Time Management Tips for IBPS Clerk Prelims

Updated On -

Jun 18, 2020

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IBPS Clerk is conducted by IBPS annually and 17 central and state banks all over India participate in it. The exam is the entrance for clerical posts in all these banks. It is one of the most popular exams and considered a golden opportunity to enter the banking industry. There are two tiers of the exam, namely prelims and the mains. While the syllabus is not very difficult and can be covered if you start studying dedicatedly at least 3-4 months before the exam, the main problem that aspirants face is with time management. There is sectional time-limit in both mains and prelims which have increased the difficulty of the exam manifolds. But with smart study strategy and practice, you can overcome the trouble posed by Time management in this exam.

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IBPS Clerk Prelims- exam pattern, marks weightage and safe attempts

In order to make the most of the exam duration, you must develop a habit of smartly attempting the paper. To do this, you have to be familiar with the exam pattern, section-wise division and marks weightage. Also, keeping the IBPS Clerk Prelims cut-off from the past years in mind, estimate the number of questions that should be attempted in order to achieve your target marks. The following table will give you an idea about the same-

Topic  Number of questions Time duration Marks weightage Safe attempts (marks)
English  30 20 30 22-25
Reasoning ability 35 20 35 26-30
Quantitative aptitude 35 20 35 25-29
Total  100 60 100 70+

There is negative marking for every wrong answer and hence the calculation of the number of attempts should be accordingly made. By keeping your score 70+, you have a sure-fire chance of qualifying. The key is to answer only those you are sure of and maximizing the number of questions like this through practice.

  • You will have 34 seconds per question for reasoning ability and quantitative aptitude sections.
  • You have 40 seconds approx. per question for English section.
  • Through smart time management, when you can leave out at least 4-5 questions from each section and be sure about correctly attempting the rest, you can automatically increase the per question time you need.
  • The sectional time limit means, you cannot attempt any question from any section once the allotted duration is up. Even if you manage to finish one section ahead of time, the excess time cannot be used for the next section.
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Generic time management tips for IBPS Clerk Prelims

Your aim should be practicing the syllabus so thoroughly that you are able to attempt any questions correctly and very fast. The following are few generic tips to improve your overall time management for all the sections-

  • Try to finish one section entirely at a time and do not keep switching between different sections. This will lead to more time loss.
  • Strengthen your mental maths and logical reasoning so well that you can verbally do the calculations right after seeing the questions. This is only possible from rigorous practice.
  • Start the paper in the section that is your strength. Having a good start of the paper will make you more confident and this in turn, will help you attempt the rest of the paper better.
  • In most cases, we immediately recognise a question that we simply cannot solve. In such a situation do not ponder over it even for one minute and switch to the next.
  • Once you are allowed to view and start answering the question paper. Spare a minute for every section to go through all the questions so that you can recognize the ones you can surely solve. Attempt these first and then try the others which you are less confident about.
  • Lastly, make sure you go to the exam very relaxed and calm and get adequate sleep the night before. If you are fatigued and anxious, it is bound to affect your decision making and time management during the exam.
  • The time begins after the exam commences, hence do not get nervous right after you are allotted your machine and make sure you enter all the credentials of candidature correctly. Even if you ace the exam well but make one single mistake in the candidature credentials, your chance to qualify will definitely get jeopardised.
  • There is a timer at the top corner of the computer you will be allotted but avoid checking it after every question you attempt- this will only make you more agitated as you see the time dwindling.

With sectional time limit, we are going to approach them separately regarding time management and how to can make the most of the twenty minutes allotted for each of them

Check IBPS Clerk Pattern & Syllabus

IBPS Clerk Topic-wise Time management tips

By practising the sections keeping their individual time limit in mind, you can improve your accuracy and speed further. The following are detailed tips on how to manage your time for IBPS clerk Prelims for each section.

IBPS Clerk Time management tips- English language

English language is considered the easiest by many who already have a strong base of the language while it is also considered the toughest by those who lack it. If you practice the syllabus well, it is a very scoring section and also the one which can be entirely completed within the 20 minutes. This is because there are no complicated calculations involved. The following is a topic-wise time division that you can apply.

Topic  Probable number of questions Time in minutes
English comprehension 10 5-6 minutes
Fillers  3-4 2-3 minutes
Phrase replacement 3-4 3-4 minutes
Cloze test 5 3-4 minutes
Match the columns 2-3 3-4 minutes
Spotting errors 2-3 2-3 minutes
Para jumbles 2-3 3-4 minutes
  • Start attempting from fill in the blanks and cloze test
  • Practice reading comprehension such that you can read the questions first and skim the passage for the relevant answer without going through it entirely.
  • Para jumbles are easy and scoring so do not skip them.
  • Vocabulary based questions are usually straightforward if you are already familiar with the word. If you do not have any idea about the meaning or have a confusion do not do any guess work and leave it.
  • Try finishing all the questions that you are sure about in 12 minutes at most. In the last 8 minutes revise and solve any which you are confident about but leave them out in the first place out of confusion.
  • If you are sure of your answer for 25-26 questions at least, do not waste any time to guesswork on the remaining answers.

Read IBPS Clerk 2020 - English Language Preparation Strategy

IBPS Clerk Time management tips- Quantitative Aptitude

The quantitative aptitude section has 35 questions and 20 minutes allotted for all of them. It is also the most time consuming section even if you know the methods of solving the problems. This is primarily because every question is numerical-based and requires extremely fast and accurate calculation skills to solve within the designated time. Aim to correctly solve around 26-29 questions from this section without any error to secure way more than the sectional cut-off and enough to meet the prelims cut-off.

Topic  Probable number of questions Time in minutes
Number Series 2-3 5-6 minutes
Quadratic Equations 2-3 2-3 minutes
Simplification/ Approximation 2-3 3-4 minutes
Data Interpretation (1-2 set) 5-10 3-4 minutes
Arithmetic Questions 8-10 3-4 minutes
Data Sufficiency 2-3 2-3 minutes
Quantity based questions 2-3 3-4 minutes
  • In this section, it entirely depends on your own practice and strengthening which is going to be the easiest part to begin with. The key is to start attempting with questions which you can solve the fastest and correctly.
  • Quadratic equations are usually very time consuming and it is best to leave them for the last unless you are very good with mental maths and have learnt shortcut methods specifically for this topic.
  • Do not stress on problems that you have dropped- rather focus on making sure that the ones you are attempting are definitely correct.
  • Dedicate the majority of the preparation time you get to practice the quantitative analysis section and improve your mental maths as much as you can.
  • Memorize squares and cubes of 1-25, and the multiplication table up to 25 as these figures can be very useful for solving many questions in IBPS Clerk Prelims.
  • Never do guess work in quantitative aptitude.

Download IBPS Clerk 2020 Sample Papers

IBPS Clerk Time management tips- Reasoning ability

This section also has 35 questions and 20 minutes allotted for it. While it is tricky and time consuming, if you practice the previous year questions as well as solved examples from good reference books, you will get a hang of the question pattern and hence can solve them easily. It is a very scoring section and does not require time for many calculations but you have to be quick with your logic.

Topic Probable number of questions Time in minutes
Puzzles and Seating Arrangement (2-3 sets) 4-10 7-8 minutes
Syllogism 3-4 2-3 minutes
Inequality 2-3 2-3 minutes
Coding - Decoding 3-4 2-3 minutes
Alphanumeric Series 3-4 2-3 minutes
Input - Output 2-3 3-4 minutes
Miscellaneous Topics like Blood Relations, Direction, Ranking Alphabet Test etc. 4-5 3-4 minutes
  • Attempt reasoning after completing English and quantitative aptitude. Reasoning has to be done in a relaxed mind and when you have already finished a major portion of the paper, you can be relaxed enough for attempting reasoning.
  • Small and simple questions like blood relations, coding decoding, seating arrangement, directions should be attempted fast as they are easier and hence faster to solve.
  • Alphanumeric series can be solved through back calculation if you are not able to spot the pattern immediately but it takes time.
  • Image-based puzzles are complicated but if you have adequate practice, they can be scoring and can also be solved fast.
  • Make sure that you complete all the questions that you are sure about in 13-14 minutes so that you have 5 more minutes to skim through the other questions and check if you can solve any of them.

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Time management along with high accuracy is the key to crack a number of competitive exams including IBPS Clerk Prelims. The only way to make the most of the time is improving your mental maths and logical analysis through dedicated practice. This way you can make sure that the 60 minute duration does not prove to be a hindrance to your successful banking career.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.