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IBPS PO English Language Tips

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IBPS PO English Language Tips

shape Introduction

Cracking a government exam needs rigor, but hard work in the right direction can assist you in making the effort successful. Statistics have shown that more than 22 lakh students have applied for the SBI PO examination for a mere 2000 seats on an average. For around 10,000 seats, as much as 20 lakh youth try their luck in clearing the exam But, does it signify that each aspirant is as much deserving to clear the exam as they think themselves to be? Well, the increasing craziness for the government exams due to the lucrative security of the job and the perks have even made students from the Ivy League colleges in India be a part of the race. With the chance of cracking the exam standing at 1 out of 1000 applicants, the orientation of your preparation has to be in the right direction to be able to crack the exam.


shape IBPS PO

For the aspirants who will be attempting the banking exams for the first time, the pattern of the banking exam might seem dubious and confusing. Don’t worry as we will break down the pattern of the banking exam for you. Though different banking exams have different patterns, we will try to cover a few aspects of the exam which are common across all the domains of the exam.


The banking exam is a three-tier exam that focuses on the different aspects of knowledge required for the complete preparation of the candidate. In the first couple of stages, the written test aims to test the knowledge of the candidate in the domain of English Language, Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning. This is a timed section that aims to check both; knowledge as well as the celerity of the students in the exam. This is the preliminary stage of the exam.


Upon qualifying the Stage 1 of the banking exam, you get to prepare for Stage 2 of the banking exam wherein most of the candidates are serious aspirants now, hence you can expect a tough competition. The mains stage or Stage 2 comprises of four different sections which are individually timed sections. The following table illustrates the pattern of the Mains exam along with the timing allocated to every section.

S. NO Name of Test Number of Questions Maximum Marks Medium of Exam Time allotted for
each test
(Separately timed)
1 English language 30 30 English 20 minutes
2 Quantitative Aptitude 35 35 English and Hindi 20 minutes
3 Reasoning ability 35 35 English and Hindi 20 minutes
Total 100 100


The above table shows that not only you need to have sufficient knowledge in one subject but you also need to diversify your preparation across all the subjects. A wide scope view also stresses the importance of the General Awareness section in which you can maximize your score as the direct questions make it highly scoring section. The timing of the exam can be a constraint hence it is recommended to prepare the question in a timer mode.


An interesting fact to note is that the Writing Section comprises of 25 marks in IBPS PO exam. Even other banking exams which aim for the post of Probationary Officer require the qualification in the writing section, failure of which you would stand ineligible for further rounds.


Stage 3 or the Personal Interview round has a very low selection ratio. In order to get into the PI round, an excellent score is mains is the criteria, but you need to make sure that your score is way above the cut-off score as the cumulative scores of the PI round and Mains exam is taken for preparation of the final merit list.


In this article, we would be focusing on the preparation strategy to ace the English section of the banking exam, which has started to become tricky even for the students with experience in the banking and government exams.

To decipher the technique of cracking the banking exams’ English section, let us keep one thing very certain.


You cannot neglect The Hindu newspaper

The Hindu newspaper is the most important newspaper which will assist you to understand the following four most important aspects of the English language:

  • Sentence formation
  • Sentence completion
  • Vocabulary
  • Subject-verb Agreement.


The banking exams follow a specific pattern wherein the English section is termed to be the most unpredictable section. The problem with the mindset of the students is that they attempt to predict the questions. Instead, focus on the subject will be more productive.


Though there can be a large number of questions that can be asked in the English section, we are listing down the most important questions in the English section that you must prepare for the Stage 1 or Preliminary stage of the Banking Exam.


The English section is of 30 marks in the preliminary exam. The question distribution can be as follows:

Subject Marks
Reading Comprehension 10 marks
Rearrangement of Sentences 5 marks
Cloze test 5 marks
Fill in the blanks* 5 marks
Phrase replacement* 5 marks
Fill in the blanks* 5 marks
Error detection* 5 marks


The preparation for the English section must begin in the following way:

  • Start with giving a sectional test of the English section to gauge where your current scores stand.

  • Purchase the book Wren n Martin which is regarded as the standard book for any competitive exams as well as clearing the fundamentals of English.

  • Read daily:


    • This is the best way to prepare for the English sections. It is recommended to read the current affairs from The Hindu newspaper as it helps in comprehending paragraphs.

    • It is beneficial for the reading comprehension section.

    Congratulations on making it to the second round of your dream government job. Are you thinking the job is over? Guess, what?! The work has just got bigger and the competition has just got harder. You will be competing with the serious candidates now, who have aced the preliminary exam, just like you.

    Before you begin your preparation for the English of Mains section, you need to ensure that you do the following:

    • Increase the number of new words in the vocabulary section from 5 to 10.
    • Focus more on the reading comprehension section.
    • Practice an essay writing every three days and one letter writing every 4 days.
    • Make a note of all the important data that you can find while reading The Hindu.
    • Make a habit of giving one sectional mock test every 3 days, since the gap between preliminary and mains exam is less than a month.


    In stage 2 of the banking examination, you would understand the importance of newspaper reading as well as standard grammar books. As you prepare from the standard books, you practice every exercise and rewire the neurons of your brain as you learn a new language.

    The English section of stage 2 of the banking exam comprises of the following question pattern, for most of the banking exams:

    • Sentence completion
    • Phrasal verb completion
    • Cloze test
    • Reading comprehension
    • Word fillers

    The above sections can be easily solved with the help of vocabulary. The essence of memorizing the vocabulary gets very useful in tackling such questions, wherein even the slightest knowledge of the word can help in scoring the question.



    The grammar section of the English paper becomes the most mark scoring area. In order to score the maximum in this section, refer to the book of Wren n Martin for a thorough study of the grammatical errors. It is also suggested to use this book for a clear understanding of the grammatical skills. By acing the grammar, you can ace the following sections of the exam:

    • Error detection
    • Phrase completion
    • Sentence connectors
    • Sentence replacements.


    The above questions cater to no more than 5-10 questions which can be attained easily upon succinct preparation.


    Another sub-section in the English paper includes sentence para jumbling. This set of questions is termed as the most difficult set of questions. From personal experience of giving multiple banking exams (and clearing a few); this section can be the make or break section when it comes to the English section. This is where your knowledge about the ordering of sentences and logical deduction of the meaning of the sentences comes into play.


    If you have read The Hindu meticulously, this section will be a cakewalk for you. Since most of the questions in the section come from the current happenings; which makes it very natural for the newspaper readers to ace this section. If you are not a newspaper reader, it is suggested to practice sentence reordering questions regularly to get a grip on the question pattern which are asked in the paper.


    shape Plan

    IBPS PO English Language Tips – The master plan
    The master plan for cracking the exam is here! We assure you that this is the best approach to attempting the English paper. If you are a serious aspirant you should look for taking the reading comprehension mock tests with a different approach.


    After you are done reading the RC passage, make a 300-word summary about the RC in your practice sheet. It would help you in the following ways:


    Precision: You would be able to know about the central theme of the passage in a succinct manner.

    Logical thinking: Critical thinking develops as you try to read through the passage and develop the writing skills. You would understand the meaning and start to have an opinion about the passage, which ensures that you not only read the passage; but also enhance the thinking hat on!

    Writing skills: Development of the writing skills can only happen once you start writing the RC passage often. In the beginning, it might not make much sense to you, but after you practice the same for 15 days you would start to see a change in your writing style. It will also help you to construct your sentence and improve your grammatical skills. Your vocabulary will also be enhanced once you write more.

    Typing Speed: You cannot ignore the importance of typing speed in the exam. No matter how much you know about a particular topic, if you don’t have accuracy and don’t have fluent typing skills, you will not be able to complete the essay in due time. Practicing the essay typing will enhance your typing skills and increase your celerity.

    Vocabulary Enrichment: When you read something once, you remember it for a week. When you write something, you remember it for a lifetime. Since the new words will be difficult to memorize, the best way to use them will be through writing essays and letters. You should enhance your vocabulary and make it rich and writing an essay a day is the only way to make it.

    Current Affairs: The essays that are asked in the SBI PO mains exam have a large contribution from the topics of current affairs. If you have well-stacked data about the recent happenings in the world, you can enhance your essay by making it rich in data.


    The writing section in the SBI PO section is the real test of your preparation. For the format of letters, it is suggested to refer to a currently used format and not an obsolete one. Refer to the formats of the formal letter as the chances of an official letter being asked is many times more than an informal letter. It is also suggested to go through precise writing as it will gear you for the uncertainties which might appear in the exam.


    shape Thoughts

    IBPS PO English Language Tips – The master plan
    The section of English in the banking examination can be the easiest section for you if you are having a previous background in the English language during your primary education. Personally speaking, I never stressed much on the English section, since I knew that it was within my reach. To clear any government exam, the key is to have at least 80% of the sections of the exam within your grip. You can always ensure that you have a safe attempt for the weaker section. To ace the English section, you must bring about small changes in your day to day routine. Here is a list of top 5 small changes which you can do to not only prepare for banking exams but also prepare English for a bigger cause:


    • Watch one English move every week. Watch it twice, once with subtitle and once without the subtitle.

    • Carry a small notebook and a pen with you. Whenever you come across a new word, which you are not sure to, note it down and search for it over the internet. Frame a couple of sentences with the word, that enhances your vocabulary skills.

    • Listen to English speeches either of Nelson Mandella or of Barrack Obama. It will give you the confidence to speak English as well as understand the nuances of the language.

    • Listen to an English song daily. May it be of your favorite band or may it be any random musician. Once you listen to the song, make sure you listen to the lyrics video of the song. You must go ahead read the lyrics of the song from Google and read the meaning of the song from here.

    • Revise and redo all the above-mentioned steps once again and again. Make sure you read the notes of the words in your notepad and understand their roots and meanings before memorizing them.


    shape Students

    IBPS PO English Language Tips – Student’s corner


    • Trying to attempt all the questions might not be the best solution to tackle the problem as the negative marking would reduce your score. Focus on accuracy more than the quantity of the questions attempted.

    • Reading comprehension is mostly covered from the sections of financial news, technical news, educational or environmental news.

    • Try the method of eliminating the options when you are unable to find an answer to the problem. Intelligent guessing is a better option rather than wild guessing.

    • While attempting the reading comprehension, start by going through the questions at first followed by attempting the questions related to vocabulary in reading comprehension.

    • Practice the writing exercise on your computer using MS Word. It will help you to experience the real test-like scenario which can enhance your experience and prepare you for the D-Day.



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