Cracking the language section

For those of you joining us this week, a quick recap of things, a quick recap of things - SBI Clerk 2018 notification is officially out!

By Author  |  P V Rama Sasank  |  Published: 7th May 2018  12:36 amUpdated: 6th May 2018  3:39 pm
language section

For the last few weeks, we had a look at different sections of the SBI Junior Associates Preliminary Exam. We have covered Reasoning & Numerical Ability Sections previously, and this week, let us go through the English Language section.

For those of you joining us this week, a quick recap of things, a quick recap of things – SBI Clerk 2018 notification is officially out! The recruitment takes place in three stages – the first stage is the Online Preliminary Examination scheduled on 23rd/24th, 30th June 2018.

Candidates who qualify in this stage are required to appear for the second stage – the Online Main Examination on 5th August 2018. Successful students in Stage 2, depending on if they have studied the local language at class X level, are then required to appear for a Local /

Official Language Test. Finally, you need to have completed your graduation and be at least 18 years old to be eligible to apply. This year, the number of test takers could also significantly increase.

One notable drift from the previous year’s exam pattern is the introduction of sectional time-limits this year. This implies that you can no longer save time in one section and use it to maximize your scores in another. Further, the notification also specifies that the sectional cut-off scores might be done away with this year.

What do these changes mean for us in the English Language section?

First, English Language section was the one that most aspirants used to save time in – now this is no longer possible. How do you, therefore, utilise this additional time would make this section the big game changer this year. You need to be able to score high in this section to push your overall score higher.

Aspirants often worry about this section as they are under a false notion that the English Language is an endless sea of unknown concepts. English Language section could be a little tricky, but at the same time, it is also important to notice that the questions in this section of SBI Clerk, PO, RRB exams are limited to a few types. In today’s article, we shall take you through some of the common question types that appear in SBI Clerk.

English section in SBI Clerk Prelims usually consists of following topics:
• Reading Comprehension
• Cloze Passages
• Para Jumbles
• Grammar

Reading Comprehension:

You need to answer the question asked basis a given passage. These passages are often based on news or research articles covering aspects of business, trade, technology or sometimes abstract topics. The level of difficulty of the passage is generally low to medium. Questions could either be
a. fact-based – wherein you are quizzed on something directly mentioned in the paragraph,
b. inference based – wherein you are required to provide an answer based on something not directly mentioned but implied in the paragraph,
c. tone based – requires you to understand the tone and bias of the author,
d. theme based – requires you to understand the gist of the entire article or
e. vocabulary based – questions that need you to highlight synonyms or antonyms of words in the passage

Tips for RC passages –

• Attempt vocabulary and fact-based questions first – they are often the easiest
• Remember, everything is in the passage and your reading speeds matter. Practice scanning through the passage to understand its structure and the logical flow of thought.
• Try eliminating the wrong options – it is often easier than selecting the right one
• Reading the entire passage and then answering the questions or shuffling between reading the passage and answering the questions – choose a strategy that best suits you best

Cloze Passages:

A passage is given with some of the words omitted which you need to fill in with the options provided. Similar to fill in the blanks, you, however, need to be careful that the option you select not just fits into the sentence but the overall paragraph as well.

These questions are often considered to be easy by students and rightly so. A strong grasp of vocabulary and understanding of the flow of thought in the paragraph will help students gain high accuracy in these questions.

Para Jumbles:

Another tricky yet attemptable question type. A set of statements are given in a random order which when arranged correctly, form a meaningful paragraph. The student is supposed to find the right arrangement order. Here are a few tips for these questions
• Identify strong pairs – a pair of statements that go together because they are strongly linked. Clues based on time/chronology like today and yesterday or based on logic structures like Question & answer often help you identify the strong pairs
• Articles & pronouns in sentences could also help you identify strong pairs
• At SBI Clerk exam, sometimes trying to identify the first and last sentences could also help identify the right order of sentences.


The following models are seen regularly in the Grammar-based questions
1. Error Identification
2. Phrase Replacement 3. Sentence Improvement
4. Fill in the Blanks

These models require you to identify the part of the sentence that is grammatically wrong and/or indicate the right replacement for it. Fill in the Blanks are generally considered to be the easiest and require you to be good with basic grammar concepts.

Grammar Questions require you to be good with concepts such as Noun-Pronoun agreement, Tenses, Subject-Verb Agreement, Determiners and Articles etc. Answering grammar questions based on gut feel, though very common, is not advisable. Given the limited number of rules that are often tested, it makes sense to approach these questions in a methodical manner eliminating different rules that are not broken in each question.

You can see that by looking at each question type and broadly classifying it, you know exactly where to look and which skill to utilize to tackle that question. As a result, this makes the English Language less challenging. We hope you feel the same.
All the best!