Monday, 30 March 2015

5 Things to Research before a Job Interview


It’s an interview that you have been getting ready for but have you done your homework? Have you searched and researched about the company that you are interviewing for?

It is critical that you should know about the company – it demonstrates that you have a reasonable understanding of the organization and their business and most of all that you will take your work seriously and are likely to be an engaged employee. Having a good background knowledge about the company gives you an edge.

Here are the 5 things you must do to ensure you have an intelligent conversation at the interview:
  1. Understand the Industry Context
    What is the industry all about? What are the market trends? How does the company work? Who are the different players? What services  are they involved in? What products do they offer?
  2. About the Company
    Spend a lot of time on the company’s website. Read about their Mission and Vision Statements, Location, History, Press Releases, Annual Reports, Blogs and more. Know how the company has positioned itself differently from its competition.  Being able to confidently talk about the company, backed by facts, makes an extremely good impression in an interview. 
  3. About Community Interaction
    Google and you will get a lot of information about the events and happenings. It may be possible that the interviewer may mention recent events during the course of the interview.
    Peep into LinkedIn and check on company page for updates. (At the same time, update your profile too) They may notice that you have viewed their profiles. Follow their conversations on Twitter and check the Facebook page for interactive posts. 
  4. About Company Structure
    It is also important to know about the hierarchy or the chain of command. Each company has its own organization structure. Understanding the organization structure gives you an insight into the business' objective, the different functions, enterprise or department and the nature of the company. 
  5. About The Company Community and Employees
    Will you ‘fit’ well in the company? It is equally important to know about the company culture if you want an answer to that question. Find and connect with past or current employees to understand why the company is special to them and topics to avoid during the interview. 
The more you research about the company you want to work in, the better prepared you will be to answer at the interview. This will make you more confident and that in turn will set you apart from the rest of the candidates.

So go ahead and ACE the interview like a PRO! 


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3 Things you should NOT do while attempting an Aptitude Paper


Aptitude Test is the first hurdle and the top most topic that is on a student's mind when it comes to the recruitment process for a government job, a private job or for that matter entrance exams for further studies. Aptitude round evaluates a student’s basic arithmetic, mathematical, logical and analytical skills.  Though it is simple in nature, students find it difficult due to lack of preparation and the right approach.  In this article, we provide insights on how to approach the aptitude topic for any competitive exam.

Here are the 3 things to avoid while dealing with the aptitude round during the recruitment process:
  1. Following the Order:  Many of us have the habit of mechanically attempting questions from the beginning to the end in objective tests and then complain  about  insufficient time to solve the paper.
    However, it is not time that makes us fail but attempting questions in an orderly way irrespective of the nature  of the question that is the real problem. Student don't give enough thought to how  difficult or easy a question is, in terms of methodology and the amount of time it takes to solve it.  So the right approach to apply will be to skim through the questions within a minute and identify and attempt the easy questions first.

  2. Attempting Easy but Lengthy or Difficult Questions:   Generally in Aptitude exams viz. Bank exams/ SSC etc, we get 36 seconds to solve a question. Sometimes this whole process of solving difficult questions becomes tricky as it plays with the ego of an intelligent mind acting against them and as a result a lot of time gets wasted.
    One must  understand the fact that, marks are awarded equally for both difficult and easy questions so completing all easy questions before attempting the difficult ones  is very important. This aids in attempting a  good number of questions altogether in the Aptitude Paper.  Keep in mind “Even Kohli does not play all the balls of a good bowler rather he hits boundaries when a loose ball comes around”. So, the game plan should be to apply this strategy of completing the easy questions first, making time as your friend and easing the situation for yourself.

  3.  Doing Simple Calculations  viz. 12X18 or 14X17 or 272 : Were the answers flashing in your mind while reading or are you thinking of picking up a pen and paper to solve it? If you answered them like 2X3 or 22 , your preparation is on the right track else  you probably neglected the simple stuff which could cost you dearly in the Aptitude Section.
    These simple calculations take 5 to 10 secs to solve for some and 1 sec for those who memorize simple tables, squares, cubes etc.. “Even the best batsmen  practice their signature strokes without exception” so why not you?
Aptitude tests no longer have to pose a challenge. You have all the tools that you need, you just need to put it in practice. As much as knowing what to do is good, knowing what not to do is equally important so learn to focus on the right approach and save time. Keep practicing!

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Friday, 20 March 2015

5 Interview Mistakes You Should Avoid

http://blog.talentsprint.com/2015/03/5-interview-mistakes-you-should-avoid.html

You are appearing  for your first ever job interview and you want to make an impression. Your resume talks so much about you, but are you ready to match not only what you've put down on your resume but also about what it takes to get the job? Employers are very particular about who they hire. Even a small mistake can get magnified when it comes to competitive jobs and opportunities.

Therefore, it is imperative to be aware and understand how to avoid these 5 common interview mistakes.
  1. Not researching about the company and the job that you have applied for
    If you have no clue about the job or the company you are interviewing for, you appear clueless about what you want and may automatically get disqualified. You should understand the company’s current needs - tap into social media, search for blogs or articles and keep yourself well-informed.
  2. Not appropriately dressed
    This is one of the biggest mistakes; wearing the wrong attire for an interview. One doesn’t have to make a fashion statement nor does one have to spend a lot of money to buy expensive clothes however it is important to look well dressed, professional and polished. First Impression matters. Experts say we size up new people in somewhere between 30 seconds and two minutes. So pay attention to your grooming.
  3. Arriving late    
    Job candidates who arrive late reflect poor time management skills. Always respect the interviewer’s time; it shows that you are reliable and mean business. If you are not serious and professional enough to be on time for your own interview you leave a very poor image of yourself and lose your chances of getting hired.
  4. Helping yourself to a chair before it is offered to you
    It is polite to wait to be offered a seat. Don’t just enter and sit without being asked to. This can even amount to arrogance. Basic courtesy and professional etiquette is extremely important. You need to be aware of how to conduct and present yourself irrespective of the confidence you feel in an interview room. 
  5. Over-explaining answers
    Answer to the point. In order for you to do this, you need to have clarity on the question. Take a couple of seconds to structure what you need to say to be specific. Do not rattle off as this leads to rambling. It is a sign of nervousness when you start sharing information that is irrelevant.  Do not bore your interviewer by being too talkative either. Remember to stay on track while answering. A good idea would be to practice ahead hypothetical interview questions, this increases your confidence. And when you are confident, you tend to relax, actively listen and respond appropriately.
"The will to win is worthless if you do not have the will to prepare."
 The better prepared you are, the better your chances to ace ‘the’ job interview. 


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10 Must-Have Skills to Start a Successful Career

http://blog.talentsprint.com/2015/03/10-must-have-skills-to-start-successful.html

The day you start your college, is the day you should start updating your skills. This way slowly and surely you will build all the necessary skills increasing your chances of success at that first job interview significantly. Take a look at the 10 skills you must start developing today for a better career.
  1. Start building a global mindset –  Get an insight on how firms operate, what is happening in different industries, how they work across geographies and get to know about their products. In other words - expand your general knowledge.  
  2. Develop the ability to communicate better – It is important to be able to converse with people inside and outside an organization effectively. The more people you talk to, the better your chances at the interview. The interviewer wants to hear you and also wants to know how well you can articulate or explain an answer.
  3. Sharpen leadership skills – Can you prioritise, work efficiently and productively, and manage your time well? Can you think creatively about problems? Take responsibility for your own ideas? Able to motivate and direct others? If not, then it's time to hone these skills.
  4. Perfect your teamwork skills – Being able to work with other people is a key skill that employers look for. Put in your thoughts but also try to understand others’ opinion. Eventually it is collaboration at work that helps deliver positive results. 
  5. Flexibility – Adapt successfully to changing situations and  environments.
  6. Practice Time Management – Working life presents many challenges. Learn how to prioritise assignments and prepare to work on deadlines. ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’.
  7. Refine your Communication Skills – You need to be able to express yourself concisely, but you also need to be a good listener and good at asking questions. Your ability to communicate well will be one of the most noticeable things about you during the job hiring process.
  8. Develop Problem Solving Skills – This is all about using logic, as well as imagination, to make sense of your situation and come up with an intelligent solution. It can be about anything - from trying to solve a computer problem to organising a company event. 
  9. Practice Confidence – Learn the art of striking a balance of being confident in yourself but not arrogant; to believe in your colleagues and the company you will work for. If you are confident, then you are capable.
  10. Enhance office etiquette – Everything is new for you, but knowing how to act in an office is extremely important. The way you sit, say goodbye and shake hands, all make a difference in getting a job.
Take time to think about the skills listed above.  Write down some examples and see where you stand. Identify your skills and the possible gaps. Use it as a benchmark to improve and differentiate yourself.  An excellent academic record alone will not compensate for a weak skill set as employers expect today's graduates to be a high performing employee.  It is a challenging world out there; be prepared to face it with skills that matter.


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Sunday, 8 March 2015

International Women’s Day!

March 8, 2015 is International Women’s Day. And, what better way to celebrate it rather than ask some of the women who run TalentSprint about what Women’s Day means to them! Here is what they had to say.

Sabina Noronha,
Executive Assistant,
Hyderabad

What does Women's Day mean to you?
Celebration of being a women as I play a integral part being a mother, wife and daughter.

What is your take on the theme 'Make it Happen'?
Women word itself means "Make it Happen" come what may.

What is 'the one thing' that you hope will change for women, next year, by this time?
NO RAPE/ CASES - fingers crossed. Hope this happens!!

What is your mantra to a good ‘Work Life Balance’?
Time Management

Your ‘Wow’ Moment as a Career Woman till now?
When my son gave birth to a "MOTHER"



Sylvia Fiona J, 
Senior Consultant – Delivery,
Chennai

What does Women's Day mean to you?
A time to remember the struggles women have in common and the strength and courage they display in those times and continue to move forward with hope. A Time to be Proud of being a woman and it's special to know we have a day to celebrate that.

What is your take on the theme 'Make it Happen'?
It's engaging and encouraging. ‘Make it Happen' reiterates that Women deserve to be acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts.

What is 'the one thing' that you hope will change for women, next year, by this time?
Violence against Women (Rape, Domestic Violence, Sexual Harassment, women trafficking, forced prostitution etc). That there would be more stringent action and immediate punishment against such violence.

What is your mantra to a good ‘Work Life Balance’?
Communication and Setting the Right Priorities

Your ‘Wow’ Moment as a Career Woman till now?
Quite a few - to list a couple - When I was recognized for my contribution to the Online Training Business and the feedback I receive from my students.



  
Saloni Gupta, 
Senior Manager,
Hyderabad

What does Women's Day mean to you?
Woman's day reminds me of the gender gap that exist in the world today and the need for us to envision a day of the world without it.

What is your take on the theme 'Make it Happen'?
The world needs more peacemakers, more healers and more storytellers today. Women can make it happen!

What is your mantra to a good ‘Work Life Balance’?
Work Hard. Be Nice

Your ‘Wow’ Moment as a Career Woman till now?
I have met some extraordinary Women Leaders who have changed the world and are true inspiration in my career.



  
Vathsala Narasimman,
Manager – Delivery, 
Bangalore

What does Women's Day mean to you?
The ability to nurture life makes woman the most powerful and strongest being. In my opinion Women's Day is an opportunity to revel in the fact that we are not only winners but we also create winners & celebrate our remarkable contribution to our society

What is your take on the theme 'Make it Happen'?
"Yes We Can"
 This is how we will do it
  • Believing in ourselves
  • Not be afraid to learn
  • Engage and collaborate with other women
What is 'the one thing' that you hope will change for women, next year, by this time?
The one thing that I hope will change for women, next year is that men will take the Ariel Advertisement “Share the Load" seriously and this is not just for the urban women, it should reach every nook and corner of India.

What is your mantra to a good ‘Work Life Balance’?
"No one can do it alone", A support network is crucial both at and outside work. Collaboration is the key to success. Whether at work or in life when competing turns to collaborating we succeed. Of the many paths to success, none can be walked alone.

Your ‘Wow’ Moment as a Career Woman till now?
Every-time I hear from a colleague or my trainees that I have contributed to his or her success I think..." Wow I have made a difference to someone". I am fortunate to have got many such Wow moments. As I reflect on my career as a trainer before I joined TalentSprint and now as a mentor and Principal Business Communication trainer at TS in the past 4 years. I realize I have come full circle.



Gayathri C V, Consultant – Delivery, Chennai

What does Women's Day mean to you?
Makes one feel proud to be a woman.

What is your take on the theme 'Make it Happen'?
Encouragement and recognition of women in service must become an everyday habit, something we do as a routine part of our lives rather than remember it once a year on Women’s Day. Let’s #makeithappen!!!

What is 'the one thing' that you hope will change for women, next year, by this time?
I sincerely hope crime against women comes down and some stringent law comes in place to protect women.

What is your mantra to a good ‘Work Life Balance’?
Enjoy what you do be it office work or personal. Give your 100% to both and you will hit the balance.

Your ‘Wow’ Moment as a Career Woman till now?
My wow moment happened when I was doing CRT training and in a particular batch all my students got placed and my students came and told me “Mam, you helped us get placed”. For me the happiness in their faces was my “wow” moment!


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Monday, 2 March 2015

Indian Budget 2015-16 Highlights


FISCAL DEFICIT
  • Fiscal deficit seen at 3.9 percent of GDP in 2015/16
  • Will meet the challenging fiscal target of 4.1 percent of GDP for 2014-15
  • Current account deficit below 1.3 percent of GDP
GROWTH
  • GDP growth is seen at between 8.1 percent and 8.5 percent Year/Year
INFLATION
  • Expects consumer inflation to remain close to 5 percent by March, opening room for more monetary policy easing
  • Monetary policy framework agreement with the RBI clearly states the objective of keeping inflation below 6 percent
REVENUES
  • Revenue deficit seen at 2.8 percent of GDP
  • Non-tax revenue seen at 2.21 Lac Crore Rupees
  • Net receipts under market stabilisation scheme estimated at 20,000 Rupees 
DISINVESTMENT
  • Total stake sale in 2015/16 seen at 69,500 Crore Rupees 
  • Sets stake sale target for 2016/17 at 55,000 Crore Rupees
MARKET REFORMS
  • Propose to merge commodities regulator with SEBI
  • To bring a new bankruptcy code
  • Amending the RBI act this year, to provide for a monetary policy committee
  • To set up public debt management agency
  • To establish an autonomous bank board bureau to improve management of public sector banks
POLICY REFORMS
  • To enact a comprehensive new law on black money
  • To launch a national skills mission soon to enhance employability of rural youth
  • Allocates 34,699 Crore Rupees for rural employment guarantee scheme
GENERAL ANTI-AVOIDANCE RULES (GAAR)
  • Government defers rollout of anti-tax avoidance rules GAAR by two years
  • GAAR to apply prospectively from April 1, 2017
  • Retrospective tax provisions will be avoided
TAXATION
  • To abolish wealth tax
  • Replaces wealth tax with additional 2 percent surcharge on super-rich
  • Proposes to cut to 25 percent corporate tax over next four years
  • Corporate tax of 30 percent is uncompetitive
  • Proposes to rationalise capital gains tax regime for real estate investment trusts
  • Expects to implement goods and services tax by April 2016
  • To reduce customs duty on 22 items
  • Basic customs duty on commercial vehicle doubled to 20 percent
  • Proposes to increase service tax rate and education cess to 14 percent from 12.36 percent
PERSONAL INCOME TAX
  • No revision of income tax brackets
  • Limit of deduction of health insurance premium increased to 25,000 Rupees from 15,000 Rupees; limit increased to 30,000 Rupees from 20,000 Rupees for the elderly
  • People aged above 80 and not covered by health insurance to be allowed deduction of 30,000 Rupees for medical expenses
  • Additional deduction of 25,000 Rupees for the disabled
  • Limit on deduction for contributions to the pension fund and new pension scheme increased to 150,000 Rupees from 100,000 Rupees
  • Additional deduction of 50,000 Rupees for contribution to new pension scheme under section 80CCD
  • Monthly transport allowance exemption doubled to 1,600 Rupees
INVESTMENT
  • Government to provide 79,400 Crore Rupees capital infusion to state-run banks
  • Public investment needed to catalyse investment
INFRASTRUCTURE
  • Plans to set up national investment infrastructure fund
  • Proposes 5 "ultra mega" power projects for 4,000 MW each
  • Second unit of Kudankulam nuclear power station to be commissioned
  • Will need to build additional 100,000 km of road
EXPENDITURE
  • Plan expenditure estimated at about 4.65 Lac Crore Rupees
  • Non-plan expenditure seen at about 13.12 Lac Crore Rupees
  • Allocates 2.46 Lac Crore Rupees for defence spending
  • Allocates 33,150 Crore Rupees for the health sector
GOLD
  • To launch gold deposit accounts and sovereign bond
  • Import duty stays at 10 percent; disappoints jewellers
  • To work on Indian-made gold coin to cut imports
CIGARETTES
  • Raises excise duty on cigarettes by 25 percent for cigarettes of length not exceeding 65 mm and  by 15 percent for cigarettes of other lengths
SUBSIDIES
  • Food subsidy seen at 1.24 Lac Crore Rupees
  • Fertiliser subsidy seen at 72,969 Crore Rupees
  • Fuel subsidy seen at 30000 Crore Rupees
  • Major subsidies estimated at 2.27 Lac Crore Rupees
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Monday, 23 February 2015

5 Ways to Stand Out in a Group (Discussion)

Group Discussion is a platform used by recruiters to evaluate aspirant's personality, their ability to communicate with peers and work in a group, to check their subject knowledge and most importantly their social skills. 

Whatever be the nature of job or the position, it demands working in a group and the ability to communicate your views to the group and accept the inputs from the members of the group. 


Here is a 5 Step Process to present yourself effectively in a Group Discussion and also to Stand Out from the rest of the group.

1: GRIP YOUR AUDIENCE

Hold the Group members and the panel’s attention intellectually. The manner in which you present your point, the choice of words, your logical thought flow and the appropriate tone should set the pace. Don’t make light of the tone part as most people tend to lose out even if they have a strong point because they are inaudible. Taking on the role of a facilitator adds to visibility. Don’t be aggressive in your body language and learn to counter the points put forth by your peers intelligently.

2: RECIPROCATE TO ENGAGE

Reinforce the meaning of a discussion by reciprocating to your peers point. It is logical to respond either through positive acknowledgement or reinforcement. A simple, ‘that’s a valid point’ or if you are contradicting then, I'm afraid that is not in line with what we were discussing at hand. Support your peer’s point by adding information or examples. Some form of response is critical for the discussion to have vigor and succession. Avoid expressing only points that you have prepared and ensure there is a link to the previous point mentioned.

3: ORGANIZE YOUR THOUGHTS

Always be clear in your head with what you want to say, learn to think on your feet, listen carefully to your peers and respond appropriately and in a timely fashion. Ensure your points are supported by clear and factual examples. Even better, provide famous examples. Something familiar registers easy and fast. Use transitional words and phrases like ‘in other words’ or ‘to rephrase it’ when you want to clarify or t ‘on the other hand’ or ‘on the contrary’ for contradiction. When you want to compare a point, ‘in the same way’ or ‘likewise’ works and ‘to illustrate’ or ‘for instance’ for illustration. Avoid incomplete sentences and don’t be ambiguous jumping from one thought to another.

4: UPHOLD THE GROUP

You can uphold the group by encouraging the shy ones or candidates who struggle to present their points. Many people find it challenging to complete a sentence or are inaudible while others may not get an opportunity to present their points. Step in as a facilitator and give them a chance to share their opinion. Pay attention and keep track of time, remind the team of time left and set the group in preparation for the conclusion. Be assertive but be courteous, do not interrupt another members point but wait to let them finish and then intervene at the right time. Watch your body language and at any point of time do not point fingers or raise hands at a member for the sake of emphasis.

5: PREPARE TO EXCEL

Start by acquiring information. Read voraciously, research relevant points on various current topics. Look at examples and explanations to help support your points especially needed to counter contradictions. Participate in mock group discussion to understand the group dynamics better.

Learn to identify your key skills:
  1. Are you good at listening and drawing points from peers to enhance discussion?
  2. Are you good at being a facilitator?
  3. Are you good at retention and are able to recollect points and present it at the right time, for example, summarization?
Record yourself and see how you articulate.
  1. Are you maintaining the right pace and volume?
  2. Are you comprehensible?
Preparation is a must and the right time is now.

On the whole, be yourself, show receptivity, think before you speak and use facts, quotes and statements to express a clear chain of thought. 


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Friday, 6 February 2015

Current Affairs: Not in One Day but Everyday

    “Current Affairs: The latest and updated news available for preparation in Competitive exams”. I’m sure you’ve see this headline as you search for the latest news online. The sources vary. We are aware of the many sites which guide us with questions and answers, The Hindu publishes a separate segment on Current Affairs. There are magazines that offer in-depth analysis of issues and events in India and around the World. There are even groups on Face book where discussions happen on various news posts. While these may be excellent sources to rely on how does one still take time to prepare on such a vast topic.  50 questions, 50 marks  - How to take advantage and score maximum marks in this section.

To begin with make ‘Reading a Lifestyle’.
    Habituate reading news to become more knowledgeable not just for the exams. The attitude must change from solely focusing for the purpose of examination but rather make it a habit that improves not just your general knowledge but your reading comprehension and speaking skills. The more information you become aware of and retain, you become knowledgeable and it enhances your communication.

Let us explore some strategies to retain information we read.

Strategy 1:
For a particular issue, do gather prior history or events pertaining to the issue.  For example, Republic Day Celebrations just got over recently. Read up facts and history of this event.
  1. This was the 66th republic day celebrated across the nation.
  2. The First republic day was in 1950 when India became a Republic with Constitution of India coming into force.
  3. The main theme of 2015 Republic Day parade was “Women Empowerment”.
  4. U.S President Barack Obama was the Chief Guest at the 66th Republic Day parade and this was the first time The President of United States attended such a celebration.
  5. The first Chief guest of Republic Day Parade was President of Indonesia Sukarno in 1950.
When you explore the history and events of a particular event or issue, your knowledge is expanded and it improves recollection and retention.

Also make note of the important developments on a daily basis. This allows room for progressive knowledge check.

Strategy 2:
Skim through headlines quick and decide what to read.

Identifying what to read is also an art because it involves a lot of self discipline and an eye for detail.

In a page filled with advertisements and various news headlines, how does one focus and narrow down on the most essential one without wasting time on the irrelevant ones.

For example, if the headlines on a page were such that
  1. Let nation debate the Preamble: Ravi Shankar
  2. Jaishankar is Foreign Secretary
  3. Cabinet goes by HC Tax relief for Vodafone
  4. Now, German help for smart cities
  5. No more din in this tiger’s lair.
  6. Bedi woos Muslims
  7. Bardhaman Blast
So, which ones do you read and which ones do you overlook. Ideally, one should spend time on the second headline which specifically addresses the competitive exams and the third one maybe for Group discussions and the likes.  Most importantly do not get distracted by petty news, gossips and political hullabaloo and spend less time on state level and district level news. Ideally one needs to focus on the First Page, the economy section, Sports and International News. To get the best ensure you also follow a good newspaper or magazine and TV news hour.

Strategy 3:
Develop scientific ways to read the news paper in less time.

In order to do this one must increase their reading speed. First analyze how many words per minute (wpm) you can read. The average adult reads prose text at 250- 300 wpm. The idea is not to understand every word or get stuck with difficult words that hinder comprehension but to get the overall message of the text.

While reading, one tends to regress, ‘ conscious rereading’ and back-skipping (subconscious rereading via misplacement of fixation). This happens when you lose focus, daydream or just read for the sake of reading without paying attention to the content. This is when you do not comprehend and waste time rereading. So, it is important to eliminate regression and back skipping to increase speed. Learn to test yourself with reading for comprehension. Condition your mind to focus and register what you read.

Strategy 4:
Try to focus on the language as well.

There are many advantages while you take time to update yourself with the latest news. While you definitely expand your knowledge this also helps improve your reading comprehension skills and is a sure - fire way to expand one’s vocabulary. As a post reading activity, revisit the unfamiliar or new words and understand the application and usage of the word in various contexts.

Strategy 5:
Try discussing with friends.

There is nothing like a good discussion on a topic or news event that aids in retention.  Because it’s active participating learning, it’s more engaging and easy to remember.

Create forums or join a discussion forum, ask your friends and family views on the latest news and share yours too.

Current Affairs does cover a wide range of subjects. It builds language, vocabulary, reading comprehension, critical thinking, problem solving, oral expression and listening skills. It provides a ‘writing model’. Is a source to open up communications and offers ideal opportunities for group discussions and debates. Most of all it makes you a competent lifelong learner.

So, what’s stopping you from picking up that newspaper or magazine?

Read Away and Read Everyday!


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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Improve your Vocabulary for Bank Exams

Most bank exam aspirants find Vocabulary challenging especially when asked to identify synonyms and antonyms for a given word from the options without any context.

There are various methods one can employ to improve their vocabulary.


Let us explore 3 important and effective methods in this blog

Method 1: Reading

The one method that will never run out of fashion and always remain efficient is ‘Reading’. Recognizing words through context helps retain their meaning and for this, one has to read and read extensively. The only difference is, your reading style needs to be focused to identify any new word and immediately apply context clues to assist with inferring the meaning. The ideal approach to learning vocabulary through reading would involve 3 steps viz.

Step 1:  Context: One needs to understand the context and find out if it is suggesting a positive or a negative meaning, are there any contrast clue words or cause and effect clue words etc.

Let’s look at this example to understand how context clues can come handy in identifying the meaning of an unfamiliar or new word.

“Mallery’s mom thought that the new outfit that she had bought for her was modish. Mallery did not want to break it to her, but it was totally out of style.”

In the above example, you have a contrast clue word ‘ but’ that tells you that the underlined word has to be opposite in meaning to the clue phrase ‘ out of style’. And that would be stylish. So the meaning of the unfamiliar or new word  Modish’ is ‘stylish’.

Lets take one more example.

Father was ecstatic because Joshua decided to go to the college that he wanted him to.

From the above example, we realize the hint word ‘ because’ which brings in a cause and effect relationship and answers the question ‘ why? ; explaining that his son’s decision to go to the same college that his father decided made him very happy. So, the meaning of ‘ecstatic’ is ‘happy’.

Step 2 : Word Class: by this I mean understanding the various forms that one word can take up.

Word Class – Let’s take the word ‘ Exhaust’

The verb form is exhausts ( simple present), exhausted ( simple past) & exhausting (continuous).

Ex: I exhausted my funds before the month was out.
The noun form is ‘Exhaustion’. Ex: He collapsed from exhaustion.
The adjective form is ‘exhaustible, exhaustive, exhausted and exhausting.
Ex: They did an exhaustive search or I had an exhausting day
The adverb form is exhaustingly, exhaustedly, exhaustively
Ex: They finished the project exhaustedly with many elements sloppily completed.
So, understanding the different forms that one word has shows the functional meaning that word creates in a context.

Step 3: Practice: Create your own sentences after you know the meaning of the given word to reinforce retention.

Let’s use the example word from Step 1, ‘Modish’ and create our own sentences.
Her black gown was modish.

He wore a smart brown suit with modish shoes that stood out enhancing his looks.

Method 2: Root Words

The second method is a good knowledge on the suffixes for different word class which will also be helpful in understanding the meaning of those words. And of course don't forget 'root words'

For ex: take the word " Ludicrous" - The suffix is ous , other words -, advantageous, courageous, dangerous, delicious, humorous etc...all these are describing words and therefore are adjectives.

So you know that Ludicrous is an adjective too. Now, ' Ludi' comes from the latin root word ludus that means play, make sport of, jest; sportive; pastime...something that is probably silly and not serious because it’s unreasonable or inappropriate

If you look up the meaning of ludicrous, it says; “absurd or incongruous to the point of provoking ridicule or laughter".

Method 3: Word Games

The third method is Word Games. There is nothing like a game that stimulates your brain cells, keeps track of your progress and rewards you for the same. The best part about Vocabulary games is that it recognizes the words that you are yet to master and encourages you in a quick and intelligent way to improve vocabulary.

There are so many sites that you can explore to master words essential to academic and business success. Listing a few that you can get started with.

In order to improve your vocabulary, ideally, you should use a combination of all the above 3 methods together. Of course, one may be better at one of these methods, but what we have seen is that someone who uses all the three methods together learns faster and retains the learning for a longer duration.

I am sure, you will, using these methods, find learning vocabulary lot more simpler than what you may have experienced so far.
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