English for Competitive Exams:
English is nowadays considered a universal language, almost equivalent to how Latin and Greek were used by our ancestors. It is spoken widely in almost 70 countries and 27 non-soviet entities. The language is spoken by almost 379 million native speakers and 753 million non-native speakers.
In India, it is one of the highest used languages after Hindi and is the means of all forms of communication all over the diverse multilingual nation. This makes English an important section to be tested in competitive exams.
And a student preparing for said competitive exams finds the English language harder to crack than quantitative aptitude or logical reasoning. But why is it so?
Why is the language so difficult to learn and comprehend? In reality, it is not the part of learning the language which is difficult, but the fact of understanding all the grammatical rules and remembering them, the idea of pronouncing the language effortlessly and most importantly to gain enough confidence to use it, is difficult.
How is language proficiency tested?
The English language proficiency is tested in various forms in different competitive exams. It is most important to have a very good command of the language while appearing for exams to go abroad like TOFEL, GMAT, GRE, etc. The commonest way of checking the language skills include
- reading comprehension
- writing assignments,
- rearrange words,
- understanding parts of speech,
- fill in the blanks etc.
How to prepare for exams?
The preparation for the exams depends on what type of exams you are planning for. For example, if you are preparing for the IELTS, you have to improve your reading skills, work on various writing styles, enhance listening skills and build up your vocabulary.
And, be prepared to do all in the given time frame.
Given below are a few pointers to keep in mind while preparing for the English language for competitive exams:
Practice as many papers as possible. Never leave a question without jotting down its answer or on assumption.
Practice papers with a time frame. Keep the time limit a few minutes less than the actual time. For example, you have 50 minutes to complete a section of the English language in a paper, try to do that in 45 minutes.
Don’t look at the answers while doing the paper. Complete the paper first and then check on the answers. Keep a tab of all the things.
If you find it difficult to go through a certain aspect of the paper, for example, you find it difficult to understand prepositions in grammar, go through basics again, brush up your knowledge, find what you forgot and then do the exercises again.
Slowly try to build up your vocabulary by reading. Read the materials from trusted sources – be it newspapers, articles, magazines, novels, storybooks, etc.
Try to watch English shows without subtitles. This will help you work on your listening skills.
Don’t worry too much about the accent or the way words sound while speaking. Work on speaking with correct pronunciation and confidence.
Try to find a speaking buddy, with whom you can speak and practice your English. This way, you can build up your confidence, increase fluency in speaking and work on your tenses and grammar.
For exams requiring writing tasks, practice your writing skills. Try to look for various writing styles, and incorporate them within your writing. After doing an assignment, have a professional or someone with good command over the language, look at your writing and give you feedback.
The English language for competitive exams is fairly an easy section to score for, provided you can have a good knowledge of the language.
It is without any doubt that the English language is tricky to learn, but not impossible. With the correct guidance, aids from books and good courses it would take hardly a year or two for a beginner to reach the advanced level in the language.
And for someone preparing for competitive exams, it is important to do so, as t Spending a few hours with the language can help a student in long run, as if not useful for their competitive exams, the English language proficiency or skill, would without any doubt, be an asset for their future career path.