How to clear Sectional Cutoff for English Section IBPS PO MAINS 2015


Dear IBPS PO Mains Aspirants

Continuing the series of articles on IBPS PO Mains preparationToday we will post a complete analysis of the English Language section of IBPS PO MAINS. This would include the division of questions among various sub sections of English, the required number of questions to be attempted from each sub section and ultimately tips on how to clear the sectional cutoff for English section. 

As we had pointed out in our IBPS PO MAINS GUIDE , English section will consist of 40 questions of 1 mark each, with 0.25 marks deducted for each wrong answer.

The questions will be designed to not only test your language and grammer skills, but also your comprehension skills i.e. your ability to interpret information in English language.

The questions in English Language section will be divided into the following categories/ sub- sections:

  • Reading Comprehension: 15-20 questions.
  • Cloze Test: 8-10 questions.
  • Para Jumbles: 5-10 questions.
  • Sentence Correction: 5-10 questions.

Let us take each section one by one:

1. Reading Comprehension:  The word RC evokes an image of Long passages, confusing questions and ticking clocks. In IBPS MAINS only 1 RC is asked, whereas in mains atleast 2 RC will be asked. This means 20 questions in total. The key lies in choosing the right passage and solving it at amazingly fast speeds. You might be wondering how on earth this can be done. We had published tips for RC section along with some questions for IBPS PO PRELIMS, for your benefit we will put them here again:

  1. If you attempt all RC questions, then you can clear sectional cutoff for English without any problem.
  2. However, if you are short on time and cannot attempt both RC passages, use the following rules to pick the best one out.
    1. Choose the RC which is smaller. This will decrease the time taken to read the article and hence you will have more time  to answer the questions.
    2. Choose the RC which is based on a topic of your understanding: For example If you are a engineering graduate, it makes sense to go for topics related to engineering, construction or chemicals. Avoid venturing into art, finance, economy etc. and vice-versa. Choose the topic related to your field of interest.
    3. Try and figure out the tone of the author: Is it formal or informal. Identify what the author wants to convey and if you can relate yourself to it, go for it.
  3. After selecting the passage, have a quick glance on its content. This means going through it quickly in less than 30 seconds.
  4. Go on read the questions, after you’ve had a glance on the passage.
  5. Do you know that almost all the times the order of questions is linked with the order of information given in the passage. What it means is that first question may have relevance in the first paragraph, second question below the information of first and so on.
  6. Also read the first and last paragraph of the passage. This will help you get the main idea of the passage.(There is one question in each RC which asks you the gist of the passage.)
  7. Many people have problems in answering the vocabulary section of RC. To solve such questions,  read the sentence the word is present in and without looking over at the options, think about the context that word is used in. Then go through the options and the option which is nearest in meaning to your assumption is your answer.
  8. Don’t act like Einstein and use past knowledge about the topic to answer any questions. Only use the information given in the passage to answer the questions.

If you apply the above tricks, you won’t have much problem in solving RC questions and clearing sectional cutoff for english language in IBPS PO Mains 2015.  Click here for questions and more tips on RC 


2. Cloze Passage Test: This section of English language is a fusion of RC and fill in the blanks. Basically its a text passage with some words removed. The candidate has to replace the missing words from the options given to solve the question correctly.

If you somehow manage NOT to solve both RC passages(we strictly advise against it, but its an advice anyway), cloze test will be your savior for clearing sectional cutoffs. A minimum of 5 questions and maximum of 10 questions can be asked from it. The accuracy of answers in cloze passage is generally 70-80% with many people going upto 90%. The questions are of easy to moderate difficulty level and can be solved using the following tips:

 1. To get an idea about the passage, read it slowly once without filling up the blanks or looking at the options.

2. Fill up the blanks in which you are 100% sure. (atleast 40% questions are of this type where there is no ambiguity in the options and answer can be filled correctly )
3. Instead of treating each blank individually, look out for logical connections that link up the sentences together.

4. For the remaining blanks find out which among the following part of speech will fill in the gap: articles, nouns , pronouns, adverbs, prepositions, adjectives, conjunctions or verbs.

5. For blanks which seem to have multiple correct options, the correct way to solve is : first mark options of this kind and then try fitting them in the blank one by one. Use the option which maintains the flow of the passage.

6. If you are still unable to decide between two words. choose that word from options which is used frequently with words around the blank. For example- Can we have a  ____ chat?
A. swift
B. quick
C. prompt
As you see, all the options are synonyms of each other. it may be difficult to do you decide which one is the correct answer? Here the words ‘quick’ and ‘chat’ are used together frequently rather than swift chat or prompt chat . Therefore ‘quick’ is your answer.

7. Remember each passage is written according to a tone:  humour, serious, narrative and so on. Identify the tone and pick the words accordingly.  If the tone is funny/humorous try and use words which evoke fun and vice versa.

Follow the above tips and you will be able to solve atleast 80% of questions from this type with more than 90% accuracy. If you solve RC and Cloze test, you are way above the sectional cutoff. Click here for questions and more tips on Cloze Passage.

3. Para jumbles:  2 down, 2 to go. Para-jumbles are jumbled paragraphs. Basically, you are given a paragraph with the sentences not in the right order. You are expected to rearrange the sentences in an order such that they make sense logically. 5-10 questions may be asked pertaining to this section. The best part about para jumbles is, if you figure out even one question, all the questions can be solved without any effort at all. That said, it takes atleast 2 minutes to find the right order. So if you are short of time, don’t attempt para jumbles, as you have already cleared sectional cutoff for english with RC and cloze passage. Use the following tips to crack para jumbles:

1.Identify Transition words:

Transition words make the shift from one idea to another very smooth. They organize and connect the sentences logically. Observing the transition words found in a sentence can often give you a clue about the sentence that will come before/after that particular sentence. Some words are ” also, again, as well as, besides, furthermore, in addition, likewise, moreover, similarly, consequently ” 

2. Identify Personal Pronouns
Personal pronouns are he, she, it, him, her, they, you, your etc. Remember that personal pronouns always refer to a person, place or thing etc. Therefore, if a sentence contains a personal pronoun without mentioning the person, place or object it is referring to, the person, place or object must have come in the previous sentence. Often, this is a good lead to identify a link.

3. Demonstrative Pronoun 

The demonstrative pronouns are “this,” “that,” “these,” and “those.” “This” and “that” are used to refer to singular nouns or noun phrases and “these” and “those” are used to refer to plural nouns and noun phrases. Whenever a sentence contains a demonstrative pronoun without mentioning the noun or the noun phrase, it means that the previous sentence must be mentioning that noun or noun phrase.

4. Combining it with logic

Sometimes using logic to decide the order of sentences can yield high dividends. In the previous example, we had used logic to determine that sentence A would come before any other sentence referring Hofman. Keep your eyes open for clues.

5 Acronym Approach

Full form vs. short form:

In Parajumbles we encounter full and short names or acronyms of some term or institution.

Ex-World Trade Organization – WTO

The rule is that if both full form as well as short form is present in different sentences, then the sentence containing full form

Friends i would love to write all the tips in this article, but it would be too long. Its a Suggestion, recommendation or a plea that you click here and go through Parajumbles concepts and tricks to completely understand the above tips and get more tips.  (Trust me you don’t wanna miss those tips. )

After you are done with Para jumbles, you are comfortably above the sectional cut-off and are moving ahead to score maximum marks in english language section of IBPS PO MAINS 2015.

4. Sentence Correction: Last and for a change, maybe a tad less important section in the context of clearing IBPS PO Mains is sentence correction(People may have different opinion and we respect that). 5-10 questions can be asked from this section. The reason we say its less important than other sections of english language is you need to solve each question individually. There is no link, logic or anything of that sorts which can be applied to these questions. Moreover, you need to have super awesome grammer skills for 100% accuracy. If you attempt these questions it may increase negative marking and also take up your precious time. That said you can attempt 1-2 easy questions (there are always 1-2 easy questions) and get done with this section. Quite frankly we haven’t given much thought to this section, if you people want questions or tips on it we will be happy to share them with you.

Now that we have covered all the sections one by one, we will consolidate the huge pile of information and condense this information into final tips to clear sectional cutoff for English Section in IBPS PO Mains 2015:

  1. The sectional cutoff for English is expected to be 12 – 15.
  2. If English is one of your weaker sections and your aim is to clear the cutoff , then keep your focus on solving RC and Cloze passage questions, get 70% accuracy and you will clear it easily.
  3. Our recommendation however would be to go beyond the sectional cutoffs and aim for maximum marks in english section to make up for overall cutoff.
  4. Solve Parajumbles if you have at least 3-4 minutes to be dedicated to it. Parajumbles have 80% and higher accuracy. But it can be a pitfall too. Be cautious.
  5. Sentence correction can be chosen over Parajumbles if you have less time. Go for solving the easiest questions from this section. Don’t bother wasting time in difficult, ambiguous questions.
  6. Go through SPEED READING TECHNIQUES, an increased speed will be a game changer in the exam.

Folks, this is it for the english section of IBPS PO MAINS. Hope you like it and it helps you prepare well and perform exceptionally well in mains exam. If you have ANY queries, please don’t hesitate and feel free to ask them in the comments section below, we will be glad to answer them.

Motivation for clearing IBPS PO MAINS


  • shivaranjanie

    Pls do share some tips regarding computer section for po mains…

    • Vaibhav

      Sure we would do that

  • Rainy

    Please post tips and tricks for quantitative aptitude soon… The article for IBPS PO prelims quantitative aptitude was really helpful last time..Thanks for such a wonderful article…

    • Vaibhav

      Hi Rainy
      Your wish is our command. We will post it soon.

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  • Swetu

    Awesome. Please share tips to crack ibps clerk pre. Also provide the detailed syllabus for clerk pre n expected cutoff.