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Thank you for writing to us Shailly, and for your query regarding NICL AO English paper, for the posts of administrative officers and assistants. We hope this post will be useful to you, and others!
As an aspirant, you are expected to know that the exam will cover two papers – one objective test ( which will cover 40 questions each in sections on Reasoning, Quantitative aptitude, English Language and General Awareness), followed by a more descriptive paper on English Language. This is in fact very similar to the structure of SBI PO exam.
As you will notice, test of English is an important aspect, and you need to perform well to expect a call in the interview. So let us get into more details.
Test of English in the Objective Paper of NICL AO
The main focus of the objective paper is to assess your abilities in three areas – Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Grammar.
If you have a basic understanding of the English language, this would not be so difficult. In case you don’t have much of a command over English, there is just one word for you – Practice!
People normally suggest that you start reading English newspapers everyday. From our personal experience, this method used to work well. However, nowadays the quality of several newspapers has gone down the drain (HT, ToI).
So either choose a better newspaper like Indian Express or Hindu, even news-magazines like Outlook are quite good. But there is another trick you can use. If you are going to rely only on internet to read articles, then read more editorials – these are the best articles (language quality wise) is any newspaper.
When reading, pay attention to structure of sentences, spellings etc. Once you are done try to rephrase the article in your own words.
Objectively speaking, you do not need to reach the level of a poet or novelist 😀 just focus important topics and practice them well!
By researching the previous years’ papers, we have noticed that the popular question types are: –
- Questions on Parajumbles,
- Fill in the blanks,
- Spot the errors,
- Synonyms and Antonyms,
- Reading Comprehension,
- Choosing the most suitable word according to the context.
Here is a quick round of tips on how to tackle these questions:
For the sentence correction / spot the errors type of questions
Prepare the following topics really well: Parts of speech, Articles, Tenses, Modals & obligations , Subject verb agreement error, parallel structure, Active/passive & narrations, Conditionals.
Nowadays paper setters also like to put questions from ‘Idioms & phrases’, so don’t forget to prepare that as well.
And please, please, please – don’t just read the topic like a novel, BUT study the topic. For example: In parts of speech, don’t just read how many parts of speech are there or what are the definitions of those parts of speech, but also read what is the practical application of every part of speech.
In an MCQ, don’t just get satisfied by finding the correct answer, also try to reason out why EACH of the wrong options are wrong.
For fill in the blanks questions
The questions in this section are usually based on either vocabulary or grammar. If it is grammar, above topics will be more than enough.
Even if it is vocabulary, if you follow our suggestion of reading at least one editorial everyday, it will help you to build your vocabulary.
For synonyms & antonyms questions
This again is basically a test of your vocabulary. We have tried to list the important synonyms in our English section. Go through all of them.
Remember that words have different meanings in different contexts. So try to learn words in all the contexts available. For example ‘Fast’ means ‘quick movement’ (She runs very fast). But, it can also mean ‘to not eat’ (Anna Hazare was fasting during the protests).
Learning words in this way will help you to crack all vocabulary related questions.
For reading comprehension questions
Most of the students complain that they fall short of time and were unable to complete all reading comprehension related questions. For the last time in this post, I’ll suggest you to read (and make sense of) editorials! If you do it, you will definitely notice an improvement in your speed of reading and understanding.
There is one more tip which is highly useful. Before reading the comprehension simply read the questions which are to be answered. Don’t try to understand the questions, just read them, and then read the main passage.
By doing this what happens is, that your brain is automatically able to focus on the relevant sections of the passage which are important for answering the questions that follow! Highly useful and saves a lot of time.
For the para-jumble questions
These questions can be little confusing sometimes. So practice a lot. Here again, we have a time tested tip for you guys.
As you would know, in such questions the first and the last questions are always in their position, and the sentences between them are jumbled. So first read the starting and ending sentence carefully and slowly. Try to think about what they might be referring to, but do it very fast, and then try to solve the question.
Also, you can check this topic online as there are plenty of exercises available for free.
Try to finish the English section within about 25 minutes. Of course you need to practice. Remember more than improving your ability, practice helps to boost your confidence.
NICL AO Descriptive Paper
We have already covered a detailed post on important tips to attempt descriptive English paper.
But since we are talking specifically about the descriptive paper in NICL AO exam lets cover it in a little more details. Essentially this paper will cover essay writing, précis writing and comprehension.
To finish all these 3 questions you will be given 45 minutes and all the questions are mandatory. So you have no choice.
Here you have to write an essay of about 250 words. The worst problem that may happen is that you may not be aware of the topic AT ALL! This is why during your preparation you must try to read as much as you can.
But it is possible that the question setter might choose a really abstract topic. In such a case begin by reading the question twice or thrice to get a better understanding of the question, and then try to answer it.
Make sure that you outline your essay’s content before you proceed. After the outlining is done, plan the structure of your essay well. What will be the introduction of essay? Will you use some quotations? How many ideas will you present? How will you conclude?
Accordingly, divide your essay in 4-6 paragraphs with about 5-6 lines per paragraph.
In this section you will be given a paragraph and you need to write a summary of it. In précis, the word limit of summary is one third of the original length of the paragraph.
So when you begin reading the text you need to summarise, first underline all the important points given in the paragraph. Now simply reread all the underlined lines and then write them in your own words!
Don’t choose all the words from the paragraph, use synonyms or equivalents. In the end,you should be able to convey the original meaning without losing any important point.
The comprehension is the simplest section. It is exactly like Reading comprehension in the objective paper. The only difference is that, here you will have to write the answers of the questions instead of multiple choice format.
Just follow our tips from the earlier section – read all the questions before you start reading the passage. While answering the questions remember that you are expected to answer in your own words, use correct sentences and still be able to convey the original meaning of the sentence.
Books for NICL AO English paper
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