Over the past years, SSC exam has evolved drastically. Surprisingly, while the syllabus and exam pattern largely remains the same, the evolution is in terms of rising competition, improvised strategies and adoption of SMART work instead of conventional HARD work.
Thus, while the level of reasoning questions, 10th standard Mathematics questions or basic English remains the same, the cutoff have sored and so have the resultant competition. SSC is no longer a game of the mediocre student and aspirants from all walks of life have taken the dip in the holy SSC challenge. Be it an IIT-ian (Yes, you read it right!), a CAT 96 percentiler or an IAS aspirant. No example can be more relevant that this to prove this point:
Need we say more??
So, if you want to get your target job in SSC, you need to have a lethal cocktail of SMART work, personalized strategy combined with dedication and perseverance. And with the 7th Pay Commission (and a mouthwatering starting salary of 57000+, the competition is bound to increase every passing day!)
After interaction with 500+ top rankers in CGL 2013 and 2014 (most of whom are networked friends/colleagues), we have come up with an updated strategy that shall be suitably updated periodically with changing variables.
First, for the uninitiated friends, let’s know some useful information about SSC CGL Tier 1 exam (Prelims)
- Mode of the Exam is conventional pen-paper type(no online hassles like IBPS, SBI, NICL, LIC etc)
- Duration of Exam is 2 hours
- Format: 200 multiple choice questions
- Candidates won’t get any extra time to fill the bubbles. This implies 15-20 minutes of the precious 120 minutes shall be consumed in filling the bubbles on the OMR sheet
- Thus, you are left with ~100-105 minutes to attempt the 200 Questions
- And yes, there is no sectional cutoff in the exam, no need to be jack of all trades and master of none! Hindi medium/weak maths/weak GK candidates need not worry and excel in other sections.
- Now, the bifurcation of the 200 questions to be faced by you:
- a) Logical Reasoning: 50 questions
- b) General Awareness: 50 questions
- c) Quantitative Aptitude: 50 questions
- d) English Language and Comprehension: 50 questions
- Every correct answer shall fetch you 1 mark and wrong answer shall penalize you by ¼ or 0.25 mark
- The cutoff (in Tier 1/Prelims) to qualify for next stage (Tier 2 or CGL mains exam) have risen from 80-90 to the current 100+ for the past few years.
- The most important thing which we learnt from RTI filed by SSCtube is that SSC doesn’t have any data with them for those aspirants who were disqualified due to the use of correction fluid. Some of the friends used the correction fluid in CGL 2014 Tier 2 and got selected. So, SSCtube Gyan is use correction fluid in correcting your answers but avoid using it in Roll No. , Ticket no field.
CGL Preparation Strategy
EXAM ALERT!!: There are just 14-21 days left for the exam, we are sharing this strategy for all type of aspirants.
No awards for guessing that the majority of SSC aspirants are Engineering Graduates. Due to the improved Job circumstances in Government sector, and diminishing job perspective (esp peace of mind), SSC CGL Exam is a hot pick among Engineers. Generally, we the engineers are blessed with strong Logical and mathematical concepts (and a weak technical) during our graduation and hence faces minimal issues in qualifying the exam. So let’s discuss preparation strategy for the mighty engineers first (others don’t fee dejected, we have covered you all).
1) For engineers or candidates with strong maths background
– It is observed that Students with strong maths concepts are also good at Logical Reasoning. So these two are the main sections where maximum marks can be scored by you.
Let us discuss the preparation strategy for each section one by one.
– No entrance exam is complete without testing your logic and reasoning. This section normally contains questions testing your aptitude and logic
- Out of these sections, the trouble makers are series questions, combination questions(circular), picking odd one out and fill in the series (abcd/bcda/bbca type). Rest of the questions are a cake walk
- Howsoever sharp your brain may be, these topics can only be mastered only by practicing questions
- You can refer the following recommendations to work on the mentioned topics. Try to complete at least this book.
- It should not take more than 7-8 days if you give logical reasoning 2 hours every day.
- After completing the books, you can directly shift to mock tests to assess your performance.
- Analyzing your performance to determine your weak sections and working on them is as important as practicing.
- A person with good logic and knowledge of the pattern of this section can comfortably score 40-45 marks out of 50.
– It is the most vast section and requires months of preparation if you want to score above 30. Thankfully, for all those sharp but lazy brains, unlike UPSC exams, the General Awareness is just a small part (50 marks out of 700 in total) for CGL Exam. Key points for preparing this section:
- As you need not devote a lot of time to Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Section, you can give this section decent time.
- SSC is not very interested in testing your awareness. All they are bothered is the conventional Static GK, only 5-6 questions can be expected from current affairs.
- Reading newspaper can be one source to grab these 5-6 marks (big bonus from newspaper reading is that it would help you in building your English Language concepts)
- We recommend that you devote ½-1 hour of newspaper reading. Don’t go for the scholastic paper like The Hindu, even Times of India would do (but reading Delhi Times and other side-papers won’t count!)
- Some topics which should be given importance for preparation from static GK are Science and Technology, Modern History of India, Geography and Constitution of India.
- These sections constitute about 40-45% of the questions and also these topics read in the newspaper will be your best buddies at the interview time.
- Give 1 hour daily to prepare Static GK.
- One more important thing to be noted, Question in GK are unpredictable hence solving questions will not help you to score better. SSCtube would like to suggest you to emphasize on theory.
- Anything more than 20 marks from this section is considered a good score.
- Books for GK(considering 15 Days left):
– If you are having decent basic concepts of Mathematics, then this section will be your favorite and highest scoring section. In recent years (CGL 2013 and 2014), this section has seen a major change, now the questions are very basic in nature (limited to class 10th level maths). 35-40 marks can be easily scored and your preparation should be to score those remaining 10-15 marks.
- One should start the preparation by referring to only one book. Why one book? Because every author has a style of explanation and formula writing. Using multiple books(for studying) can confused you.
- Complete that one book so that all the basic concepts are brushed up. Thereafter you can pick other books for practising different questions.
- Below Displayed books would be ideal for this purpose. Learn the shortcuts or formula from book only if your method takes long time to solve the question. If you study maths daily for 2-4 hours, you can complete any book in 9-10 days.
- After that, you can start doing random questions from any source (like mock tests, ssctube forum, internet, facebook and whatsapp groups) and should focus to optimize shortest time/way of doing questions.
- This will prepare you for the exam as there will be random and mixed questions in the exam. So swift switching from one type of question to another is very important.
- Simultaneously start giving mock tests. We strongly emphasize on Mock tests because now your score does not depend on your ability of solving difficult questions, BUT it depends on the time you consumed to solve an easy question.
- After giving the mock test analyse its solution thoroughly and look for alternated approach for the way of doing a question quickly
- Your objective should be to attempt all 50 questions in 40 minutes.
English Language and Comprehension
– It is the most predictable section in the exam. The number of questions from each topic and their difficulty level have remained same over the years.
- A person with good reading habit (novel or newspaper) will find himself at ease in this section.
- If one does not read newspaper comprehensively, he should not start it now.
- Learn the spelling of confusing words with double letters like commissioner, assassination, rabbit, habit etc. Also words with silent letters like pseudo, psychology etc.
- 6 question will be asked on synonyms/antonyms, it comprises of 6 marks out of 200, but this part need extensive learning habit and enough time to score even 5 out of 6. SSCtube would like to suggest don’t focus on this if you haven’t preparing synonyms/antonyms before. Better to go through the limited synonyms/antonyms shared by us daily. They are directly taken from the notes of some toppers and will ensure 3-4 marks out of 6. Same is the case with One Word Substitutions.
- A person good in Mathematics and Logical Reasoning should devote maximum time to prepare English section because if he succeeds in doing so, he can score overall very well in the Prelims.
- Also, if your English Language is good, don’t learn much rules for Error Correction and Fill ups as it is a language and hence driven by sense of correctness than by Rules.
- But if you find it difficult to identify the errors, then you should learn the Rules for them . We will be sharing them to help you out.
- Error correction and sentence improvement needs fresh brain. SSCtube would like to suggest you to attempt these question prior to other questions in English section.
- Comprehensions are generally very easy and need not be prepared. But, you must take them seriously reason being the answer of those 10 questions of comprehension is in your paper itself and each incorrect marking is like doing a criminal offence with yourself. So, read it properly
- Idioms should be attempted by eliminating other options. Basic sense of correctness can help a lot in this section.
- English Books for success in short time period are given below :
Now as you are good in Mathematics & Logic, you can spare enough time for English and can touch General Awareness Section, you should target to score 140+ considering the present level of the paper.
Time Wise Strategy
Now lets see what you need to do daily.
- First 5 days
- Give one previous year paper on the first day with the proper arrangement i.e. Timer, OMR Sheet, Limited Rough Work space.
After that you need to do following tasks daily:
- 2 hours LR Practice from book.
- 1 hour newspaper reading (only if you are in good habit of doing that).
- 1-2 hours to Static GK.
- 2-4 hours Maths practice from some book.
- 1 hour Vocabulary creation and learning(overlapping with newspaper reading)
- 1 hour miscellaneous.
- In between give one more mock test to check your improvement.This time will be very important for you. Try to give 7-8 hours daily to studies. This will help you to accustom yourself with the exam pressure very well, and also it will help to gauge your future performance/improvement with respect to result of this paper.
- 6-10 day
- Give two previous year papers. Anlyse them properly to see which topics you could not cover.
- Cover the uncovered topics from books, internet and SSCtube.
- Do Group Mock Tests to know better methods of doing questions. Discussing the answers and approach of each other shall help you evolve.
- 10-15 day (Last week)
- Daily give one mock test or previous year paper.
- Analyse the tests to check what type of questions , you are encountering for the first time.
- Get the methods to solve them from any source.
- Practice that method with some other questions.
- Try to solve some high level questions and learn new methods.
- Optimize the method of doing the questions.
- Analyse the paper and solution of each question thoroughly.
The D -Day
Before the D-Day i.e. final encounter with CGL Tier 1, you must decide which section you must attempt first.
SSCtube Gyan – How to decide the first section to attempt in CGL Tier 1
- Gaining or losing confidence in initial minutes of start of paper will decide your performance. SSCtube will recommend aspirants to start with the section in which aspirants are confident enough to score better than other section, this will build up the confidence which in return will help aspirants to score better in other sections.
- One should not attempt maths or reasoning in last, pressure builds up exponentially with each minute passing in last 30 minutes. In general maths or reasoning can’t be attempted with accuracy and determined concentration when you are in pressure.
- English/GK section doesn’t involves any calculation but English needs application of brain in some subsection. So GK must be attempted at last reason being there is binary case with GK either you know the answer (1) or you don’t know the answer (0), hence even in enormous pressure you can do well in this section.
- Maths & Reasoning Section are advised to be done one after another. Reason to support this suggestion is both involves calculation and our mind get accustomed to the mode of mathematics during the attempt of any of the two mentioned section.
- Most Important thing, One should have done the practice to deal with the tougher section among all. One of the most highlighted issue of CGL 2014 is 19th Oct 2014 Morning shift Tier 1 paper. In that paper maths section was the toughest as compared to the other shift’s maths section. Aspirants who were unprepared for this scenario lost confident and in return their performance affected in whole paper. But, aspirants who know the trick to eliminate the time consuming questions (Comes with practice) managed the time well and scored brilliantly.
This end our comprehensive strategy plan for SSC CGL 2015 Tier 1
All the very best to CGL 2015 Aspirants.