How to improve English (speaking, reading & writing) to score 20 marks in SBI PO Exam?
With the introduction of sectional timing restriction in SBI PO prelims exam this year, one needs to reassess the test-taking approach to optimize the number of attempts and score at least 20 marks in the English section. So, read on to understand how to achieve 20+ marks in the English language section of SBI PO prelims exam 2018.
The first step in achieving a high score is to understand how sectional time limit affects our attempt. Earlier when we could scroll through the entire paper, we could attempt any question any time. So if one is not able to understand questions of, say, verbal, one could switch to quantitative ability (QA) section and solve questions. Secondly, one could make one’s own pattern to solve 60 to 70 questions. So, to secure marks above cutoff, one could compensate not doing reading comprehension questions by doing more Quantitative Aptitude questions. But that advantage disappears now, since one may not get time if planning of each section is not optimized. So we need to train ourselves to manage each section in 20 minutes and attain 20+ marks in each of them.
Today we will focus on English section of the test.
Based on the analysis of last year, the overall level of English section is expected tobe Moderate. The table below shows a tentative list of topics.
|S. No.||Name of the Topic||Expected number of Questions|
|1.||Reading Comprehension||10 Questions|
|2.||Cloze Test||5-10 Questions|
|3.||Spotting Errors||5-10 Questions|
|4.||Para jumbles||4-5 Questions|
|5.||Sentence Improvement||5-10 Questions|
|6.||Fill in the blanks||5-7 Questions|
|7.||Vocabulary-based Questions||4-5 Questions|
To score 20 marks in the section, you need to familiarize yourself with it and set up a proper study plan and test plan.
Study plan for English Language of SBI PO
English is one of the most talked about section as it is considered as a complicated section and candidates consider practicing it to be a mammoth task. We agree that it is a mammoth task but it is not complicated. It just requires regular dedicated practice. If one can dedicate 2 hours daily, one can easily secure more than 20 marks in Prelims of SBI PO English section.
- Reading Comprehension
The topics of Reading Comprehension are usually centered on economy, banking orsocial issues. To familiarize yourself with these topics, you should read articles or editorials from newspapers daily. Some of the good sources are Livemint, The Economic Times, The Economist and Business Standard. Secondly, solve 2-3 RC passages daily to improve your accuracy. Only reading articles will not do good as articles do not test you on their content. For this spend half hour in solving 2-3 passages so that you develop time management skills.
- Cloze Test
Cloze test is a combination of RC and Vocabulary. Thus you need to comprehend it first and then fill the blanks. Thus to master cloze, you must follow the article reading plan for Reading Comprehension. Solve 3-4 cloze tests daily. Give yourself 3-4 minutes for a 5 blank word cloze test and 6-7 minutes for a 10 blank test.
- Spotting Errors and Sentence Improvement
Spotting errors part has undergone quite many changes in the previous version of the test. You need to familiarize yourself with the changes. We have written comprehensive articles on the same which you can go through. Both Spotting Errors and Sentence Improvement need comprehensive knowledge of grammar, which one can improve by familiarizing oneself with the major 8 rules of grammar that are repeatedly tested. Once you master them, spend at least 10-15 minutes daily in solving the grammar quizzes available at our platform.
- Para Jumbles
These questionsprovide a set of 4-5 jumbled sentences (where thefirst sentence may or may not be fixed) and a candidate has to arrange them as per the idea of the passage. Since a Para jumble questions tests your reading skills, you need to understand the flow of the idea and to get good at this, you can read articles as mentioned in the RC improvement tips. While reading articles, observe how the idea proceeds by noting the main points of the passage. This will make you accustomed to searching for the flow while solving paragraph jumble questions.
- Fill in the Blanks, Vocabulary-based Questions
Fill in the blank questions contain:
(a) Single/ Double/ Triple blank sentences
(b) Fill same word(s) in multiple sentences
Vocabulary questions include idioms, prepositional-phrase based questions, antonyms or synonyms.
The common factor here is vocabulary. We have seen candidates fear vocabulary or ignore vocabulary. This is because candidates believe that vocabulary is so extensive that they cannot learn it. We agree to disagree as though vocabulary is limitless, entrance exams do not focus on every word out there. They focus on the Low Frequency Version of a familiar word. For example, to describe a tough process, we use the word “difficult”. Entrance exams will simply use “Arduous” or “Strenuous” or any such Low Frequency version, which we have seldom heard of. We need to change our mindset from fearing vocabulary to preparing vocabulary.
To prepare vocabulary, you have to
(1) learn words and
(2) test them.
Most of the candidates focus on (1) and not on (2) and thus you will find them saying “I cannot remember all the words I learnt” or “Whatever number of words I learn, I forget them”. So let us change that attitude and add (2) to our daily routine. We propose that you spend at least 20 minutes on learning vocabulary and 15 minutes on testing it. You will see your vocabulary improve by leaps and bounds. Gradeup has lot of vocabulary based tests,and we also upload new tests them daily. So spend time on them and maintain a notebook especially for vocabulary.
Test plan for SBI PO
The first step is to Believe that you can crack the test. Positive attitude will strengthen you and make you calmer. The second step is to BE PATIENT during mocks and the final test. We have seen candidates perform poorly only because they became nervous or suffer from performance anxiety. If you have practiced regularly and dedicatedly, you won’t be nervous. Think of SBI PO exam as another mock you are appearing for and you won’t be as nervous. And with a calm mind, you will perform better.
Since you have only 20 minutes, you can solve the paper in different ways to optimize your marks. Remember, SBI PO is a speed based test and in any speed based test, your strategy should not be “how many marks per question am I getting ?“ , rather, it should be “how many marks per minute am I getting?”. This means that if given a choice between solving a para-jumble question in 5 minutes and an RC in 5 minutes with 5-10 questions each, we would prefer the RC. This is because even one mistake in para-jumble sequence will affect all the answers, whereas in RC a wrong answer has no bearing on the other answers. Thus RC is a better scoring tool than a para-jumble is.
Now let us see how to score 20/35 marks in 20 minutes.
Start with the easier part of your test and not in serial order. Your test is peppered with a mix of easy, medium and difficult questions. So intelligent and proper selection of questions is crucial, otherwise it is possible that you waste your time on difficult questions and never get to easier ones. (Remember, marks per minute, not marks per question). DO NOT guess the answers as there is a penalty for wrong answer. So work on your strengths and use them in the exam.
There are many ways you can attempt the section
1) Start with vocabulary questions first as in these questions, you either know the word or you do not, so you will get over with these questions quickly. Solve 10 questions (if possible in 6-7 minutes). Then move onto Reading comprehension questions. Solve 10 questions in 8-10 minutes. Then in the remaining minutes, pick up grammar questions. Use the rules you learnt while preparing.
2) Start with grammar questions first. Grammar questions are relatively easier than vocabulary questions, Solve 10 questions (if possible in 6-7 minutes). Then move onto Reading comprehension questions. Solve 10 questions in 8-10 minutes. Then in the remaining minutes, pick up vocabulary questions. If you know the meaning of the word, solve the question or leave it quickly. Do not waste more than 15 second on them.
3)Start Reading comprehension questions. Solve 10 questions in 8-10 minutes. Then move onto grammar questions. Grammar questions are relatively easier than vocabulary questions, Solve 10 questions (if possible in 6-7 minutes). Then in the remaining minutes, pick up vocabulary questions. If you know the meaning of the word, solve the question or leave it quickly. Do not waste more than 15 second on them.
There is no best strategy for any section. You need to keep experimenting on all the combinations and permutations to arrive at what works for you. And once you are sure about it, solve as many mocks as possible to become confident.
Download SBI PO app, and get notes, study material, free mock test, topic-wise quizzes, and previous year memory based question papers of SBI PO exam.
Please also check our NCERT Solutions app which we have launched recently for Class 6 – Class 12.