IBPS PO 2020 - Last minute tips and strategy for Quantitative Aptitude and DI

This section of the IBPS PO 2020 Prelim exam comprises 35 Qs and the marks allotted are 35, with each question carrying one mark.This section is known as Quantitative Aptitude. The total time allotted for the Quantitative Aptitude Section is 20 minutes, after which the test-taker will not be allowed to go back to this part of the exam. One has to utilize these 20 minutes in a very effective and efficient manner. Besides getting a competitive score overall, one must clear the sectional cut-off in the Prelim exam to qualify for the Main exam.

The section of the IBPS PO 2020 Main exam known as Data Analysis and Interpretation comprises 35 Qs, but the maximum marks are 60, 45 minutes of time is allotted for this section. There are minimum qualifying marks for individual tests in the Main exam. Merely qualifying in individual tests may not add up enough marks for getting an interview call. A student should also get a reasonably high grand total.

There is a negative marking scheme in both the Prelim and the Main exams, where 1/4thof the marks assigned for a question are deducted for eachwrongly marked response.

Candidates should focus on the following question types for the Prelim exam:

  • Simplifications
  • Approximations
  • Number Series (missing and wrong numbers)
  • Quadratic Comparison
  • Data Interpretation
  • Individual quant questions on Arithmetic

In addition to the above question types, the following subtopics are important for the Main examination.

  • Data Sufficiency (important for the Main exam; very rarely asked in the Prelim exam)
  • Data Comparison (important for the Main exam, sometimes asked in the Prelim exam)
  • Caselets / tables / graphs based on Arithmetic topics like Profit and Loss, Partnership, Time and Work, Time and Distance, Mensuration, and caselets / table on Probability.

Data Interpretation: Questions on Data Interpretation carry more weightage in the Main exam than in the Prelim. In the Main exam, at least 15 questions and maximum 26 questions were asked from this area in the last three years.

In the Prelim exam, questions on single graphs like Tables, Bar Graphs, Line Graphs, Single Pie charts are usually asked. In 2018, five questions on a combination of table and line graph, and a combination of table and bar graph were asked.

In the Main exam, question types include a combination of graphs like two pie charts, caselets etc. Five questions on caseletshave been asked almost every year in the last three years.In the years 2017 and 2019, five questions based on missing data table were given. In 2018, questions on Data Sufficiency based on Data Interpretation were asked. In 2019, a combination of pie chart and caselet was given in which most of the data in the pie chart were missing. This was supposed to be calculated based on the data given in the caselet. A test-taker must be prepared to face any new type of graphical representation.Questions based on caselets should be attempted towards the end. One must be thorough with basic concepts of Quantitative Ability 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 are usually5 to 6 in number. However, in the Main exam, these questions are rare. They 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 the first 25 Natural numbers
  • Cubes of the first 20 Natural numbers
  • Powers of 2 (up to 12)
  • Powers of 3 (upto 7)
  • Fraction / Reciprocal values (upto 12)
  • Complements of 100
  • Rules of Indices
  • Basic percentage concepts

Arithmetic Questions:

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

In the Prelim exams, a minimum of 7 questions and a maximum of 16 questions, based on Arithmetic, have been asked in the last three years.

In the Main exam, a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 12 questions, based on Arithmetic, have been asked.
Important topics include – Ages, Percentages, Profit & Loss, Partnership, Time & Work, Trains, Boats & Streams, Mensuration, Simple & Compound Interest, Averages, Mixtures &Alligations, Permutations and Combinations, Probability etc.

Number Series: Generally, there are 5 questions each on Number Series (missing orwrong numbers). These are important for both the Prelim and the Main examinations. In the 2019 Main exam, a new pattern of questions on number series was asked. Quadratic Comparison: Questions on Quadratic comparisons are asked only in the Prelim exam. These are easy to attempt. Hence, candidates must attempt them.

Data Sufficiency & Data Comparison: These questions are very common in the Main exam. Questions based on Data Sufficiency can be based on two or three statements. Questions based on Data Comparison may be with two quantities or three quantities. These questions demand a thorough understanding of basics and are tricky to solve. At times, both these question types 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 IBPS (PO) Prelim and Main exams inthe years 2017, 2018 & 2019. [This data is based on feedback given by T.I.M.E. students who appeared for such exams earlier.]

(Quantitative Aptitude)
IBPS PO Prelim 2019
(Inclusive of all slots)
IBPS PO Prelim 2018
(Inclusive of all slots)
IBPS PO Prelim 2017
(Inclusive of all slots)
(Inclusive of all slots)
Data Interpretation 10 – 15
(Table, Pie chart, Line graph, caselet)
10 – 15
(Line, Line graph + table, Pie chart, Bar + Table, Caselet)
  (Table, Line)
10 – 15 (Line graph, Line graph + table, Pie chart, Bar + Table, Table, Caselet)
Number series 5 – 6 (Missing/Wrong) 5 (Wrong) 5 (Missing) 5 – 6(Missing/Wrong)
Arithmetic 9 – 13 7 – 16 12 – 13 7 – 16
Quadratic equations 5 – 6 5 – 6 5 (In place of number series) 5 – 6
Speed Maths 5 (Approximations)
(A few questions in place of Arithmetic)
0 5 – 6 (Approximations) 5 – 6
Data Sufficiency 0 0 0 0
Data Comparison 0 0 0 0
Total 35 questions (35 Marks) 35 questions (35 Marks) 35 questions  (35 Marks) 35 questions (35 Marks)
(Data Analysis & Interpretation)
IBPS PO Main 2019 IBPS PO Main 2018 IBPS PO Main 2017 Overall
Data Interpretation 26
(6 sets – Missing data table, bar graph, pie chart+caselet, Stacked bar, scattered graph, Caselet)
15 – 18
(Line graph (DI + DS),Radar graph, caselets - 2)
  (Missing Table,Bar + Table, Caselet)
15 – 26
(Missing table, Pie charts, Bar+ Table, Radar graph, Scattered graph, Line graph (DI + DS), Caselets)
Number series 1 wrong number 4 – 5 (Wrong) 5(wrong) 1 – 5 (wrong number)
Arithmetic Time and work caselet – 5,
Probability caselet – 3
10 – 12 (DS based + Fill in the blanks) 5 8 – 12
Quadratic equations 0 0 0 0
Speed Math’s 0 0 0 0
Data Sufficiency 0 2 – 3 (3 statements) 5(2 statements) 2 – 5 (2 or 3 statements)
Data Comparison 0 2 – 3 (3 Quantities) 5 (2 quantities) 2 – 5 (2 or three quantities)
Total 35 questions 35 questions 35 questions 35 questions (60 Marks)

Strategy & Time-Management:

In order to maximize 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, Caselet-based questions should be attempted last.

Wishing you all the best!!!