How to Solve Questions and Problems Fast?
The grueling problems in the aptitude exams conducted for management is just like the rubiks cube i.e. there exists a definite method on how to solve it. The people who have their IQ in the high 100s may find the going easy but that does not imply that people working hard consistently are in for bias by the malignant hand of Fate.
In fact, research data has shown that diligence is much more crucial than intelligence. The obvious caveat in the argument being that you should not be a dumbo and should have the basic knowledge as to what you need to be diligent about.
The advantages of speed solving can help students immensely when it comes to exams such as CAT, GMAT and others.
Given below are methods and techniques which students can use to increase their speeds on how to solve questions such as of mathematics, fast. As with other things in life, the key lies in the implementation of the techniques, rather than just the reading of the same.
Tips For Increasing Your Speed
#1 – The Cognitive Tussle – Many a books that you read while preparing for aptitude exams divide the questions into various difficulty levels. For e.g. in the case of Arun Sharma Quantitative Aptitude, the author has divided the questions in three levels of difficulty i.e. LOD 1, LOD2 and LOD 3 in increasing order of difficulty.
The best way to increase your speed with questions is – ‘don’t use pen and paper’ to solve the question, at least to start with. Try and solve the question without using any physical aid, going from one step to the next using nothing but your mind.
At the very start, you will find this very tough. However, with time, you will see a drastic change in your speed as you go along with your preparation. In fact, this is the most powerful of all tips mentioned in this article. Start with LOD 1, then keep increasing the difficulty level and keep the usage of pen/pencil to the very minimum. This technique not only increases your speed but puts tremendous pressure on your neurons, making you think really hard. The key to success lies in perseverance.
#2 – Skimming – In this blog post (by a Stanford graduate, who is now a professor) the writer talks about the importance of skimming through the content. Making yourself familiar with the question domain helps a lot in increasing the efficacy of your attempts. Not only does it increase your score but also helps you with questions where you might be feeling unsure.
Sections such as verbal ability, where a high degree of subjectivity might be involved, can be tackled by using this technique. For e.g. if you know the kind of questions that have been asked in CAT and the manner of answering the same, you will find it easier to skim through the questions on the final day, pick the easy questions, move ahead of speed breakers and maximize your score.
In many cases you might find close options but having the fundamental understanding of the material and its framework, you can put yourself in a better position for tackling such nuances.
#3 – Practice – Once you have skimmed through the content, put your head down and start searching for the best quality material or books on the topics that you wish to master. Once you have piled on the stuff, it’s time to start practicing. Gautam Puri, vice chairman at Career Launcher says that he would never touch a question that he has never seen or solved before while giving the exam.
Any question that is lengthy, confusing, new does not fall into the category that you should be targeting on the final day, not unless you finish your exam early enough to do so. But it’s important that you start practicing the questions using the technique #1 mentioned above.
#4 – Beating Around the Bush – Very often when a question is thrown at students, they just bend their head down to the problem, pick up their pen and paper and just start off. Remember this scene from 3 Idiots,
Well, it’s something like that. However, this is to be avoided at all costs. Before the correct solution, comes a clear problem. If you do not understand the question correctly, there is a high probability that you will end up sabotaging your score.
Hence, before starting out on the problem, make sure that you understand what is expected out of the question and how your efforts are taking you in that direction. Clarity and focus are the key not to be beating around the bush and for getting the best possible output in the minimum possible time.
Another way to tackle this is by breaking down the problem into smaller chunks which are more manageable and then proceed solving each in steps and clearing all the doubts moving forward.
#5 – Working the Fundamentals – Many a times you are involved in a series of problems, for e.g. Doing the classic mixture questions of the CAT exam paper. But wait a sec, what was 12 multiplied by 27. Or you might stumble upon – what was reciprocal of 13 etc. If this is happening to you, it means that your fundamentals are not up to the mark.
Every coaching provider provides certain basic foundation courses which contain areas like Percentages, Ratios, Tables, Reciprocals etc. which may not be tested directly but form the crux and basis of other chapters. If you do not have adept knowledge on how ratios turn to percentages or how to multiply percentage and churn out ratios, you might find the going really tough. Here is an excellent post on how to learn effeciently.
Having a sound knowledge of the fundamentals will help you iron out your shortcomings and focus better on solving the question at your helm.
#6 – Competition –
If possible, try to find candidates like yourself or at least hang out where they hang out online. MBA people may hang out at PG, aloofers might hang out at places like santabanta.com and so on.
Having a sense of competition keeps you on your toes and in the thick of action. Make sure you are not a frog being boiled, so know what is happening around you. Having a healthy competition can increase the performance of certain students tremendously.
However, always remember that you should measure your improvement with yourself and not with others as it may lead to exhaustion or even depression. If you do not have a source of competition, then the clock is your best friend.
#7 – Specificity – There are certain areas which you can master to increase your speed. For e.g. Vedic Maths can help you in mathematics, just like reading novels can help you in verbal ability. There are techniques such as 5 Ys that can also help you reach your goal and contemplate on the problem effectively.
Remember, having a good healthy mind is all you need to succeed. While there may be areas where people might be better than you, you will find gifted people every now and then, but if you keep your focus and keep working hard intelligently, you are in for a very good chance at getting what you want.
Laziness and procrastination should not be an excuse for you, because that is something you can always take care of. The trick lies in implementation of what you read and learn. Remember, solving questions fast is as much an art as a skill. The more you sharpen your ax, the better you are going to get at it.
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