The final year life of a college-going student can be pretty hectic. From submitting projects to sitting for placements, they juggle several tasks at once. One of the most important of them is to prepare for the screening tests conducted by recruiting companies. It usually consists of an aptitude test followed by a coding round or a combination of both at once. These tests are conducted to narrow down eligible candidates from a vast pool of students. In other words, it is an elimination round. Hence, the right preparation and right strategy is key to unlock the door to success.
Here is a list of some general points you need to keep in mind to ace the aptitude and coding rounds:
· Get inputs from seniors
They are probably the best source of information that you can get. Since they are the ones who graduated recently and went through the whole process at least once, they would be able to help you out. Talk to them and gather as many tips as possible.
· Start your preparation by researching
Googling comes first. Read through anything that pertains to the first round of the placement process, be it answers on Quora or tweets on Twitter or blogs on Medium. Gather the materials for preparation and chart out a rough plan to study.
· Plan according to the company
This is something that many might overlook. Each company has its own unique set of questions. The concepts asked by one company may not be asked by the other. While one might give more importance to technical aspects, another might focus more on the aptitude part. Hence improvise your learning according to the company.
· Draft out a rough syllabus
Even though there is no specific syllabus, draft out a rough one to cover all the topics.
- Aptitude tests usually cover topics from:
- Logical Reasoning
- Data Interpretation
- Verbal Ability
- Quantitative Ability
- Coding questions usually arise from topics like:
- Data Structures and Algorithms
- Computer Networks
- Operating Systems
- OOPS Concepts
- System Design
· Study the concepts
With the help of the syllabus you created, cover as many topics as possible. For the coding round, know at least one programming language thoroughly. Remember, there is no shortcut to success. When it comes to cracking these tests, hard work matters a lot. So spend your time wisely and have a good grip over the concepts.
. Keep practicing
Once you have a good command over the concepts, it is time to apply them.
Start practicing coding questions through online platforms like Hackerrank, Leetcode, and Interviewbit.
For aptitude tests, there are a plethora of resources. There are several good books and online platforms available.
You get exposed to a variety of questions as you practice, which in turn helps you increase your level of confidence.
· Try out mock tests
Now that you are thorough with the way a test is conducted, choose a comfortable environment and start attempting mock tests. They are a great way of replicating the original tests since they test your skills within a particular time frame. As you start attempting a number of mock tests, you start to develop a strategy of your own.
In addition, you gain a clear understanding of the types of questions asked which in turn will boost your confidence.
· Keep a pen and paper with you
Not every calculation can be done mentally. Sometimes it is easier to arrive at a solution once you pen down the entire thought process. So make sure that you have a pen and a paper with you while attempting such exams.
· Manage your time well
While attempting the mock tests, keep a track of the time. Time management is crucial and that can turn out to be the deciding factor at the end. Knowing how much time one should allot per question is extremely necessary to ace these tests. As you keep attempting mock tests, devise a strategy to manage your time efficiently.
· Read the instructions carefully
Before attempting any test, read the instructions carefully. The most important things to note before attempting any test are the following:
- Duration of the exam
- Different sections in the test
- Negative marking
- The color codes while taking an online test
These instructions give you a rough idea of how to go about the test.
· Avoid random guesses
The negative marking system can drag your scores down to a great extent. Hence, attempt only those questions that you are confident of.
Imagine a scenario where out of the three questions you attempted, only one is right. The marking scheme gives you three marks for a correct answer and deducts two marks if it’s wrong. You lose more than what you bargained for. So don’t make too many random guesses.
· Don’t ponder over one question for too long
It is very important to manage your time well. If you spend a lot of time trying to solve one question, you might not even be able to look at the questions in other sections. If questions carry equal weightage, try to solve as many as you can. Start from the easiest and then move on to tougher ones.
· Have faith in yourself
You have prepared well so you deserve every chance. Being nervous can make things only worse. Remember all the efforts you put in from spending countless sleepless nights to missing many meetups with your friends. Everything boils down to this one single moment. Have faith in yourself and write the tests confidently.
These tests are designed just to test your current knowledge and nothing more. Consistency is the key but try to not overdo it. Try to start early and schedule your time accordingly. As you keep attempting these tests, you will also naturally develop some hacks that will help you save your time. So keep practicing and find the right strategy to ace them.
Remember, the sky’s the limit. You can achieve anything once you set the target. So prepare with utmost dedication and commitment and ace these tests!!