Strategy to ace ‘English Language’ section in banking exams

30 to 40 questions are from English section

Strategy to ace ‘English Language’ section in banking exams

‘English Language’ is one of the important sections of various banking recruitment exams. For some of you, this section is a cake-walk but for others, this section seems to be a nightmare and the biggest hurdle to clear the sectional cut-offs. But, unknowingly many of you leave these rich marks, as a result, your score drops down by 10-12 marks. To qualify any banking exam, it is necessary to clear sectional as well as overall cut-offs. So, it is important to score high in this section.

This post will guide you through tips and strategies to solve questions in English section and emerge out with flying colors in the exam.

Important topics in the English Language section

The English Language section tests your English grammar and comprehension skills. Various topics covered in the exam are:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Fill in the Blanks
  • Error Spotting or Sentence Correction
  • Cloze Test
  • Para-jumble or Sentence Re-arrangement
  • Vocabulary/Spellings

Reading Comprehension and Sentence Re-arrangement focuses on your comprehension skills and vocabulary. Fill in the blanks, Error Spotting and Cloze Test evaluate your grammar concepts.

It is advisable to attempt the English Language section in the beginning. Generally, this section can fetch you more marks in lesser time. On an average, you should be able to attempt this section in 20 minutes.

Let’s quickly go through the number of questions in the English language section in various banking exams.

Name of the exam Number of questions
SBI Clerk & PO (Prelims) 30
SBI Clerk & PO (Main) 40
IBPS Clerk & PO (Prelims) 30
IBPS Clerk & PO (Main) 40
RBI Assistant 40
RBI Grade-‘B’ 30

English Language Section cut-off

Name of the exam English language cut-off
IBPS PO (Main) 2015 9.5- SC/ST/OBC, 12.5- General
IBPS PO (Prelims) 2015 4.75- SC/ST/OBC, 7.5- General
SBI PO (Prelims) 2015 3.25- SC/ST/OBC, 5.75- General
RBI Grade-‘B’ 2015 5.25- SC/ST/PWD, 7.5- General, 6- OBC

 Section-wise strategy

  • Reading Comprehension

RC questions carry a significant weightage in banking exams. 20 out of 40 questions or 10-15 out of 30 questions are based on reading comprehension. As per reviews from students, many of them leave questions based on RC either due to time constraint or inability to answer the questions. Here are a few tips to attempt reading comprehension questions:

  • To save time and increase accuracy, we recommend you to first glance through the questions and then read the passage.
  • Identify the tone of the passage as it helps in quickly answering the questions.
  • For synonym & antonym and vocabulary based questions, identify the sentence or part of the passage in which the word is present. Then, have a look at the options and try to eliminate the options that are out rightly wrong.

 Cloze Test

  • Cloze Test is a paragraph with numbered blanks.
  • If you get stuck between two options, move onto the next question, solve it and come back to the question where you got stuck.
  • Keep attempting the questions as you read the paragraph.
  • You can gauge your performance by taking CL’s FREE cloze test.
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Fill in the blanks are featured either as single blank or two blank questions.
  • Two blank questions are easier to attempt, if you are unable to find the correct answer to both the blanks. Try to find the correct answer to either of the blank. Eventually, you will arrive at the correct answer.
  • The best practice is to follow the elimination rule and you can easily solve these questions by eliminating options.
  • Spot the error /Sentence Correction
  • Questions based on sentence correction or error spotting tests you on your spellings, word usage and grammar.
  • To have a good command over this topic, you need to have your Grammar concepts in place. A few important Grammar topics are: Subject-Verb Agreement, Tenses, Nouns and Pronouns. Know the usage of Adjectives and Adverbs.

Sentence Re-arrangement/Para-jumble

  • Try to figure out the first sentence as the entire paragraph revolves around it. The sentence talking about the central theme is generally the first sentence. Sentence beginning with ‘but’, ‘therefore’, ‘hence’ can never be the first sentence. Such sentences conclude the paragraph and hence are positioned towards the end.
  • Then look out for mandatory pairs as they occur one after the other. A paragraph will have at least one mandatory pair.

To streamline your preparation, you can enroll for CL’s banking test series or CL’s English Language sectional tests. You can also try our FREE sectional tests available on our blog.

What to do in last few days for improving score in English section?

  • Practice: In any banking exam, the race is against time. Practice more to improve your score and accuracy. Take mock tests and make it a point to attempt all the questions in English language section within 20 minutes. This will boost your confidence and improve your reading speed.
  • Revise Grammar concepts: It is necessary to have Grammar concepts at your fingertips. Make a list of important points and read them daily. This will help you to memorize the concepts.

So friends, these were the tips for attempting the English Language section of any banking exam viz. IBPS PO/Clerk, SBI PO/Clerk and RBI Assistant/Grade-‘B’. Feel free to raise your query in the comments section below.

All the best

Team CL




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