Appearing for SBI PO 2018? Here is how to tackle Quantitative Aptitude Section

The SBI PO 2018 prelims are scheduled to be conducted on July 1, 7, and 8. This leaves students with less than two months’ time to prepare for the examination held to recruit probationary officers in the state-run bank.

Hence, it’s essential to have a well-structured preparation strategy to tackle each section including logical reasoning, English language and quantitative aptitude.

Here’s a preparation guide for quantitative aptitude to ensure that you score your best in the SBI PO 2018 exams.

Students will get 20 minutes to answer 35 questions in the quantitative aptitude section which allows approximately 34 seconds per question during the SBI PO 2018 Prelims. In the SBI PO 2018 Mains, students will get 45 minutes to answer 35 questions in the data analysis and interpretation section, which leaves them with 77 seconds per question. Therefore, students need to answer the questions keeping the amount of time in mind.

SBI PO 2018 topic-wise preparation tips


This part of quantitative aptitude can be attempted relatively quickly and with ease. However, to efficiently tackle the questions from this topic, effective mental calculation skills are essential. Students’ practice should include all the aspects of simplification including questions based on Surds and Indices, Decimals, Percentages, Squares and Square Roots, Cubes and Cube Roots, etc.

Number series

Those questions usually have some pattern associated with them; the challenging part here is to find the pattern that is associated with the question. However, once the pattern has been discovered, the rest of the question may be approached and solved easily and effectively. However, to be familiar with the various kinds of patterns that one may expect during their examinations and mocks, frequent practice is required to increase exposure to the same.

Data interpretation

Data interpretation and analysis (DI) is one of the most challenging aspects of the quantitative part in the SBI PO 2018 examinations in general. To effectively approach those questions, one needs to have a good and thorough understanding of all the various aspects and be thorough about the kind of information represented by each kind of illustration (for example, what information does a bar graph present and how is it different from a histogram, etc.)

The DI section is the one that requires the most amount of practice because there could be any number of questions that may be asked from an illustration depending on the data it exhibits. Practice at least 1 to 2 DI questions every day and ensure to include variation in your practice to be familiar and well-versed eventually regarding the various kinds of illustrations.

Quadratic equations

Quadratic equations include questions which are not too complicated and can be solved efficiently given that the student is aware of the formula and knows how to correctly apply it to the question; therefore, this topic isn’t the most stressful one, but adequate practice is required to ensure accuracy and speed when solving those questions, although they aren’t particularly tricky.

Permutations and combinations

This is one of the particularly tougher chapters and hence extensive practice is required to ensure that the questions in the examinations can be attempted with sufficient accuracy and speed. Both permutations and combinations have their own strategies for solving and approaching; however, permutations are easier compared to combinations, so when preparing focus on permutations first and then combinations.

Time, speed, and distance questions

These include the ‘stream and river’ kind of questions which have to do with the movement of boats upstream and downstream. These are not difficult, but to enable yourself to solve them quickly, you need to practice. Also, the main factor to look out for here is the sign of the negative; mistakes such as writing – 4 instead of 4 may appear to be silly, but they are common in this section.


This is one of the trickier chapters; focus on this only and if you are confident with the other chapters which are relatively easier and hence can be understood and learnt well to earn more marks; probability’s main challenge is that the questions can be of any kind. Students are likely to get confused if they see a very complex probability question in the exam and their own preparation level is not up to the mark (which may happen often); hence, much like any other chapter, the main element, in this case, is that of practice.

Profit and loss, simple and compound interest

Both chapters are relatively easy and can be attempted successfully without mind-numbing effort. Start by practising how to translate the statements into numbers or equations in the case of profit and loss questions; the main challenge, in this case, is to ensure that the statements provided to you have been correctly converted into equations.

In the case of compound and simple interest questions, the main factor to be careful about is that the information provided must be presented correctly in the numerical format, which includes putting the right formula and ensuring that the correct values are included in the places of the various factors such as the rate of interest, the principal, time (number of years to maturity), etc.

Once those factors are taken care of, both the profit and loss, as well as simple and compound interest questions can become relatively simple and hence will not be as challenging for the candidates.

Ratio and proportion, percentages, and averages

Those three chapters have been included because they are all relatively easy chapters that can be successfully attempted with relatively less effort from the candidate’s side.

In all three cases, the question must be read carefully and in case of the ratio and proportion questions, it is necessary to understand all the parts of the question because that may help determine the ratios that have been included or that of which the student needs to find or compute.

In case of averages and percentages, it all comes down to the mental computation and mathematical skills of number-crunching, which can once again be improved with the help of regular practice.

SBI PO 2018 suggested reference books

When it comes to preparation for the SBI PO 2018 examinations, reference books have their own importance which cannot be ignored. However, it is essential to have the most concise and well-written books to ensure that the subject knowledge can be gained fast.

Therefore, students should plan to complement their online preparation for the SBI PO 2018 with reference books, the suggestions for quantitative aptitude can be found below:

1. Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations by RS Aggarwal

2. How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma

We hope this guide helps you with your SBI PO 2018 preparation efforts.

All the best!

Abhishek Patil is the CEO and co-founder at Oliveboard, an online preparation portal for MBA, banking and government exams. Views expressed here are personal.


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