IBPS PO (Prelim) and (Main) 2023 – Strategy and last-minute tips for the Quantitative Aptitude Section (Prelim) and Data Analysis and Interpretation (Main)

IBPS PO (Prelim) and (Main) 2023 – Strategy and last-minute tips for the Quantitative Aptitude Section (Prelim) and Data Analysis and Interpretation (Main)

This section of the IBPS PO 2023 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 must 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 preliminary exam to qualify for the Main exam.

The section of the IBPS PO 2023 Main exam known as Data Analysis and Interpretation comprises 35 Qs, but the maximum marks are 60. Out of 35 questions, 25 questions are awarded 2 marks each and the remaining questions are awarded one mark each. For this section, 45 minutes of time is allotted. There are minimum qualifying marks for individual tests in the Main exam. Merely qualifying in individual tests may not add up to 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 1/4th of the marks assigned for a question are deducted for each wrongly 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 / tables on Probability.
  • Questions having more than one answer are given in the form of fill-in-the-blanks.
  • Match the values in column I and column II in topics of arithmetic.
  • Condition-based questions on Number series and quadratic equations.

Data Interpretation: Questions on Data Interpretation carry more weightage in the Main exam than in the Prelim. In the Main exam, at least 10 questions and a maximum 16 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, and Single Pie charts are usually asked. In 2021, five questions on a combination of pie chart and table were asked.

In the Main exam, question types include a combination of graphs like two pie charts, caselets etc. Five questions on caselets have been asked almost every year in the last three years. Significantly, caselets based on arithmetic topics like Partnerships, Profit and Loss, Time and Work, Time and Distance, Averages, Mixtures and Alligations, and Mensuration were asked from, 2020 to 2022. In the last three years, five questions based on missing data tables were given. In the last three years, questions on condition-based Number series have been given every year. From 2020 to 2022, every year, questions based on Data Sufficiency (Three Statements) were given. 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 usually 5 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 (20 X 20)
  • Squares of the first 25 Natural numbers
  • Cubes of the 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 percentage concepts

Arithmetic Questions:

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

In the Prelim exams, a minimum of 8 questions and a maximum of 13 questions, based on Arithmetic, have been asked in the last three years.

In the Main exam, a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 15 questions, based on Arithmetic, which includes questions on caselets, have been asked.

Important topics include – Ages, Percentages, Profit and loss, Partnership, Time and work, Trains, Boats and streams, Mensuration, Simple and compound Interest, Averages, Mixtures and Alligations, Permutations and Combinations, Probability etc.

Number Series: Generally, there are 5 questions each on Number Series (missing or wrong numbers). These are important for both the Prelim and the Main examinations. In the prelim exam, these questions are easy. In the main exam, these are difficult because they are condition-based.

Quadratic Comparison: Questions on Quadratic comparisons are not only asked in the Prelim exam, but also in the Main Exam. These are easy to attempt in Prelim Exam. Hence, candidates must attempt them. But in the main exam, these questions are time-consuming, but not very difficult. They are given based on certain conditions.

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 the 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. But in the last three years, no questions were asked on Data Comparison, either in the prelim exam or in the main exam.

The following table presents a topic-wise split of question types asked in the IBPS (PO) Prelim and Main exams in the years 2020, 2021 & 2022. [This data is based on feedback given by T.I.M.E. students who appeared for such exams earlier.]

Area (Quantitative Aptitude) IBPS PO Prelim 2022 (Inclusive of all slots) IBPS PO Prelim 2021 (Inclusive of all slots) IBPS PO Prelim 2020 (Inclusive of all slots) Overall (Inclusive of all slots)
Data Interpretation 10 – 12 (Table, Pie chart, Bar graph) 15 – 16 (Table, Line graph, Pie chart + table, Caselet) 12 – 15 (Table, Line, Bar Graph, Pie chart, Caselet) 10 – 16 (Line graph, Pie chart + table, Pie chart, Bar + Table, Table, Caselet)
Number series 5 – 6 (Missing / Wrong) 5 (Missing) 5 – 6 (Missing / Wrong) 5 – 6 (Missing / Wrong)
Arithmetic 12 – 13 8 – 10 10 – 13 8 – 13
Quadratic equations 6 5 – 6 5 5 – 6
Speed Maths 0 0 0 – 5 (Approximations) 0 – 5
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)
Area (Data Analysis & Interpretation) IBPS PO Main 2022 IBPS PO Main 2021 IBPS PO Main 2020 Overall
Data Interpretation 10 (Two Pie-5Q, Table-5Q) 17 – 19 (Table (Logic based; Speed, Drift, crash) - 5 Q, Table (No of shares and price per share) - 4Q, Missing Table (Mensuration + TW based) - 5 Q, Two Pie charts - 5 Q) 21 (Table - 6Q, Double Pie Chart - 3Q, Line Graph + Table - 6Q, TD Caselet - 3 Q, Caselet - 3Q) 10 – 21 (Missing table, Double Pie charts, Line+ Table, Arithmetic based DI, Caselets)
Number series 2 - 3 Condition based number series 2 - 3 Condition based number series 3 - 4 Condition based number series 2 – 4 Condition Based series
Arithmetic 15 - 19 (TW Caselet-3, Boats and Stream Caselet-4, Partnership Caselet-2, Profit and Loss Caselet-2, Mensuration Caselet-3, Individual Quest-5) 7 (4 individual + 3 Partnership caselet) 3 – 5 3 – 15 (Arithmetic topic based caselets)
Quadratic equations 2 – 3 Condition Based 2 – 3 Condition Based 0 0 – 3 Condition Based
Speed Math’s 0 0 0 0
Data Sufficiency 2 – 3 (3 statements) 2 – 3 (3 statements) 5(3 statements) 2 – 5 (3 statements)
Data Comparison 0 0 0 0
Match the column 0 2 - 3 (New Model) 2 - 3 (New Model) 0 - 3 (New Model)
Total 35 questions (60 Marks) 35 questions (60 Marks) 35 questions (60 Marks) 35 questions (60 Marks)

Strategy & Time Management:

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 and 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!!!