How Improve Calculation Speed in Competitive Exams

Dear Readers,
Hope you are doing well and the preparation is on right track for the upcoming bank exams. We all know that a typical job in the banking sector is lot to do with numbers and calculations. Hence, compared to all other sections, Quantitative Aptitude (QA) section has some special significance in terms of number of questions asked and the sectional cut-off.
For example, in the 2016 IBPS PO Main Exam, the sectional cut off for the Quantitative Aptitude section was 12.50 marks for the general category. It is way above the 5.25 marks cut off for the reasoning section, which has 50 as maximum marks similar to the QA Section.
Sometimes you may feel that the person sitting next to you or in your front row in the examination hall answers questions even before you figure out how to solve a given math problem. He/she has done the proper “home work” for days or months together to master the science and art of calculations. In this article, we have given some tips to improve your calculation speed. They are –
(I) Overcome the Inertia
To launch a rocket successfully, the most important task is to push it out of the clutches of gravitational force. It is quite interesting to know that, around 80% of the loaded fuel in a rocket is consumed in the initial seconds of its launch.
Similarly, if you want to improve your calculation speed, you must release yourself from the clutches of negativity and make a resolve to do the ‘necessary things’ for it. It may appear as difficult in the initial stage, but with self-motivation one can really make the things happen.

(II) Begin with ‘The Beginning’
Once you decide to make a beginning, the next question props up in your mind is how and where to begin the process? Every skill a human being can learn has a beginning of its own. If you are trying to learn a new language, the best thing to do is start from alphabets. Similarly, to improve mathematics calculation speed, you must begin with four basic operations of arithmetic. They are -
1) Addition
2) Subtraction
3) Multiplication
4) Subtraction
You may find this step as trivial and not relevant for adults like you. But one must realise that every mathematical solution is a combination of these four basic mathematical operations and the calculations speed is dependent on the speed at which you are doing them.

(III) By heart the essentials like Multiplication Tables
For a bank exams aspirant, knowing up to the 20 times table is a must. There are no excuses in it. Similarly, you must remember square values from 1 to 25 and square root values from 1 to 20. These values make you arrive at nearest approximations and will help you while choosing/eliminating a given optional in the examination hall.
The best way to by heart these values quickly is to write them every day for at least three times. Also, you can write the multiplication tables in forward and backward order on a piece of paper and paste them on a wall. Make a habit of reading them after you wake up in the morning and before going to sleep for at least five minutes. These exercises are scientifically proven and will benefit those even with poor memory.
To make these exercises more interesting and beneficial, find a pattern in the values wherever possible. For instance, one can easily observe that in the 2nd multiplication table, all the values are even numbers and in the 9th multiplication table, the addition of values is always 9.

(IV) Sharpen Your Mental Maths Skills
To improve calculations speed, it is not sufficient to practise on paper. You must use visualisation skills to the extent possible and habituate your brain to calculate without using pen and paper in order to decrease calculations time.
In order to boost your mental maths skills, pick numbers randomly and do basic operations in mind. You can do similar operations in your daily life. For example, ‘playing with numbers’ while watching a cricket match, reading statistics in a company’s balance sheet published in news paper, etc.

(V) Learn Proper Techniques
Your present is dependent upon what you have practised in the past. Similarly, if you want to finish the Quantitative Aptitude section in the given time, you must follow proper techniques. Tricks and short cuts offered by Vedic Mathematics will be handy for an aspirant to improve calculation speed and save time.

(VI) Strict to a schedule
Discipline is the most essential quality possessed by every successful candidate. One must find out the most productive part of the day during which one can learn at an optimum speed. As a rule of thumb, early morning hours are ideal to improve the calculation speed and master the QA section.   

(VII) Challenge Yourself
In order to get results within a short period of time, you must learn to challenge yourself. As you progress, increase the practise time. Similarly, you must increase the standard of questions you practise. However, make sure that the transition from one level to the next level is less disruptive and a smoother one. For this you make take the help of timer in your mobile phone or the internet that offer various practise modules depending upon your calculation speed.
Above all the things, the most crucial element that determines your success is practise. Only with the right amount of practise, one can see real improvement in one’s calculation speed. No doubt, one may come across internal or external obstacles in their path to success. But it is the perseverance over a period of time differentiates the successful candidate from the crowd.

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