[Strategy] The Art of Preparing for Aptitude Exams

Aptitude92 Comments

  1. Rule #1: Maintain a Diary of Mistakes
  2. Rule #2: Get your hands “DIRTY”
  3. Rule #3: Know when to give up the fight.
  4. The Mock-test “SERIES” for CSAT
  5. Previous Articles on Aptitude

Rule #1: Maintain a Diary of Mistakes

Consider this equation
x-33=(17/2)
=>2x -33 =17
=>2x=17+33
=>2x=50 hence x=25.

Wrong! The Correct answer is 41.5.
What was the mistake? We multiplied 2 with x, but forgot to multiply 2 with 33.

This is a frequent calculation mistake made by many candidates, But in CSAT/CAT/IBPS, they’ll also give “25” as one of the four answers, so people happily tick “25”, come out of the exam hall and boast about how excellently they performed (mera paper toh bahot acchaa gayaa!).

  • Then waste 3 months in doing nothing but cut-off and result date speculation. Come August, enter your roll number in UPSC website and it says
  • “Sorry! your name doesn’t figure in the list of successful candidates!”
  • Dream is shattered, become Devdas for a few months, then again gather up courage to re-appear in the next prelims.
  • And this Cycle continues because you did not take follow the first rule of aptitude preparation, called “Maintaining The Diary of Mistakes
  • Whatever mistakes you make or tricks that you discover, while solving the sums at home, do note them down in your diary. Keep a track of your progress. Go through this diary before going in the exam hall.
  • You don’t need to write a lengthy formal note, just a crude line in your own mother-tongue, e.g. for above mistake:
  • “bracket mein multiplication jaroori”
  • (necessary to multiply in bracket)
  • In the same way, also check explanations given in the book and see if your method was faster and more convenient. Also note down such discoveries.

Here are few points from my Diary of Mistakes

  • In Data interpretation, do see its unit: lakhs and crores before ticking answer.
  • To type 1 to 300 on keyboard:· 100-300 got 201 numbers and to type every number, need 3x keystrokes.
  • 5/4 speed = 4/5 time. So 1-4/5= 1/5 of original minutes are saved.
  • 20% discount on stock, getting 15% on face value, yield always remains the same. 15/80=18.75, irrespective of investment.
  • Join midpts of rectangle= rhombus

^these may not make any sense to you, because this is my “personal” diary out of my “field-adventures”. You’ve to set out on your own adventurous journey and maintain a diary like this.

Rule #2: Get your hands “DIRTY”

  • To actually write a diary, you’ve to walk on a lengthy field trip. If you just “read” the solved-sums in the book, it is not going to help you.
  • “Reading” the sums will only help you memorize the formula and the procedure involved in solving the sum. It will by no means, save you from making silly mistakes in the actual exam.
  • You cannot know what type of silly mistakes you’ll make in the exam, unless you make them at home.
  • So, When you make mistake at home, don’t feel sad or guilty about it, take it in a positive sense:

Now I’m· less likely to make that mistake in the exam! So by making the mistake, I’ve increased y winning chances.

  • Aptitude cannot be learned by reading the books, you’ve to get your hands dirty by calculating the sums on your own.

Rule #3: Know when to give up the fight

  • You’re doing a sum on permutations, you do calculations, but your answer doesn’t match any of the 4 given options.
  • You recheck the multiplications, still no help. Then you start from scratch again, trying a different approach and logic to the same question.
  • In this process 7-10 minutes are wasted and you don’t even realize it.·
  • People get stuck in a sum, they don’t leave it, they keep fighting and calculating· again and again with different angles.
  • Always keep a wrist watch ready, because they don’t allow mobile phones in the exam hall, and you’ve to keep track of time!
  • If you’re not getting the answer, Just leave it for the end, keep moving forward.
  • The ‘arrangement’ questions are very notorious for this e.g. A is father of B and an engineer, B is mother of C who is a teacher and..
  • Such questions may eat up 10-12-15 minutes if you’re not very careful, because everytime you don’t get the answer, you’ve to read the entire paragraph one more time.
  • And there is ‘greed’ involved, since you’re unable to solve previous 20 mathematical sums in the exam, you’re under stress. You think you can solve this sum,· so out of the greed, you don’t give up and in the process you end up wasting precious time.
  • All this happens because you did not follow the two principles: you didnot maintain a diary and you didnot get your hands dirty.

Practice is essential.

The Mock-test “SERIES” for CSAT

  • March-April is “Diwali-season” for Delhi’s coaching classes.
  • It is their final chance to rob the aspirants, before preliminary exam.
  • People live in some myth that : One must join a “Mock Test Series” during this time.
  • They join the regular or postal test-series after paying Rs.1500 to 7000 depending on the reputation of the class.
  • Some request their Delhi-friends to get ‘fax’ the photocopies.
  • Some of them so naïve they think they’ll actually get questions from this in the UPSC exam.
  • So if Xyz “sir”‘s test-series asked about the number of countries sharing border with Burkina Faso, these people will actually mug up the answer, thinking that it’ll come in UPSC.
  • You should keep in mind that UPSC also keeps a track of such test-series and makes sure that no question comes out of this. Beside the level and style of UPSC question is just unique in its own way. It is beyond the aukaat of anybody to actually replicate the toughness and variety of questions of real-CSAT exam.
  • Besides UPSC has taken only one CSAT, so we don’t have enough authentic questions to build and speculate mock aptitude-questions. What these ‘test-series’ peolpe are doing? Just lifting and rephrasing the aptitude questions from earlier Bank PO, CDS/NDA exams, set up a ‘mock-test’ and rob 2000-5000 rupees.
  • Ofcourse such simulated mock tests have their benefits, they gear you up for the exam, they give you practice, you can know about your weak areas. But I don’t really see the logic in demanding 5000 rupees for such mock-tests, this is as absurd as Kalmadi’s overcharged sports equipments in CAG.
  • And I can cite a dozen+ names who cleared prelims earlier without even touching such series.
  • Anyways in any case, what is the ‘right time’ to appear for mock test? Only after you’ve completed the topic or the syllabus. Otherwise you won’t be able to solve many questions and it’ll only add to frustration. And there are enough mock-questions given at the end of your aptitude books: Arun Sharma, RS Agarwal, Pearson or any book you’re using- You’ve truckload of questions in them for practicing @home.

So get your hands dirty, maintain a diary and get crack the CSAT exam. Same advice for IBPS, CAPF, CDS, SSC all of them.

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books
  2. Environment by ShankarIAS
  3. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  4. Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania (Hindi | English)
  5. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  6. Bipin Chandra: Post Independence
  7. Fast-track to Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
  8. MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning
  9. Disha’s Topicwise Paperset (Hindi | English)
  10. School Atlas
  11. Mains: Language papers
  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha


So far 92 Comments posted

  1. Gurpreet Singh

    Doston ek quest hai jo bahut pareshan kar raha hai, agar kisi ko aata hai to soln de do yaar.

    Question on simple interest:

    Q. A sum of Rs 10 is lent to be returned in 11 monthly instalments of Re 1 each, interest being simple. Find the rate of interest.

    If anyone knows the soln plz provide the step by step soln with explanation.

    1. Salim Gazi

      in 11 months total payment will be Rs 11. so total interest will be Rs (11-10)=1. total time is 11 months when it is converted in year will be 11/12 year, we know interest rate = (total_interest*100)/(principal*time)%, so here it will be = (1*100)/{10*(11/12)}%= approx.10.91%.

      1. MRINMOY

        Answer is approx 10.9%

        1. gadahaa

          But after paying 1st installment, the principal has changed for 2nd month. Similarly for successive months,principal will keep on changing and after 11 months it will be equal to zero. Question isn’t that straightforward as it seems.

          1. Akshay

            BUT BUDDY SIMPLE INTEREST IS CALCULATED ON PRINCIPAL ONLY FOR COMPLTE TIME PERIOD AND C.I IS CALCULATED ON NEW PRINCIPAL AFTER ADDING INTEREST EACH TIME..
            SO CALCULAT IS SIMPLE ACC TO ME..

    2. ravinder singh

      Correct answer is 231/11..

  2. pankaj gautam

    hello sir
    please tell me about the strategy to prepare IBPS PO specially english & computer.

    WITH REGARDS,
    PANKAJ GAUTAM

  3. Ravi

    hello sir
    how can i prepare for reasoning for bank and other exam like AO, Assistant bcoz the pattern is changing day by day

  4. K N Ganesh

    In the decision making section, is it required that your decision making must match the existing law, economics, or political systems or is it to test how good are you out of the box?

  5. iyachamy

    hello sir.. i need shortcut method for maths.. because am very week in aptitute… how to prepare easily

  6. rita

    Sir please guide me which book should i buy? R S Aggarwal,pearson or arun sharma for CSAT

  7. Rohit

    Hello Sir , Plz Suggest us strategy for IBPS PP.

    Thank You very much.

  8. Amit Chauhan

    hello sir,
    I am looking for the upsc exam assistance commandend, please guide me

  9. ajit

    well.. do u give any personal classes ?

  10. pooja

    Sir i am in last year computer engineering. can i apply for IBPS xam before my graduation completes.? or will hav to wait till last year gets over??

  11. sandeep kumar varma

    sir i could not clear my pre lims last year i did not do my paper 2 so great i was short of marks and even in paper 1 i could not get the correct option among the close option .so plz i donot wanna repeat my performance again i wanna improve my performance so plz suggest me tips .

  12. Vamshidhar

    You are doing a wonderful job writing these articles. These were extremely helpful to beginners and people looking for proper planning.. Keep up the good work dude..

  13. Devendra

    y DI kya hai jo mrunal sir nay ssc kay chapters may likh rakha hai. please reply me.

    1. rahul

      Data Interpretation

  14. Parwinder

    Very Good Post

  15. vipi verma

    Extra ordinary work sir………..high regards ,genuinely good work.keep it up sir

  16. VISHAL

    mrunal sir could you please suggest me HINDI books for aptitude for ssc cgl and sbi po? PLEASE REPLY…..

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  18. Bushra Shaikh

    sir please could you please also upload or send details regarding the syllabus for the IB exam,

  19. Narend

    sir, kindly suggest me, I want to prepare for UPSC exam. Still I have done my college education in hindi medium and later PG in English medium in Science (Biotechnology). Some time I felt that I read better in english but as required UPSC exam , I feel , couldnt to stay in compition, Kindly suggest me how to develop to written formate for UPSC and to will be possible for interview call.

    I felt in too hard in social science and GK . I hope that , got my problem and waiting your positive response on my mail.

  20. Vivek

    Sir, I just want to thank you! Your post is very helpful. It was very informative. My GA part is weak. Looking forward to improve it. Thanks!

  21. Abhilasha

    What is your Message? Search before asking questions & confine discussions to exams related matter only.

    suggest me plzzz…hw to build up my vocabulary…..

  22. Abhilasha

    suggest me plzzz…hw to build up my vocabulary…..

    1. Shiva

      Read as many books as you can with a dictionary by your side. Not just any book. Go for books which highlight the author’s command over English. For example – Alistair Maclean’s books.

  23. Robin kumar barnwal

    Hello sir,
    I want to learn vocabulary for SSC cgl. What is the strategy to remember that. It play vital role to crack SSC…

  24. Tanaji

    Thanks for useful information

  25. nishant sharma

    sir i am a B.tech graduate and i am working currently. i am in a shear dilemma of either going for SSC and other govt exams as they provide job security, on the other side i want to go for CAT as it provides promising career with high pay. i unable to figure out what is the path i should take. if you can, please help me with facts and logic. everybody is invited to share their thoughts and suggestions. i am open to all suggestions.

  26. shrishti gupta

    Good one !

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