The beginning is the most important part of the work – Plato
The countdown has begun. The butterflies in your stomach must have started fluttering madly. The importance of English as a global language cannot be underestimated. The first paper to be held on March 9 happens to be the one that sets the tone for the remaining subjects. Therefore, it is imperative to do well in the English examination.
Things to keep in mind
•As the paper, in general, is considered lengthy, time management is critical to be able to complete it.
•Try to finish both section A and section B in about one-and-a-half hours.
•Writing regularly helps you develop your capability of expressing your ideas clearly and explicitly.
•Practice reading and comprehension skills on a regular basis. (Newspapers are a good source).
•Solve previous years’ papers or CBSE sample papers to practice time management.
•Solve at least one three-hour test paper every week.
•A minimum of two writing skills (take up contemporary issues), adhering to the prescribed word limits along with at least two unseen passages and two separate passages for note making must be practised every week and preferably evaluated by your teacher.
•While writing, try to relate to the lessons from your textbooks with issues/topics (for example Lost Spring, Elementary School Classroom in a Slum – Child Labour, Tiger King – Corruption in High places, Indigo, Deep Water - Courage etc.)
•Practice/revise formats for writing skills.
•Theme/plot/incidents/character sketch of the prescribed novel must be practised on a regular basis.
•Q-10 and Q-11: The value-based and the long answer type (LA) question needs to be differentiated properly. Both are 6-markers, to be answered in about 120-150 words and need extrapolation beyond the prescribed text. While answering the value-based question, the emphasis should be on the theme with minimal or a sketchy reference to the text whereas while answering the long answer type question extrapolate ‘referring to the context’. You must not commit the mistake of writing the summary of the text as the answer to the long answer type question.
Things to do in the examination hall
•Utilise the reading time of 15 minutes judiciously. These 15 minutes are for you to read and comprehend; do not try to search for answers during this period but rather try to understand what’s being asked of you in the paper.
•Do remember that, while answering, presentation matters. Write your answers in
•neat and legible handwriting
•leave space between answers
•underline the value points
•Try to attempt the question paper in a sequence.
•Be aware that the questions framed in the reading section (Section-A) are always in sequence, ie the answer to question number (i) will always be in the sentences before the answer to question number (ii).
•Do not hesitate to quote directly from the passage. “If a student literally lifts a portion of the given passage/extract from the question paper as an answer to a question, no mark(s) to be deducted on this count as long as it is relevant and indicative of the desired understanding on the part of the student [reference question under Q 1]” CBSE guidelines say.
•Be creative but logical in expressing yourself while attempting the questions of Section-B (writing skills). Use quotes or phrases.
•This section analyses the writing skills and abilities (knowledge/understanding/application) grammatical accuracy, appropriate use of words, style, spelling, organisation and presentation of relevant matter in a coherent and logical way.
•Answers to the textual questions (Section-C) should be brief and to the point. Try to answer what is asked in lucid and coherent language.
•While answering Reference to Context (RTC) questions – ensure that while answering sub-parts of the question no answer is repeated.
•“If a student, in response to a short-answer type question, writes a single word/phrase answer which constitutes the core of the answer, it must be accepted and awarded marks,” CBSE guidelines say.
•Once you have finished writing, revision of the answer sheet cuts down your chances of losing marks to silly mistakes.
Wish you all the best.
The author is the head of the department of English at Studymate (HT Learning Centres) and can be reached at email@example.com