Tuesday, April 1, 2014

POSTAL ASSISTANT EXAM- PREPARATION GUIDANCE PART-2

Disclaimer:- All Information provided in this post are Prepared &Compiled by A. Praveen Kumar, SPM, Papannapet SO-502303, Andhra Pradesh  for in good faith of Postal Assistant Exam Aspirants. Author of blog does not accepts any responsibility in relation to the accuracy, completeness, usefulness or otherwise, of the contents.

Quantitative Aptitude

Quantitative aptitude forms a major section in Postal Assistant exam, so it shouldn't be taken lightly and must be practiced on a regular basis.

Quantitative aptitude measures your overall reasoning and analytical skills. It makes sure that you have the ability to deal with practical issues and skills to achieve desirable success in life. A Quantitative Aptitude test evaluates you on the numerical ability and accuracy level in the mathematical calculations. It consists of several types of questions ranging from pure numeric calculations to arithmetic reasoning.

First let’s delve into the challenges aspirants usually face at Quantitative Ability.

Which materials should I refer to? Are coaching materials enough?

I am very slow in quant, how do I increase my speed?

I have very low accuracy at this section? How do I increase my accuracy?

How much time, do I should I spend on each question?

Students are often under misconception that referring multiple materials will help them in getting a better score. The idea is basically to get your fundamentals strong. Initially, refer to one standard Book /material which is available in the market. Once you are thorough with it, you can refer more materials just for practice purpose. Ensure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to coverage, as it is as important as depth.

A good book: Buy a good book of quantitative Aptitude to improve your basics. Most of the questions asked in these exams are of not more than 10th class level. I suggest “Magical Book on Quicker Maths – Tyra and Quantitative Aptitude by Arun Sharma.

The syllabus of the Quantitative Aptitude is as follows.

Number theory - In Number theory, you will get questions on Divisibility, remainders, LCM and HCF, MCQs on Unknown numbers from given condition for Fractions-comparisons.

Basic Maths Questions - In basic math’s, you have to prepare for Surds, indices,    BODAMAS, Roots, squares and Cubes.

Average and Ratios: - In this section, you will get sub topic questions like simple average, Ratio-Proportion-variations and questions on partnership.

PERCENTAGE, PROFIT AND LOSS, RATIO AND PROPORTION, PARTNERSHIP,CHAIN RULE, TIME AND WORK, PIPES AND CISTERNS, TIME AND DISTANCE, PROBLEMS ON TRAINS, BOATS AND STREAMS, ALLIGATION OR MIXTURE, SIMPLE INTEREST, COMPOUND INTEREST, AREA, VOLUME AND SURFACE

For above sections, you need to practice a lot. Don't avoid above sections, as you all know, above said topics are most asked question in competitive exam.

The Approach for Maths, stands on two pillars.

Pillars

1.    Conceptual Clarity :  Read NCERT Books
For some topics directly from quantitative aptitude books

2.    Lot of Practice:     From  Quantitative aptitude books

Your task is to cover one topic at a time, first get conceptual-clarity and then solve maximum questions at home.

The very first step to prepare well for quantitative aptitude is to know well about the types of questions that are covered under this heading. This can be done by a little bit of research and by taking up the questions of this section.

Once you know about the types of questions, one by one take up these types and start preparing. When you start preparing for a question type, take up as many questions as you can from good books and papers and try solving them. Do not consider any type less important or insignificant because you never know which question type may be highlighted in this section.

Whenever you learn any short-cut technique, you note it down in your diary. Similarly, whenever you make any mistake while solving sums, you also note that down in your diary. Night before the exam, you review that diary of mistakes. Why do this? Because it is the “Art of Aptitude.

Merely knowing the concepts or formulas won’t help. Because unless you practice different variety of questions, you won’t become proficient in applying those concepts flawlessly in the actual-exam.

Second, despite knowing concept and formulas, people make silly mistakes either in calculation or in plugging the values.

Make sure you learn how to recognize when/ why should use a specific method to solve a problem. Work on practice problems for each topic ranging in levels of difficulty. When practicing, try to solve the problem on your own first then look at the answer or seek help if you are having trouble.

Questions in quantitative aptitude are not very tough; the only thing needed is practice so that you'll realize how to manage time by Switching between questions by leaving time taking questions for the end.

By firm practice, you'll get good at switching between questions and save time which is the deciding factor in such exams.

Also, if you are unable to solve a few questions do make it a point to get it solved from a senior, teacher or a fellow student. Don't leave any question unsolved.

Once you get in a habit of attempting these questions start focusing on your accuracy. Though it is important to attempt all questions it is equally important to do them accurately. After you've worked on achieving a high accuracy level, you need to learn the technique of time management because it is important to attempt the questions correctly in a given amount of time. You cannot just sit for hours solving one question. This again can be achieved by a lot of practice.

If you simply cannot determine the answer to a question, make a guess.  Think about the problem and the information you know to be true.  Make a guess that will be logical based upon the conditions of the problem. After you perform your calculations, see if your final answer is close to your guess.

Important Tips:-

1. Learn shortcuts- Formula and tricks

The first step is to learn all basic formulae, the most important being the rule of BODMAS, this will allow you to solve simple mathematical questions. Then try to learn various tricks to solve a quantitative aptitude problem. For instance, tricks such as learning where addition or multiplication is to be used can help. The best way to learn tips and tricks is to follow logical thinking and attitude.
Basic Calculations: Practice basic calculations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percentage increase, fractions etc on daily basis. I know it sounds silly for a pro (in school time) in Mathematics but it is a necessary thing to do to improve your score.
2. Learn to estimate the answers and use of Common sense

Believe it or not! Common sense is the most important tool when it comes to solving quantitative aptitude problems. So, use common sense. Think what could be more practical and then choose your solution. Have a fair clarity on how to get the right option in minimal time.

3. Learn to do mental calculations

Numerical Ability section is designed to make you rely on quicker mental calculations otherwise its hard to get a very good score. The less paper you use for calculations, the better you could score.

4. Time management
Generally, students spend too much of time for solving a single quantitative aptitude question. And although they end with the correct answer, they might not be able to complete all questions. Therefore, divide time. Ideally, nothing more than two minutes should be given to a quantitative aptitude question.
5. Practice makes a man perfect
Yes! Practice is the key. Don’t expect yourself to be too intelligent, rather hone your skills by practicing mock tests. These tests will give you a fair idea about what type of questions may come and also allow you to find the best ways to produce the right answer. Moreover, practicing tests gives you an opportunity to learn time management and reduces average time for getting a solution.
6. Make friends
Well, if you are actually interested in clearing the quantitative aptitude test with flying colours, then you should practice by making friends. Friends, who have common goals, can help you in studying and finding different ways of getting a solution. Moreover, you can do mock tests and ask each other questions, discuss on the techniques used for deriving an answer.
7. Sleep and exercise
Finally, it is important to treat your body well if you want to enhance your capabilities. Therefore, sleep at least 8 hours a day to make sure that your brain has enough time to rest. Also, start exercising. This will not just keep you fit on physical levels, but it will also make sure that your mind exercises and receive better blood flow to protect your memory.

At the time of Examination (Quantitative Part)

The Aspirant must not lose the confidence during preparation and while giving the examination.

One should be able to attempt easy questions successfully in reasonably quick time, and he should also be able to attempt most of the moderate level questions. One should ensure that not much time is spent trying difficult questions that you cannot understand. The mantra is to allocate one minute of thinking time for each difficult question. If you feel you have not made any headway, jump to the next question. This will ensure that you don’t up end wasting time too much time on a single question. If you have time left at the end of the test, you can always come back to answer the remaining questions.

Don't panic if you can't solve the question. Just move on & try to solve another one.

If time permits, go back and resolve the more difficult problems on the test on a separate piece of paper.  If these "new" answers are the same as your previous answers, chances are good that your solution is correct.

Do not feel that you must use every number in a problem when doing your calculations. Some mathematics problems have "extra" information.  These questions are testing your ability to recognize the needed information, as well as your mathematical skills.

If you know that your answer to a question is incorrect, and you cannot find your mistake, start over on a clean piece of paper.  Often times when you try to correct a problem, you continually overlook the mistake.  Starting over on a clean piece of paper will let you focus on the question, not on trying to find the error.

Whenever possible, draw a diagram.  Even though you may be able to visualize the situation mentally, a hand drawn diagram will allow you to label the picture, to add auxiliary lines, and to view the situation from different perspectives.

Always read math problems completely before beginning any calculations.  If you "glance" too quickly at a problem, you may misunderstand what really needs to be done to complete the problem.

Reasoning Preparation

Reasoning is getting much attention in most of competitive exams to test the judgement and other skills related to presence of mind and analytical ability of a candidate.

Reasoning can be taken as a scoring subject as compared to the quantitative section as it takes only thinking ability of a candidate and if the candidate is able to apply it, in most cases he can be sure of his scoring.

Reasoning questions are very important part as they test candidate's decision making, preciseness, analytical ability etc. Reasoning questions are normally considered to be very confusing as the candidates cannot easily decide on an answer without taking some time and applying good analytical skills so reasoning should not be attempted first. Candidate should attempt this section after saving some time from Questions of General awareness and General English.

Reasoning mostly covers sections like Critical Reasoning, Analytical reasoning and Reasoning Data Sufficiency. Reasoning basically depends on the skill level and thinking ability of mind and if the candidate lacks in that, he needs to develop them through hard practice of reasoning questions.

Reasoning questions have large variety and widely classified into verbal and Non-verbal reasoning.

Verbal reasoning includes questions classified as below:-
Alphabetical and numerical series
Questions deriving from some given facts and relations
Questions on Directional analysis
Coding-decoding on a pattern
Questions on age calculation
Questions on Mirror images
Questions on Human relations
and More.......

Non-verbal reasoning includes questions on some series of graphical representations. For example, four graphical pictures are shown depending upon some series; the candidate has to decide the next in series by finding out the logic used in creating the series.

Topics to be prepared

Series

Analogy (both word based and numerical)
Odd pair (both word based and numerical)
English Dictionary based word arrangements, missing letters
Box containing some number, you’ve to find missing number.
Ranking, missing characters etc

As you can see from the above, majority of the questions are asked from “series” (analogy, odd pairs, dictionary etc). Around half of the reasoning questions are based on this topic only.

Therefore, I suggest you first solve all the sums related to “series” from your reasoning book. And within that, more emphasis should be given to

Analogy (words and numbers)
odd pair (same)
Classification
Dictionary based series
Inserting missing characters
Logical sequence of words

The word based analogy/odd pair is very easy (compared to number based or letter based).

But number based analogy/odd pair etc. can be a tough cookie.

So while in exam, keep an eye on wrist watch. Don’t spend too much time in just one question.

Coding and Decoding

Typical coding decoding (PEAR written as GFDN then REAP is written as..)
Symbols (circle is greater than, square is less than.
Maths operations (L=x, M=+, then value of 16L12M13 is.
Math operation. Can be mastered with practice and can be solved quickly and accurately. Same for symbol.

So practice as much as you can.

Conventional Venn diagram questions. (50 drink coffee, 40 drink tea…) Usually just 2 questions come. Good part, answer can be verified and once you practice enough it doesn’t even take one minute to solve it (2 circle venn diagram cases).

Arrangement

Sitting arrangement (line, table and circular)
Building, car, colour, occupations of persons.
Schedules (lecture on Monday..etc.)

Direction based (Mohan moves three kms north…how far he is from home
To a new player, the arrangement questions may appear time-consuming. But once you’ve practiced enough sums, your speed will improve.

But the best thing with arrangement question, you can verify the answer (by applying the “conditions” given in the question to your arrangement).

Easiest of all arrangement is circular arrangement. Solve each and every sum given in your book. Once you’re comfortable with circular, move to linear and rectangular (dining table).

Next comes, Direction based question. Solve each and every sum given in your book.

Finally blood relations.

Misc.

Clock, calendar
Permutation Combination (rare)
Age related problems (dad is 22 older than..)
Geometry

Image based (non-verbal)

Cubes-dices: predicting color, numbers in other faces
Sequence of figures
Paper-cutting, folding, punching
Mirrors and water reflection
Configuration, fitting pieces, odd pieces etc

Here are some tips to develop reasoning skills and solve reasoning problems.

Practice Puzzles- Solving puzzles can greatly help in improving solving skills and thereby helps to improve your reasoning power.

Analyse and arrange- Try to analyse what is given in the question and note it in a proper way on a paper to help you solve better.

Work on Given Data- Remember that the given problem will be solved by the data given only, don’t make any assumptions or judgment while solving the question.
Negative prefixes- Be careful with words having negative prefixes like un-, non- , they can fool you for facts.

Use elimination- If nothing is coming out as a conclusion; try eliminating options according to the information given to find the correct answers.

Eliminate all words that are irrelevant to the argument.

Even though you need to comprehend all the words in the stimulus, they're not all important. The only words you'll need to deal with are the ones that make up the evidence and conclusion.

DONOT assume, USE ONLY Info provided in the question. This important as we need to unlearn the info we generally have and use on the info provided.MAKE SURE you have read all the choices carefully before proceeding to answer. NOTICE: The special clues, like “all,” “some,” or “none” when you read the factual information given in the question. Other qualifying words such as “other than,” “only” or “unless” are important, too. These cues can play a critical part in specifying the facts to be used in your reasoning.

Pay more attention to the word like “ONLY” and to the phrase “IF AND ONLY IF.” Saying “The Box will open IF AND ONLY IF both keys are used” sets up a highly specific condition that must be met. There is exactly one way to open the door-you must use both keys. By contrast, if the sentence says, “The Box will open if the key is used,” there may be several ways to open the door besides by using the key.

In questions that ask you to select a valid conclusion, always choose the one conclusion that must definitely follow from the information you are given. In questions that ask you to find the invalid alternative, choose the one conclusion that does not definitely follow from the information.

It is good idea to use the paper to draw the matrix, Venn diagram or schema to solve the logical reasoning questions.

Try to solve the easier questions first that can be concluded easily with the first hand information form the passage or the question. You can come back to difficult question again, this help to save time and score more marks.

English Preparation

By this competitive exam, the Department weighs the abilities of a candidate such as subject knowledge, reasoning abilities, conceptual knowledge, English Grammar, memory power, English sentence making skills etc. Competition is placed among the candidates is not only weighs the aspirants abilities but also help the Department to eliminate them who are not perfect for vacant seats. Thus the candidates have to face much tough competition in order to recruit for jobs.

Recommended Book for English Grammar

Some people might even advise you to use “Wren & Martin” etc. but such books are written from board exams/ academic point of view. And for the competitive exams we don’t need to study everything of English grammar; we just need a set of rules and practice questions.

If you already have some English grammar book (R.S.Agarwal, A.P.Bhardwaj) etc. use it.

If you don’t have any book, I suggest you go for Objective General English by SP Bakshi (Arihant Publication)

He has given direct “rules” and example-sentences from competitive exam point of view and it makes easy to handle sentence correction.

Plus, the book also contains good list of phrasal verbs, idioms and vocabulary

The Postal Assistant exam includes the general English questions such as on the topics of:

Grammar

Vocabulary
Sentence completion
Synonyms &  Antonyms
Comprehension of a passage
Spotting the Errors
Filling in the blanks
Use of prepositions, idioms/phrases, Articles
Test of spellings
Re-arranging jumbled up sentences, etc.
Tenses Active and Passive Voice and Transformation
Direct and Indirect Speech

The level of questionings come in the exams is of 10th or 12th standard questions.

A candidate must have to prepare for the above mentioned topics in English to score a good percentage. The candidate can increase their English properly by reading English grammar books.

Question will be asked from Vocabulary  which include Antonym, Synonym, Idioms,  spelling check, fill in the blanks, idioms etc , English Grammar and Comprehension, which include a unseen passage, Error correction, sentence improvement. There is no hard and fast rule, how many questions will come from a specific topic

For Vocabulary: Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis

Read  Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis , This book is a real gem, if you don't have this, then you must purchase it,  because this book will tell you about origin of words and you will hardly forget the words learnt from this book.

Remember Cramming will not help you anyway in Vocabulary. You will have to understand the meaning of the words. Moreover many times directly question come from this book. This book many times helps you guess the meaning of the words, even if you see the word for the first time.

Practice from practice exercise at-least 2-3 times and mark words you forgot with red pen. Next time your attention will be there and you will remember that word forever.

Make a habit of reading English newspaper like THE HINDU or Indian Express and take a big notebook and write down meaning of new words (Use Dictionary or Online) you come across while reading.

Don't forget to revise your notebook and use them in your conversation and make memory link up with words you know. It depends on you, how you link up your memory to recall.

The notebook should be with you with constant updates until you clear some exam of your choice.

Moving to the next topic:

Grammar rules

From your grammar books, Study the grammar rules of noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb, verb, conjugation, articles, active-passive, direct-indirect, parallelism, embedded question, with examples for sentence correction.

Solve maximum number of questions from standard book. If you come across any unique rule/case for sentence correction, note it in your diary for future reference.

English Grammar: Approach

1. Active Passive (voice) and Direct-Indirect (speech)
This is no-excuse topic. Because it relies on a set of simple rules, almost like math formulas.
Understand the grammar rules and practice maximum questions.
In your “diary” note down any special/odd rules you come across- including example sentences.

2. Sentence Correction& Improvement
To master sentence correction, you’ve to master two subtopics:
Grammar rules, Phrasal verbs
A.     Grammar Rules

First of all you need to know the grammar rules. But you don’t need to know all grammar rules.

Because in competitive exam, sentence correction relies on certain specific mistakes only.

For example: The topic “verb” has lot of theory and classifications.

But for “sentence correction”, it boils down to very few rules for example

Either, Neither, none, each and every is singular.

Wrong                   Each of the Solders are disciplined

Right           Each of the Solders is disciplined

Your task, first go through your grammar book, and note down such rules with example statements, in your note book. Revise these rules often (along with example sentences).

B. Phrasal Verbs

Grammar rules are like maths. Universal valid.

But Phrasal verbs are different game altogether. You need to know memorize the correct usage- case to case basis. For example:

Correct Phrasal verb                         wrong usage

Dispose of = sell            He has decided to dispose off his property
Dispose to = willing, interested     He is disposed in discussing that business proposition

Both statements are wrong because phrasal verbs are incorrectly used.

Many a times, candidates know the grammar rules very well, but they fail to detect the error in sentence because they’ve not prepared the phrasal verbs.

You next task: revise the list often and write down the very confusing ones into your diary: with example sentence. Once this is done, try to solve as many practice questions as you can.

3. Comprehension + Sentence Arrangement

Just one word: Practice.

So make a habit of fast reading. Normally, first few lines of the passage, give you idea, what author is talking about. So, pay greater attention to first few lines.

Whenever you solve comprehension passages at home or read any English book/newspaper/web-article, you should note down any unfamiliar words in a separate diary.

Revise this diary once in a while. Don’t stop this exercise after the exam is over. Continue it, until you’re selected in your dream job.

SUMMARY

The Days left for the exams should have a scheduled time table prepared by the candidate for preparation. After making the schedule just stick to it. The time table must have all the required routine in preparation time mentioned. Also must include the timings of the resting and exam preparation, and other important activities. Take some rest time in the schedule too, so your mind will keep fresh, and don’t take much stress while preparations this may affect the health and mind both. Keep the self-confidence, do hard work, keep well time management. By doing this all you will be tough to compete in the examination.

The candidate must have a confidence and a self-belief always when he/she appearing for the exam, just believe your own abilities. Hard work with knowledge will take you a step forward to the success. Try to attempt Sample papers and solved previous years papers so you can find where you are lacking. Try to keep a watch behind or a stop watch to check your own speed of attempting the questions. To score well in the examinations try some tricks to remember the big formulas with key that recall it easily.

That's all for now friends. Happy Reading

- Akula. Praveen Kumar, Sub Postmaster, Papannapet SO-502110, Andhra Pradesh

1 comment:

1. Sir, really Good work and thanking you behalf of all of us . ..,This is Kaveeshwar. I have a doubt, I applied for the postal assistant exam in A.P , I have no idea about type ,I started practising for the sake of this exam ., To how much speed should I pick up inorder to get qualified ?? And will the Typing test on the same date? Sir please guide me..