This week we are publishing the Success Story of Ayush Boruah who cleared IBPS Clerk 2018 after attempting series of other exams. “Be grateful to your family, gurus and the divine. They play major roles in your life that shape you without your acknowledgement.” as said by him. Read his story and how he managed to win over all his tough situations.
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH BANKING EXAMS AND THE RESULTS!
Banking exams were never really a target for me. I started preparing for SSC-CGL 2018 after a friend of mine cleared the 2016 edition. However, just to check out what an exam atmosphere is like, I appeared for IBPS SO 2017 which I failed to clear at the preliminary stage. Preparation for CGL 2018 went on full swing but I was advised by several individuals to apply for other exams which I refrained from doing, putting my full concentration on one sole goal.
Unfortunately, luck was not on my side. The SSC scam came to light and all exam processes halted. As the situation turned bleak, I started turning my attention to other exams. By now I realised that several of the major exams that are most looked forward to by candidates were already underway. Then one day the notification for IBPS PO was released and I decided to devote my energy to it, while still preparing for CGL. Over the next few months I appeared for IBPS PO, Clerk and SO. My results are stated below:
- IBPS PO 2018: Cleared Preliminary Stage, failed to clear Mains (could not clear sectional cutoff in GA)
- IBPS Clerk 2018: Cleared from Assam. Allotted Union Bank of India.
- IBPS SO 2018: Failed to clear Preliminary Stage
- IBPS SO 2017: Failed to clear Preliminary Stage
PREPARATION STRATEGIES FOR ENGLISH, QUANT, REASONING, CURRENT AFFAIRS & GENERAL AWARENESS
Grammar rules being embedded in me since high school, English was not a challenge. Besides I had a knack for writing, primarily non-fiction, so I had honed my skills during schooldays. However, during preparation I realised that I do make mistakes from time to time, which were pointed out during mock tests. I also attended classes at a coaching centre in my city for SSC-CGL and having built an excellent rapport with my teachers there, I was able to fill the rest of what was lacking in my English skills. I still refer to my notes from time to time, lest I forget certain nuances.
To readers who are weak in this section, my advise would be to attend live classes in a real classroom setting and to interact with one’s teacher as much as possible to clear doubts and address shortcomings. Reading grammar is a boring affair and even though I have a copy of SP Bakshi’s Objective General English, I am yet to move past the first three chapters. Alternatively, one can scout for lessons on YouTube and Unacademy but since I do not have much experience with either, I will refrain from giving particulars.
When I started my preparation for SSC CGL, I scouted for credible educators for Quantitative Aptitude on Unacadamy and came across Chetan Mna’s lessons which I then studied from. For practise, I referred to Rakesh Yadav’s 7300+. Due to this, by the time I joined the coaching centre, I had a fair grasp of most topics, except Geometry. I attempted at least two tests every week to find my weaknesses and hone my skills. While preparing for IBPS PO and Clerk, I did not devote a separate time for Quantitative Aptitude and my practise was limited to the mock tests. Data interpretation I learnt on the fly while other topics, that I kept forgetting how to tackle, I would revise on the go. The one topic that I still despise is Number Series and I made no effort in improving in it though I knew that at least 4-5 questions were to appear in the exams. Fortunately, luck was on my side because either there were few questions from this topic or most of which appeared in the exam were easy.
Reasoning was the primary hurdle that stood between me and success in banking exams. It was the main reason why I refused to appear for these exams over the years. I was a complete failure in solving puzzles of any type and preferred being chased by a rabid dog all day long over sitting down to solve puzzles. However, then was not the time to run away from discomfort and so I started with a question bank for puzzle type questions I had downloaded from the internet.
I gave up quickly, having realised it was impossible to learn tricks from solutions. Once again I turned to Unacademy and found several courses dedicated to puzzle solving by Ankush Lamba. Readers, forget everything else and start practising the questions from his videos. He is hands down the best resource on the entire Internet for this topic and following his lessons diligently is guaranteed to take you from 0 to 100 in this topic!
For other topics, I did not follow any lessons or educators anywhere and simply practised the questions in the mock tests I appeared for. Coaching institute was not of much help here because the emphasis on Reasoning in CGL is minimum, with the section being easy, and I did not attend any specific classes for Banking exams.
General Awareness is one topic that, we all know, will make or break a candidate’s chances in any exam these days. Yet many of us, including yours truly, choose not to update and revise daily. I started preparing for GA pretty late after the IBPS PO Prelims were over and resorted to reading from monthly compilations. As one can guess, this was not of much help and I failed to clear the sectional cutoff in GA in IBPS PO Mains. This was particularly disappointing because I had scored 76.75 in total (against an overall cutoff of 74.25). Thankfully, I discovered the Study IQ channel on YouTube and its “Best 200 Questions of the Month” series before IBPS Clerk Mains. I began watching and making notes from these videos, going back up to May 2018. Later I would revise by playing the video at a fast speed and reading from the notes simultaneously. The benefit of writing notes is that a mind-body connection is established and this action forces one to become an active listener. I would advise all readers to refer to the aforementioned source which was of immense help in helping me score a lot of marks and sailing through IBPS Clerk Mains, thus landing me a job.
What was the strategy you adopted in preparing for the exam?
When I started my preparation for IBPS PO after the notification for it was released, I knew that the first weakness I needed to address was in Puzzle Solving. So every morning for a few weeks, I would sit down to solve puzzles for at least an hour from the aforementioned source. Initially I was not able to solve the questions, then I was able to but at a slow speed and eventually I progressed to a speed that helped me solve several puzzles in the exams and score decent marks in the section.
With diligence I was able to clear the Preliminary stage of IBPS PO, the first time that I tasted success in a competitive examination. But my preparation in General Awareness was not enough for me to crack the Mains and I failed to clear the sectional cutoff in the topic, even though I scored more in total. This was the biggest lesson I learnt from this failure and thereafter, I left no stone unturned to gain a moderate degree of mastery over General Awareness.
The most important element two months prior to any exam is mock tests and one must practise at least one mock test every day. My aim in the mock tests began with an arbitrary score target but I soon realized that this was the wrong approach as the degree of difficulty varied from paper to paper. One should instead aim for a better percentile score, preferably in 90s. I appeared for mock tests from two websites, Practice Mock and another major player in the market. This helped because I was exposed to different question patterns and papers of varying difficulty level. I recommend everyone to do the same. In addition, I would advise aspirants to never miss any live tests conducted in the test series subscribed to because a large number of aspirants appear in those and so they give one an estimate on how one has fared compared to other serious aspirants.
I did not have a fixed schedule for studying and my study pattern varied throughout the course of preparation. Amidst this, I made sure to work out at least four days a week and eat good and healthy food (basically, “Maa ke haath ka khana”).
After preparing for a few months on my own for SSC CGL I was bored of staying indoors. I joined a coaching institute so that I could interact with other aspirants and fill up the gaps I had in different topics. It was of good help because the attention from teachers encouraged me. However, this should in no way insinuate that candidates must join coaching institutes to crack an exam; one can prepare in solitude and do so as well.
How PracticeMock helped you?
PracticeMock was recommended to me by my Quants teacher and I added it to my repertoire primarily as a supplement to the existing test series I was appearing for in another website. Soon I realised that PracticeMock has excellent questions and editors who create challenging question papers that pushed me into discomfort, forcing me to expand my boundaries. With each paper, I tried to score higher on the percentile scale. A fair portion of my success in this exam can be attributed to PracticeMock and its team of excellent faculty and editors!
Don’t fret over failures. Keep faith in your ability and the fact that if someone else has cleared an exam you too can. Learn from the mistakes you commit in every mock test and exam, analyse them and build your strategy on the basis of this analysis. Also, it is important to have a plan on how to proceed towards your goal. The planning need not be meticulous as to what topics you will cover in which week but there should be a general framework that will give you an idea as to how far you are from your goals.
Practise as many questions as you can in topics that you are weak in. Do not neglect the importance of mock tests, they need to be attempted every day in the month leading up to an exam. Do not hesitate to invest in test series; that money will come back to you multiplied when you clear an exam and get a job.
Never pay heed to rumours and unconfirmed news reports. A candidate’s sole attention should be on mastering the topics at hand; it should not be spent on guessing the level of difficulty in an upcoming exam, cutoff marks for a just concluded exam or the effect of reservation on one’s category’s marks. In short, the candidate should not entertain thoughts on which one does not have control over.
Be grateful to your family, gurus and the divine. They play major roles in your life that shape you without your acknowledgement.