How You Can Ace English in IBA DU Admission Test

Acing English in IBA DU admission test requires you to practice grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension questions. Strategizing and managing time during the exam is important.


Are you a candidate who has just completed high school and are thinking of getting a business degree here in Bangladesh? If you nodded yes to this question, chances are that a business degree from Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka (DU) is among your top choices.  Because of the stellar academic facilities and positive peer pressure IBA DU offers, a lot of students aspire to get accepted by the institute. This is why, it is necessary for you to take a solid preparation to ensure your entry into IBA.

The Admission Test

The IBA DU admission test consists of the following two modules:

Module 01: Written admission test

In the first part of the written test, the examinees are faced with Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs). Theses MCQs have five options out of which only one is correct. There are three sections in this part; which are: English Language and Communication, Mathematics, and Analytical Abilities. The cut off mark in each area is determined by the examiners every year.   

After completing the MCQs, the examinees are faced with the second part of the written test. In this part, the examinees have to prove their written English abilities. One can expect Translations, Dialogues, Sentence Corrections, and other form of Free Writing in this part.

Module 02: Verbal Communication Assessment

Once an examinee passes Module 01, they are invited to appear in Module 02 of the examination. In this module, the examinees have to take a writing assessment in English followed by taking an interview – conducted by IBA faculties themselves!

Taking into account the importance of English in the IBA DU admission test, this article shows you how you can ace the English section of this exam.  

The Core Items And How To Prepare For Them



There are several ways to score well in grammar in the IBA DU admission test. Firstly, the students should have an understanding of all the components within the purview of the syllabus and their applications. For instance, the question would not test whether you know the definition of collective noun. But it might test if you know how to use the right form of verb according to the collective noun used in a certain sentence.


Going through Cliff’s TOEFL will make you ready to ace all the grammar items in the admission test. While core items such as causative verbs, subjunctives, and conditionals are obviously important, it is equally essential to have a good grasp on the subtler lessons. Students should know about the differences between words and phrases such as ‘beside’ and ‘besides’, ‘yet’ and ‘already’, ‘a number of’ and ‘the number of’. Not only does Cliff’s TOEFL provide an overview of all these items, it also comes with Mini Tests for practice.

GMAT Official Guide will come handy while preparing for sentence correction. It comes with explanations for why only one out of the given options is the best answer and it additionally provides justification for rejecting all the remaining options. You can lurk in the forum of to practice sentence correction online.

The Question

English Language and Communication usually consists of 25 to 30 MCQs. A significant chunk of these MCQs are comprised of grammar items. The exact number varies from year to year. The MCQs could ask for the following things:

  • Error identification in a given sentence
  • Sentence correction
  • Identifying the correct/best sentence
  • Identifying the incorrect sentence



Even if you do not have a Shakespearean lexicon, you can strengthen your grasp on vocabulary with regular practice. The problem arises when students opt for rote memorization of word meanings instead of actually understanding the application of the given words in different contexts.

Firstly, remember that the question will be set in such a way that tests whether you know how to correctly use a certain word in a certain sentence. For instance, there is hardly any use for an IBA DU examinee to just memorize that the word anachronism means ‘the action of attributing something to a period to which it does not belong’. You have to be able to identify if this word has been used correctly in the following sentences:

This anachronism is considered an unintentional error that is a result of a writer’s carelessness and his lack of research.

The teacher pointed out several glaring anachronisms in Kanye’s essay.

Secondly, you have to make sure that you know the primary as well as secondary meanings of different words. Such as, the word ‘champion’ refers to someone who was won something. But you’ll also be expected to know the other meaning of this word – to support or defend.


Wordsmart 1 and 2 are good resources that would help you familiarise yourself with advanced words that you might find in the question. These books come with a comprehensive list of words that are alphabetically arranged. Additionally, it has ‘warm-up tests’, ‘quick quizzes’, and ‘final exam drills’ to enable you to have an enhanced preparation. 

If you wish to take your preparation up another notch, you can go through SAT wordlists and learn their applications. GRE Big Book has selecting the appropriate words to fill gaps and analogy exercises that you should practice. Websites such as  also comes handy while preparing for vocabulary. Another way of acquiring more vocabulary is to go through past questions and note down the unfamiliar words.

The Question

The kinds of vocabulary question you may find in the admission exam are:

  • Selecting the appropriate words to fill the gaps
  • Selecting the most suitable synonym/antonym of a given word
  • Analogy
  • Suffixes and Prefixes
  • Correct usage of words



In comprehension questions, you will be given a passage followed by MCQ questions about the passage. You will be expected to mark the right answers after finding it out from the given passage. Many students prefer to go through the entire passage at once and then move to the questions one by one. Some go straight to the question and then look for the answer in the given passage knowing exactly what to look for. The latter method comes handy if one falls short of time.


Past questions will serve as a good guide to give you an idea about what sort of comprehension questions are there in the IBA DU admission test.

The Question

You may be asked to identify the author’s tone and what can be inferred from the excerpt. The question may also ask what a certain idiom or phrase means in the given context of the passage.  It may also ask if a certain underlined portion is grammatically correct or if it needs to be replaced by any of the given options.




As mentioned earlier, after the examinees are done with the MCQs, they are faced with a written examination. This section usually comprises of 20 to 25 marks. You are judged based on whether your grammar, diction, and phrasing are up to the mark. It is important to keep your writing free from grammatical and spelling mistakes. Answering this section might require a smidgen of creativity.

A few years ago, an excerpt from Mark Forsyth’s book called “The Elements of Eloquence” went viral and took every language-enthusiast by surprise.  It goes like:

“adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-color-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac. It’s an odd thing that every English speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out. And as size comes before colour, green great dragons can’t exist.”

Read more on this here.

This sounds like an unwritten rule every English speaker agreed upon without knowing that they did. So how does a non-native English speaker internalize these nuances and achieve fluency? The key is to treat English as a language you aim to have a firm grip on, not a mere subject you want to score well in. This will help you develop a gut feeling about which sentence pattern to use while tackling the written section without having to rely excessively on grammar.


The resources you need to improve your writing skills are your favorite English movies and your favorite English novels. If you want to kill two birds with one stone and shoot for improving your English and get up-to-date with current affairs, English newspapers would come in handy.

The Question

You may be asked to write a short paragraph about a certain topic in this section. Don’t be surprised if you see that you have been asked to write something in Bangla. You may also be asked to translate a small paragraph from Bangla to English. When I took the entrance exam in 2018, I had to write a dialogue between a father and a son where the son had to convince his father to let him pursue a non-traditional career path (the son wanted to become a professional chef). See what I meant when I said this section might demand a bit of creativity from the examinees?

Preparing to Ace English

Your preparation should ideally constitute of the following phases:


It is wise to start your preparation with ample time in hand. In this phase, you should get acquainted with the core items that you are to expect during the examination. Make sure you collect all the required books and familiarise yourself with all the grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension items. Discuss and share ideas with your peers. It’s best to make a routine that you can realistically follow and stick to.


This is how you can practice in order to increase knowledge retention:

  • Flashcards for vocabulary – A lot of students find it quite boring to read page after page of new words. If you are one of them, you can make vocab flashcards that you can go through during your leisure. This might help you strengthen your learning in a not-so-boring way.
  • Self-tests –Taking frequent tests would help you to see if you are able to apply your knowledge to the fullest extent. It worked as a great confident boost for me when I was preparing for the IBA DU admission test back in 2018. You do not have to go on great lengths to take self-tests. It can be as simple as taking the ‘Mini Tests’ from Cliff’s TOEFL and ‘Quick Quiz(zes)’ from Wordsmart. Online resources are of great help for self-administered tests. Once you have covered most of the syllabus, it is advisable that you start solving past question papers.


In IBA DU admission test, building your own exam strategy is as important as being well prepared. You should keep the following things in mind while coming up with your exam plan:

  • Negative Marking:

The IBA DU admission test comes with time constraint AND negative marking. For each wrong answer, 0.25 marks get deducted from the marks you have already secured from the right answers you gave. So it is essential for you to utilize the time you are allotted to the fullest extent AND be sure that the answers you marked are correct.

  • Choosing Which Questions To Answer:

Remember that a lengthy and difficult question carries the same weight as a short and easier one. It becomes easier if you opt for the questions you are most confident about at first.

  • The Cut off:

The cut-off mark is usually around sixty percent in each section. So you are not expected to answer every question in the paper. Most importantly, you have to pass in each section individually. It is no use if you obtain a hundred percent in English but not have enough time to answer about sixty percent of the math and analytical questions correctly.

Find out more about time management and strategizing here.


The more you practice, the more you develop expertise. It might sound cliché but that doesn’t alter the validity of this statement. So make sure you revise the whole syllabus thoroughly before taking the admission test.


It is true that roughly one hundred and twenty students are taken in by IBA DU from a pool of six to seven thousand applicants. But it is also true that if you maintain persistency and consistency throughout the tenure of your preparation, your chances of getting accepted by the institution increase significantly. Now that you know all about the approaches to follow and resources to collect, it is your time to start preparing right away!