Cracking the English Language


Cracking the English Language

One of the major change in the SBI Junior Associates Prelims Exam, from last year is that, sectional time-limits have been introduced. Further, sectional cut-offs have been removed and students would be selected for the Mains exam basis their overall score in the Preliminary exam.

Over the last two weeks we have been focusing on SBI Junior Associates Prelims Exam, where we have covered the examination pattern, overall strategy and strategy to crack the Reasoning Section.

Let us look at the English Language Section of the Exam and understand the syllabus, the expected level of difficulty, the possible cut-offs as well as the strategy to crack this section. For those who missed out on previous two week’s articles, please go through them to understand the overall pattern.


One of the major change from last year is that, sectional time-limits have been introduced. Further, this year,sectional cut-offs have been removed and students would be selected for the Mains Exam basis their overall score in the Preliminary Exam. Consequently, the scoring opportunities could come down leading to lower over-all scores. However, there is no mention of negative marking for the Preliminary Exam (while specified explicitly for the Mains Exam) in the notification. We can therefore assume that there might not be Negative Marking this year which we believe will nullify the effect of sectional-time limits – the number of attempts would go up and resulting in higher scores.

If you look at the English Section – it has 30 Questions to be attempted in 20 minutes- which means the key is Speed. In case of no negative marking, you should be attempting ALL questions (at least marking the answers). But, beware; end of the day, only the correct ones will get you a score. The wrong ones might not give you a negative mark, but still they add zero value. Hence, accuracy, as always, continues to be an important aspect in this exam too.

This is where you should, as a strategy – focus on identifying questions that can be answered quickly and accurately. Questions you believe will consume more than 1 minute need to be ignored (or marked a random answer in case of no negative marking) and you need to optimize your time to increase your score from questions you could get right in shortest possible time.

While the recent bank exams saw an increase in the difficulty levels because of newer question varieties, we expect the SBI Clerk Preliminary Exam to be in line with the IBPS Clerk Exam- where mostly the questions would be at Level 1 (very easy), Level 2 (easy) and Level 3 (Average). If the difficulty levels continue as last year – a good score in this section would be anywhere between 12 and 15.

The areas to focus on in English Section include

1. Grammar

a. Verbs & Tenses,

b. Subject Verb Agreement,

c. Adverbs & Modifiers,

d. Adjectives,

e. Pronouns,

f. Conditionals and Prepositions

2. Vocabulary

a. Synonyms, Antonyms, and Spellings

3. Closed Passages and Reading Comprehension

4. Para Jumbles.

Majority of the questions come from these areas and would be at easy level. Ensure that you are going through the basics rules and application of these concepts.

A few tips to keep in mind when finalizing your strategy for the English Language Section –

  1. We suggest you start with Vocabulary or Closed questions first. These are easy to attempt and do not take too much time to answer.
  2. Then move on to Reading Comprehension. Focus on Vocabulary-based and Fact-based questions, which can be easily picked up from the Passage without spending a lot of time reading the entire passage.
  3. Grammar in bank exams is another scoring area and most of the questions focus only on the basic rules.
  4. Finally, don’t waste a lot of time on areas like Para jumbles or other Verbal logic questions, unless you have attempted all the remaining questions and you have additional time left.

English language section could be the game changer in SBI Jr Associates Prelims Exam– for the questions can be attempted quickly and students with good accuracy can boost their overall scores by performing well in this section.

So, over the next 3 months, make sure you practice a wide variety of questions across these areas with focus on speed and accuracy. Track your progress and in the process, you will discover areas where you are strong – areas with high accuracy with lesser investment of time. This will help you strategise right in the actual exam.

Attempt multiple section and full-length tests to make sure that you get your attempt strategy right.

Further, these tests might also expose you to newer question patterns.

The key to success in bank exams is simple – practice more and practice smartly. Lots of resources such as and others provide you with ample practice questions and learning content.

Ensure that you are taking advantage of the same and giving yourself the best chance to crack SBI Jr Associate Prelims Exam 2018.

This article - authored by Mr Sumanth Palepu, was originally published in Telangana Today on 12th February 2018.

Read 217 times Last modified on Saturday, 03 March 2018 21:09
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