As the placement season is upon us, many engineering students find the English test hard to crack

The placement season has started in engineering colleges around the country. It is more or less sure that IT companies will be the largest recruiters.

People talk about IT jobs not being good, but an alternative is yet to be seen. That is topic for another discussion altogether, the job conundrum of graduates in our country.

The recruitment pattern of most IT companies consists of a test followed by an interview. Seldom do companies use group discussions these days. In most cases, the largest eliminations happen in the test. On an average, about 75 per cent of the job-seekers are eliminated at this point. The higher the status of the company the larger the elimination, one feels.

This being the case, it is important for job aspirants to be prepared to face this “test.” The fact that many of their batch mates are not job aspirants poses an additional threat to them as peer pressure may tempt them not to prepare rather than be prepared.

The test is not just a reasoning test as it used to be in the earlier days. Most of the companies give a two-section test, one focussing on reasoning and the other on English. Literary English is not what is tested here but transactional, communicative English. This shows the importance that technology companies give to the English language in modern times. It is at par with the thinking ability. Surprisingly though, many of these tests seem not to test engineering skills or the knowledge of the chosen stream of study of the students. All testing seems to be of generic skills.

The feedback this year from campuses is that many students fail to crack the verbal section of the test. They lack English skills and thereby, communication ability. They should rectify the anomaly urgently.

Students seem to be extremely focussed on the technical and reasoning skills while preparing for the tests. While these are necessary, they need to focus on their English skills too because that seems to be their weak point. It is to be understood that only practice helps improve English skills, be it reading or writing, and the initiative has to come from the students themselves. It seems to be a common problem that graduates, especially in engineering, are averse to acquiring English skills. Peer pressure is against learning English as exemplified by the “boos” that some receive for trying to speak in English.

But job-seekers beware: you have to swim against the tide to learn English in our society, but there is no way you can get a job from campus if your verbal skills are poor.

The dichotomy is clear, but it is for you and you have to sort it out, for it is your requirement. It is your career that is at stake.

The author is Co-founder,