Learning English has become an unwritten criterion to get ahead in the world, especially as spoken English has acquired global significance as a benchmark in communication skills. English language courses, including English speaking course, reading and writing, listening comprehension, English vocabulary, and grammar rules, are immensely popular in India.

School-level courses for Class 12, as prescribed by the Central Board of Secondary Education in India, aim to promote language skills for academic as well as professional and social purposes. The CBSE Class 12 syllabus for English as a second language helps non-native speakers master a new language.

English, as a subject at the CBSE Class 12 stage, aims at preparing students for higher education, where a fairly high degree of proficiency in English may be required and, also, as an entry into the world of work.

The objectives of Class 12 English syllabus aid students to perceive the overall meaning and organization of the text, develop reasoning skills of reasoning and develop greater confidence and proficiency while learning a new language. The syllabus also stresses the importance of literary analysis and the use of originality and creativity in ideas.

Grammar rules, pronunciation practice, and an advanced level of language exchange (for example, use of tenses in different kinds of narration, the proper use of voices in scientific/ creative writings, use of proper sentences, clauses, words and phrases, and other stylistic variations), are the multiple pillars of this English language course.

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A black and white image with the silhouettes of pupils looking at a chalkboard while a silhouette of a teacher talks with the word "language" written on the chalkboard. Learning Portuguese can take some time.
Language learning is a combination of literary writing, speaking and reading skills and a lot of work on grammar and vocabulary | Source: Visual Hunt

CBSE Class 12 English Syllabus

For the CBSE Class 12 Board exams, it is equally important to take your English lessons seriously as any other mainstream subjects you have opted for. Pay attention in your English classes and know your English syllabus inside out, before you embark on your revision exercises.

English is a compulsory subject for all students in Classes 11-12, irrespective of the stream they choose.

The English paper can prove challenging for many students who struggle with new vocabulary, confuse their syllables and consonants and generally struggle to speak English well, and in reading and listening. For these students, especially, knowledge of the question paper pattern for class 12 English is of paramount importance. The English paper is divided into the following three sections:

  1. Section A: Reading - 30 marks
  2. Section B: Writing - 30 marks
  3. Section C: Literature - 40 marks

For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the first two sections that expressly assess the language skills of students.

Section A: Reading

This section has three passages of the following types:

  1. Two unseen passages with a variety of Very Short Answer / Short Answer or Multiple Choice type questions to test comprehension, interpretation, and inference. Vocabulary such as word formation and word meanings will also be tested. The passage will include two of the following:
    • Factual passages (e.g. instructions, descriptions, reports)
    • Descriptive passages involving opinion (e.g., argumentative, persuasive or interpretative text)
    • Literary passages (e.g. extract from fiction, drama, poetry, essay or biography).
  2. The third passage will assess the students' ability in note-making and abstraction to be tested on the basis of:
    • 1 Short Answer Type Question
    • 1 Long Answer Type Question.

Section B: Writing

In this section, students are evaluated on the various styles of writing such as:

  • Short answers:
    • Advertisement writing
    • Notice writing
    • Poster writing
    • Formal and informal invitation and reply
  • Long Answer Questions:
    • Letter writing based on verbal/ visual input. Letter types include:
    • Business or official letters
    • Letters to the editor
    • Application for a job
  • Very Long Answer Questions:
    • Article writing
    • Debate writing
    • Speech writing
    • Report writing.

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Illustration in newspapers and tabloids demands great drawing skills
Newspapers and magazines are a great resource when it comes to developing English, reading and writing skills | Source: Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Getting The Basics of Grammar Right

A fluent English speaker is usually someone who has his/ her grammar basics sorted. English learners, as well as those teaching English, must be aware of this reality as they try to spoken language skills. As you prepare for your CBSE Board exams, with the help of sample papers and past question papers, keep in mind the critical element of correct grammar to get you across the line.

Grammar is the system that structures a language, and every language has its own guidelines.

Grammar is the result of the conventions that determine how English is spoken and written, including spelling, inflected words, and the way English words are arranged to form meaningful sentences. In order to learn English grammar, you must familiarize yourself with a few basics first.

Parts of Speech

This was probably one of the first grammar lessons that you are taught in school. Essentially, they are the types of words that make up the language, such as nouns, adjectives, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, and sometimes articles. A proper understanding of these parts of speech and their different functions are absolutely critical for your ability to frame sentences correctly.

Use of Proper Order of Words

Texts in English follow a certain order when it comes to word use. It is not just a random placement of the different parts of speech. English sentences are structured following the subject-verb-object order. Typically, articles come before adjectives, and adjectives come before the nouns they modify. Remember to always place the modifiers as close to their nouns as possible.

Use Proper Punctuation

Punctuation is an important part of English because it indicates to the reader where the text starts, stops, pauses, and the relationships between the various parts of speech. Capitalize the first letter of every sentence, and the first letter of all proper nouns (the names of people and places).

The main punctuation marks in English are listed below, along with their applications:

  • Commas are used to separate thoughts, ideas, elements, and independent clauses.
  • Periods indicate the end of a sentence.
  • Semicolons join independent clauses in a single sentence or separate elements in a list.
  • Colons introduce items in a list, explanations, or definitions.
  • Question marks indicate that a question was posed.
  • Exclamation points show emphasis, imperatives, or declarations.
  • Apostrophes demonstrate possession or create contractions.
  • Quotation marks indicate that you are directly quoting someone else’s words.
  • Hyphens join separate words into compound words, modifiers, and numbers.
  • Dashes create a pause, interrupt a sentence, or add parenthetical information.
  • Parenthesis add additional information, references, or citations.
Punctuating your texts correctly can make a huge difference in the meaning you are trying to convey | Source: Leo Reynolds on Visual hunt

Don't Confuse the Confusing Words 

You will come across a number of English vocabulary words that look, sound, and/or are spelled the same, even though they differ in their meanings. These are called homographs (words that are spelled the same), homophones (words that are pronounced the same), heteronyms (words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently), and homonyms (words that are spelled and pronounced the same).

They can be a source of great confusion for English learners. As you go about learning new words, practice them by making charts, flashcards, and tables that help you remember the type and function of each. This will certainly help you avoid common errors and silly mistakes in grammar and composition.

Avoid Silly Mistakes

Writing practice is probably the best way to remember what you are learning. Maintain a revision notebook. You can also get creative by writing short stories using words that you want to be able to remember better. For the new-age learners, there is always emails and online chats to help you practice English communication and writing. However, avoid using SMS lingo!

Make use of learning resources at the school library, online video lessons in English, word games like crossword puzzles and Scrabble, or simply seek help from a private English tutor.

The correct usage of grammar in English is an indication of how proficient you have become in the language. Examiners often look for this quality in your answer scripts, more than your ability to memorize answers. As such, English grammar is an indispensable as well as an inescapable part of your preparation for the big exams.

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Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.