Vikas Choudhary, a Probationary Officer at State Bank of India shares his exam experience and preparation strategy here. This post will help all aspirants attempting or planning to attempt any bank po exams. So here’s his preparation tips and experience in his own words,
One fine day or not so fine day you’re sitting in your room and wondering what to do with your life and career. Well to tell you the truth nobody can tell you exactly how to live your life and which career to choose. I mean they do tell you this all the time but it’s really something for you to decide. It can be a mere stepping stone, or it can be something you want to build your life around. The same thing goes with any kind of career. Banking, probably the best part about banking is its timely delivery of results and jobs. So, if you’re looking for something quick in terms of job guarantee and promotions, banking is the place where you should start.
Where do we begin?
The Answer is simple, from the very beginning.
First of all, take a good look at the pattern of the exam you’re going to take.
They say the devil lies in the details and they say it for a reason.
Take a good look at recent years’ patterns. Scrutinize it, look for any changes that have made their way through. What kind of questions are being asked, what’s the probable cut off and always aim for higher, just to be on the safe side.
If it’s banking we are talking about, it’s very simple. Prelims is a test of speed and Mains is a test of knowledge and grit. A very common mistake we often make is focusing on what lies right in front of us and that’s preliminary examination. I mean Mains is usually after a gap of one month but that’s in hindsight. So, the best thing to do is start preparing for Mains from the day one. You have to assume that you are going to crack prelims or else you will definitely fall short in Mains.
Talk about prelims, it’s a mere test of speed.
Make sure you go through all the questions. So that no easy questions are left untouched. Believe me, you don’t want to miss the easy ones. A most common mistake with prelims is getting hooked on medium to hard questions and not being able to walk the cakewalk.
Since we’re in the middle of exam season, I’ll talk about the situation at our hands.
Dos and Don’ts for Bank Prelims
- A quick run through entire section to take care of easy ones.
- Round two for moderately difficult questions.
- If there’s still some time left behind, go for the hard ones.
- Finish all the questions that you can under a minute.
- Give 10-20 seconds and if it looks like it’s going to take another 50-60 seconds, leave it.
- Taking the bull by the horns. There’s absolutely no need to begin from the very beginning. Sometimes all you need to do is walk away unscathed from that one question. Because it sets the mood for entire section.
- In prelims, there’s no need or time to deal with the time-consuming problems.
- Remember, it’s a test of singling out the easy ones, better you’re at it, higher you’ll score.
Dos and Don’ts for Bank Mains
- First thing first, single out the easy ones. There are going to be only a few but don’t miss out on those ones.
- While going after a comprehension or D.I. or puzzle, remember there are always one or two questions you can easily salvage out of the rubble, even if you cannot solve it completely.
- Rest is just a test of your knowledge.
- Patience plays the most important role during Mains.
- Your pen shouldn’t stop before the timer.
- You might not get first 10 questions but that doesn’t mean you won’t get the 11th too.
- Never lose your cool.
- Before you start writing the descriptive paper, have a brief outline of what you’re going to write. It will keep digression in check.
Section-wise Preparation Tips for Bank Exams
The kind of linguistic problems you’re going to deal with in banking exams, you need to focus on honing your linguistic skills rather than focusing on grammatical rules. Read a lot, be it magazines, novels or any English daily, whatever catches your fancy. Two things happen, first, you come across a lot of phrases and sentences that don’t follow so-called grammatical rules. Second, it provides you with material for descriptive writing. Focus on comprehension because it takes a huge chunk, besides it has all the ingredients, be it sentence correction, finding grammatical errors or fillers. Once you start looking at everything as a comprehension, there isn’t much left to comprehend.
First and foremost, take care of standalone questions i.e. inequalities. The most amusing part is when people want to know how to solve puzzles. Let me tell you, everyone tackles puzzles in their own style and there’s no alternative to that. The best thing to learn about puzzles is to learn where not to begin. I know it sounds funny and confusing, but puzzles are earphones that you get after putting in your pockets for 2 seconds. Whenever you practice, always review and find where you should not have begun. Once you get that, half the battle is won. You cannot always find the optimum solution at the first glance. If you can visualize, which is great but there’s also limit to that. So always run 2-3 cases/scenarios in parallel so that you don’t have to do it all over.
Quant and DI
Same as usual, don’t you miss out on the easy ones. Want to increase speed? You have to get better at basic calculation. Sounds a bit childish? But that’s the only place you can improve in Quant and DI. There isn’t much to banking mathematics. It doesn’t seem like much at first but if you can save 5-10 seconds at a single problem, imagine the difference when it all comes together. The most important thing is, it gives you time to think about the problems rather than going head on.
Read, Imagine, write. Learn to write and give your thoughts a shape. Usually, folks leave it for the last month or so. So, start writing from the day one, ask your peers to give their suggestions.
Best Books for Bank Exams
For reasoning, magical book series i.e. K Kundan is a decent place to begin. I mean it has puzzles based on old concepts but you’ve to start somewhere. After that You’ve to depend upon guys like Oliveboard, nobody is that much evolving and anticipating in nature. Kudos to these guys.
For English, begin with enriching your vocab and Edgar or any other book meant for preparation of CAT should take care of that. Try to increase your reading speed. It’s the very first thing you need to take care of while starting your preparation. It will save you a lot of time not only in English but also in the rest of the question paper.
For Quant and DI, any decent book will do, just make sure to practice adequately.
About General Awareness, it’s a wild west situation, grab everything, leave nothing. Cover everything that seems important to you. Keep revising it. Always source your data from 3-4 different sources. I mean there’s no formula to this menace. Keep it in a rotation, especially during the last month or so.
Also, read his Group Discussion & PI Experience
Hope this helps. All the best!