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SNAP 2015 Strategy

## SNAP 2015 Strategy

With the season being in full flow and calls already out for the next round of the IIFT admission process, the immediate question on every aspirant’s mind would be – What is the best SNAP 2015 strategy? To help students prepare for SNAP in a better manner, this is a SNAP 2015 strategy article compiled by past SNAP crackers which includes DOs and DONTs that one should follow to improve one’s chances of cracking the test.

As all of you might already be aware of, SNAP is predominantly biased towards the speed test specialists. 150 questions in 120 minutes with 180 marks at stake are big numbers. Add to that a section on General Awareness and it becomes a good deal for someone who has strong basics (with or without application) and has prepared well for General Awareness.

## Overview of the paper

### Quantitative & Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency

Unlike CAT or XAT, the section focuses on basics. The questions are expected to be from the following topics:

a) Averages: Simple word based questions with linear equations or calculations involved. A must attempt topic. We expect around 2-3 questions from this topic.

b) Mixtures and alligations: Another favourite when it comes to SNAP. In previous year papers, sometimes, even 2-3 questions have appeared in a single test and if you are not particularly good at the alligation rule application, it makes perfect sense to understand how to implement it at this point in time. Around 1-2 questions can turn up from this part.

c) Permutations and combinations & probability: Another SNAP favourite. The questions are extremely simple and are probably aimed at scaring nervous aspirants away. But if you have understood the basics of P&C and probability, you should be able to cruise through the questions in 30 seconds or less. Expected number of questions: 4-5.

d) Time, speed and distance/Time and work/Pipes and cisterns: Again, SNAP favourites. In a good year, you can expect 4-5 questions from this area (10% of the paper). They will consume more time than the average time invested per question and so, you have to take a call on which ones to attempt and which ones to leave. We expect at least 2 questions from this area.

e) Simple equations: Ages, income & expenditure, coins distribution and other word problems involving variables are commonplace when it comes to the SNAP. A lot of focus is on these questions and almost all the questions will be solvable. However, these questions tend to have a lot of intermediate steps and the time taken to read the question and form the equations has to be considered as well. So, this will again be something that will have to be thought of before attempting the test.

f) Geometry: Simple geometry questions, typically word based (and so, involving areas and volumes instead of lengths and angles) can be expected in the paper. Around 3-4 questions have consistently come from this area and so, if someone is comfortable with triangles, circles and quadrilaterals, these questions are must attempts. We expect 3-4 questions from geometry.

g) DI sets: Around 3-4 DI sets consisting of anything between 2-4 questions (~10 questions) can be expected in the test. Typically, you will find multiple sets that are doable and not getting stuck in a particular set is the key to going around this part of the section. Simple line/bar/pie charts or Venn diagram based sets are commonplace and must attempts. The rest, you can skip in the first round and come back to it later.

h) Miscellaneous: SNAP has been known to put questions from fresh domains every year be it visual reasoning, paper folds, series based questions, magic cube questions, and so on. While these puzzles look tempting and have the ‘seen before’ feel attached to them, these are the questions that will eat into precious time if you are not good at them. So, most of the time, it pays to humbly let go of a question.

### Analytical and Logical Reasoning Section

30 questions 60 marks. The game changer when it comes to SNAP. The section is probably an extension of the last couple of important question types from the previous section. This section can consist of DI sets, LR caselets, standalone puzzles, visual reasoning questions, series based questions and so on. It is very easy for an aspirant to overvalue this section and get stuck in it because of greediness. However, it is highly recommended to be very careful in this section. This section will definitely give you an edge when it comes to the final score but considering that clearing cut-offs across all the sections should be your primary aim, doing this section over two rounds is recommended. Even in the easiest of SNAP papers, the cutoff does not breach 40 and so, if one has attempted 20-22 questions in the first go accurately, one should be fine irrespective of the level of difficulty.

### General English Section

Opposed to the other entrance tests, SNAP has traditionally focused on grammar and vocabulary with minimal focus on reading comprehension passages. RCs account for around 10-15% of the paper and are generally short (~200 words) and straightforward. Grammar questions are pretty easy as well and if you have followed our grammar traps and commonly confused word sets series, you should be absolutely fine with these questions with minimal effort. There could be certain interesting verbal question types though that include figures of speech, portmanteau words, word roots, prefixes and suffixes, homonyms, homographs, homophones, kangaroo words and so on. It pays to think a bit about these words and trying to find a lateral connect instead of leaving them simply because they are ‘vocabulary based’.

Overall this is a very productive section and will help boost your score by a bit. This is not a differentiator between aspirants and so, one must be extremely careful not to lose out on easy marks in this section.

### General Awareness

The section is a healthy mix of static and current GK with a fair share of business, sports and entertainment questions. The questions are all solitary in nature and there have been papers that have had match the following and visual questions as well. Overall, a typical GK section of any test.

## Speed vs. accuracy

While it has been repeatedly said that SNAP favours the speed enthusiasts, there is a slight subtext to it. While having speed is recommended, one has to couple it with accuracy. Considering that a good candidate would attempt anywhere between 110-120 questions and so, 140 marks, an accuracy of less than 75% percent could hurt. If one can time the paper well, one should be able to optimize the performance by a fair bit. Remember that GK and VA would not take a lot of time and so, you can invest a sufficient amount in QA and LR.

So, irrespective of your speed, one should have an accuracy of over 80% to make sure that one is in contention for that GDPI call.

## How to tackle GK

This is a pain point for a majority of the aspirants. If it is a pain point for a majority of the aspirants then you already know that you are on the same level as a vast majority. The cut-offs being relative will reflect this scenario. All said and done, a vast majority does not prepare systematically with a vision of cracking the section in a test. So, if you have paid attention to a few bits of knowledge and have covered the usual suspects, you should be fine when it comes to the GK section. There are a lot of sources available online to boost your GK prep. You can go through our compilations and tests which will help you sail through the section.

Coming to the strategy part, a lot of students go for a conservative approach in this section. However, it pays to be slightly more enterprising and go for the kill in this section. The construct of the section is such that it includes a fair share of the ‘popular’ topics (sports, entertainment, and business). Historically, the cutoff has been around 7-8 marks in this section even in the easiest of papers. An average aspirant should be able to attempt at least 8-10 questions confidently in this section. Now, if you are prepared, you should be able to take the average number of attempts to around 12-14. As we know that you have achieved at least a couple of marks more than what was required, you can gamble for 8 more questions by intelligent guessing (in some cases, the option that seems out of line, match the following questions, other options being seemingly ridiculous or insignificant, India centric question, longest statement logic and so on). Even if you get one correct, it is a bonus of 1.25 marks and so, there is lots to gain.

Side note: I consider myself an average student when it comes to GK but had successfully cracked the section by attempting a whopping 32 questions on 40 (20 correct 12 wrong did the trick for me and boosted my overall score above 140).

## Time split across sections

A healthy time split vs. attempts vs. accuracy vs. score in a moderate test would look something like this:

 Section Time taken Attempts Accuracy Score Quantitative Ability 35 minutes 28-30 90% 25-27 Verbal Ability 25 minutes 35 80% 26-27 Reasoning 40-45 minutes 22-24 85% 37-38 General Awareness 10-15 minutes 20 60% 10-11 Overall 120 minutes 110 100+

## Handling the incorrect/tough questions

Over the last few years, there have been questions which were overtly ambiguous or incorrect in some cases. As soon as you encounter such a question, it would be a good idea to let go of the question without pumping in time to assume something that isn’t present. Be prepared for such questions as well during the test. If it doesn’t happen, good. If it does happen, you are better prepared than many others to deal with that question.

## Pen based challenge

As silly and trivial as it may sound, be very careful when you are marking the answers. There have been cases in the past wherein aspirants have lost out on calls due to incorrect marking of questions. If you are prone to errors, it might help if you are a bit careful while you are marking the answers. For the really clumsy ones, you can mark the OMR sheet with a pencil first and then fill the blocks using a pen at the end. Do what you need to, just be careful.

## Expected cut-offs and attempts

Last year was an aberration when it came to difficulty level of the SNAP. Earlier papers used to be easier and the cut-offs have breached 110 marks in some cases. Considering the overall reduction in difficulty levels across entrance tests and the fact that these entrance tests are designed keeping in mind the demand of the industry, it seems like institutes are looking at less of basic aptitude and more of interpersonal skills while making that final decision. To make sure that good candidates are not filtered out at the test stage due to a difficult paper, the tests seem to be getting easier by the day and we expect a similar trend when it comes to SNAP 2015. The scores could see an increase by around 5-10% this year and the cut-offs could be slightly higher compared to last year.

Hope the SNAP 2015 strategy article has managed to answer a few queries that you had pertaining to the test. All the best!

Read all SNAP 2015 preparation posts here | Practice tests including over 450 free GK questions here: General Awareness Course | Read the entire GK series here: SNAP 2015 GK Preparation