The English language plays a very determining part in any government exam. If you’re aspiring to any such examination, you need to have a good command of the English language.
There are some examinations where questions are provided in Hindi or regional languages also, but the fact remains that there is a separate section in every exam where your knowledge of English is tested. This section carries no option for any other language, so you are stuck in it.
To ease this difficulty, you need to give special emphasis to your language preparation so that you don’t lose marks due to a lack of knowledge of English. You don’t have to worry if you’re not very good at English or if your grades are only average. Soon you’ll have the knowledge that you seek. Just follow some tips and keep up the hard work. So, let’s get started!
- Grammar is the main essence of any language, and to know a language you must have a command of the grammar part. The day you realize that you need to prepare for English, the first step you should be taking is to ace its grammar. To understand or respond to the question, you must first understand how sentences are formed and what they mean. Do not directly go for the heavy-heavy books of grammar; start with the basic school books. Start with learning parts of speech, tenses, narration, and voice. At first, learn the rules, then try to apply them in practical life. Once you start getting familiar with the rules, focus on things like modals, prepositions, adjectives, gerunds, and infinitives. In a few months, you’ll notice a change in your orientation. You will have knowledge of rules and their application. Then you can try some standard books of grammar, such as Wren & Martin or S.P. Bakshi.
- Once you understand the grammar, you must move on to vocabulary. Start by learning the words that you use daily. Try to learn the names of things that you use daily. Grab any dictionary and try to learn as many new words as you can. But remember to revise and use those words, otherwise, you’ll forget them soon. A very good source of learning new words can be found here. I would also suggest you listen to English songs, podcasts, and videos; they introduce you to new meanings every day. Apart from this, you can search for specific pdfs of vocabulary for your exam; there are plenty of those available on the internet. A very standard book for vocabulary is “Word Power Made Easy” by Norman Lewis. This book covers 85% of your vocabulary if you get a grasp of it. This section also includes some questions.
Every person can learn new words. Some find it difficult to retain a lot of words. Here are two things that you can do:
- Sort the words into positive and negative tones. For example, optimistic, sanguine, buoyant, etc. are words that denote something positive, whereas acerbic, scathing, victorious, caustic, etc. are words that have a negative tone. You can just remember the tone of the word. When such a word comes in a passage, you can easily determine whether it is saying something positive or negative.
- Try to learn root words, for example, “bene” means good; “bio” means life; “aqua” means water, and “mal” means bad. Whenever any word starts with these root words, you will automatically get the meaning.
Here are some additional points that can assist you in your preparations:
In many exams, we see unseen passages and paragraphs for comprehension. You have to read the passage thoroughly and understand what it says. Then the passage is followed by some questions, which you have to answer. In these questions, they can ask you to give general answers or to give the title of the passage, or they can ask you the meaning of some words. To attempt these questions perfectly, you need to practice comprehension daily. Buy any book for practice, or check on the internet for daily passages. Try to complete them in as little time as possible. Read the passage thoroughly and then move to the questions. Do not miss the central idea as it helps you decide the title. Watch English movies for a better understanding of context; it also helps.
Do not underestimate spelling in any examination. Sometimes questions are asked to correct the spelling, and the options are very confusing. To attempt such questions, you must memorize the spelling very well. Also, when you write subjective answers, you are judged by your spelling too. Bad spelling makes a bad impression on the examiner.
A lot of people would have suggested you start your preparation for the English language by reading newspapers. However, I would suggest that one must know the grammar and the vocabulary first so that when you start a newspaper, you understand it better. As a beginner, start with some light newspapers such as The Economic Times and gradually move towards The Hindu or The Indian Express. Look very carefully at the new words that you find in the newspaper, and learn how to create better sentence structure. Don’t read too much in a day; only read what you can memorize in a day. Continue this for about 6 months, and you’ll see a drastic change in your English.
Make Short Notes
When you learn a new word, or you learn a new way of sentence formation, always make short notes of that thing. Because when we write something, we memorize that thing even better. You can make some flash cards or you can write those words in a notebook. Either way, don’t forget to write them.
Shape your knowledge
Once you learn plenty of words, grammar, and rules of the English language, it’s time to shape your knowledge. You might be thinking, “How will I shape my knowledge?” Well! Recognize the area that requires work and revise the portion that you know the best. For example, if you have a good command of grammar but are weak in vocabulary, give less time to grammar and focus more on vocabulary. Make a routine and identify your strengths and weaknesses. Once you know how much you have covered and how much is left, you’ll know how to cover those remaining things.