“Your Background does NOT matter; your Confidence does.”

Suresh (Name changed) was an IAS Officer of the Kerala cadre. Suresh came from a small backward village and his parents were poor agriculturists with only primary school education.

Like his parents, Suresh too studied in the Govt. Malayalam medium school in the village. Fortunately, he did not drop out of school like his parents, but went on to complete the 10th standard. But in the 10th standard exam, Suresh got only 242 marks out of 600, slightly more than a mere 40%. This was the turning point in Suresh’s life. He felt these marks were humiliating. He did not blame his rural background for the situation.

Suresh also realized that such mediocrity will not take him anywhere in life. With an intense fire burning within him, he was determined to succeed. He realized that ignorance of English was a major handicap. Immediately he purchased a good English Dictionary and subscribed to a good English newspaper (like The Hindu). Every day, he would read one page of the Dictionary, and learn everything about all the words on that page – Origin, different Meanings, Synonyms (words with same meanings), Antonyms (Words with opposite meanings), using in sentences etc. Simultaneously, he would also read the newspaper and whenever he came across a new word, he would similarly learn from the Dictionary, everything about that word. He did one more thing – when he made a new sentence using the word, he would read it aloud and thereby practice pronunciation. For guidance on pronunciation, he listened to News broadcasts by All India Radio and BBC.

After +2 at the college in the nearby town, Suresh went on to study for BA Economics. At the College, he became active in the Debating Club. The crowning glory was in the his Final year of BA, when Suresh was the First Prize winner, at the All India Inter-University Debating competition, at Kolkata. Yes, that year, this rural boy with only 40% marks in 10th standard was the All India champion in debating, beating everyone from big towns and metros and even from all the well-known colleges in India.

Dont’ believe it? Yes. It is true. And, Suresh went on to secure a high rank in IAS, joining the cadre of his home state. Still better – his self-motivation and his self-made success gave him the moral courage to face any problem, and earned a name as an upright, innovative and bold administrator.

This is just one of the several success stories we hear very often. – You too can define such a success story.

Lessons to learn from the Anecdote - for cracking the SBI PO Test:

  • Proficiency in English – both to write and speak - is Important, since English is the language of communication in SBI. Hence, the Descriptive paper for the written test and the Group Discussion.

  • Keep a good English Dictionary always on your study desk – Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary is a good one for students.

  • Also keep a good grammar book at hand – Wren & Martin is suggested – and refer to it when you are in doubt.

  • Whenever you come across a new word, learn from your Dictionary – its different meanings, synonyms, antonyms, and different usages.

  • Practice making several sentences using the new word you just learnt, its synonyms and antonyms.

  • Read a good English newspaper every day, thoroughly. This will help you in English language, as well as help you in General Awareness / Current Affairs.

  • Solve last year’s Question Papers for SBI PO Exam. you can Download Here. Along with these try to solve as many Practice Papers, this a critical area where you should focus.

  • In the newspaper, focus on Major Headlines, National, International, Sports and Business news.

  • Make a daily note of important news / items you come across. For this, take a 200 pages notebook and assign a page a day. This will serve as a reference on Current Affairs periodically, as well as, just before the Test.

  • Make a daily note of, among others, Books & Authors, Winners of major awards / prizes / sports competitions, Committees – Purpose & Chairmen, Abbreviations, World Leaders, Important persons, Major dates / developments in History, Science etc.

  • Read every day, the Editorials and other analyses and reports on the centre-spread of the newspaper. This will, apart from helping you in English language required for the written test, also help you during Group Discussion, where ability to analyse issues and communicate your views, is important.

  • Regularly listen to, every day, a few good TV news broadcasts – DD News, BBC – and practice pronunciation, voice modulation, articulation etc.; will help you during Group discussion.

  • For practice, speak aloud and record it on your mobile. Play it back to your friends & family, for their comments and feedback. Make the most of the feedback, for self-improvement.

  • Form a group of friends and discuss in English among the group members, issues from the daily newspapers – Initially, simple matters.

Your ability to handle English will give you the confidence you need to crack the test. It will also help you score high in the Objective Test on English Language, as well as the Descriptive English paper.

We will discuss shortly, strategies in respect of Reasoning, Data Interpretation, Descriptive Paper, Group Discussion, Interview etc.

Arise! Awake! and stop not until the goal is reached. - "Swami Vivekananda "

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