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The importance of English can’t be undermined for IBPS PO aspirants. Like other sections, you need to clear the sectional cutoffs along with maintaining a really good overall score. Vocabulary-based questions are those kinds of questions which take some efforts to master. But once mastered, the questions would take minimal time and can be solved with high accuracy. Questions related to vocabulary can be answered in one shot without much deliberation. Either you know the meaning of a word or you don’t know it. Several sections where your vocabulary comes into the picture are direct questions on synonym-antonym, RC based questions on synonym-antonym, cloze test, fill in the blanks and word-pair relationship.

Read, Recall, Repeat

It happens often that you are reading something and you stumble upon a word whose meaning you don’t understand. You find that word in the dictionary but there is more than one meaning to it. You face a lot of questions here. Which word should you take into consideration? Do you have to memorize all the words? What you should do here is to consider the “sense” a word connotes. You will get the sense of any word by glancing through the different words the meaning offers. At the same time, you should try getting the meaning of the whole sentence keeping in mind that contextual sense.

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Getting the sense of a word

Say you come across the sentence, “The spurt in growth in the past quarter, after eight quarters, marked by a rise in manufacturing and construction, maybe because it comes off a low base last year.” and you don’t know the meaning of “spurt”. You look out for the meaning and come across these terms:

  •      to burst or pour out suddenly
  •      to produce sudden, powerful streams of liquid or flames
  •      to increase your speed for a short time to get somewhere faster

You know that in the sentence, spurt relates to increase in short duration especially when it talks about “rise in manufacturing and construction” and “comes off a low base last year”. Now, the next time when you come across the word spurt, you will know that the sense of this word is something related to getting a quick speed. In another scenario, you may not be able to recall the word and have to visit a dictionary once again. But fret not, slowly and steadily you will be able to remember and recall senses of words. Obviously, you need to read a lot to master this technique but the fruit is worthy enough to put all of these efforts.

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Which dictionary to use?

There are a host of dictionaries available nowadays. The availability of offline and online dictionaries on mobile phones makes the situation further complicated. Which one should you go for? We suggest you go for a physical copy of a learner’s dictionary. Learner’s dictionary is for non-native speakers of English, and the meaning of any word is explained in the simplest form. In other words, you get to know the sense of a word easily when you use a learner’s dictionary. You can also use a mobile phone as a dictionary but only when it doesn’t distract you.

The family of root words

Getting introduced to this family will definitely help you to some extent. For eg., if you have observed the word “democracy” you discover in a dictionary that the sense of this word is a government that is elected by the citizens. If you delve further, the root words come out to be the Greek words “demos” (people) and “kratia” (rule or power). Other words which have the same root words are demographic, pandemonium, autocracy, aristocracy and bureaucracy. One word and looking out for the family has fetched you the sense of five more words. The interesting fact is that they are all related to the meaning of the original root words.

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Questions on synonym-antonym

If you have a fairly good command over vocabulary, the direct questions on synonym-antonym will be your direct hit. You get to know in 4-5 seconds whether you know the answer or not. However, answering questions on synonym-antonym which are based on a passage will be a different ballgame. Since a word may have more than one meaning, you need to check the passage to see which contextual sense is going to be used and answer accordingly. The preceding and succeeding sentences of the passage can also give you some idea of answering these questions.

Cloze Test

Cloze test provides a passage with a number of blanks and for each blank, there are 5 options. You need to choose the right option for each blank. Obviously, context plays a role in shortlisting the options but you need to know the inherent meaning and sense of all the options so that you fill the blank with the right option.

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Word-pair relationship

These questions display 2 words as an example and you are given five options with 2 words in each of the options. You are further asked to select that set of words which has the same logical connection as that of the displayed word pair. Vocabulary again plays a major role here as the words are given without any context.

We hope this article will help you in memorizing and recalling the meaning and sense of different words. Let us know if there is any other method in your mind to master your vocabulary which you would like to share. Take a Free Mock Test of IBPS PO Prelims Now and analyze how do you perform in the English Section.

Wishing you all the best for your preparation!


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