IBPS RRB Office Assistant 2023 Prelim and Main – Strategy and last-minute tips for the Numerical Ability Section

IBPS RRB Office Assistant 2023 Prelim and Main – Strategy and last-minute tips for the Numerical Ability Section

This section of the RRB Office Assistant 2023 Prelim exam may comprise of 40 Qs. The total time allotted for the Numerical Ability Section and the Reasoning section is usually 45 minutes. There is no sectional time limit. One may allot 20-25 minutes of time for the Numerical Ability section.

The numerical ability section of the RRB Office Assistant 2023 Main exam may comprise 40 questions, but the maximum marks are 50. Though there is no sectional time limit, one may allot around 25 to 30 minutes for this section.

There is a negative marking scheme for both Prelim and Main exams, where 1/4th of the marks assigned for a question are deducted for each wrongly marked response. For Prelim and Main exams, there are minimum qualifying marks for individual tests. The marks obtained in the main exam only are considered for the final merit list.

The students should focus on the following question types for the Prelims exam, in the same sequence.

  • Simplifications
  • Approximations
  • Number Series (Missing and Wrong Numbers)
  • Individual quant questions on Arithmetic

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

  • Quadratic Comparisons
  • Data Sufficiency (Important for Main exam; were not asked in Prelim exam in the last three years.)
  • Data Comparison (Important for Main exam) 
  • Data Interpretation

Data Interpretation: Questions on Data Interpretation carry more weightage in the Main exam than in the Prelim exam. In the main exam, at least 15 questions out of 40 questions are asked on Data Interpretation. In the prelim exam, at least 10 questions are asked.

In the Prelim exam, questions on single graphs like Table, Bar Graph, Line Graph, and Single Pie chart are asked whereas in the Main exam, question types include a combination of graphs like pie chart+ line graph, Caselet etc. Five questions on Caselet are asked almost every year. The questions based on Caselet should be attempted at the end.

Simplifications & Approximations:

Questions based on Simplifications and Approximations are asked quite frequently in the Prelims exam and carry 10 to 15 questions. In the mains exam, at the maximum five such questions are asked. 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 (Up to 12)
  • Powers of 3 (Up to 7)
  • Fraction / Reciprocal values (Up to 12)
  • Complements of 100
  • Rules of Indices
  • Basic % concepts

Arithmetic Questions:

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

In Prelims exams, 5 to 15 questions are from arithmetic.

In the main exam, 10 to 15 questions are from arithmetic.

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

Number Series and Quadratic Comparisons: Generally, there are five questions each on Number Series (Missing or Wrong No.) and Quadratic Comparisons. These are important for both the Prelim and the Main examinations. For the mains exam, questions on quadratic questions were asked in 2021 and 2022. Questions on Quadratic comparisons are easy to attempt. Hence the student should certainly attempt these questions.

Data Sufficiency & Data Comparison: There were no questions on Data Sufficiency in the Prelim or the Main exam in any of the three years – 2020, 2021 and 2022. In the main exam, questions based on Data Comparison were asked in 2022 only. 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 RRB Clerks 2020, 2021 and 2022 exams (Prelim & Main). [This is based on feedback given by T.I.M.E. students who have appeared for such exams earlier]

(Numerical Ability)
RRB Office Assistant Prelim 2020
(Comprising of all slots)
RRB Office Assistant Prelim 2021
(Comprising of all slots)
RRB Office Assistant Prelim 2022
(Comprising of all slots)
(Comprising of all slots)
Data Interpretation 10 – 12 (Table, Bar, Caselet) 12 (table + bar graph) 10 (Table, Bar graph) 10 – 12 (Table, Bar, Caselet)
Number series 5 – 6 (Missing/Wrong) 5 (Missing) 5 (Missing/Wrong) 5 - 6 (Missing/Wrong)
Arithmetic 10 - 12 13 10 10 -13
Quadratic equations 0 - 5 0 0 0-5
Speed Maths Simplifications 10 10 15 (Approximations 5 and 10 simplifications) 10 – 15 (Approximations 5 and 10 simplifications)
Data Sufficiency 0 0 0 0
Data Comparison 0 0 0 0
Total 40 questions 40 questions 40 questions
(Numerical Ability)
RRB Office Assistant Mains
RRB Office Assistant Mains
RRB Office Assistant Mains
2022 (Multipurpose)
Data Interpretation 15 (Bar Graph - 5 Qs, Table - 5 Qs, Caselet - 5 Qs) 15
(Table, Line graph, Caselet)
(Table, Pie+Line graph, Caselet)
(Table, Bar/line graph, Pie-Chart +line graph, Caselet)
Number series 5 (Wrong No) 0 5 0 - 5
Arithmetic 15 13 10 10 – 15
Quadratic equations 0 6 5 0 – 6
Speed Maths 5 (Approximations) 6 0 0 - 6
Data Sufficiency 0 0 0 0
Data Comparison 0 0 5 0 - 5
Total 40 questions 40 questions 40 questions

Strategy & Time Management:

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

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

Some useful Tips:

  • Going through the Analyses of previous years’ papers will help you understand what topics were asked in the exams, the weightage of questions from each topic, the pattern of questions etc.
  • Whether a sectional time limit is specified or not, time management, speed, and accuracy play an important role in helping you clear your exams. Work on your speed and accuracy.
  • Practice questions daily. This will give you an edge over others, who are appearing for these exams.
  • Tracking your performance on a regular basis helps you identify the areas/topics in which you are weak and need to boost up your preparation.
  • Answering the questions in a particular sequence, to maximise your attempts and your score, is very important. See the order given above.
  • Take ample online tests, topic-wise as well as Mock Tests – these will help you understand your preparation levels and assist you in time management so that when you go for the actual exam, you give it a shot with confidence.