Yes, this is my strongest section, and believe me when I say that, if it was not for General Awareness, I’d have never cleared any exam.
I have been quite decent in General Awareness since I was a little kid. I remember, when I was in 3rd standard, my elder brother gifted me one “Upkar General Knowledge” book on my birthday, and by the time I was in 4th, I had learnt 80% of the static GK. So, it was inculcated in me since the very beginning, and it grew as an interest later in my school days.
I needed to get as marks as I could in GA, so that I get a clear edge over other candidates. Since, I prepared GA in a very holistic manner, I’ve divided this in few parts-
Current Affairs (CA)
This has the most weightage in the GA section, almost 40-45% questions come from that, and hence, it becomes quite a scoring part. Also, it requires very less effort to prepare this.
This is how I prepared Current Affairs – READING! Yes, I just read, a lot, from multiple sources.
What you need to do is, just spend one hour every day on CA, and you’ll score cent percent marks. Well, yes, some people like to make notes, so that it can be helpful while revision, but this is a very personal thing. I, for myself has never made any sort of notes for GA, or for any other section for that matter. I find it a waste of time and quite boring, I’d better spend that time on reading the same thing again.
Oliveboard’s monthly GK sectionals is recommended.
And the most important thing:
Current Affair should be prepared for the last 100 days from the day of the exam. (personal experience)
You must be wondering that why I’ve mentioned that I read the same daily GK update so many times. The simple reason is, if your read the same thing, from different sources, in a different way, that information gets embedded in your brain. This way, in my opinion, you won’t need to make any notes. The revision can be done with those Monthly Quizzes that I’ve mentioned. Also, you can use one compiled booklet, which these websites call as “capsules”.
Coming to the newspaper part, this is the most articulate, to the point and informative source one can find. You can choose any newspaper, English or regional language, but I’d suggest that you choose an English one, as that would also help in your English language section and in the Descriptive part (SBI PO).
Now, which newspaper to choose? In my opinion, one should choose either The Hindu or The Indian Express, if not both. If you have that much time that you can afford to spend it on two newspapers then, I’d suggest to read both.
One should be your primary newspaper, that you’d read every day, without a miss. The other can be read if you have some spare time.
Since, everything is available on the internet these days, you won’t even require to subscribe these. Read the primary newspaper from cover to cover, and just the Editorial page of the secondary newspaper.
There are people who worry a lot about this part, but this, in reality, is easy to prepare. First, go through the FAQs on the RBI website. Once you’re done with this, go through the Banking Awareness Modules of GKToday, it is freely available to read online on their website. There is no need to buy any book.
In addition to these, another good source is the Mrunal Videos on Banking which are available on YouTube. You should go to the Economics Playlist and watch the lectures from L1/P2 to L1/P9. This will be more than enough. If you want to revise, you can go through any of the capsules on Banking Awarenesss from the website of your preference.
Well, this part has the least cost-benefit ratio, as everything under the sun can be asked. But still, one should prepare it.
You should focus on Indian Static GK. Like Dams and rives, National Park and WLS, Nuclear, Thermal and Hydro Power Plants, CMs and Governors, Capital and Currency of Countries, HQs of major Organizations. Also, the capitals and currencies of the countries to which our PM or President recently visited or the countries whose heads visited India.
I have studied from an English medium school, and have a decent knowledge of the language. MI can that my base is strong. So, I’d like to give the strategy for English in two parts.
1. If you belong to the “strong basic” group
If you’re someone who has a strong base of the language, then it becomes an easy task to score decent marks. You just need to read the newspaper every day, and take the mock tests diligently. Analyse your mock tests and you’ll score good. I followed the same.
2. If you belong to the “not so strong basic” group
The first thing that you should do is, buy Wren and Martin book for grammar, read it from cover to cover as many times as you can, and try to understand it.
The other thing, reading. Read anything, newspaper, novels, magazines, advertisements. Simply anything. That’d help you in knowing how to form sentences, where to use which idiom and phrase and so on.
And, finally, Mock Tests! There is nothing in this world that can replace mock tests.
Vocabulary is something that is built over a period, and not overnight. It requires patience and hard work. The best way to widen your vocabulary is reading. Read anything. A newspaper, a magazine, an article on lipstick, a food blog, a novel. It will just increase your vocabulary.
If you read a word, say, “unequivocal”, go to the internet and search the meaning, and try to learn it. Trust me, you cannot learn it in the first go. I bet, that you’ll come across that word again in the next 2-3 days. Learn it again, make a sentence using it in a context that suits the word in your head and then you’ll never forget it, all your life.
My marks in English
SBI 2015: 37.5/50
SBI 2016: 21.25/40
This is the most dynamic section in nature. It becomes challenging also in way that it doesn’t have any “set syllabus”. We’ve seen a lot of change in banking exams, especially in Reasoning section. So, it is important to keep an open mind, and one needs to be ready to face anything.
The biggest part in this section is covered by Puzzles/Seating Arrangement. And, to be very frank, I was not good at solving these. I know, that these questions challenge a lot of candidates. One gets to think that if he’s not able to solve the 50% of marks, then what does he need to do to clear the section? The answer is simple yet complicated. Everything, apart from Puzzles and Arrangement need to be prepared thoroughly so that you don’t miss even a single mark.
In my opinion, there is NO textbook for this section, because this section is an ever-changing one. It has been noticed that the pattern of Reasoning is changing with every exam that IBPS is conducting. So, the biggest question bank or repository for Reasoning is this wonderful web of information – Internet. There are several websites that post question every day. You should solve those. Please know that, there is no trick for solving Puzzles and Arrangements, only practice will help you. Also, the questions in Oliveboard Mock Tests are of great help, as they provide a lot of variety. I’ve been mentioning a lot, but mocks are a MUST.
Then comes the miscellaneous questions like Input-Output, Coding-Decoding, Inequalities, Syllogisms, Direction Sense, Data Sufficiency, Ranking and Order, Critical reasoning – Assumptions, Conclusions, Cause and Effect etc. If you’re someone who is not comfortable with Puzzles and Arrangements, then you should try to solve the “miscellaneous” part.
For syllogisms, you can choose the traditional Venn Diagram method or the A,E,I,O rules method.
For syllogisms, Data Sufficiency, Input-Output and Critical Reasoning, I’d suggest you to follow “Analytical Reasoning by MK Pandey, BSC Publication”. This is a very good book, and should be followed in my opinion.
For other type of questions, one can use the internet and the websites that I’ve been mentioning all the while.
Personally, I’ve never even attempted any puzzles this year, as I wasted a lot of time last year and ended up scoring abysmally low in last year’s exam. So, while I was taking any mock or when I was taking the exam, for that matter, I had already decided to not look at even a single puzzle. The simple reason is, they’re very tempting. You think that you can solve it when you read the question, but when you start attempting it, you end up being trapped and in turn, wasting your precious time.
My personal tip is, attempt puzzles and arrangements only if you’re confident of solving them.
marks in Reasoning
SBI 2015: 14.5/50
SBI 2016: 27.25/60
Quantitative Aptitude/Data Interpretation
This section was/is my weakest one. So, my only goal was to clear the sectional cutoff, somehow, anyhow. Since I’m traditionally weak in this, I try to target the DI part (SBI has only DI, except a few questions), as it requires only calculation, with which I’m decent.
The problem with going for questions of the chapter of QA like Time and Distance, CI-SI, Time and Work is, they take a lot of time to prepare. You cannot complete any decent book on these chapters in a month. Yes, if you’re someone with good concept of mathematics and time in hand, you should take up this book – Quantum CAT by Sarvesh K Verma. This is a great book, and everyone who is preparing for Bank or SSC for that matter, must have it.
Try solving and understanding the questions and concepts in this book and it’d do wonders for you, trust me when I say this. Things like Series, Data Sufficiency can and should be prepared from online sources.
DI is a very scoring part, yes, it is calculative, but if you’re someone who just intends to clear the sectional cutoff, it is a boon. The best source for decent level of DIs are Mock Tests. Mock tests come up a new type and set of DI in every test and this helps in building the concept and lets you know the variety of questions that can come. You can, in addition of this, use the sources available on the internet elsewhere.
One more thing is, for mocks, be prepared with the basic of chapters, like formula of CI or Boat and Stream, as many a time, DI question based on these is asked.