English section is one of the major components of CLAT examination and comprises a share of 40 marks. As you all know, a good score in English section is critical in determining the rank of a person. Here are some tips to prepare for CLAT English section.
English section can be divided into mainly three parts, i.e. Reading Comprehension, Grammar, and Vocabulary. The ability of candidate in the language is tested on basis of these three basic skills.
Candidate will be given a passage to read and based on the passage, questions relating to the central theme of the passage, interpretation of the passage are asked. The central theme of the passage is the central or basic idea that the author tries to convey in that particular passage.
Extensive reading is the primary requirement for improving reading comprehension skills. To increase the reading speed, one may start by reading articles, newspapers, magazines, and books. Slowly and gradually, as you read more, and as you become more fluent, reading speed will increase automatically. One must bear in mind that developing reading speed is a process, and one must never be in a hurry.
Another aspect of improving reading comprehension skills is writing. Writing can significantly improve a person’s vocabulary, grammar as well as comprehension skills. Habits such as maintaining personal diary are helpful in this regard. However, after writing you must check the syntax, grammar and semantic construction of the passage you have written.
Lastly, reading comprehension is aimed to test the candidate’s ability to assess the meaning the author is trying to convey i.e. central idea. When you are reading an article try to examine the deeper meaning, emotions, the big idea that the author wants to convey. Begin with passages of medium level difficulty. First get well versed there, and then advance to higher levels. Read articles, magazines so that your discerning skills are sharpened. Reading editorials on political, legal, social and cultural issues in The Hindu, Times of India can be useful in this regard.
Reading is the best way to increase your vocabulary strength. Spend every day 30 minutes in reading editorials. One can refer to The Hindu, Economist, WSJ or Mint; they have well-composed articles. Start reading novels and try to complete one novel in a week.(Don’t do this now).
As you read, make notes of the new words and their meanings, try and remember the meaning of those words. This will help in expanding as well as increasing the vocabulary base.
Recommended books for improving vocabulary in this section is Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis. It is one of the best books for vocabulary building and you must go through every aspect of this thoroughly and basics of topics should be clear before approaching CLAT.
Shashi Tharoor says he never worked on his vocabulary and hardly ever referred to the dictionary. He kept reading a lot as he did not have gadgets and other means of information then. When he read a word in different places, he understood the meaning through the context.
Knowledge of basics of English Grammar is pre-requisite to scoring well in this section of CLAT. If you are weak in Grammar, start with Wren and Martin. It teaches the basics of grammar in clear and lucid form. Moreover, CLAT does not deal with very advanced concepts and Wren and Martin deals with fundamental concepts in a good manner. Make sure that you solve the questions given at the end of every concept.
Some topics of grammar which require attention are – Tenses, Subject-Verb agreement, Moods, Sequence of Tenses, Modifiers, Pronouns, Parts of Speech.
Lastly, taking a mock test series is the best way to improve your skill in any section of the paper. One must practice as many exercises and tests as possible. To attain command over the language, you need to read more and more. The reading and writing practice is essential for scoring well in the paper as it will help you in learning new words and sentences, making the subject easier for you.
List of recommended readings: -
All the best, keep reading.