HOW TO PREPARE FOR BANK EXAM
TEST BANK EXAM
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We provide efficient teaching methods along with study material for IBPS CWE PO, SBI PO and IBPS CWE Clerical. You can look at the present scenario our Banking jobs are currently among the most in-demand in our country. More than 20 lakh aspirants generally appear for exams conducted by IBPS, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), State Bank of India (SBI), and private banks (taken together) in recent months. These banking exams can give you jobs in RBI, SBI (and associated banks), 21 nationalised banks, 20+ private Indian banks, select foreign banks and a large number of small to medium co-operative banks along with gramin banks at the clerical, PO (Probationary Officer) and SO (Specialist Officer) levels. Vacancies in banks are set to reach 7.5 lakh in the next 5 years, since banking jobs are appearing lucrative in times of an economic slowdown.
These bank exams of 2014-2015 help filter a large proportion of aspirants based on their exam performance. Shortlisted candidates then go through rounds of group discussion and personal interviews.
In order to test the basic aptitude and intelligence level of aspirants, and to provide a level playing field to aspirants from different educational backgrounds, bank entrance tests are typically conducted as aptitude tests. They test your IQ, concepts learnt in school and your general awareness levels. They are different from tests that you take in school or college in the following respects:
The questions have a problem followed by multiple-choices (as answers). You need to read and solve the problem and mark the most appropriate choice.
The steps involved in solving the questions do not give you marks. You get marks only if you mark the correct option. Also, if you mark more than one option, you do not get marks.
You get penalized if you mark the wrong answer. Unlike school or college where you get “zero” marks for a wrong answer, you get negative marks for wrong answers in these exams. So, if you are not careful, you can end up with a score less than zero as well.
Each section in the test may have a separate cut-off. Unlike school or college education patterns where you can clear the exam by focusing only on your strengths, here you need to get some minimum marks in each section to qualify for the next stage of the bank recruitment process.
There is no fixed syllabus for such exams. While the broad areas from which questions can be asked are known, no question is generally considered “out-of-syllabus”. You have to keep this in mind and prepare for aptitude tests. However, you can identify the most common areas by solving previous year question papers (or sample papers) and taking sufficient mock tests.
While each specific exam may have a different format in terms of total questions, number of sections, number of questions per section, negative marking and so on, the overall content structure of all upcoming bank exams is similar. The commonly tested areas are:
Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation – school level maths, basic charts and tables
Logical Reasoning – puzzles, analytical and critical reasoning
English Language – school level grammar, English comprehension
General Awareness – GK and current affairs
Computer Awareness – computers, applications, internet
In this detailed article, we guide you through Bank exams preparation: section format, question types, tips & tricks and strategies.
Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation (QADI)
This section in bank exams tests your calculation skills and knowledge of school level mathematics. The challenge is that while aspirants have learnt the concepts, they have forgotten the associated formulae, concepts, properties, etc. and not had exposure to such questions since many years.
The various question types asked in this section are:
Question Type Number of Questions Weightage in Section
BODMAS/Calculation Techniques/Approximations 10 to 15 25-30%
Data Interpretation 15 to 20 40-50%
Odd Man Out/Complete the Series 5 10%
Mathematics 5 to 10 20-25%
Data Sufficiency/Quantitative Comparison 5 10%
Total 40 100%
Note that each exam may not have all these question types in one exam slot. However, these form a comprehensive list of questions appearing in the QA section. Consider each question type separately:
1) BODMAS, Calculations and Approximations
The key concepts tested here are:
– BODMAS rules
– Squares, cubes, square roots and cube roots
– Rules of Surds and Indices
– Multiplication and division of large numbers
– Addition and subtraction of fractions
Practice as many questions as you can, without using a calculator at any point. The more questions you work on, the better you become. However, only solving a large number of questions may not help. You need to look at the way you have calculated the answer and compare it with the methods given in the solution.
Some basic facts that you should know when you attempt such questions:
– Multiplication tables up to 30 or 35
– Squares up to 30
– Cubes up to 15
– Reciprocals up to 12
– Factorials up to 10
– Conversion from fractions to percentages and vice versa
– Direct multiplication of two-digit numbers with larger numbers (easier to do once you know the multiplication tables)
Also, whenever you approximate the given numbers, have a look at answer options to check whether they are spaced out or close to each other. Approximation may lead to incorrect answers if the answer options are very close to each other.
2) Data Interpretation
Since these sets are asked in groups of 5-6, you can get complete marks for a set if you understand the given data and avoid silly calculation errors. However, the calculations for these questions are often very time consuming. The calculation tips given above, along with techniques like vedic maths are helpful in increasing accuracy and speed.
Sets in this section may be based on:
– Tables – Single or multiple
– Pie Charts – Based on actual values, percentages or degrees
– Line Graphs – Standard or cumulative
– Bar Graphs – Standard or cumulative
– Combinations of the data sets given above
Like calculation techniques, practice is important but knowledge of certain basic mathematical concepts is also helpful. These are:
– Conversion between percentages and fractions, and vice versa
In these sets, focus on understanding how the given data is to be read and what the question requires. This will help identify the required calculations and save vital time.
Approximate numbers and eliminate answer options wherever possible (& applicable).
Maths involves the maximum amount of preparation in the QA section. Since the number of questions asked from each chapter does not exceed one or two, the amount of time required to prepare for these goes up drastically.
However, these math questions cannot be ignored as you can (and should) attempt 70-80% of these based on your comfort level with certain chapters. This is unlike DI sets where you may not be able to attempt a complete set at all if you do not understand the given data/questions.
These questions also help build the fundamentals of data interpretation and are required to solve data sufficiency and quantitative comparison questions.
Some of these concepts are:
– Averages, Ratio and Proportion, Mixtures and Alligation
– Percentages, Profit and Loss (with discounts)
– Simple and Compound Interest, Growth Rates
– Variation, Time and Work (includes pipes and cisterns)
– Time and Distance (includes trains, boats, races, etc.)
– Number Theory (includes HCF, LCM, divisibility, etc.)
– Linear and Quadratic Equations
– Sequences, Progressions and Series (includes Arithmetic Progression., Geometric Progression, etc.)
– Permutations & Combinations, Probability
Do not try to solve all the individual questions. Identify chapters (and concepts) that you are most comfortable with and try to solve those first.
Build your basics with school level textbooks as most questions conform to the difficulty level and style given in these textbooks.
4) Data Sufficiency/Quantitative Comparison
One of these two question types might appear in some QA sections. While the question structure is unfamiliar, the data within these questions is based on the concepts of calculations and mathematics covered above.
The purpose of Data Sufficiency questions is NOT to solve a problem but to identify whether the problem can be solved with the given data or not.
Similarly, Quantitative Comparison questions focus on finding out the relationship (>, <, =, ≥, ≤etc) between two variables, after calculating the value of these variables.
The key to solve such questions is to read and understand the instructions very carefully, and then follow them to the letter since these instructions may vary from paper to paper.
You should start practicing these questions only after you are comfortable with the concepts of the chapters mentioned above.
5) Odd Man Out/Complete the Series
You will have a sequence of 5-6 numbers and you need to identify a number that either continues the series or does not fit in.
These do not require conceptual knowledge but basic calculation skills (multiplication, squares, factorials, etc.) are very useful.
Most series are based either on difference between consecutive terms or some multiplicative pattern between consecutive terms.
Practice is essential for these. However, even with practice you may not be able to identify the logic for certain questions of this type in the exam. If you are unable to get the pattern in 2-3 minutes in the exam, it is advisable to leave the question for the time being and come back to it later.
Logical Reasoning (LR)
The reasoning section tests your analytical and logical reasoning skills i.e. your ability to interpret data and information given in the form of puzzles, brain teasers or clues and sort it to arrive at a meaningful outcome. It does not generally test conceptual or theoretical knowledge (apart from one or two areas) but requires a lot of practice of different question types.
The various question types asked in this section are:
Question Type Number of Questions Weightage in Section
Arrangements 12 to 15 25-30%
Sequential Output Tracing 4 to 6 10-15%
Odd Man Out/Complete the Series 5 10%
Syllogisms 6 to 8 15-20%
Data Sufficiency 4 to 6 10-15%
Critical Reasoning 6 to 8 15-20%
Visual Reasoning 5 to 10 10-25%
Total 40 100%
Apart from the question types given above, there can be miscellaneous puzzles (individually or in groups) from different areas. These question types and miscellaneous puzzles form a comprehensive list of questions appearing in the LR section. Consider each question type separately:
This is the most frequently tested and most important area of this section.
Questions in this section are generally asked in 2-3 sets of 6-7 questions each. Though the sets may be time consuming, you can get full marks (in minimal time) if you solve the set correctly.
Also, they do not require conceptual knowledge but an ability to read and interpret a large amount of data and represent it in forms of a figure/arrangement/table.
Some common arrangement types are:
– Linear – elements in a single row/column
– Linear – elements in multiple rows/columns
– Linear – scheduling of events/activities
– Complex – multiple parameters
Practice as many sets as you can. As your practice increases, you will find better and more efficient ways of representing the data and arriving at the final arrangement.
Start representing the given data as a figure (for linear and circular arrangements) or table (for complex arrangements and scheduling based questions). Then fill up the figure/table with the direct and indirect clues. Keep marking the clues that you have already used up and separately note down the clues that you can’t use immediately.
Sometimes you may not be able to fill up the entire figure/table. This does not necessarily mean that you are wrong. The set may have been designed that way. Try and attempt the questions first and then re-check the table (if necessary).
If the arrangement based sets are perfectly solved, clearing the sectional cut-off becomes very easy.
2) Sequential Output Tracing
Like arrangements, these are also asked in sets of 4-6 questions. However, based on the difficulty level, you can either solve the complete set or not be able to solve a single question.
Here, an input in terms of numbers or words or a combination of both is given. This input is processed through a series of steps and a final output is obtained. You need to identify the logic that is applied in each step. Based on this logic, questions can be asked in two ways:
– Each question of the set has a separate input and the question has to solved accordingly – These tend to become more time consuming since this is as good as solving five-six different sets.
– One input is given and all the questions of the set are based on it – This is less time consuming but can be error-prone if you make any mistake in applying the steps to the input.
Typically, the patterns that are used in bank exams are:
– Rearrangements – The given words may be shifted left or right in alphabetical order or depending on the number of letters in each word. Similarly, the given numbers may be shifted in ascending/ descending order or based on some property of the number (odd/even, prime/composite, etc.)
– Replacements – This generally applies to numbers in the input. In each step, the given numbers may be replaced by some other numbers based on some mathematical operation (multiplication, division, square, etc). These are slightly difficult to identify.
You need a lot of practice and immense concentration for these questions as a single mistake can lead to errors in the entire set. Also, you should be able to observe the way the position/nature of the words and numbers changes.
This is probably the only area in this section that requires conceptual knowledge. Consequently, most aspirants find this the most difficult part of the section.
It involves 2, 3, 4 or 6 statements (that conventionally sound absurd e.g. all dogs are cats) followed by a few conclusions. You need to identify the relationship between the given statements and identify the conclusions that definitely follow from the given statements.
These questions are rule-based i.e. certain combinations of statements lead to certain conclusions. So, they can either be solved by directly applying the rules or using the Venn diagram based approach. However, it is not possible to solve these without prior conceptual knowledge unlike the other questions in this section.
4) Data Sufficiency
Technically, this is the same question type that also appears in the QA section. However, the major difference here is that the data given is essentially logical in nature rather than mathematical. So, while you may not be able to attempt a DS question in the QA section if you do not know the relevant concept/formula, you can theoretically attempt each DS question based on pure logic.
Another difference is that data sufficiency questions in this section may have variations in terms of instructions:
– 2 statement DS questions (typical of the QA section)
– 3 statement DS questions (also asked in the QA section)
– Data redundancy questions – where the statement that is not required for the question to be solved has to be identified.
Again, the key to solve these questions is to read and understand the instructions very carefully, and then follow them to the letter. In a lot of cases, even if the instructions are the same, their order may change, thereby changing the answer options.
5) Visual Reasoning
You are generally given a sequence of 5-6 figures and you need to identify a figure that either continues the series or does not fit in.
These do not require conceptual knowledge but basic observation skills to identify the relevant patterns.
Some of the commonly used patterns are:
– Addition/subtraction of elements
– Rotation of elements – clockwise or anticlockwise
– Movement of elements – clockwise or anticlockwise
– Replacement of elements
– Combinations of the above
Typically, consecutive or alternate figures exhibit the same pattern. To solve these questions quickly, identify the pattern, establish the position of an element, eliminate answer options based on that and then move on to the next element.
Practice is essential for these questions. However, even with practice you may not be able to identify the logic for certain questions of this type in the exam. If you are unable to get the pattern in 2-3 minutes in the exam, it is advisable to leave the question for the time being and come back to it later.
6) Critical Reasoning
This can be considered the most difficult and error-prone area of this section because the questions test verbal reasoning skills.
You need to understand what exactly the question requires, apply a combination of logic and English knowledge and then solve the question accordingly.
The common question types in this area are:
– Implicit assumptions
– Cause and Effect
– Course of Action
– Strengthening and Weakening of Arguments
– Probably/Definitely True or False
You should decide whether to attempt these or not based on your comfort level with individual question types as well as with the pure LR questions.
7) Miscellaneous Puzzles
These may be individual or group questions from a large (almost infinite) number of areas. While you may not able to cover each question type, the ones that you should definitely practice are:
– Direction based questions
– Relationships – family tree, coded relationships, relationship puzzles
– Series and Analogies – number and letter series as well as analogies, alphanumeric series, odd man out questions
– Codes – letter & number codes, mixed codes, sentence coding, substitution, etc.
– Logic Puzzles – comparisons and ranks, word based puzzles, etc.
– Numerical Logic – gambling games, odd weights, cubes, etc.
– Selection Criteria
During preparation, if you do not have adequate time, you can practice these questions at the very end.
However, you should identify the question types that you are most comfortable with and accordingly attempt those if and when they appear in the exam.
English Language (VA)
The section (also known as Verbal Ability) tests your English language skills but is not just a test of vocabulary or English grammar. It is more a test of language comprehension and your ability to interpret information given in English. So, while you need to have good grammar and vocabulary basics, it is vital that you have a good reading habit. Read from as many diverse sources as possible and understand what you read. This is more useful than trying to mug up random words and their meanings.
The various question types asked in this section are:
Question Type Number of Questions Weightage in Section
Reading Comprehension 10 to 15 25-30%
Jumbled Sentences 5 10-12%
Fill in the Blanks 5 10-12%
Close Passages 10 25%
Errors in Usage 5 to 10 10-25%
Sentence Correction 5 to 10 10-25%
Vocabulary 5 10-12%
Paragraph Completion 5 10-12%
Total 40 100%
A single paper may not have all of these; but, between them, these question types form a comprehensive list of questions appearing in this section. Consider each question type separately:
1) Reading Comprehension
This is the most important area of this section and is definitely tested in each paper.
Questions can be asked in a single passage of 10-15 questions or in 2-3 passages of 5-8 questions each. The passage may be based on banking, finance and economics, politics, current affairs, sports, science etc. Bank exams rarely include passages on psychology, philosophy etc.
Questions in these RC passages are of the following types:
– Factual – The answer to the question is explicitly given in the passage, either in a single sentence or in different parts of the passage. You just need to read the passage thoroughly and find the relevant sentence(s) to answer the question. In a 10 question passage, 5-6 questions are of this type. The number increases proportionately in a 15 question passage.
– Vocabulary Based – 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.A 10 question passage generally has 4 such questions (split equally between synonyms and antonyms). Again, this number increases proportionately in a 15 question passage.
– Inferential – These require you to read and understand the passage, and draw inferences based on what the passage wants to say. These are more difficult and error-prone compared to the earlier types. Consequently, they are rarely asked in bank tests. You may have at the most one question of this type in a passage of 10 questions.
There are three common techniques (among others) to attempt an RC set:
– Read the passage thoroughly first and then attempt the questions – Improves understanding of the questions but significantly increases time as you may need to re-read the parts relevant to each question.
– Read the questions first and then re-read the passage – This saves time as you focus only on data relevant to each question. However, it is time-consuming for long passages and error-prone for inferential questions or for questions where the answer is present in different sentences.
– Skim through the passage, read the questions and then read the relevant parts thoroughly –This technique attempts to combine the advantages of both the earlier techniques. However, it can be the most time-consuming of the three till you master it.
You need to practice RCs using all three techniques so that you are adept that the one that you prefer most before the exam.
Read as much as you can and from as many sources as possible to improve your comprehension skills. Editorials and business articles from prominent newspapers like The Hindu, Economic Times, Hindu Business Line, Times of India, etc. are useful. You should also read current affairs articles from magazines like India Today, Outlook, OPEN etc. Other more convenient options like news and analysis websites (CNN, BBC news, etc.) and ebooks can also be chosen for those who are always on the move. These not only improve your language and comprehension but also help you in the general awareness section and GDPI rounds. Apart from this, a healthy reading habit always helps.
Note down new or unfamiliar words and look them up in a standard dictionary like Oxford English Dictionary. Once you know the meaning, read the passage again to understand how the word has been used.
2) Jumbled Sentences
These are generally asked in sets of 5 questions. A paragraph is broken up in 5 parts (or sentences) and these are then arranged in random order. You need to arrange the sentences in the most logical and correct order. The five questions require you to identify the first sentence, third sentence, last sentence etc.
If solved correctly, this can be a very high-scoring area as you can get full marks. Even if you go wrong, you may be able to arrange some of the sentences in order and get marks for those. Therefore, practice and master this question type as far as possible.
Good reading skills help you solve these questions accurately. However, if you do not have a reading habit, you can solve these questions using the following tips:
– Identify the first and/or last sentence. The first sentence generally introduces the topic while the last sentence provides some kind of conclusion or decision. If you are able to identify either one or both of these, arranging the remaining sentences becomes easier.
– Try to identify two connected statements. These connections can be based on comparison of two different opinions/theories/points of view or the introduction of a generalized topic followed by its explanation and further followed by an example. In case of confusion, write the order on paper and then read the sentences in that order mentally. The logical flow (or lack of it) often becomes obvious by doing so.
Pronouns (he/she/they etc.) and conjunctions (and, but etc.) can also be used to identify the correct order.
3) Fill in the Blanks
These are typically asked as individual questions and are relatively simpler. Thus, even if you find 1 or 2 questions difficult, you can attempt the others easily.
Some types of fill in the blank questions are:
– Single blank questions – Only one word or phrase is to be filled in the sentence or passage.
– Double/multiple blank questions – Two or more blanks are to be filled. These are easier to answer in some ways as you can eliminate some answer options as soon as you fill up even one blank.
– Multiple words for one blank – You may be given a sentence with a single blank. However, the difference vis-à-vis single blank questions is that more than one of the answer options fills the given blank. You may need to find one or more or all the options that correctly fill the given blank. Though elimination is useful here as well, you may need to check each option for suitability.
In terms of the words that are to be filled, some common question types are:
– Preposition based – correct use of at/in/on etc
– Article based – correct use of a/an/the
– Meaning based – appropriate word that fits into the given sentence based on meaning and usage
– Phrase/Idiom based – appropriate use of phrase/idiom based on meaning of the sentence
Like all areas in this section, reading skills are very useful. With good reading skills, you can identify the words that are most appropriate to the sentence. However, you need good grammar fundamentals before you can rely only on reading skills.
Some techniques that you can use to eliminate answer options and arrive at the right word are:
– Identify whether the sentence is positive or negative in nature and how the blank affects this positive/negative nature. Based on this, you can rule out some options.
– Look for options that do not fit in from the point of view of tenses/gender/usage/parts of speech etc.
– Look for options where the words look the same. One or more options may have incorrect spellings.
– Consider the degree of “emotion” in the sentence e.g. if the sentence talks about extreme hatred, then among “dislike” and “enmity”, the latter becomes more appropriate.
4) Close Passages
These can be considered a variation of fill in the blank questions. A passage is given with 5 or 10 words/phrases missing. Each blank corresponds to one question where the options give the words that can potentially replace the blanks.
Like jumbled sentences, you can get complete marks in these questions. Even if you are unable to fill one or two blanks, you may be able to fill the rest. This is also less time consuming compared to the other question types.
Most of the tips and techniques given for fill in the blank questions also apply here.
5) Errors in Usage
Like fill in the blank questions, these are individual questions. They require very good grammar check skills along with a good reading habit. You may need to find one or more errors in the given sentences.
Some of the common ways in which these questions are asked are:
– A sentence is divided into four underlined parts and the incorrect part is to be identified. If there is no error in the sentence, you need to select the underlined part called “No Error”. This is the most common type asked in bank exams. A feature of these questions is that the entire underlined part of the sentence may not be incorrect. There may be a single incorrect word in the entire underlined part. Also, while a part of the sentence may seem correct in isolation, it may be incorrect when seen in context of the entire sentence.
– The sentence has four to five underlined parts but it is not divided like earlier. You simple need to identify the underlined part that is incorrect. The difference with the earlier question type is that here the entire underlined part is incorrect unlike the earlier case. So, you need to focus only on the specific underlined word/phrase.
– Four or five sentences may be given. You may either need to identify the incorrect sentences or the correct ones. Also, the number of correct or incorrect sentences may exceed one. In that case, you can save time by eliminating answer options.
You need to revise parts of speech, tenses, clause and phrases, prepositions, word usage and spelling to attempt these questions with good accuracy.
Like all other questions in this section, good reading habits can help you eliminate incorrect/inappropriate options.
6) Sentence Correction
Fundamentally, they are similar to the error-based questions seen above. However, they go one step ahead and require you to replace the erroneous part with the correct word/phrase/sentence.
The concepts that you need to revise remain the same as earlier.
Some of the common ways in which these questions are asked are:
– A given sentence has a highlighted word or phrase that is incorrect due to one or more reasons. You need to replace it with the correct word or phrase from the options. This is the most common type of sentence correction questions asked in bank exams. The tips seen in fill in the blanks and error-based questions are useful here.
– A sentence is given and all the answer options have the same sentence written in different ways. You need to select the sentence that captures the meaning of the given sentence while being grammatically correct and concise. If two sentences are grammatically correct, the more concise of the two has to be marked as the answer option.
– Some part of a sentence is given and it needs to be completed using one of the parts given in the options. These questions are not asked very frequently.
You can expect either “errors in usage” or “sentence completion” questions in each paper. However, it is unlikely that both will be present together.
Since synonym and antonym based questions are directly covered in RCs and indirectly in fill in the blanks, they are not asked very frequently.
However, whenever they are asked, some common question types are:
– Synonyms – You need to find the meaning of a word, phrase, idiom or foreign expression. While one or more options may be valid in terms of meaning, you need to choose the option that is closest to the given word.
– Antonyms – You need to find the word that is the exact opposite in terms of meaning to the given word or phrase. Again, you may have multiple words that are antonyms of the given word; you need to find the word that is exactly opposite.
– Analogies – You are given a pair of words that have a specific relationship between them (synonym, antonym, gender, collective noun, occupation, etc). A third word/phrase is given and you need to identify the option that shows the same relationship with the third word.
– Odd Man Out – Four or five words may be given. All, except one, show the same property. You need to identify the word that does not show the same property as the others.
– Idioms and Phrases – Any of the question types mentioned above may be applied to common idioms and phrases as well.
Instead of trying to mug up new words, focus on reading as much as possible. This will automatically improve your vocabulary.
8) Paragraph Completion
This is an extension of sentence completion questions. However, instead of a sentence, an entire paragraph is given and you need to identify the sentence that completes the paragraph.
The sentence should be a logical extension of the paragraph and should complete it.
This question type is not asked frequently and can be error prone. So, you can avoid it if you become comfortable with the other question types.
General Knowledge and Current Affairs (GK)
The general knowledge and current affairs section tests your general awareness more than your knowledge of trivia and random information. Thus, while it is beneficial to go through GK magazines and books, reading newspapers daily and current affairs magazines on a weekly basis (at least) is a must. Keep a look out for important events at the national and international level.
The various areas from which GK questions may be asked are:
1) Banking Products and Terminology
This is the most important area of this section and is definitely tested in each paper.
You can expect questions on commonly used products and terms like savings and current accounts, term deposits, non-performing assets etc. These questions can be either be:
– Definition Based – Here, the term is given and you need to mark the right definition from the options.
– Application Based – The use or benefit or application of the relevant banking product is given and you need to identify the appropriate product from the options.
You can refer to online glossaries on banking products to increase your expertise in this area. Also, read up basic details, benefits and limitations of major banking products and meanings of terms(e.g. Repo Rate, Current Account Deficit, etc.) used in the banking industry.
Specifically, you should also keep a track of the various products being launched by specific banks e.g. agricultural loans, special personal loans etc. Occasionally, questions are also asked on these. You may need to refer to the website of individual banks for information on these.
2) Economic and Corporate Updates
These test your general awareness but in the larger context of the economy in conjunction with finance and politics.
You may expect questions on:
– Reserve Bank of India – economic policy announcements, their impact on ratios like repo rate, CRR, SLR, liquidity (along with definitions of these terms)
– Financial Performances – financial performance of major corporates, especially public banks
– Mergers & Acquisitions, Takeovers, Buyouts, Joint Ventures
– Government Policy Announcements
It is obvious that all these require up-to-date information which can be obtained only by reading the newspaper thoroughly on an everyday basis. When you read the newspaper, make it a point to go through all the sections and get information on each. If required, make notes. Substantiate this information by following it up on the internet as well or through current affairs magazines.
3) Government Schemes and Constitutional Bodies
Questions from this generally pertain either to schemes launched in the past 2-3 years, schemes currently in the news and schemes that have just been announced.
Typical questions may be on acronyms, relevant ministry or government department related to the scheme, objectives of the scheme, powers and responsibilities of the implementing body, achievements and limitations of the scheme and so on.
Apart from government schemes, you may be asked questions on bodies like the Comptroller and Auditor General of India(CAG), Election Commission of India(EC), National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) etc. These questions may be on objectives, formation, acronyms, powers and responsibilities of the body as well as its members etc.
Finally, you may have questions on public representatives/bodies like Gram Panchayats, Members of Parliament (MPs), Cabinet Ministers, the President of India and so on.
For all these categories, basic civics knowledge and regular news updates are important.
4) Marketing Terms
Like banking terms, you may also have questions on marketing terms such as telemarketing, cross-selling etc.
As explained earlier, these can either be definition-based or application-based.
While most of these questions can be answered using common sense, going through a glossary of marketing and sales based terms is always beneficial.
5) Current Affairs
This is a major part of this section but is difficult to prepare because of the diversity of topics from which questions can be asked.
Reading the newspapers and following the news daily is a must for these questions.
Some of the common areas covered in current affairs questions are:
– Sports – Records, Winners, Venues, Upcoming Championships, etc.
– Awards – Sports, Literature, Social Work, Nobel Prize winners, Indian awards, etc.
– Entertainment – Major films, plays, documentaries, etc.
– Corporate – New products, tag lines, brand ambassadors, mergers & acquisitions, etc.
– Politics – Government announcements, Ministers, Chief Ministers, Governors, Heads of Constitutional bodies, etc.
You generally need to be aware of events that have happened in the 6-8 months preceding the exam date.
This is the pure general knowledge part of the section. It comprises static GK i.e. GK that remains constant for long periods of time.
Theoretically, it is impossible to be completely prepared for this as you are not expected to know things from all areas across different periods of time.
However, it has been seen that people who have a good reading habit and are updated on current affairs generally manage to handle these questions well.
Apart from the areas covered in current affairs, some other areas covered in trivia are:
– Geography – countries, capitals, cities, rivers, mountain ranges, etc.
– History – important dates, personalities, etc.
– Science – basic definitions in science, climate change, environment, etc.
– Hobbies and Professions
– Acronyms and Abbreviations
– Important Personalities
– Literature and Entertainment
As explained above, a well-read person is automatically able to tackle this area to a large extent.
Computer Awareness (CA)
The computer awareness section in bank exams is a relatively new entrant due to the increasing usage of computers and the internet in all kind of bank jobs. As bank aspirants you are expected to have a basic working knowledge of computers, their applications and how to use them. Consequently, while bank tests do not really check your technical expertise in this field, they definitely test your proficiency with common computer applications.
The various areas from which questions may be asked in this section are:
1) Basics of Computer Hardware
These questions are based on concepts learnt in school. You may have questions on input, output and storage devices. While you may be aware of most of these, you should update yourself on these again.
You should also get updated information on newer devices like flash drives, pen drives, re-writable disks and more in terms of their applications, limitations etc.
You may also get questions on different parts of conventional computers as well as laptops e.g. monitor, CPU, motherboard, USB ports etc. If you are updated on input, output and storage devices, you should be able to handle these questions.
Go through the Windows Help and Support application to get more information on these.
2) Software & Desktop Applications and Windows
This directly tests your comfort with day-to-day computer applications.
Typical questions may ask you how a file is saved, where does it get saved when deleted and so on.
Some areas that are commonly tested are:
– Desktop Icons – My Computer, My Documents, Recycle Bin, etc.
– Start Menu – Programs, Run, Search, Settings
– Common Computer Operations – Opening new files, creating new folders, renaming, saving and deleting files, creating copies of files, cut-copy-paste, etc.
– Setting Changes – Wallpapers, screensavers, desktop width, colour settings, etc.
While there is no sure fire way to prepare for these questions, you can prepare by increasing your comfort level with computers. The more you use them, the easier it becomes for you to answer these questions. You then don’t need to remember or mug up answers.
Going through a glossary on Windows and computer applications may also help.
3) Microsoft Office Applications
Along with Windows, this is a popular area in bank exams. As bank aspirants, you are expected to be familiar with at least MS Word and MS Excel. Knowledge of other applications like MS Power Point, MS Outlook and MS Access (for databases) is also useful. Questions on these areas generally test applications and shortcuts in MS Office 2007 and other versions.
The list of questions that can be created on MS Office is almost endless, but some common questions fall under the following categories:
– File Creation – New files, creating copies of files
– File Editing and Management – Cut-copy-paste, renaming files, saving and deleting files, editing files either in part or full
– Data Management – Entering new data, editing and modifying existing data
– Data Operations – Sorting & filtering data, vlookup & hlookup, pivot tables, etc.
– Data Formatting – Styles, fonts, colours, borders, spacing, etc.
While you can formally learn all these, practice is the easiest way to master them. The more you practice MS Office, the easier it is to not only learn the basic operations but also the more useful shortcuts and tips.
Even with limited practice of a few months, you should be able to answer most questions very comfortably.
4) Keyboard Shortcuts
Once you become conversant with Windows applications and MS Office, learning shortcut keys becomes easier as they are used extensively in both.
You can expect questions on commonly used keyboard shortcuts, mainly based on the “CTRL”, “SHIFT” and “ALT” keys on the keyboard.
You can also expect questions on other commonly used keys like “Esc”, “Caps Lock”, “Num Lock”, “Backspace”, “Delete”, “Enter”, “Print Screen” and “F1-F12”.
Here, while using the keys gives you a good idea of what they are used for, you can directly get this information from online glossaries.
5) Internet and Networking
With the advent of the internet, this has become very important in this section. Since most jobs require you to use various websites, internet applications and e-mail applications, you can expect a number of questions on these.
Some commonly covered areas are:
– Browser – Definition, common browsers, browser layout features (view, search bar, tabs, etc.), browser applications (bookmarks, history) etc.
– E-mail – E-mail applications, creating, formatting and sending mails, mail management tools, folders and labels, e-mail etiquette, e-mail features (cc, bcc, read-receipt, etc.)
– Websites – website extensions (.in v/s .com v/s .org), website navigation, home pages, etc.
– Intranets – comparison with internet, applications
– Networking – types of networks
– Social Networking websites – Applications and features of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, hi5, etc.
– Application Based websites and applications –Use of Picasa, Instagram, etc.
– Security – Viruses, Trojans, Anti-virus Softwares
Again, reading technology magazines and using the internet regularly are helpful.
6) Terminology and Latest News
Apart from terms used in the areas mentioned above, you can get questions on other computer terms like “reboot”, “fetch” etc.
You can also get questions on events related to the computers and IT sector (wherever applicable).
Going through a glossary of computer terms and keeping yourself updated through computer magazines is helpful.