How to prepare for Maths in competitive exams

Every year, thousands of aspirants appear for many competitive exams. Maths is considered to be the toughest part for exams like CAT, XAT, GMAT, BANKING, SSC and other Government examination. Most of the candidates are afraid of maths, but it’s just a myth that one cannot score well in the Quants (Maths) section.

Quantitative section is roughly around half of the question paper – directly or indirectly. It may include questions ranging from Algebra to Geometry & Data interpretation to Data sufficiency. No examination is deemed to be complete without a major role of this section. Thus, whether you like the subject or not, you cannot ignore Mathematics if you are appearing for a competitive examination.

So, here are some tips to excel in the Maths section:

(i) Strengthen your basic concepts- In a time-based exam, saving time can get you through more questions and this can be done just by learning formulas, identities and tables etc. such as

1. Memorize tables and squares up to 30, cubes up to 20 and prime numbers up to 200.

2. Remember percentage related fractions up to 1/20 (example. ¼ = 25%)

3. Remember important trigonometric formulas, Pythagorean triplets etc. to solve oral calculations so as to save time.

This will result in speed solving in topics like Number system, Ratio and Proportion, Profit & Loss, Speed and time, Vectors etc.

(ii) Manage time properly- Competitive examination is a test of time management for every candidate. Therefore as a candidate, you should invest time in every topic rather than sticking to one. Suppose there are only 3 months left for your examination, your focus should be to use these 90 days for preparing all the topics. Try managing time in such a manner that the easy topics are covered faster and you can emphasize more on high scoring topics.

(iii) Work Smartly- Rather than working hard, smart work is needed by applying shortcut tricks. Prefer applying hit and trial methods wherever possible as some questions can be solved simply by eliminating the options.

(iv) Practice daily- It is a well-known fact that 'Practice makes a man perfect'. May it be mathematics or logical reasoning, if you are practicing an area regularly there are fewer chances of making a mistake. Dedicate few hours on a daily basis as it will make you an expert on the given topics. However, if you are not practicing regularly, then you might make silly errors during the examination.

(v) Enroll in test preparation program online- There are many online websites, some of them are free and others at a cost, you can sign up with those websites that prepare for the quantitative section. Having a clear view of the exam pattern and frame time accordingly, will help you to attempt more questions. This test is nearly similar to the actual exam and helps you know what really happens during the real test.

(vi) Determine your strength and weakness- Everyone loves to solve only those topics in which they are strong and due to this they skip many topics in which they are weak. This might lead to wastage of time and it won’t be fruitful at the end. Rather, try to focus on the weak sections so that you can master them.

These are few important steps that will help you to excel in the examination. These will not only brush your basic mathematical knowledge but also helps in managing time for preparation.

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