CDS is conducted by Union Public Service Commission Exam twice a year to select candidates for Defence Forces. The exam is held nation-wide and a large portion of aspirants appear for the exam, which makes selection tougher.
The English paper in this exam serves an integral part of the CDS examination conducted by UPSC. It is a highly scoring subject and can improve the overall score substantially. One of the most important topics of English paper is Sentence Improvement. It has the highest number of question asked regularly. This article will help candidates prepare better for the sentence improvement section.
Sentence Improvement deals with the proper usage of grammar rules and exceptions. Minute grammatical mistakes are common even in proficient English speakers. The main reason for this is lack of preparation plan and practice. Candidates can follow the following tips to improve their sentence improvement skills.
Read the Sentence Carefully
The error part is highlighted or underlined in sentence improvement questions. Most questions have grammatical errors like wrong usage of nouns, pronouns, prepositions, wrong usage of idioms and phrases, etc.
Candidates should carefully read and analyze the underlined part of the sentence. Candidates should verify the subject-verb agreement. If the subject is singular, then the verb should also be singular and vice-versa. For example:
Check for Tenses
The key to get a grip over sentence improvement section is to learn and understand as many rules of grammar as possible. The usage of correct tense with verb is important, as many candidates diminish their scores by using incorrect verbs. For example:
The Parallelism Approach
This approach tells us that whenever you see a sentence, the balance or flow of the sentence will always follow the same grammatical structure. Any deviation can be easily caught and be corrected by maintaining the structure. For example:
Some questions contain sentences that have words that provide redundant or repeated information. This error can be easily spotted and rectified. For example:
Candidates should focus on the correct usage of modifiers i.e. adjectives and adverbs. It is important to focus on the subject of the verb and not leaving the participle alone. For example:
Which v/s That
“Which” is a non-essential modifier and “That” is an essential modifier. However, both of them refer to the noun that immediately precedes them. For example:
If the entire sentence is underlined, it means that the phrases and clauses need to be re arranged. Do not look for any grammatical error, try to jumble the sentence to make sense of it. You may come across a run-on sentence (sentence having two dependent clauses connected with a comma) which can easily be solved with logical thinking.
Try to read and listen to different media of English. Read newspapers, books, magazines, etc. or watch English television serials or news. This would not only improve your English, but also expand your knowledge.
The English paper has a total of 120 questions that need to be answered in a time slot of 120 minutes. Out of the three papers (English, Mathematics, and General Knowledge), English is by far the most scoring paper in CDS. The paper consists of Grammatical and Non-Grammatical sections described below:
To understand the pattern of the questions asked, given below is the analysis of CDS papers from 2014 to 2016:
|Topics||Number of Questions|
|2014 CDS-I||2014 CDS – II||2015 CDS – I||2015 CDS – II||2016 CDS-I||2017 CDS- I|
|Ordering of words in a sentence||11||11||7||–||15||20|
|Ordering of sentences in b/w first and last sentence||10||8||10||–||10||21|
|Fill in the blank||4||–||–||10||10||10|
|Selecting Words/ Cloze Test||20||20||20||25||20||-|
The minimum marks to qualify for the English section are 24. Candidates should target at least 60 correct questions for English section. As it is clear from the analysis of previous years’ papers, about 20 to 25 questions are asked from the topic Sentence Improvement. Therefore, a good command on this topic is essential for a good score.
*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.