHAKRABORTY who scored 101 in IBPS PO III.

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ramandeep singh

Ramandeep Singh, your guide to banking and insurance exams. With 14 years of experience and 5000+ selections, Ramandeep understands the path to success, having transitioned himself from Dena Bank and SBI. He's passionate about helping you achieve your banking and insurance dreams.

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