CDS Vocabulary – Steps to Improve Vocabulary for CDS English

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

CDS Vocabulary forms the base for a number of topics in the English section of the exam and hence, it is important to have a good hold over it. So, here are some important tips to improve your vocabulary for CDS English section. Read these tips to strengthen your vocabulary and enhance your English preparation for the upcoming Combined Defence Services Exam.

Tips to Improve CDS Vocabulary for English Section

The English section of the CDS Exam consists of 120 questions, leading to a total of 100 marks. That leaves less than one minute per question. Hence, it is essential to be well-versed in all the topics in English. Regardless of all the individual topics in English, the vocabulary remains the backbone of them all. CDS Vocabulary questions can appear in many forms. It may come as a part of the reading comprehension, fill in the blanks, one-word substitutions, cloze questions, or simply as synonyms and antonyms.

Students must note that CDS vocabulary is not something that can be mastered overnight. It takes practice and dedication; it is a skill to be developed. Words are the building blocks of a language and an important determinant of a person’s education and profession. Most people that are said to have an excellent vocabulary have read and practiced for years before they were completely adept at it. That said, for competitive exams, especially CDS, some certain tips or practices can be learned to improve and score better in the vocabulary section.

1. Reading – To enhance your CDS vocabulary for the exam, start by reading. One need not always be an avid reader of classics or thrillers to be able to “read”. Online articles, short stories, newspapers, and magazines are excellent sources of quick reading and new vocabulary. What is important is to read from a variety of sources to expose yourself to a new set of words, as well as understand their contextual meanings. Et voila, this has the added advantage of improving your reading speed as well. On average, make sure you read at least 2 articles a day

2. Making Notes – Reading articles may be accomplished. You make even go further and look up unknown words on google (let’s face it, dictionaries are a far far cry). But how many times do you remember and use the word in the future? We can safely say that people remember better when they write down things. It’s the same with words. Keep a small journal or a notebook, which can be carried with you always. Note down words and their meanings, if you can, whenever possible. Then, you may read and flip through the pages to familiarize yourself with the words. This practice gives you an individualistic collection of new words, which can also be revised very easily.

3. Learn the Origin of the Words – This is quite a lasting way to remember the words. A lot of words have a positive or negative connotation to them, which is indicated by its prefix or suffix. Knowing the origin of the words also helps you comprehend any such similar words that you may find. Here is one, for example, quoted from the much-revered vocabulary book of Norman Lewis.

In Latin, the word for other is alter, and several valuable English words are built on this root. Altruism (AL’-tr60-iz-am), the philosophy practiced by altruists, comes from one of the variant spellings of Latin alter, other. Altruistic (al-tr60-IS’-tik) actions look toward the benefit of others. If you alternate (A WL’-tar-nayt’), you skip one and take the other, so to speak, as when you play golf on alternate (AWL’- far-nat) Saturdays. An alternate (AWL’-tar-nai) in a debate, contest, or convention is the other person who will take over if the original choice is unable to attend. And if you have no alternative (awl-TUR’-nativ), you have no other choice. And keeping in mind that alter means other, you can quickly understand words like alter ego, altercation, and alteration. Ari alteration (awl’-t: i-RA Y’-shan) is, of course, a change-, -a making into something other. When you alter (A WL’-tar) your plans, you make other plans. An altercation (awl’-tar-KAY’-shan) is a verbal dispute. When you have an altercation with someone, you have a violent disagreement, a fight with words.

And that is how every word can be broken down for an easier understanding and better memory.

4. Create an Idea – It is important to be able to create an idea around the word. This means that you associate it with a context and can explain the word. This too, helps in better understanding and usage of the same. Here is another example from ‘Norman Lewis’ to explain it better:
“Your attitude to life is simple, direct, and above-board-every decision you- make is based on the answer to one question: What’s in it for me? If your selfishness, greed, and ruthless desire for self-advancement hurt other people, that’s too bad. This is a tough world, pal, dog eat dog and all that, and I, for one, am not going to be left behind!
That is how you would describe an egoist. If it seems too difficult to word ideas around a word, start with a sentence. This is the best way to learn new words.

5. Link the Word with Mnemonics – A mnemonic can be understood as the study of systems for improving and aiding the memory of an individual. This process can be used in learning words. Think of an image that represents the word. Then associate a person that you know with that word. Repeat this in your head several times till it becomes a habit to associate that word with that person and image. Simply put, this is a form of the word association.

6. Practice – This is basic and understood by everyone, but still not stressed enough. All the above methods must be practiced, time and again. There is little point in indulging in any other exercise, without practicing. Learn the word and practice them. Doing little time-based tests to test your speed and accuracy.

7. Appreciate the Effort and have Fun – Learning words need not be a chore, as you may assume it to be. It can be quite enjoyable, not to mention useful. Every word has a story.

Follow the tips mentioned above regularly and you will definitely see an improvement in your CDS vocabulary.

Also, check:


Our Apps Playstore
SSC and Bank
Other Exams
GradeStack Learning Pvt. Ltd.Windsor IT Park, Tower - A, 2nd Floor, Sector 125, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201303
Home Practice Test Series Premium