Grammar: Tips & Techniques that you won’t find anywhere elseRahul Singh
Grammar questions in Verbal Ability aren’t much talked about. You will hardly find someone who says that they “spent time practicing Grammar questions” or who consider Grammar as their “favourite subject”.
Most of the students spend all their time on RCs, Para-jumbles, and the lot. They don’t really devote enough time towards Grammar. And some of them do clear the cut-offs without practicing Grammar. However, this is not the case for everyone.
If you truly understand the management entrance tests, you would know that it is not just about knowing 2-3 important topics in an exam and excelling in them. The key to getting a good score is having an idea about all the topics, and at the same time, knowing when and how to solve them. That is what is required from future managers. A manager isn’t a person who knows just 2-3 processes. A manager is someone who has a brief understanding about everything that takes place around him and his organization.
Similarly, you should have an idea about everything that’s on the question paper in front of you. If you come across an easy grammar question, but you don’t have any idea about solving it, then you would be throwing away precious marks. A single mark can have a huge impact, when clearing cut-offs. Therefore, you do not want to come out of an exam hall, leaving simple grammar questions unanswered.
Most of the exam toppers have all their basic concepts covered, including grammar. Also, Grammar isn’t just some topic that will help you to increase your score. Grammar is the basis of all verbal & non-verbal communication. Having a good base in grammar will help you in your GD-PIs and Essay Writing as well.
Now that you know, WHY you have to practice solving grammar questions, let’s focus on the HOW.
The key, to scoring in grammar questions, is practice. The more you practice, the more efficient you’ll get at scoring in Grammar questions.
Now, grammar is all about knowing the rules and guidelines. However, do not just blindly pick up a grammar reference book and start memorizing rules.
To get the maximum benefit out of your preparation, follow these steps:
1) Glance through: Whenever you study a book/subject, you should first glance through, or have a look at the entire content/topics in the subject. This will help you to build, a sort of roadmap in your mind. You will get an idea about what the subject contains. Based on this, you can then decide how to spend your time on the respective topics in the subject. Without any idea about the subject, if you blindly start, say the first chapter, you won’t have any idea about how much more you have to learn. Your targets won’t be defined and you may get stuck on less-important topics. In short, your preparation won’t be productive.
This holds true for Grammar as well.
2) Go deeper: Once you have an idea about what is to be done and how much time is to be spent on each topic, you can then start learning the concepts, topic-wise/chapter-wise. Once you have a good idea about the different rules/guidelines of grammar in the particular topic, you can start attempting the questions.
While solving the questions, follow the steps illustrated below:
Note: The above flowchart asks you to check the solutions of all the questions. Including the ones you answered correct. This is because you may sometimes get questions right, based solely on your command over the English language, and not on your knowledge of Grammar rules. Although that is completely acceptable, you should still know the rules involved in the questions. Knowing the rules will help you when you come across a difficult question, wherein your ‘command’ over English may not be enough.
Repeat the steps in the flowchart for every new set of grammar questions that you solve. What happens is that after so much practice, the rule/rules stays fixed in your head.
3) Revise: As depicted in the flowchart, even after getting the questions correct, you should still keep practicing/revising them. Revising a topic strengthens your basic foundations of that topic. After a couple of revisions, your chances of erring in the topic, goes down significantly. You can then shift your focus on other topics and improve your skills in them.
This rule applies to all, and not solely to grammar.
If you are completely unfamiliar with Grammar, you can get started with the following topics:
- Clauses (The building blocks of English)
- Conjunctions (The glue that holds sentences together)
- Punctuation (A language is incomplete without it)
- Subject-Verb Agreement (one of the most basic rules of English)
- Tenses (The most important aspect of communication)
Remember, questions asked on grammar are usually in the form of:-
- Identify the Correct Sentence/Phrase
- Find the erroneous part in the sentence
The key to solving them is to know the fundamental rules of Grammar.
Tip: Practice is all about attempting the activity regularly. Therefore, you can do at least 15-20 questions of grammar in a day. Now you can do this every day, or on alternate days, or maybe just on weekends. That depends on how your schedule is and how your time is distributed among the other sections.