If you are aiming to crack National Defence Academy or Naval Academy examinations, it is important that you prepare yourself thoroughly for one of the most intellectually and physically challenging screening tests. Students usually study really well for the Maths and GK papers as there is vast but set syllabi to work with. But what plays the role of a game changer is the English paper. A number of bright candidates face disappointment every year owing to their lack of English writing and speaking skills. Although it is not compulsory to be extremely good in English but a basic proficiency is necessary to pass the exam.
Since there is no set syllabus mentioned, unlike maths or general knowledge, a number of students feel clueless about how to prepare. Another factor that comes in the path of success is that students often spend so much time preparing for the other subjects which have their designated syllabi that they do not realise how far behind they are, in their preparation of English. Moreover, it is sometimes seen that students from vernacular backgrounds lag behind. It is also not uncommon to see decently good being rejected due to their lack of confidence. It is highly recommended that you enrol yourself into a reputed academy, which specialises in NDA exam training. An academy of repute will be able to guide you in the right direction and help you prepare objectively. However if it is not possible for you to enrol, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself better to crack the exam.
The English test is for 200 marks and covers topics of basic English like vocabulary, grammar and usage and comprehension. There is negative marking so you simply cannot afford to make mistakes. You are tested on your basic written English skill. Make sure your spellings and grammar are right. The ability to form proper sentences is indispensable, therefore you must start working on that immediately.
- Allot adequate time for English: Students often make the mistake of ignoring the English paper till the last moment when it is too late. Remember that however well you prepare for the rest of the papers, passing in English is compulsory. So, start preparing for English from the same time you start the other subjects.
- Go back to the basics: The best way to prepare yourself for the NDA English paper is to go back to your school books. Grab some good grammar books of standard eight to twelve and study thoroughly. Solve the exercises that are there at the end of each chapter. It is also effective to get a grammar workbook, which will provide you with more grammar exercises to work on.
- Read a standard newspaper: Reading a good newspaper will not only improve your general knowledge, which is another important subject, but will also help you enhance your English. Every time you encounter a new word, look it up in a dictionary. Keep a note of all the new words that you have learned. At the end, you will be surprised to see how well your vocabulary has improved without any effort at all. You can also find some of the best English dailies from other countries online. Even if you do not have regular access to the internet, you can simply read the issues you can lay your hands on.
- Think in English: The most common mistake that most people who speak English as their second language do is to think in their mother tongue and then translate it to English. This severely impacts their ability to write or speak correct English as there are huge syntactical differences in the two languages. Make a conscious attempt to start thinking in English immediately.
- Practise writing: Take your writing exercises seriously because it is what improves your ability to write flawless sentences. Your answers are your only impression. If you are unable to form basic sentences correctly, your chances of qualifying the exam will drop sharply. Make sure you do ample comprehension exercises. Writing essays is an extremely helpful way to learn better writing. You do not have to excel, but it is crucial to score the basic passing marks to qualify the exam.
- Solve test papers: If there is one thing that you absolutely must not ignore, that would be the huge role solving test papers will have on your success. However diligently you study, it is of utmost importance that you solve all the past years’ question papers. This will give you an idea about the pattern of the exam. Make sure that you clock yourself while solving these papers so that you know where exactly you stand and you can easily identify and rectify your shortcomings. Besides the previous years’ papers, you also need to solve a lot of sample papers. Practise makes a man perfect. These is no shortcut to success and the only way to achieve your goal is through rigorous, relentless practice.
- Practise speaking in front of a mirror: Read out loud in front of a mirror. That will give you the confidence to speak better English at your interview. Articulate every syllable and every vowel neatly. Ensure that you speak slowly and clearly enough. You must not falter, as this is seen as a sign of an immense lack of confidence. If by chance, you end up making a mistake on the big day, do not freeze. Smartly embrace your error, if necessary, apologize and move on Confidence is the key. Remember that you are not really being tested on your English only. It is just a part of the entire screening process. So, keep your calm and display your confidence.
Passing your English exam with flying colours will not only help you get your dream job, it will also improve your confidence exponentially. It is important that you understand what the examination wants from you and prepare accordingly. English is not only the most widely used language all over the world, it is also the language used in most official situations. It is therefore of utmost importance that you devote some time to improving your English. If you practise the above steps regularly, you will be able to work wonders with very little effort.