J&K’s largest institute, The Jammu and Kashmir Bank, has announced examination dates of the preliminary exam for the post of Probationary Officer (PO) and clerk. The exams are scheduled for the last week of the month. Although a fortnight is not sufficient for complete preparation, a targeted study plan of approximately 15 days can be a game-changer. Here is an attempt on how to make full use of this last fortnight and prepare for the examination with enthusiasm.
First things first; this test is not about cramming, toil or studying the complete syllabus. It is about smart work. You should be aware of the course of the examination, the time allocated, the marks and other aspects. There is no need to study all parts of the program. You need to prepare what matters most. So, the first requirement is to become familiar with the exam model. After this is done and the pattern is clearly understood, one must analyse the sections and decide what to study and what to skip. Below is such a summary of the various sections.
- Quantitative and Numerical Aptitude: This is the math section. Questions based on general math are asked. But with a twirl. Based on my experience in the field of these assessments, I propose preparing the following topics in this section:
- Number Series
- Average, Ratio & Proportion
- Data Analysis and Interpretation
- Speed, Time and Distance
- Train, Boat & Cyclist Movements
- Time and Work
- Profit & Loss
There is a logical continuation in these subjects. For example, when you study the first four topics, you will be able to prepare the fifth part easily. The next line of reasoning is that at least 8 to 10 questions are expected from this fifth topic (data analysis and interpretation). Thus, after you have prepared the first five themes in this section, you are likely to solve approximately 18 to 20 questions. If you study the next four topics (6th to 9th in the list above), you will be able to solve another 6 to 9 questions. What else does one need to qualify this section? Thus, a logical and intelligent idea of study would be to pursue and prepare these topics in the same sequence.
- Reasoning Ability: This section comprises questions from various topics like Coding & Decoding, Direction Test, Blood relations, Seating arrangement, Puzzles, Syllogism and so on. Our goal would be to prepare these few subjects from which we expect there will be maximum number of questions. The following subject areas need to be prepared:
- Coding & Decoding
- Blood Relations
- Direction Tests
- Seating Arrangement
These are the areas of greatest concern. On average, in every such exam, we see 20 to 25 questions from these topics alone. The logic for this section is based on the degree of difficulty. Take off with the easier topics and gain the confidence to move ahead towards difficult and complicated topics. Here, I would give you a tip: As and when you are permitted, write down the 26 letters of the English Alphabet on the rough sheets provided to you in the exam hall. Write the appropriate count below each letter. E.g: A 1, B 2, C 3 and so on. A is number one and Z is number 26. Write this on the rough sheet at a couple of places. It is so useful while solving questions on Coding and Decoding. Likewise, solve Syllogism by using Venn diagrams. That is the best way to score these questions.
- English Language and Comprehension: This section is not something for which you can prepare overnight. It would depend on your grammatical skills and vocabulary. That’s something you’ve acquired over time. But some advice over the last 15 days can be very constructive. Your preparation plan should consist of studying and understanding grammar and learning new words. Almost all the questions asked here are essentially based on two things: grammar and vocabulary. In these 15 days, study Tenses, unusual Nouns and Verbs, Subject-Verb Agreement, Prepositions and so on. Understand why the words like “ining”, “trouser”, “spacecrafts” and “equipments” are incorrect. Likewise, learn 40 to 50 new words every day. The best way to improve your vocabulary is to learn new words and study ‘Root words’. With the help of Root words, you will be able to guess the meaning of a word with considerable certainty. Following are the elements that you need to study in this section:
- Cloze Test
- Rearrangement of jumbled paragraphs
- Sentence correction and error detection
After giving you an overview of the different sections, we will quickly delve into a few key elements to bear in mind. It’s going to have three parts. Each section has an allotted time. You need to score sufficiently in each section to qualify the exam. The clock will be ticking and there will be many questions. To economize time and stay calm and confident, you should begin with the English section. Here, if you know the answer, you score; if you don’t know the answer, you leave the question and move on. No wastage of time on a single question. At the end of this section, you will have saved time for the other two sections. Unlike English, Reasoning and Math take a while. You require to solve the numericals here. Which means you’re gonna need some time. If you begin your exam with these sections, you will soon get worried about the time left. This will probably impact your calmness and confidence. Next, you do not hold to attempt all questions. Based on what you have prepared, you should select which questions you are going to try to answer. Trust me, there is no candidate out there who attempts all questions correctly.
Another point I’d like to make is that the cut-off threshold that we’re so afraid of is generally misunderstood. In essence, this is a weighted cut-off. This means that the threshold is met by analyzing the paper and analyzing the difficulty level of the test. So, it is not necessary that you have to correctly answer a certain fixed number of questions. Sectional thresholds may be less than this imaginary number, or they may be higher. It depends upon the paper, the difficulty level and the response towards the sections. Based on my experience, the safe scores in English, Maths and Reasoning will be no more than 25, 15 and 20 respectively (the numbers here refer to the number of questions correctly solved).
Following is a study plan of 15 days that may be followed for a detailed insight:
|Day 1||Simplification||Coding & Decoding||Tenses & Vocabulary|
|Day 2||Number series||Blood Relations||Tenses & Vocabulary|
|Day 3||Percentage & Average||Direction Tests||Nouns, Verbs & Vocab|
|Day 4||Ratios & Proportions||Syllogism||Prepositions & Vocab|
|Day 5||Data Analysis & Interpretation||Syllogism||Passages & Vocab|
|Day 6||Data Analysis & Interpretation||Seating Arrangement||Passages & Vocab|
|Day 7||Data Analysis & Interpretation||Seating Arrangement||Cloze Test & Vocab|
|Day 8||Speed, Time & Distance||Puzzles||Para Jumbles & Vocab|
|Day 9||Train, Boat & Cyclist Movements||Puzzles||Practice & Vocab|
|Day 10||Time & Work||Practice||Practice & Vocab|
|Day 11||Practice||Practice||Practice & Vocab|
|Day 12||Practice||Practice||Practice & Vocab|
|Day 13||Practice||Practice||Practice & Vocab|
|Day 14||Practice||Practice||Practice & Vocab|
|Day 15||Practice||Practice||Practice & Vocab|
Table: 15 Day preparation plan for JK Bank PO Exam
(The author is MBA, NET, IBPS-CWE. He is Manager Scale II (Middle Management) in a reputed PSU bank. The views are personal.)