SBI Clerk 2020 – Strategy and last minute tips for the Numerical Ability / Quantitative Aptitude Section

This section of the SBI Clerk 2020 Prelim exam comprises 35 Qs that are to be attempted in 20 mins, while the SBI Clerk 2020 Main exam comprises 50 Qs that need to be attempted in 45 mins. This section is called ‘Numerical Ability’ in the Prelim exam and ‘Quantitative Aptitude’ in the Main exam.

There is a negative marking scheme, where 1/4th of the marks assigned for a question are deducted for each wrongly marked response. There are NO minimum qualifying marks for individual tests OR for the aggregate score.

The students should focus on the following question types.

  • Simplifications
  • Approximations
  • Number Series (Missing and Wrong Numbers)
  • Data Interpretation
  • Quadratic comparisons
  • Individual quant questions on Arithmetic
  • Data Sufficiency (Important for Main exam; very rarely asked in Prelim exam)
  • Data Comparison (Important for Main exam; very rarely asked in Prelim exam)

Data Interpretation: Questions on Data Interpretation carry more weightage in the Main exam than in the Prelim exam. In the Prelim exam, questions on single graph like Table, Bar Graph, Line Graph, Single Pie chart are asked whereas in the Main exam, question types include a combination of graphs like Table + Bar Graph, Table + Line graph, Two pie charts, Caselet etc.. The questions based on Caselet should be attempted at the end. In recent exams, questions on Quant-based DI (Time & Work based, Time & Distance based, Probability-based etc..) have also been asked. One must be thorough with the basic concepts of Quantitative Aptitude in order to attempt these question types accurately.

Simplifications & Approximations:

Questions based on Simplifications and Approximations are asked quite frequently in the Prelim exam and carry more weightage here than they do in the Main exam. In the main exam, about 5 questions can be posed. These questions are easy to solve and hence, students should not skip them.

To answer questions on Simplifications & Approximations and Data Interpretation, students should learn and practice the following:

  • Multiplication Tables (20X20)
  • Squares of first 25 Natural numbers
  • Cubes of first 20 Natural numbers
  • Powers of 2 (Upto 12)
  • Powers of 3 (Upto 7)
  • Fraction / Reciprocal values (Upto 12)
  • Complements of 100
  • Rules of Indices
  • Basic % concepts

Arithmetic Questions:

Questions here test fundamental concepts of a student. These questions are important for both the Prelim and the Main examinations.

Important topics include – Ages, Percentages, Profit & Loss, Partnership, Time & Work, Boats & Streams, Trains, Mensuration, Simple & Compound Interest, Averages, Mixtures & Alligations etc.

Number Series: Generally, there are five questions each on Number Series (Missing & Wrong No.) and Quadratic Comparisons. These are important for both the Prelim and the Main examinations.

Data Sufficiency & Data Comparison: Questions based on Data Sufficiency & Data Comparisons are in general a part of the Main exam. These questions demand a thorough understanding of the basics and are tricky to solve. These two question types at times can be asked in the Prelim exam as well, but their difficulty level would certainly be much lower, keeping in mind the basic nature of the exam.

The following table presents a topic-wise split of question types asked in the SBI Clerk 2018 & 2019 exams (Prelim & Main). [This is based on feedback given by T.I.M.E. students who have appeared for such exams earlier]

Topic Prelim Exam Main Exam
Simplifications 5 - 12 -
Approximations 5 0 - 5
Number Series 5 5
Quadratic Comparisons 5 5
Data Interpretation 5 - 10 10 - 25
Individual Quant Questions 5 - 15 10 - 17
Data Sufficiency 5 (Important for the Main exam; rarely asked in the Prelim exam) 5
Data Comparison - 5

Strategy & Time-Management:

In order to maximise the score and to manage time effectively, we recommend the below mentioned plan for attempting questions.

It is advisable to attempt questions on - Simplifications & Approximations, Number Series, Quadratic Comparisons, Individual questions on Arithmetic, Data Comparisons and Data Sufficiency - first, before moving on to those on Data Interpretation.

Questions on Data Interpretation should be targeted at the end. Among these questions, Quant-based DI and Caselet-based questions should be attempted last.

All the best !!