How to prepare for General Aptitude – GATE | ESE | PSU – Ankit Goyal
General Aptitude includes Numerical Ability and Verbal Ability but it is the most ignored topic in all exams. Generally, engineers do not take Aptitude seriously and end up losing crucial marks in this section. Aptitude Section has high weightage in GATE which is 15 marks much more than many other technical subjects. Now Aptitude has also been introduced in ESE Paper-1 which makes it all the more important.
The biggest mistake that a student makes while preparing for GATE or other technical exam is procrastinating the Aptitude preparation because many a times students believe that they can do aptitude because they have done it lot many number of times during college days for campus recruitment.
Aptitude can never be treated as a subject but rather it must be dealt with as breathing space between heavy load of technical subjects. Aptitude must be made a habit rather than being treated the same way as other technical subjects.
The main challenge in aptitude is that there is no pre-defined course for aptitude so you can never be sure that your preparation is complete. Even if you cover the different chapters given in different books you can still expect an entirely different question in GATE. That is why it is very much necessary to understand the best way to prepare Aptitude.
First of all we must understand that Numerical Aptitude is nothing more than basic Maths that we learn in our school days like Profit and Loss, Percentage, Interest etc. Verbal Ability is just based on improving your vocabulary like reading comprehension, sentence completion, error correction etc.
So, Aptitude is more or less based on common sense rather than fixed formulas and most of the problems are modeled around what we face in day to day lives like discount, interest. What amuses me the most is that whenever there is a sale on a website or something like that people can compute prices verbally without even the requirement of calculator but when same problem is asked in exam we have to think a lot about the formulas involved.
The problem lies in our view of aptitude as just another subject because in technical subjects there are predefined methods and formulas but in Aptitude there is no such thing. In order to learn aptitude you have to enjoy challenging your brain with puzzles and reasoning exercises. In GATE also, you can expect 11-12 marks of Numerical Aptitude and Reasoning so being strong in these two domains is a must in order to score high in GATE.
There are a few things that must be taken care of while preparing aptitude:
- Aptitude cannot be learnt in a matter of days or a month so it must be made a daily habit.
- Devote 1 hour each day to practice aptitude. Even if you do 10 questions daily it would be enough.
- Do not focus too much on learning methods involved in aptitude problems because every problem can be done by a different method.
- Try to visualize each problem because if you can do so then the problems can sometimes become very obvious.
- Your calculations must be quick because many times aptitude problems will not require calculator.
- Try to solve one problem multiple times before giving up and looking at solutions and try to attempt each time from a different perspective. If you are still not able to solve it then try it next day but do not give up soon. This habit of fighting with a question will enhance your thinking ability and also make you learn better.
- Solve aptitude questions while taking a break from technical subjects so that your mind gets refreshed.
- English Movies and TV series do improve vocabulary but overdoing it can hamper your GATE preparation so you must have a control over it.
- You can also cultivate a habit of reading articles or news while travelling and it improves your sentence completion and grammar. It will also help you to make use of the time that generally goes waste.
These things if kept in mind can help you a lot in Aptitude preparation and if you need a general idea of which topics are important in Numerical and Verbal Ability, here is a rough list.
Analytical Reasoning, Progressions, Clock and Time Sequence, Simple and Compound Interest, Venn Diagrams, Direction Sense, Profit and Loss, Partnerships, Ages, Time and Work, Time and Distance, Data Interpretation, Blood Relations
Grammar, Spotting Error, Reading Comprehension, Sentence Completion, Sentence Improvement, Vocabulary, Critical Reasoning
The list above is just a rough list and questions in exam can be beyond these topics so it must not be followed strictly. Also, try and cultivate a habit of solving aptitude problems as it will improve your overall IQ level and can help you out with other subjects. I hope this article can guide the aspirants looking for a way through the vastness of Aptitude syllabus.