The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection’s exam for probationary officers (IBPS PO) prelims 2017 surprised applicants with a lot of last minute changes, especially in the English language section. Being prepared for these new variations for IBPS PO mains 2017, to be held on November 26, is definitely the smart way forward.
A well-known fact about the IBPS PO exam is that it follows State Bank of India’s SBI PO very closely. Just to remind you all, this year’s SBI PO mains paper, by popular opinion was: Difficult and out of the box. The question types were new, and aspirants were not able to name the question types.
Thus, it will be safe to assume that the IBPS PO mains 2017 paper will also be ‘difficult’. Since most aspirants find the English language section to be somewhat challenging, here are some tips on how you can effectively prepare for it.
IBPS PO mains English language: What to expect
Given that so many new things are happening in all the banking exams this year, it is only natural for one to feel a tad clueless. But don’t worry!
Following are a few things you can expect in this section of the IBPS PO mains 2017 exam. Note that these pointers are based on SBI PO Mains 2017 and the recently concluded IBPS PO prelims.
•This section is likely to have ‘difficult’ questions – similar to both IBPS PO prelims as well as SBI PO mains.
•None of the questions in SBI PO mains English section were in continuation format. For every single question, one had to go through the directions provided, as there was likelihood of the questions not continuing from the previous question. This section was thus more time consuming. So one should be prepared accordingly.
•The SBI PO exam saw variations even in the traditional question types (RCs, double fillers, paraphrasing, etc). Thus, candidates can expect something similar in this exam too.
The following table gives you the basic idea of what the English language section might be like in the SBI PO mains 2017.
Tips for an effective preparation strategy
As we have mentioned, this year in IBPS PO mains your preparation mantra should be: expect the unexpected.
The best preparation strategy for the paper would be to prepare for the difficult questions but not panic. In fact you just have to focus on basics and everything else will fall in place.
Understand that if you’ve cleared the prelims you already have a good grip over your fundamentals. Just practice more, especially the questions that you find difficult. Do a few questions but do them every single day without fail!
Topic-wise preparation strategy
•Grammar (error spotting, phrase replacement, fill in the blanks)
This isn’t a question type as such in the exam, however it forms the basis of important question types such as: sentence re-arrangement, idioms and phrases, error spotting, sentence correction etc. So build on your grammar by referring to helpful books such as: Wren & Martin. You can also refer to custom made e-books such as 100 important idioms.
•Reading comprehension (RC)
Use the following tips as a guide to prepare for or to attempt RC questions
A good reading speed helps you score well in the exam, so make sure while preparing for RC you also work on your reading speed.
1.Strictly stick to what is given in the passage and assume nothing – even if it is true in day to day situations. Do not make any assumptions whatsoever.
2.It is essential to balance speed and accuracy to score well in any competitive exam. The best way in which you can gauge this is through multiple mock tests. Such tests not only condition you for the real time exam but also help you analyse areas of strength and weakness.
3.RC passages can range from a variety of topics such as: Philosophy, psychology, economics, politics or even science. We never know what might come our way. Hence, it is important that we establish a level of comfort with all such genres by reading from multiple sources. Newspapers, especially the editorials and the weekend specials, are a good place to start.
4.A major problem that all candidates face while solving RC questions is that they get confused between two options. This happens because we read to understand only what the statements say, whereas the RC questions demand our understanding of the writer’s/author’s perspective as well (reading between the lines).
Apart from this, just go through previous tests and practise writing answers. Because nothing beats that.
•Vocabulary (Cloze test, fill in the blanks, error spotting, phrase replacement)
As in the case of grammar, vocabulary is tested both directly and indirectly in the exam. The passage often has ‘difficult words which could make comprehension difficult (indirect testing of vocabulary). Direct questions on synonyms and antonyms are also likely to be asked. Hence, reading from a variety of sources is a must. Make sure you add at least 10 new words every day.
•Verbal ability (para-jumbles, odd sentence, miscellaneous new question types)
As far as para-jumbles are concerned, one foolproof way of improving scores is by extensive reading. This will help you understand paragraph structures and thus will make it easy to form one out of a group of randomly placed sentences. Apart from this, some changes that were observed in the IBPS PO prelims 2017 in terms of question structure are as follows:
•In the ‘odd sentence out’ type questions, the format of the options was changed and this took many of the candidates by surprise, making them spend more time on these questions. Sample question is as follows:
(A) And act judiciously to bring the economy back on track.
(B) The start-up ecosystem cannot progress in a disturbed business cycle.
(C) The economy appears to be in a shambles.
(D) Leaders in the government are failing to recognise the pessimism.
(E) And despite the gloomy forecasts for the future,
(d) None of these
(e) No correction required
•The ‘phrase replacement’ questions had a portion of the sentence as bold for which a better replacement was required. These were “more than one option type”. The sample question is as follows:
Q. Every Open House we held since 2013 reaffirmed our belief that there is a need for human intervention to retain its trust and credibility over the age of anonymous communication.
(I)to retain trust and credibility in this age of
(II)to retaining trust and credibility ageing
(III)for retention of trust and credible age of
(a) Only (I) is correct
(b) Only (III) is correct
(c) Both (I) and (II) are correct
(d) Both (II) and (III) are correct
(e) No correction required
•The ‘error spotting’ questions were of a new type although the general method of solving was the same. Instead of the traditional type where one had to identify the part of the sentence that had an error, here, students had to choose the combination of sentences which did not have an error.
The following preparation strategy is suggested for the English language section:
Build concepts -> practice questions -> solve previous year question papers -> revise -> take full online mock tests
2. After learning each topic, take a sectional test for that topic to measure your progress. Continue learning and practising till you’re thorough with that concept and then move on to the next one.
3. Solving previous years papers will familiarise you with the question patterns and difficulty levels.
4. Revision is important to retain the concepts learnt. Revise each concept two to three times before the exam. It is also important that you practice sectional tests after revising each topic to master it.
5. Take full-length mock tests after your preparation to measure your progress. Mock tests provide you instant feedback in the form of analytics, which will help you determine your speed and accuracy in solving English language questions and identify your strong and weak areas. You can also use your performance analysis to fine-tune your preparation by practising more questions from topics you are not very confident with.