General Intelligence and Reasoning- Syllabus and Tips to improve your skills for KPSI

General Intelligence is a topic you need to be familiar with when you are dreaming of becoming a PSI officer. In Karnataka PSI exam paper 2, under the current Affairs section you will be expected to answer general intelligence questions. So in this blog you will learn about general intelligence, and ways to improve your general intelligence and reasoning skills which helps your preparation move faster. For PSI aspirants OliveBoard has started PSI exam paper 1 course, you can visit our visit our Karnataka exams section for more information.

General intelligence

Basically, general intelligence is defined as a construct composed of different types of cognitive skills. Cognitive abilities enable people to acquire knowledge and to solve problems. So in the PSI exam through the general intelligence and reasoning they will test your mental ability and problem solving capabilities. 

Now you might be wondering what cognitive ability is? As defined by the Oxford University Press, Cognition means an action of gaining knowledge through experience, senses and thought. Now Cognitive ability means if you are able to acquire knowledge and sense of the information given in the general intelligence questions. These general intelligence questions test your numerical, mechanical and verbal abilities. Reasoning is the main aspect of general intelligence. Hence, general intelligence and reasoning is very important when it comes to any competitive exam. General intelligence and reasoning is a common subject in almost every competitive exam. 

As the PSI exam paper is for 150 marks you can’t take general intelligence easily. You need to practice and learn about the general intelligence questions

The General Intelligence and reasoning syllabus for PSI exam 

  • Data Interpretation.
  • Coding & Decoding
  • Mixture and Alligation.
  • Boats and Streams.
  • Simple & Compound Interest.
  • Time and Work.
  • Discounts.
  • Average.
  • Number System.
  • Profit and Loss.
  • Time and Distance.
  • Problems on Trains.
  • Percentages.
  • Ratios and Proportion.
  • H.C.F. and L.C.M.
  • Pipes and Cisterns.
  • Problems in Ages.
  • Clocks and Calendars.
  • Number Series 
  • Alphabet Series 

These above mentioned topics will be covered for the general intelligence and reasoning section. 

Core Components of the General Intelligence

Various factors that contribute to general intelligence. Based on the write up of Kendra chelly which was reviewed by the Phd scholar David Susman there are 5 components which contribute to the general intelligence.

  • Fluid reasoning 
  • Knowledge 
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Visual-Spatial Reasoning
  • Working Memory 

Fluid Reasoning – Thinking logically and solving problems in new situations is related to this ability of Fluid reasoning 

Knowledge– It can be compared to crystallized intelligence, which defines a person’s general understanding of a wide range of subjects.

Quantitative Reasoning– This is the ability of a person to solve problems which includes numerals or numbers 

Visual-Spatial Reasoning– This is the ability of an individual to interpret and manipulate the visual information given in the general intelligence questions. In the PSI exam sometimes a chart or graph may be given and you need to interpret and solve the given general intelligence and reasoning questions

Working Memory–  This is the test of short term memory. Such as listing down the items you just saw. 

These may be the components which contribute to the general intelligence but in the PSI exam general intelligence and reasoning section, you broadly require your Quantitative reasoning, Knowledge and fluid reasoning. 

How to Improve your General Intelligence and reasoning ability 

There is nothing a man can’t do. If you have the zeal to do something you will do it without doubt. The PSI exam has general intelligence questions but you need to improve your general intelligence and reasoning skills for your further usage as well. These skills help your brain stay active. So how can someone improve their general intelligence abilities? 

The five simple things you can do to improve your general  intelligence are:

  • Involve in new things
  • Give a dare to yourself!
  • Think Innovatively 
  • Opt for tougher ways
  • Connect with the world 

As listed by the science writer Andrea Kuszewski these five things will help you brush your general intelligence and reasoning skills.

Involve in new things

If you engage yourself with new things your mind responds well and it starts seeking and receiving new information. This helps your brain to increase its neural activity which makes it more active. Our brain is capable of doing more than what we are doing and you need to fulfill the need of your brain so that it can work efficiently. If you are involved with new things or hobbies or activities your brain develops interest in learning and helps your general intelligence and reasoning ability.   

Give a dare to yourself

Dare yourself to solve problems and engage yourself with brain challenging activities. To increase your general intelligence and reasoning skills challenge yourself in solving games like sudoku. There are significant studies which implies that if you engage yourself with only one type of such activities won’t help your general intelligence to improve. Once you have mastered playing certain games, move to the other games. This change and new learning and new challenges helps your problem solving abilities. 

Think Innovatively 

What is the point if you have the same way of thinking? How can anyone improve their general intelligence and reasoning skills in this way? To solve the general intelligence questions you need to think creatively. You might have heard about the phrase “Out of the box thinking” in order to be able to think out of the box, you need to change the way you think. Even for the smaller things try to approach in a different way. 

Opt for tougher way

Lethargy has made even our brain lethargic. In order to make your brain active you need to stop opting for easier ways of work. Try some difficult way of doing things at regular intervals. Force your brain to do certain tasks differently. This way helps your brain to bring options to solve a problem and then you can solve the general intelligence questions easily. 


Connect with people. Talk to your friends and discuss such general intelligence questions. See how they are approaching a problem. Don’t just discuss for answers, discuss the way in which  they solved the problem. This way you can explore different types of approaches to a single problem. You can improve your general intelligence and reasoning skills if you involve yourself with things which make you think, act and solve problems. 

Some activities to Improve reasoning skills

Engaging yourselves in activities that will invokes critical thoughts-

 These are some some activities that invokes critical thoughts

  1. Keep trying new things

2. Exercise

3. Writing everyday journal about your day to day life

4. Playing games which require reasoning skills like chess, sudoku, scribble, rubicʼs cubes  and solving puzzle games etc.   

5. Creating something new like craft, drawing, composing music , writing stories or poems

6. Reading and watching fictional stories especially thrillers 

Altering thought patterns

These are some points which will help us to alter your thought pattern

1. By consciously considering consequences of your actions as how they will affect people around you and the situation that you are involved

2. Try to always keep in mind whether our actions fulfil your purpose or not

 3. Identify whether you are biased regarding certain things or not and try to avoid being biased

Recognizing irrational thoughts that comes in mind

These are few steps that you can use to recognize your irrational thoughts

  1. Pay attention to analyze and read the situation that you are in.

2. Stop making assumptions and strive to attain utmost clarity about things around you.

3. Stop overgeneralizing things and situations around you

4. Be aware of the catastrophic situation that you can be in but at the same time try to look at the brighter side no matter how unpleasant the situation is.

General intelligence and reasoning is not tough, it is in a complex way like for example- son-in-law or husband of the daughter both are the same. In order to live easily, we can’t digest anything that is twisted hence general intelligence is important and improving your general intelligence and reasoning skill is also important. Solve general intelligence questions regularly, and try to engage in brain training activities and games. Remember general intelligence is only twisted and you just have to find a way to solve the general intelligence questions


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