How to Crack English Language Section in SBI Prelims 2018?
Hello Aspirant! We are now just a few weeks away from the Preliminary Exams of SBI PO and JA. As discussed in our previous strategy blogs, I am sure you have started taking mock tests to identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as to finalize your test-taking strategies.
In our column last week, we detailed out the test-taking strategy for the English Language section. We reasoned out the increased importance of this section because of the introduction of sectional time-limits and suggested a couple of strategies to maximize your score in this section.
I would strongly suggest you start employing these strategies in your mock tests if you haven’t done so yet. In today’s article, let us look at a few tips to attempt the different question types you come across in the English Language section in the PO and JA Preliminary Exams.
The English Language section consists of 30 questions spread across the following areas
1. Reading Comprehension – 10 Questions usually
2. Cloze Test – 5 to 10 Questions
3. Fill In The Blanks – 0 to 5 Questions
4. Error Spotting – 0 to 5 Questions
5. Para jumbles – 0 to 5 Questions
6. Critical Reasoning Questions – 0 to 5 Questions (in the PO Exam only)
In Reading Comprehension, yes, you are expected to read the passage and answer the questions based on it. However, it is also important to know the common question types you would see in RC passages –
• Questions based on facts from the passage
• Synonym/ Antonym based questions
• Inference based questions
• Structure-based questions
• Questions based on the tone of the author/passage
• Questions on central idea/title of the passage & Questions on the summary of the passage
The first two question types are less time consuming as well as easy to score as they do not require us to understand the complete passage. The ability, however, lies in how fast you can identify a relevant paragraph to locate a word/ phrase in question. However, you need to be good with vocabulary to be able to answer these questions accurately.
Inference based questions require us to understand the logic behind author’s opinions/ assumptions. Based on what has been mentioned in the paragraph, which of the following would the author disagree with is a common question in this category. In some cases, questions could also be asked on the logical structure of the passage; for example, is the author answering a question that he has initially put forth in the passage or is he trying to convince the reader of his point of view with examples etc. These questions are more commonly asked in the PO as compared to the Clerk.
When it comes to questions based on the central idea of the passage, you are asked either for the summary of the passage or the purpose with which the author has written the passage. These questions are preferably attempted after fact-based or vocabulary-based questions.
Cloze Test & Fill in the Blank Question Types
Cloze test gives you a passage with some of the words omitted. While solving for the omitted words, remember that the sentences in a passage flow in a logical way and in the first reading, you should be able to understand the flow and hence the central idea of the passage. Once that is established, you can fill in the blanks while ensuring the tone of the passage is maintained. One more quick way to eliminate options is by making use of parts of speech. We have seen a few modifications of this question type in the last couple of years – however, the basic strategy still remains similar.
For dual blank questions, we suggest you guess the answer to the question based on the tone and context of the question before looking at the options. This will help manage your time well while reducing a lot of confusion.
Error Spotting Questions
Error Spotting questions evaluate a candidate’s grammar abilities. However, if you have really looked at the previous SBI PO and JA Prelims question papers, you would notice that questions often evaluate you on some basic principles such as subject-verb agreement, tenses, adjectives, and adverbs etc. With good practice, it is easy to develop comfort with these basic question varieties and error spotting questions can become easiest and the most scoring question types.
A student could be either asked to spot the error or pick the right option for a specific part of the sentence – in both these cases, the strategy remains the same. Do not go with gut feel but keep eliminating the different rules of grammar that are not violated until you identify the actual mistake.
The first step in solving a para jumble is to identify the central idea of the paragraph. Look for connectors/ tone changes like but, however or further to build a logical flow to the passage. Mark these statements as pairs and start eliminating options based on these sentence combinations to arrive at the final answer. You could also use pronouns (which would only follow nouns) or words that suggest chronology or sequence of events to identify these pairs of statements. Students often find these questions confusing and rightly so – however, solving one set of jumbles can give you answers to 4 or 5 questions and that is always tempting
The PO Exam could also see a few questions based on Critical Reasoning – these questions could range from identifying the central idea of a passage to flaws in author’s logical reasoning or identify options that might strengthen or weaken the author’s conclusion. You are certain to see these questions in Mains exam but if the examiner wants to spring a surprise, you might also see a few of these in the Preliminary Exam.
Before you go for the final exam, you should have a fair idea where your strengths lie – are you better with Para Jumbles or the Grammar-based questions or is RC your strong suit or the Cloze Passages? How do you do so? Practice, Practice, and Practice! A mock test a day keeps all worries away
We wish you all the best!
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