Don’t give away those easy marks!

Scoring in the 90s in English is no longer a pipe dream. It is, in fact, an achievable reality. The literature section can prove to be a major factor in helping you notch up that satisfying score.

Holding almost 50% marks, the literature section can be mastered by reading and learning facts from the text book. But lack of preparation can take away the opportunity to earn some easy marks. So, here are the three things you must watch out for:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever
Its loveliness increases, it will never
Pass into nothingness; but will keep

A bower quiet for us
a. ‘A thing of beauty is joy for ever’. Explain.
b. Why doesn’t a beautiful thing ‘pass into nothingness’?
c. What does poet mean by ‘a bower quiet for us’

The RTC question based on the poem is easy to answer albeit with a little caution. You must know line by line explanation of the poems in order to answer accurately.

The tricky part of RTC is that it appears that the questions are asking the same thing, but they are not. They are testing your in-depth knowledge and clarity of thought. For example, in the above RTC, it may seem that the first two questions are not very different from each other but they are quite distinct, and thus need precise answers. Any overlapping of words or ideas won’t fetch you a good score. So while the correct explanation to the (a) part of the question would include words like “source of eternal joy” and “permanent delight”, part (b) would require phrases like “attractiveness grows” and “impact never fades away”.

The crofter can be called as a good host. Why?

In the above question, students are likely to mention that the crofter welcomed the tramp and offered him food and shelter, such an answer will be treated as incomplete and will not suffice. The student needs to include specifics like the crofter offered him hot supper, gave him tobacco to smoke, played cards with him to display your in-depth understanding of the chapter.

How did the Champaran episode prove to be a turning point in Gandhiji’s life? Explain with reference to the text, Indigo

The long answer type question is one where you must flaunt your knowledge of the subject. However, avoid writing the summary. Give detailed description of the incident mentioned in the question. Marks are awarded if you recognise the timeline mentioned in the question and answers accordingly. Hence, in the above answer value points such as: Made the people understand the value of self-reliance, got support from lawyers to fight the case of share-croppers, tried to alleviate the distressed peasants, made the ordinary people to contribute in national freedom, would lend relevance and completeness to the answer.

Authored by Monica Kalra.
Published in Hindustan Times, New Delhi, February 26, 2013.
(Monica Kalra is the Head of the Department for English at Studymate- Learning Centers from Hindustan Times).