Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Ultimate rules to master Aptitude skills for competitive exams

For some, Aptitude is  as scary as Higher Mathematics while others don’t even realize that this is what they studied as part of their lower standard Class I to VII math .
Now the question  is, Is it really tough? The fact of the matter is, it is MATH  what most of us ;educated or un educated, employed or unemployed, do in real life. Profit and loss; what we do when we buy or sell an item, Percentages; sharing  a property or money among friends or brothers, SI/ CI; where to invest FD, MF or RD and what gives better returns,  Time & Distance; What speed can make me cover 100Km in 30 minutes and Numbers, are something we all play with on a regular basis.  With this, we should understand that aptitude is child’s play and overcome the first  psychological barrier of treating Aptitude as a difficult subject. In this article we will discuss the 5 best practices to master Aptitude for competitive exams.
1.       Rule 1: Memorize simple yet forgotten stuff,  like Tables, Squares, Cubes, % and their equivalent fractions,  so that you get the feel of the ABCD of aptitude.

2.       Rule2:  Conceptual  approach vs. Formula based approach
Many have the habit of remembering formulae for practicing aptitude questions. Though it is a good practice,  when the examiner twists the question some  get perplexed as the question explicitly does not throw the idea, which formula needs to be used.  So it is always advisable to go with a concept based approach for aptitude practice. Moreover by mastering the definitions and concepts, it is not only easy to remember the formulae but one can also derive the formulae if needed.

3.       Rule 3: Don’t be traditional
“ Ends matter not the means “, and same is true in case of scoring marks in Aptitude section.  Don’t try to  derive the answers by doing step wise calculations etc , this method is good for getting marks in Board exams not in the recruitment tests.  For solving aptitude questions follow the following 4 approaches.
1.       Traditional
2.       Formula based
3.       Substitution Method
1.       Elimination method

1.       Rule 4: Practice Practice Practice : Kohli, Yuvraj, Rahane still practice …why not us? Even after mastering the above mentioned things, still the next best practice is to “ Practice, Practice ..Practice”.  Practice always improves speed and accuracy, so even the best needs to practice so that they don’t lose grip over the subject.  Hard work always pays so does practice in Aptitude exams.
Once you master the concepts, questions asked in different forms will no longer pose a challenge. Memorizing the essentials and applying  quick and smart strategies in the aptitude exam proves beneficial. Overcome the feeling that time is insufficient and focus on optimum utilization of the given time. Keep in mind even when you take time to practice, focus on the topics that you can expect in each exam and then invest time accordingly.
Hope these tips will help you in getting your preparation for aptitude section into the right groove…ALL THE BEST.
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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

5 Interview Mistakes you have to avoid

You are appearing  for your first ever job interview and you want to make an impression. Your resume talks so much about you, but are you ready to match not only what you've put down on your resume but also about what it takes to get the job. Employers are very particular about who they hire. Even a small mistake can get magnified when it comes to competitive jobs and opportunities.

It is imperative to be aware and understand how to avoid these 5 common interview mistakes.

Mistake 1: Not researching about the company and the job that you have applied for
If you have no clue about the job or the company you are interviewing for, you appear clueless about what you want and may automatically get disqualified. You should understand the company’s current needs; tap into social media, search for blogs or articles and keep yourself well-informed.  
Mistake 2: Not appropriately dressed
This is one of the biggest mistakes . Wearing the wrong attire for an interview. One doesn’t have to make a fashion statement nor does one have to spend money to buy expensive clothes however it is important to look well dressed, professional and polished. First Impression matters. Experts say we size up new people in somewhere between 30 seconds and two minutes. It would make all the difference when you pick the right colors and attire.
Mistake 3:  Arriving late              
Job candidates who arrive late reflect poor time management skills. Always respect the interviewer’s time. It shows that you are reliable and mean business. If you are not serious and professional enough to be on time for your own interview you leave a very poor image of yourself and lose your chances of getting hired.
Mistake 4: Helping yourself to a chair before it is offered to you
It is polite to wait to be offered a seat. Don’t just enter and sit without being asked to. This can even amount to arrogance. Basic courtesy and professional etiquette is something that has to be ingrained. You need to be aware of how to conduct and present yourself irrespective of the confidence you feel in an interview room.
Mistake 5: Over-explaining answers
Answer to the point. In order for you to do this, you need to have clarity on the question. Take a couple of seconds to structure what you need to say to be specific. Do not rattle off as this leads to rambling. It is a sign of nervousness when you start sharing information that is irrelevant.  Do not bore your interviewer by being too talkative either. Remember to stay on track while answering. A good idea would be to practice ahead hypothetical interview questions , this increases your confidence. When you are confident, you tend to relax, actively listen and respond appropriately.  

"The will to win is worthless if you do not have the will to prepare."

 The better prepared you are, the better your chances to ace ‘the’ job interview.

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Monday, 14 September 2015

10 Must-Have Skills to Start a Successful Career

The day you start your college, is the day you should start updating your skills. This way slowly and surely you will build all the necessary skills increasing your chances of success at that first job interview significantly. Take a look at the 10 skills you must start developing today for a better career.

1.       Start building a global mindset –  Get an insight on how firms operate, what is happening in different industries, how they work across geographies and get to know about their products. In other words - expand your general knowledge

2.       Develop the ability to communicate better – It is important to be able to converse with people inside and outside an organization effectively. The more people you talk to, the better your chances at the interview. The interviewer wants to hear you and also wants to know how well you can articulate or explain an answer

3.       Sharpen leadership skills – Can you prioritise, work efficiently and productively, and manage your time well? Can you think creatively about problems? Take responsibility for your own ideas? Able to motivate and direct others? If not, then it's time to hone these skills

4.       Perfect your teamwork skills– Being able to work with other people is a key skill that employers look for. Put in your thoughts but also try to understand others opinion. Eventually it is collaboration at work that helps deliver positive results

5.       Flexibility – Adapt successfully to changing situations and  environments

6.       Practice Time Management - Working life presents many challenges. Learn how to prioritise assignments and prepare to work on deadlines. ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’

7.       Refine your Communication skills - You need to be able to express yourself concisely, but you also need to be a good listener and good at asking questions. Your ability to communicate well will be one of the most noticeable things about you during the job hiring process

8.       Develop Problem Solving Skills – This is all about using logic, as well as imagination, to make sense of your situation and come up with an intelligent solution. It can be about anything - from trying to solve a computer problem to organising a company event

9.       Practice Confidence – Learn the art of striking a balance of being confident in yourself but not arrogant; to believe in your colleagues and the company you will work for. If you are confident, then you are capable

10.   Enhance office etiquette – Everything is new for you, but knowing how to act in an office is extremely important. The way you sit, say goodbye and shake hands make a difference in getting a job

Take time to think about the skills listed above.  Write down some examples and see where you stand. Identify your skills and the possible gaps. Use it as a benchmark to improve and differentiate yourself.  An excellent academic record alone will not compensate for a weak skill set as employers expect today's graduates to be a high performing employee.  It is a challenging world outside; be prepared to face it with skills that matter.

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Friday, 17 July 2015

Job Interview Essentials for Freshers

The job interview preparation, especially for freshers, starts from the time you come across an advertisement and apply for it by submitting your résumé. Once your résumé has been shortlisted, its time to get ready for the interview rounds.
The three critical rounds of evaluation are:
  1. Written Test which comprises of Technical/Aptitude or both and can be conducted online or on paper.
  2. Group Discussion (GD)/Just a Minute (JAM)/ Extempore that evaluate communication skills and thought process. It helps filter candidates clearly especially if there are too many for the position.
  3. Technical and HR Rounds.
When you look at a job description, you will find several criteria mentioned -the degree, academic track record and the skills the company is looking for.  Resist the temptation to send your standard resume at hand and customize it for that particular role. Painful as it may sound but for every single job you apply for you should tweak or if required even completely re-write your resume highlighting the areas relevant for the role. This will ensure you get called for the interview.
Once you receive a communication asking you to attend an interview, remember to check the date/time/venue for the interview so you can be prepared.
As you get ready for further rounds of the interview follow the mantra of three Ps’ – Prepare, Practice and Present.
You should start preparing for the first round which is usually a written test. Revise subject matter, then practice sample papers of the company or online tests.
For the next round of Group Discussion, JAM or an extempore, read and stay updated on the current affairs - domestic and international. This will help you participate actively in the Group Discussion or speak fluently in the JAM session.
Extempore speaking is an art by itself. A sound vocabulary, concentration and streamlining of thoughts are some of the key factors for a successful and interesting extempore address. More than the preparation, practice is handier.  Speak in front of your siblings or friends, continuously for a minute, but without any interruptions. This practice will not only help you to get through extempore but also GD and JAM round.
The next two rounds are Technical and HR which are more challenging than the previous rounds. Before participating in these rounds, there are three important things you must know to tailor your interview response.
  1. Research about the company. Is it a service or a product-based company or anything else?  The best place is to go to the company website and find out all the details. Once you understand the company profile, re-look the job description that you have applied for. Understand the key skills the company is looking for that particular job. Analyze yourself and understand your relevant skills. This will help you answer technical questions effectively.
  2. The final round is the HR round which is the most important round of an interview. Complete your homework before going for the interview. Check out the company's website for all details - how they have grown, what they specialize in, the products and services they deal in, their revenue model.
  3. Learn other details too - branches and locations of the company, the number of employees, mission and vision, core values the company believes in. This will help you answer HR questions effectively and with confidence. Remember that the HR round is the decision maker.
So before you go, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
  • Dress like a professional. Your appearance should be pleasant and professional.
  • Ensure that you carry all the specified documents including your résumé
  • Reach the venue 10 minutes earlier than the expected time and connect with the concerned person
  • Maintain the right body language and etiquette throughout the interview
  • Speak to the point
  • Stay grounded and answer questions in a manner that gives them the confidence that you are the right candidate for the job and that you will be an easy person to work with.

The most important thing is to prepare; always prepare for success and not for failure. As Thomas Alva Edison says, “Good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.”
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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

5 Most Important Soft Skills that Every IT Job Aspirant Should Possess

If you want a job, have technical skills. If you want a career, have people skills.
“Soft skills” are those critical employability skills that employers look for in any prospective employee. Today the IT industry is looking for employees with “soft skills” as well as “hard” technical knowledge. Employees who can integrate networking, project management and teamwork, business technology and specific application skills are valued significantly more as compared to others.  These are the “Life Skills” which shape a professional’s personality.
‘Soft Skills’– The Key to Being a Successful IT Professional
  1. Effective Communication: Communication at workplace extends beyond emails and face-to-face meetings. It assumes new dimensions when one has to deal with people from different culture, background, language proficiency and even hierarchy. Expertise is acquired slowly, but feedback from mentors is a sure way to help in honing these skills.
  2. Teamwork: Most jobs require one person to coordinate with multiple people from several functions, at different knowledge levels and varying geographies. Coordinating with them, understanding their perspective, respecting them for the strengths they bring to the group and being aware of one’s own responsibilities goes a long way in producing amazing team results and becoming an invaluable “team asset”.
  3. Problem Solving: A typical IT job will require you to solve new problems each day and face challenges to improve the existing solutions. You will need to adopt a mindset of embracing learning as a continuous journey and never becoming complacent with existing knowledge.
  4. Continuous Self-improvement: You alone are responsible for your career. Your employer may make learning resources available to you but the responsibility to use, learn and utilize the learning at work, everyday, will be only yours. Spending even two hours on the weekends to keep yourself abreast of technology trends will go a long way in understanding this continuously changing landscape and sharing valuable technical inputs with your group.
  5. Time Management Skills: You will be swarmed with activities and people, emails pouring in, discussions and even distractions. But remembering your tasks, prioritizing them and staying organized will go a long way in establishing your credibility as a reliable and efficient person. Never hesitate to seek out advice from your manager or colleagues; each one of us goes through the learning phase and success comes to those who apply their learnings.

The combination of soft skills and domain skills is the winning formula for IT career aspirants.  Domain knowledge complemented with well-honed set of interpersonal skills, gives a competitive advantage over others in the IT job market.
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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

4 Things Fresh Graduates Must Do Daily to Improve Communication Skills

‘Learn English in just 3 weeks’, ‘Speak like an expert in 20 days’, etc. The list of available options in the market which promise to improve communication skills is endless, however is it really possible? The answer is NO. Communication skills, like fitness, is the result of continuous workout. The question that hits us next is how should we practice? Should we enroll in another course again or is there something that could be done daily to improve the communication skills.

Top tips to improve communication skills:
1. Listen More - Listening helps in structure and content. Listen to English news, programs on BBC, attend seminars, Techtalks, etc. Remember,  we learnt our mother tongue by doing exactly this.
2. Speak More - Speaking in English helps you gain confidence. Take every opportunity to speak in English. The fear of making a mistake should not stop you from using the language. The idea is to start thinking in English and not just translate to English. Self correction is the first sign of success.
3. Read More - Reading helps in building vocabulary. Read as much as you can, find the time to blog, express your views and improve your written and spoken communication. As an investment into careers, youngsters must subscribe to at least one national daily, one online news service and stay updated on what's new and happening around you. This will help build vocabulary and at the same time improve general awareness.
4. Observe and Interpret Body Language - You must also pay attention to your body language. Generally, when we listen to a speaker, we judge both verbal and nonverbal cues simultaneously. So, observe good speakers and try to emulate a few things if possible.

Every individual needs to be well equipped with the tools to communicate effectively, whether it is on the personal front, or at work. Communication is basically a two-way street, which entails the relation between the sender and the receiver. There are some barriers that occur while speaking. One can try to overcome all language related barriers by first learning to speak English and then improving.

Multiple employment surveys point out that an increasing number of graduates are not readily employable for various reasons. We live in the Information Age, where a major part of our communication takes place via e-mail, text messaging, telephone or video conferencing and for obvious reasons, candidates who can read, write, speak and understand English fluently score over those who cannot. This is the sole reason why few graduates do not get an ideal job even after a long, hard search and even good technical skills.

A final word to the fresh graduates - do the basics right and practice to succeed in your career.
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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

4 Sutras to Score More in Verbal Aptitude

4 Sutras to Score More in Verbal Aptitude
 When you think of Verbal Aptitude, you know it involves understanding words; the relationships they share with each other, how words are connected to make meaningful contexts and it becomes our job to comprehend those contexts using some clues and hints.
 It is a critical component in your exam and it takes practice to master Verbal Aptitude. It is not enough if you just read a lot but you are equally required to listen, write and speak to ace this section.

Here are the 4 sutras to help you score more in Verbal Aptitude.
1.      Logical Thinking & Reasoning
Usually questions pertaining to Jumbled Sentences otherwise called as Paragraph Formation and aka Sentence Formation fall under this category. The objective here is to logically connect word parts or sentences to form meaningful contexts. The mantra is simple - You identify the subject, then identify the action and then connect and create the remaining sentence.
Let’s look at a couple of examples:
·         are given to /cannot be/people who/quarrelling/happy
·         that/lived in/halls/I dreamt/I/marble
In the first one, the subject is 'People', the action is 'quarrelling' where you also have a helping verb - 'are'.
Now, let's connect: People who are given to quarrelling cannot be happy.
Let's do the second one, the subject is 'I' and the action is 'dreamt' and 'lived'.
Now let's connect: I dreamt that I lived in marble halls.

Another question pattern would be 'Analogies' which involves understanding the relationship between words.
Let's take an example:
Marathon is to race as hibernation is to
·         Winter
·         bear
·         dream
·         sleep
All we need to do is understand the relationship between the stem pair 'Marathon and race' and then identify the word that shares the same relationship as the stem pair. Now, Marathon is a long-distance race and Hibernation is an inactive state resembling deep sleep. Now, these are literally definitions, so we have our key words in the definition and all we need to do is look for options that project the keyword.

2.    Grammar - Get your basics right
Typically questions like sentence correction or improvement, finding errors, selecting words, active- passive voice or direct - indirect speech fall under this category.

Let's take an example:
If I had known / this yesterday/I will have helped him/ no error
If you are familiar with 'If conditionals', you would be able to immediately recognize that this is an example of a third conditional where the form is "If+ past perfect tense, would have +past participle" and that the error is in part 3 where you change ‘will’ to ‘would’.
Now you know how important it is for us to know our basics and the rules when it comes to grammar. It makes life so much more easier.

3.    Vocabulary - It’s all about the words and their meanings
Question types like Synonyms or Antonyms, spellings, one word substitutes and even idioms and phrases will fall under this category. So a good knowledge on root words will come handy, apart from good amount of practice writing to ensure your spellings are in place and make sure you understand the difference between the literal meaning and the implied meaning when it comes to idioms and phrases.

4.    Comprehension
A good knowledge and understanding on vocabulary will help you with this category. Learn to understand context as a whole, identify the main theme or message. Learn to read between the lines. Your ability to summarize, paraphrase and interpret will prove beneficial. So, question patterns like Reading Comprehension, Cloze Passage and completing statements will no longer pose a challenge.

So, the 4 Sutras for you to keep in mind when it comes to Verbal Aptitude are
  1. Logical Thinking and Reasoning
  2. Grammar - Get your basics right
  3. Vocabulary - It’s all about the words and their meanings
  4. Comprehension
Remember, apply and practice them to ace this section on Verbal Aptitude.
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Friday, 26 June 2015

Wish You Grand Success in SBI PO 2015 Exam

If you are aspiring for a banking career and looking forward to join SBI, India’s largest Bank, you will be keen to make a great first impression this week. The Phase I Exam scheduled for June 20, 21, 27 and 28, 2015 gives you the opportunity to start your path to success.

TalentSprint wishes you grand success in this Exam.

You are invited to share your experience in this exam as a comment below.  

You may share:
a.      How you found the exam and how you have performed?
b.      What challenges were found by you in the new format of the exam?
c.      What kind of questions were asked?
d.      What experience other exam participants shared?

This will not only help you to share your experience, but also get feedback from others and help others who are going to take the exam subsequently.

Wish you the very best once again and look forward to seeing you a successful Banker!


Click here to know about BankersChoice Programs of TalentSprint - India’s largest and most successful Bank Exam Preparation Program.

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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Know how good communication skills can boost your career

  In today's competitive world, you will all agree that it is difficult to get your first job. However, while getting the first job is your immediate goal you must also equip yourself to progress in that field.
To survive in any field the most essential skill one must have is communication. In fact, “Communication skills are ranked first among a candidate’s 'must have' skills and qualities” according to a 2010 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
Most of the time communication skills is misunderstood as only fluent ‘speaking’ skills but that is not the reality. Communication is more of a package than an individual skill. Along with speaking it is also about writing, listening, presenting etc.
Let us imagine two employees Rubina and Lokesh. Rubina is technically proficient as well as an excellent communicator whereas Lokesh is technically better than Rubina but a mediocre communicator. Who do you think will succeed and progress faster? You got it! Rubina will succeed and progress. Why? Think about it.
Let us take an extreme situation where Lokesh misunderstands a technical problem but gives a perfect solution. At the same time Rubina understands the exact technical problem and gives a solution that can be improved. Rubina will get feedback on how her solution could be improved and Lokesh would have created a poor impression.
A work place is where different people from various cultures, experiences, skills and qualities work together. While it will be easy for Rubina, it will be difficult for Lokesh to succeed. An excellent communicator like Rubina will be able to reduce barriers and be more effective hence increasing productivity and team effectiveness. The team will work harmoniously because of strong interpersonal communication skills.
A good communicator can tailor his/her language according to the audience, through writing and vocabulary besides concisely and clearly presenting ideas.
However, speaking is only the tip of the iceberg. Gestures, postures, eye contact and even appearance speak a lot about oneself even when literally not speaking. At the same time listening skill too plays a vital role to being a good communicator. In fact, we spend 45% of our time listening. Active listening gives more information rather than just passively hearing.
To sum up, you need to balance technical and communication skill. Like every other skill, communication skill too can be improved only by regular practice.

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