by Piyush Negi
Practice is the key and there is no alternative for it. While I completely agree with this, it is also important to know how to attempt aptitude tests. The aim should not be to attempt all the questions. It should be about getting as many questions correct as possible in the given time. So, the focus while practicing should be on improving your accuracy and speed.
Generally, the test consists of 3 sections- Verbal Ability, Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation, and Quantitative Ability. An additional 4th section may be present to test your academic knowledge or programming skills. So let’s now discuss how to attempt aptitude tests:
The verbal section is the most scoring one. This is because you don’t have to do any calculations and so it becomes easier to attempt more questions. The problem in this section is accuracy. Each wrong answer results in negative marks. Personally, there have been times when I was confused between two options in a question. Yet, I decided to attempt the question anyway. There might be no harm in this if there are only 1 or 2 questions. However, the more such questions you attempt the riskier it gets. Similarly, in Reading Comprehension, we tend to choose the first option which seems right without reading the rest of the options. It is important to first go through all the options. Then either choose the right one if you are absolutely sure or use the concept of elimination in which we reject all the wrong ones.
The LRDI section according to me is the most difficult because you can get confused by the information given in the question. Also, there is no formula or method to find the correct answer. Usually, in this section, there are a few sets of problems with each set containing 4-5 questions. The best way to attempt this section is to go through all the sets (if the interface allows) and then attempt the ones which you find relatively easy. Often, I have attempted a set without fully understanding the problem and got stuck in the middle. Not only does this waste our time but also affects our confidence. Also, I would suggest that whenever you get stuck while solving a problem set, go through all the questions before moving on to the next set. Sometimes, we can attempt a few questions with whatever solution we have.
The quant section is easy as well as scoring. If you know the formula or the method then you can solve the question. Both you can learn through practice. But even after practicing enough, the problem that I faced while attempting this section was that I always missed out on the last 6-7 questions, and sometimes the end questions are easy. So, I changed my approach to attempt maximum questions correctly.
First, I read the question and decide whether it is easy enough i.e., whether it can be done in 2-3 minutes. If yes then I solve it right away and move on to the next question. In case I can solve the question but it will take me more than 2-3 minutes then I mark the question and move on to the next one. If I have no clue about the formula or the method to be used and I have never attempted such a question before then I leave it and move on to the next without wasting time. After attempting all the easy ones, I go back to the questions that I had marked and then I solve them.
The 4th section varies with the recruiter or with the profile on offer. Usually, recruiters coming to our Department of Statistics have a section for Statistics. The questions in this section are not very difficult. They require basic knowledge of descriptive statistics, various distributions, probability, hypothesis testing, correlation, regression, etc. Depending on the profile the test may contain a section dedicated to Programming or Machine Learning. Good command over programming and basic knowledge of terminology used in Machine Learning/AI, commonly used algorithms, and accuracy measurement methods will give you an edge.
Different people may suggest different ways of attempting aptitude tests. Finding the one which works for you is important and that can only be achieved by practicing.
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