How to improve English for competitive exams?

As you know very well, English has been a very important section of every competitive or aptitude exam conducted in India. Without learning English, there’s no chance that you can clear any competitive exam. SSC exams, IBPS exams, UPSC exams, CAT, CMAT, SBI exams or any other exam, English has always been getting dedicated sections and 20-30% weightage in marks. Also, it helps in many other ways while you are preparing for competitive exams. It is also evident that the most of the candidates face the problem of how to prepare and master English and get a very good score in the competitive exam they are opting for. Sometimes, it becomes a deciding factor in your selection for the job when scores in all other sections are generally average.

Moved by this situation, We have decided to help you with this article covering all possible answers to how to prepare English for competitive exams and how to score well in it. We have explained some general tips and ways to master English for competitive exams along with what material to use for preparation of those topics. Read them and try to add them into your competitive exam preparation strategy and achieve a great score.

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Tips to prepare English for competitive exams

1. Learn parts of speech and improve vocabulary

Just like any other language, English is also basically made of words of many kinds. So, it is only logical thing to start with words and vocabulary when you think about learning and mastering English. First of all, you should get a complete idea about parts of speech in English. It is basically a classification of words used in English language and contains things like noun, pronoun, verbs etc. By learning it, you would get complete idea of how many types of words are used in the formation of English language and how to identify them to understand the grammatical structure of the particular sentence.

After understanding parts of speech, you should think about improving your vocabulary by various methods. In this point, I would suggest you to prepare from a book on roots of words and how to make more words by using roots. Every word has its’ own root and by knowing and understanding that, you would get to know and understand many words related to it. E.g. By learning the root “dent” which means related to teeth, you can learn many words made from it like dentist, dental, dentinal, dentistry etc. To learn roots and words perfectly, we would suggest you a very popular and trustworthy book Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis. Go through this book with a focussed and peaceful mind and your vocabulary would surely improve and that too, manifold.

2. Revise basic grammar once again

Was your English grammar good in your school years? If yes then you know it well without saying that without the basic and common understanding of English grammar, it is impossible to score well in any type of English paper. When it comes to objective questions of English which are asked in competitive exams, very good knowledge of grammar is required as they check proper understanding of English language and grammar. To prepare basic and advanced grammar, you can use various methods. I would suggest you two. The first One is pretty simple, use text books of secondary level school English. You would learn most points which are asked in competitive exams. The other method is to go for particular books on basic and advanced level English grammar. If you want to go for it, I would suggest you the following books.

High School English Grammar and Composition

Essential English Grammar by Raymond Murphy

Comprehensive English Grammar & Composition by S.C.Gupta

You can also get help from our English Grammar for competitive exams section to learn important grammar points for competitive exams.

3. Read English novels and other non-fiction books

English is a language and just like any other language, to improve your grip over it you have to read it and read it a lot. You may learn so much of grammar and many other rules,usage and other things but without reading the language, it would not be as useful. Also, your understanding of the concepts would not be that clear without extensive reading. So, here we would strongly suggest you to read a lot of English from good and knowledgeable resources. Good novels and popular non-fiction books from well known personalities would be the best choice for this purpose. You may start with novels of your favourite authors and some of popular non-fiction books. If you are not sure where to start, I am suggesting you some novels and non-fiction books below. Read them and improve your expertise over it.

Wings of Fire: An Autobiography of APJ Abdul Kalam

Making India Awesome: New Essays and Columns by Chetan Bhagat

History of Modern India by Bipin Chandra

The White Tiger: Booker Prize Winner 2008 by Arvind Adiga

4. Read English daily newspapers like Times of India and The Indian Express etc.

This would serve two purposes in one effort. Along with improvement in the proficiency over English, you would also get to increase your general awareness about current affairs. Buy one or two English newspapers daily. Choose from Times of India, The Indian Express, The Hindu, DNA, Deccan chronicle etc. and read them. You may also ask what to read from it. My suggestion is, initially start reading whatever you like. First of all, you should try and get some familiarity with the language by reading anything of your choice. Once you have got some grip over the language then you can start reading serious topics which can be useful from General Awareness angle. In future, we may talk about what to read from newspapers when your primary goal is improving general knowledge. Also, while reading the newspaper keep a dictionary and a notebook handy. By doing so, whenever there’s a new word you don’t know about, you can find its’ meaning from a dictionary and can also make a note of that if you feel so. That way your vocabulary would also keep improving which is very important for achieving mastery over English.

5. Watch English News and movie channels

This can be fun while you learn. Just like how every education process should be instead of being boring and tiresome. This is one of the most useful yet the least used method to learn English. Watching people interacting in a certain language can be the most basic way to learn it. That’s the way we learn our mother tongue, isn’t it?

My advice is, watch any of the prime time shows of main stream English news channels. Humble suggestion for the channels are Times now, NDTV 24×7, CNN IBN, BBC World news, India Today etc.. Just like news papers, these programmes would also improve your general awareness along with improving your general English level. Make notes if you honestly feel so as they can be very useful when you are revising your basics.

Another useful thing would be watching English movies on main stream movie channels like Star Movies, HBO, Sony PIX etc.. They do provide subtitles with the video and so you can understand the accent and usage of English language easily. This being a method of an entertainment also, you should use it in limit. I mean, you can’t watch so many movies in the name of English learning. Watch 2-3 movies a week. That should be enough along with all the other methods. Also, choose movies you are watching carefully and try to add versatility into that. Watching movies from different genres like action, love stories, comedies, sci-fi, war movies etc. would help you polishing your overall personality along with the English language.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading and Wishing you best of luck for the journey of knowledge while positively hoping that these tips may be useful to you.

Your suggestions for improvement are most welcome in the comments section or to

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