HomeEducation and ExchangeRails to Success: Tackling Train Questions in Competitive Exams

Rails to Success: Tackling Train Questions in Competitive Exams


Navigating competitive exams often involves encountering a variety of mathematical challenges. Among these, questions based on motion, specifically those involving trains, are quite common. These questions test your understanding of concepts like speed, distance, and time. This article guides you through the process of mastering problems on trains, ensuring you’re on the right track for exam success.

Grasping Speed and Distance

Understanding the fundamental concepts of speed and distance is crucial. When you’re faced with a problem, first identify what you’re being asked to find: the speed of the train, the distance travelled, or the time taken. Remember, speed is distance divided by time. Getting a firm grip on these basics sets a strong foundation.

Additionally, it’s essential to familiarise yourself with units of measurement and convert between them, as exams often test this skill. Practice problems involving varying speeds and distances, and challenge yourself with questions with different units.

Decoding Time Calculations

Time plays a pivotal role in these problems. Whether it’s calculating the time taken for a train to pass a pole or the time needed for two trains to cross each other, precision is critical. Practice problems where you calculate the time using different speeds and distances. This will sharpen your skills and boost your confidence.

Understanding the relationship between speed and time is also essential. As the speed increases, the time taken decreases, and vice versa. Practice visualising problems through timelines or simple sketches. This method helps you better understand and solve complex time-related problems, making you more efficient in tackling such questions in exams.

Analysing Relative Speed

Relative speed becomes vital when two trains are moving towards each other or in the same direction. The concept may seem tricky at first, but it’s all about understanding whether you need to add or subtract the speeds. If trains move towards each other, add their speeds. If they’re moving in the same direction, subtract the slower speed from the faster one.

It’s crucial to remember that relative speed is not just a concept limited to trains; it applies to all moving objects. Therefore, mastering this concept has broader benefits. Practice with varied scenarios, including those with vehicles other than trains, to develop a deeper understanding.

Solving Complex Scenarios

Sometimes, you’ll encounter more complex scenarios, like finding the length of the train or the time taken to cross a platform. These problems require a step-by-step approach. Break down the question, draw a diagram, and apply the basic formulas you’ve learned. Practice is your best ally here.

In these situations, paying attention to detail is crucial. Ensure you consider all elements of the problem, such as the length of the train and the platform and any given speed limits. Complex scenarios often involve multiple steps, so an organised approach is critical.

Applying Practical Strategies

Developing strategies such as estimation and elimination can be beneficial. If an answer seems too high or too low based on your rough estimation, it’s probably incorrect. Use such strategies to narrow down your options and increase your accuracy. Estimation can be beneficial in multiple-choice questions, where you can often eliminate one or two options right away.

Additionally, time management is crucial in competitive exams. Allocate your time wisely, giving yourself enough time to tackle these problems without rushing. Finally, practising under timed conditions can significantly help. It prepares you for the exam pressure and improves your ability to use these strategies effectively.


With consistent practice and a clear understanding of the underlying principles, tackling problems on trains becomes more manageable. This article has provided you with the tools and techniques to navigate these challenges effectively. Remember, mastering these questions is a significant step toward your overall exam success.

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