How to Prepare Spotting Error for the CDS Exam?

By Akanksha Jigyasu|Updated : October 5th, 2021

Spotting Errors is a very important topic of the English section of the CDS exam and looking at the trend of the past year's papers, it is safe to say that nearly 20-25 questions can be expected from spotting the errors in the Combined Defence Services exam. One can easily score on this topic if the basics are thorough. So, here are some important tips to prepare Spotting Error questions for the CDS exam.

Spotting Errors is a very important topic of the English section of the CDS exam and looking at the trend of the past year's papers, it is safe to say that nearly 20-25 questions can be expected from spotting the errors in the Combined Defence Services exam. One can easily score in this topic if the basics are thorough. So, here are some important tips to prepare Spotting Error questions for the CDS exam.

Read these Spotting error tips for the CDS exam now to understand the correct approach to solve the questions of error-spotting in less time in the written test of Combined Defence Services.

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How to solve Spotting Error-based questions in CDS Exam?

General rules for the preparation of Error Spotting:

  • Error spotting usually comes in sentences or paragraphs. Thus, start with reading the sentence or the paragraph.
  • This helps in a better understanding of the context and meaning of the same.
  • Secondly, look at options after reading the sentence/ paragraph.
  • Eliminate quickly what seems to be the most unlikely answer. This process will help you answer the questions faster.

Error Spotting Tips for CDS Exam

Follow the tips mentioned below to solve the error spotting questions easily in the CDS exam:

1. Build your vocabulary

Vocabulary is an important part of English and can be asked in many forms. One of the most common ways in which vocabulary is utilized is, in questions of spot errors. So, here is how you can improve their vocabulary.

  • Make sure you read everything you can get your hands on. This can be articles, compendiums, journals, and of course, books.
  • Then, note down all the words that you find difficult.
  • Another way is to learn the origin of the words. This helps in building your memory of new words and much better retention of them.

2. Understand Tenses

  • Tenses are perhaps the most commonly asked question in "spot the errors. Hence, it is imperative to be aware of all the tenses in the English language and their usage.
  • The best way to brush up on your tenses is to pick up a well-known grammar textbook and read all the rules pertaining to the different tenses.
  • There are three main tenses- Past, Present, and Future tense. Understand them properly and then practice questions based on them, in a time-bound test.
  • Here is an example of how tenses are used in these types of questions. Questions based on perfect tense usually prove to be the most difficult of all.
    As I reached the railway station(a)/I had found, a great rush of visitors(b)/whose relatives had left (c)/for the train was early. (d)/no error(e)
    Here, in the above sentence, “I had found” is the wrong tense. This is because 'found' is a word that is already in the past tense, there is no need to use present perfect in this scenario. Thus, “had found” can simply be replaced by the word “found” which is in simple present tense.

3. Learn Grammar rules

It is important to know all the parts of speech, especially your conjunctions, articles, and prepositions.

  • An article, simply put, is a prefix or a word that is always used before a noun. The purpose of an article is to create a certain definiteness or an attribute about the noun that is used. Articles are usually classified into definite or indefinite. The three articles are “A” “an” and “the”
  • Conjunctions are important in connecting two sentences or phrases. It is important to note, that there can always be only one conjunction in a sentence or a phrase. Some of the popular conjugations are: as, after, altogether, as far as, as soon as, as, also, though, until, whenever, whereas, etc.
  • Prepositions are words used before a noun or a pronoun usually to show the relationship between them and the rest of the words in the sentence. they describe the position of something, the time when an event occurs. It can also be used to describe the manner in which something was accomplished.

The tricky part in each of these questions is that these parts of speech are used with certain other words in the sentence, for it to be correct. Therefore, it is important to practice these to get a better grasp and score more in these topics.

4. Lookout for similarly spelled words

  • These are, in the English language known as homographs. This means that the word has the same spelling, but is used in a different context, and has a different meaning.
  • Here is a simple example.
    The word “bow” can mean to bend in reverence of someone. It can also be referring to a knot or a loop on a shirt. Thus, the exact usage can only be determined by the sentence it is used in.

5. Keep a check for spelling errors

  • Spelling errors are the easiest form of spotting error questions asked in the exam.
  • However, a lot of people lose marks here.
  • There is no shortcut to learning spelling. Moreover, most people forget to check for spelling errors in a question and check only grammar or vocabulary.
  • Therefore, it is vital to keep an eye out for any misspelled words in the question, which would indeed be a possible error.

General English rules for Spotting Error based questions

  • The English language is not always bound by a set of rules. In fact, it has as many exceptions, as there are rules.
    For Example:
    Hardly had I (a)/entered the compartment (b)/than I met (c)/my friend Elizabeth. (d)/no error (e)
    The word when should be used in the place of then (option D). Hardly and scarcely are always followed by when.
  • Collective nouns can be used both as singular or plural depending on the meaning.
    For example:
    The Team is headed to the FIFA finals after winning the Semis. But, the trial Teams were happy with their presentations to the judge.
  • The team leaders encourages (a)/ the participants who have (b)/difficulty in performing (c)/ the assigned task. (d) no error (e)
    The subject here is ‘the team leaders (plural) therefore verb also should be plural. Hence encourage (plural) in place of encourages (singular)

Well, these are some of the things one must keep in mind while attempting this segment. And as always, practice makes one perfect. 
An important thing to keep in mind is: practice in two ways- One, to increase your speed (the tests must be time-bound), and second, practice to increase your accuracy (get your hands on as many grammar books as you can).

Do not forget to check the tips to prepare English section of the CDS exam!


Important Links
CDS II 2021 Question PaperPrevious Year PapersCDS Exam Study Material
How to Prepare Mensuration for CDS Exam


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Akanksha JigyasuAkanksha JigyasuMember since Sep 2016
Currently working as Community Manager of Bank Segment at Gradeup. Has qualified SBI PO and SBI PO Associates exams and also worked as a Probationary Officer in State Bank of Mysore. Has more than a year's experience of educating students of the banking domain and looks after content generation and content quality management as well as the overall growth of the community. Believes firmly in creating content/study material which could be the go-to source for all banking aspirants and helps out the students on the platform enthusiastically. Her email address is
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karan chinna

karan chinnaJun 24, 2018

I have seen the notification
My doubt is cut off for 237 IMA and 266 is for AFA....... This cut off is for 300 or 500 marks
Navneet Singh
brother this cutoff include score of ssb
Hii mem !
In one of your examples of general English rules for spotting errors based questions u have already used plural form of verb but in solution u have described it so please pay attention on that example
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Mahendra Singh
Can u make some notes on CAPF
Maniratna Kumar
@Akanksha Jigyasu  mam,. Plinth to paramount is sufficient .
Baratam Sarath
wow very useful sir but there are some mistakes sir please rectify them

AnjaliOct 9, 2021

Do one thing if you want as I say 

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