Competitive exams are held for various employment posts or educational courses. These exams help the examiners in short listing candidates for further tests like group discussion and interview rounds.
Competitive exams are held by banking institutions, income tax departments, educational institutions offering MBA course, MBBS course etc. The number of applicants for these courses/jobs is very high. Competitive tests or entrance tests help in filtering candidates for these posts.
The pattern of most of these papers is more of less the same. It contains objective type questions under various categories. It comprises of questions pertaining to English usage, knowledge of current affairs, test of logic and reasoning abilities and quantitative/mathematical aptitude.
For test of English usage, read books for proper usage of grammar and sentence formation. The vocabulary also needs to be strong, since there are many questions based on understanding and usage of English words, phrases, idioms etc. Apart from following the dictionary and improving the vocabulary, read up the newspaper and be familiar with terminologies and words being used lately.
For current affairs, keep yourself updated by reading newspapers and magazines that are meant especially for competitive exams. Be alert of latest developments in your own country and also the changes and trends in the international market. Pay attention to the recent developments in the sector for which you are giving the exam or applying for the job.
For current affairs, trace back upto atleast one year from the year in which you are appearing for the exam. However, for general knowledge you have to trace further back and start preparing well in advance.
As for the logic and reasoning test, it needs a disciplined, focused, quick and broad mind. It needs a lot of out of the box thinking. It has various types of questions dealing with numbers, alphabets, order of words, images etc to check how well your reasoning and thinking abilities are. You may refer to books meant especially for improving this ability or use the help of a coaching class to build your skill.
The mathematical part deals with problems about time, speed, interest, permutation and combination, ratio and proportion etc. For this you may refer to books or enroll with coaching classes. Learning short cut tricks will also help you save time during exams.