Tips on how to attempt the English Paper

February 28, 2012 in class 12th

Mind your English

Posted On: Thursday, February 09, 2012

Students tend to give priority to other subjects at the cost of English. However, more often than not, this tells on the marks in the subject. Here are a few tips on how to prepare for the English examinations and weed-out common mistakes


General Instructions

•       The moment you see the question paper, do not immediately start writing answers. Give 5-10 minutes to read it and thoroughly plan the three hours you have at your disposal

•       It is preferred that the paper is attempted according to the serial numbers given in the question paper

•       Number your questions and all the parts of it so that it is easier for the examiner to track and allot marks

•       Never copy a wrong spelling from the question paper (or even from the blackboard while in the classroom) as this act too will displease the teacher

•       While answering, always make it a point to leave a line between parts of the same question. If no space is left, they might be left out for marking

•       Don’t misspell words like ‘beautiful’, ‘careful’, ‘hopeful’ with double ‘l’ as all these words carry single ‘l’

•       The answers pertaining to notices, advertisements, invitations, etc, should always be written in a blurb, i.e. a box. Therefore, do not forget to take your geometry box, stapler, as well as correcting fluid. Make an effort not to cross out or rewrite. If it happens, please use the correcting fluid.

•       Never hand over your paper to the invigilator without revising as it might save five to seven marks owing to silly errors because of writing fast and forgetfulness


Comprehension Passage 

•       There’s no need to write the entire paragraph or copying exactly

•       Never write answers in incomplete sentences or beginning with ‘Because’ and letting the sentence incomplete. Leave a line after writing answer to each part

•       All the answers should be to the point, precise, concise and within the word limit

•       If the answer is to be written in between the sentence, take care that it’s not begun with capital letter


Note Making

•       Read the passage carefully and just formulate the points and sub-headings in your mind. The numbers of subheadings are not to be written in the margin provided for writing question numbers. Write them on the page at the right place

•       Sub-headings and points should not be written in complete sentences but in phrases

•       Write the main heading in capitals and underline it

•       Try to use contractions and abbreviations

•       Four to five points should be divided into sub and sub-sub points for better explanation

•       Give a key to the abbreviations and contractions at the end



•       One word heading is not preferred as ‘Terrorism’ must be written as ‘Down with Terrorism’

•       Summary should be condensed in a paragraph only

•       It is better not to go beyond 85 words in a summary that should be specified at the end in brackets. Irrelevant details must not form part of your summary



•       A grasping, suitable and catchy heading is always a boon

•       Try beginning with some quote or saying or just simple good and attractive ideas

•       Three to four short paragraphs are sufficient that should not contain very long sentences



•       The category of the advertisement like ‘Lost and Found’, ‘Vehicles’, ‘Property’, ‘Matrimonial,’ etc, should be mentioned outside the box

•       Advertisements have a word limit of 50 words

•       First, draft the advertisement and then draw a box, as you know not where you’ll finish

•       Don’t write full sentences. Be economical by doing away with prepositions, sentence connectors etc. Give all the important information and do not repeat



•       Huge font is preferred for the heading if possible with a design.

•       Information like how, when, where, why, what, who etc, should be contained and bullets to be used to represent these points but without cramming in too many words making it hotchpotch. If possible use statistics

•       If required, day, time and venue should be clearly specified

•       Notice, advertisement, poster and invitation all have word limit of 50 words. All significant details must be presented artfully, clearly and brightly

•       If the notice is in public interest, don’t forget to write in brackets: (In public interest from the department/ ministry of ___)



•       Invitation for birthday, marriage or some cultural activity is also drafted within 50 words

•       Writing format is centralised

•       If required, day, time and venue should be clearly specified

•       At the end on the left side under RSVP, phone numbers should be given

•       If it is a wedding invitation, ‘All the well wishers’ should be written on the right side at the end


Letter Writing

•       Today we write everything on the left side in any kind of letter. The first paragraphs should be topical expanding the subject. The second paragraph should discuss the problem dealt with and the third one should have solutions. The fourth one must be conclusive. Date must be written in this format: March 2, 2006

•       Never and ever write your address or other address that can be mistaken as your own address. Write a common one like: The Examination Room, Scholars’ Avenue,Educational Road,AcademicCityetc. Divide your letter into smaller paragraphs

•       Usually letters to the editor are common these days. So you must be in the practice of reading the ‘Letters to the Editor’ column of a national daily (a big newspapers)

•       Yours is correct; Your’s is not



•       The first paragraph of a newspaper/ magazine report must be answer how, when where, why, what and who. Paragraph one should explain the topic, two and three the main event and last, the investigations or findings

•       In newspaper reports, headline is followed by the byline as — By a Staff Reporter or By a Staff Correspondent. Name of the newspaper/ agency, place of even and date follow

•       All reports must be completed within 125 words



•       A debate should begin like this: Hon’ble judges, teachers, my worthy friends and all the members of this august gathering! This is An Ace Debater of Grammar School, speaking for the motion that — TV viewing is harmful for children

•       Arguments should be convincing and as per the topic. You can also confute an earlier speaker.

•       It should be written within 150 words in 3-4 paragraphs



•       Read the whole text at least thrice to be thorough. Must score almost full in literature if you aim forRhodesor any other scholarship

•       Be precise, concise and to the point. Don’t write in points but paragraph form

•       Don’t answer what is not asked

•       While answering, always make it a point to leave a line between parts of the same question. If no space is left, they might be left out of marking

•       Follow the word limit as short answers of 1 mark or 2 marks should be answered in 2-3 sentences. Write never a big but brief 2-sentence introduction for long answers

•       A good beginning and a proper conclusion will fetch good marks

•       Write simple and pleasant English while answering questions and don’t try to be scholarly by using difficult connotations



(The writer is senior English teacher, Modern School, New Delhi)




1 Person shares his view on Tips on how to attempt the English Paper

  1. Can we use headings while attempting M.A English literature paper?

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