Effective Tips & Strategy to Ace the English Language in SBI PO Prelims
According to the notification of SBI PO 2018, the preliminary examination pattern is going to be a little different from the previous years. Sectional time limits have now been introduced as discussed in our previous articles; however, no reference has been made to sectional cutoffs.
The absence of the sectional time limits in the previous exam model meant that one could gain a total advantage of his/ her strengths by spending more time on questions which could bring him positive scores while escaping from questions which could result in negative scores. As a result, the general trend observed is that students spend minimal time on the English section and move on to more promising Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning Ability Sections. Now that students are forced to spend 20 minutes on the English Language sections, we can conclude that this section is going to be the game changer in SBI PO Prelims 2018.
How to Prepare English for SBI PO:
In today’s article, let us focus on strategies to ace the English Language section – the kind of questions you need to select to attempt as well as the time you need to spend on them.
Read More: Latest SBI Prelims Pattern & Implications
This 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
Given the introduction of sectional time limits, we are not expecting any major changes in the question varieties – however, there is always a scope for surprise. Over the last few years, we have noticed that a 1/3rd score usually takes you to 80th percentile in this section – i.e., around 10 to 12 questions correct and 15 to 18 questions correct could very well move you into the 90th percentile category.
If you notice carefully, you would realize that almost half of the section evaluates your vocabulary skills. 3 to 4 questions from RC along with questions from Cloze Test and Fill in the Blanks amount to half of the total questions in the section. Given this emphasis on vocabulary, we look at two strategies to attempt this section – Strategy 1 – for students who are good at vocabulary and Strategy 2 – for students who do not consider Vocabulary as their strength.
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By the way, please do note that mastering vocabulary that is necessary to sail through the English section of SBI PO might not hold the same conventional meaning of mastering English language in general. Here lies the skillfulness – in being able to identify the approximate meaning of an unknown word by understanding the context of a sentence, guessing the word meaning with the help of word roots, eliminating incorrect options based on verbal logic tools like tone changers. You can use Vocabulary Learning Apps like Vocab Prep (available on Google Play Store) to master the words that you would most often come across in the Bank Exams.
Strategy 1 –
Start the section by focusing on the Fill in the Blanks and the Cloze Passage. Try to attempt at least 8 to 9 questions with reasonable accuracy in the first 7 to 8 minutes. Then move on to the vocabulary-based questions in Reading Comprehension and spend 3 to 4 minutes here answering questions that are straightforward. This way, you can attempt 13 to 14 questions in the first 10 to 12 minutes. In the last 5 minutes,
depending on your strength, you can either focus on the remaining questions of Reading Comprehension or the Grammar (Error Spotting Questions) to increase your attempts to 16 to 18. A good accuracy (80 to 90%) should allow you to cross the 80th percentile score easily.
Strategy 2 –
If Vocabulary is not your strong suit, start the section with the Error Spotting Questions – spend 5 minutes and attempt at least 3 to 4 questions. Do not choose options based on gut feel – it often leads to wrong answers and thereby negative scores. Move next to Reading Comprehension and try to select questions which are based on facts directly given in the passage. Spend another 5 to 6 minutes here and attempt at least 3 to 4 questions. This way, you have been able to attempt at least 8 to 10 questions in the first 10 minutes. Basis your strength, you can then move on to the Fill in the Blanks or Cloze Passages and attempt another 8 to 10 questions in the last 10 minutes. This way, you would be able to attempt 15 to 17 questions and with reasonable accuracy can take you over the 80th percentile score.
In both these strategies, we suggest you do not attempt para jumble questions as they are often tricky and time-consuming. Similar advisory would continue for questions based on new patterns which could take longer.
Given the increased importance of this section in the overall scheme of things, we strongly suggest you focus on improving your vocabulary in this last few weeks. Which strategy to choose depends on your strengths – I would suggest you try out both these strategies before zeroing in on one. We offer free test series for both SBI PO and Clerk Prelims Exam where you can try out these different strategies.
In our next week’s article, let us look at tips to score well in the Reading Comprehension and Cloze Passage-based questions. Till then, keep practicing. Keep fighting! All the best!!
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