SSC CGL Exam Preparation Strategy and Guidelines
Combined Graduate Level Exam has been conducted yearly for the past couple of years. Prior to 2010 it used to be irregular and not many vacancies used to be there. These days it has become the largest exam of the country perhaps only challenged by Bank PO Exams. It offers you a large number of options in the same way as UPSC Civil Services Exam. However, it is not as vast as IAS Exam. For those who see IAS as a distant dream or want a decently paying job this is a very important exam. I have been giving advise to fellow aspirants since 2010 through my Wordpress and Blogspot blogs. Now that I have struck a cord with HubPages, I wanted to organize all that I have learnt or written about the exam to this thread.
This guide was written for 2012 CGL Exam. But may be very relevant for next few versions.
- SSC CGLE 2011 Vacancies - Inspectors | Assistants | ...
Last Updated: March 08, 2012. Number of vacancies for Income Tax Inspectors have reduced 411 from 854 in 2010. On the other hand, the vacancies for Customs and Excise Inspectors ...
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What is SSC CGLE?
For those who are first time aspirants, it will be required to give a brief introduction about what is this exam all about. SSC CGLE stands for Staff Selection Commission Combined Graduate Level Exam.
Staff Selection Commission: SSC (like UPSC) is an organization entrusted with recruiting people for government jobs at subordinate (Non-Gazzetted) levels. UPSC recruits all the Gazzetted Employees whereas SSC recruits all the non-Gazzetted ones. Difference between Gazzetted and non-Gazzetted is somewhat complex. It is sufficient to understand that Gazzetted employees are Officers and are at higher level in the hierarrchy from non-Gazzetted employees.
Combined Graduate Level Exam - A few years ago SSC had separate exams for recruiting Inspectors, Auditors, Sub Inspectors, Assistants, etc. CGL Exam used to be there but it was used for only a few posts but overhead was huge because Mains exam used to be subjective type. It used to take 2 years for the exam to be completed. Hence, new exam used to be conducted every 2 years. Gradually, more and more post were brought into CGLE and from 2010 onwards mains was changed from subjective to objective type. This brought speed in evaluations and results. More and more people have started discussing about it now because it is made yearly, has a large number of attractive post, is entirely objective type and the results take only a year.
You can check the number of posts on the side link.
CGLE Eligibility and Schedule (2012)
To be eligible for taking CGLE you must be:
- Domicile: An Indian Citizen
- Education: A Graduate. (Note: Those who have not completed their graduation at the time of filling the form are not eligible).
- Age: Between 18 years and 27 years (As on the date of notice).
Important Dates related to the exam are:
- 24/03/2012 - Date of Notification.
- 20/04/2012 - Last Date of Submission of Applications.
- 01&08/07/2012 - Dates of Prelim Exam. To accommodate all the candidates the exam will be conducted in 2 phases.
- 15&16/09/2012 - Date of Mains Exam.
You can check these dates for any changes on SSC website @ www.ssc.nic.in
Dates for calling candidates for Interview and Computer Proficiency Teas will be decided at a later stage.
Between the notification date and the Prelim Exam you will be effectively have 3 months to prepare. This time is sufficient for many to make a good attempt at this exam because it doesn't require mastery over vast syllabus. But don't forget that this is a competitive exam and is will be easy for all. That is why it is better to have an edge over the others to excel in the exam.
Preparation for CGLE
I would like to tell you a strategy which I used effectively in SSC 2010. When I attempted the exam back in 2010, I was working in an IT company having a comfortable life. I filled the form based on the information provided by a friend who had recently been posted as Excise Inspector through SSC 2006. Yes, it was very difficult to believe that a SSC 2006 candidate got his posting at the tail end of 2009. Anyway, I filled the form because I liked the Inspector profile and planned to make a serious attempt with 2 months preparation. My success depended on following 5 things:
- Choice of sources
- Full length Practices
- Personalized Strategy, and
- Constant Motivation.
I understand the individuality. One strategy which works for me may not work for my friend. That is why I will try to generalize my strategy so that you can use it one way or the other. This strategy can help some of you, if not all, to clear the CGLE with normal efforts and no coaching.
1. Choice of Sources
You don't have to fill cupboards with books just to have a feel that you are going to compete. Restrict the number of books you use to less than 4. You may also have some more books but treat them as mere reference books. You don't have to finish all the books from start to finish. Find out how they can help you the best by reading them or asking for reviews on the internet. I will recommend some of the books I fee are useful
- Quantitative Ability by Arun Sharma: Remember that this is a CAT book. I recommend you to read the theories of topics relevant to CGLE. This will be helpful for concept builder and reference. Solve only limited problems from this book.
- Quantilative Ability by R S Agarwal: This is also a good book and can be used as an alternative to the above book. It also has exhaustive and useless number of problems. Please don't get lost into it.
- Verbal Ability: I can't help you much on English. It is one of my weak point. Though, I made up for English by reading Newspapers and Magazines in Office, it was still not enough to correct my Grammar. You can Try Wren & Martin for this. There is no better book on Verbal Ability.
- Non-Verbal Reasoning by R S Agarwal: A separate book is not required for this but it is your choice. You can purchase this book if you are weak in Reasoning.
- Sample Papers Book: This book is your most important resource for the exam. It gives you an understanding of the previous year papers and to test your strengths and weaknesses. You can buy either by Kiran Prakashan or by Upkar Prakashan. Use it everyday.
- Others: Apart from this have a yearbook, a monthly magazine and if possible read newspaper daily. If you are finding it difficult to kill time you can try reading NCERTs as well. :)
2. Full Length Practices
A good practice is as much necessary for a champion as a good diet is. Test your understanding with timed tests. Start with topicwise tests and build your stamina. Then you can go for a full length test once in a fortnight. It is very important to keep note of time while practicing the test. Evaluate yourself with negative marking and classify your mistakes as silly and genuine.
Take lessons from these tests that you will eradicate chances for silly mistakes and try to skip the topics in which you are genuinely weak. It may be difficult to attempt more than 80% of the questions in the given time but try to make sure you read all the questions and attempt only the ones which you find easier and solvable. Timely practices give you confidence about your preparation as well as provide food for thought.
3. Personalized Strategy
It is common knowledge that every body has his strengths and weaknesses. For competitive exams it is very important to understand your plus and minus points. While working on strengths gives us confidence, improving our weak points may become a big pain. It is not useful to worry about the cut-offs before the exams. It is fine to have the previous years' data but predicting the current years' cut-off will only lead to the wastage of time. Let us now come to the exact strategy.
Understand that you need to crack both the Prelim and Mains in this attempt to get a job. If you see the exam pattern, you will know that the weightage is tilted towards Verbal Ability and Arithmetic. Remember:
- There will be little time to prepare for Mains separately. You will waste time expecting for the Prelim result to be out before opening books for Mains.
- Mains carries 400 marks while Prelim carries only 200 marks. Mains has only Arithmetic and Verbal Ability.
Keeping these 2 things in mind you will be able to make the most of your time. When your Prelim preparation is in line with your mains preparation you will gain three times more. The above chart outline these facts. Total weightage of Reasoning and General Awareness combined is less that 20%. This does not mean that you can ignore your weak subjects and risk clearing the cut-offs. I just want you to take home the following points.
- Keep in mind that Verbal Ability and Arithmetic will be useful for Mains as well. They are majority subjects, therefore, devote more time on them.
- General Awareness requires a lot of time and may give you sleepless nights because it is very difficult to understand how much is enough. Sit down and tell yourself that getting above 30-35 in GA will not be a realistic goal howsoever you study. Getting 15-20 marks is sufficient in it if you can utilize your precious time in other more measurable subjects.
- Don't ignore your weaknesses even if they are minority subjects, they may let you down. Give at least 25% of your time to your weakest subject if it is a minority subject and 50% if it is majority subject.
4. Constant Motivation
This is more of psychology than guidance. If you want to get the CGLE jobs you will remain motivated to work for it. There may be sometimes when we tend to lose sight of out goals. In those times I used to remember the prestige, security, benefits, peace, etc. associated with the government job to keep myself motivated. You can find the gross salaries of CGLE jobs below.
- SSC CGL Preparation Books
There is no shortage on books in the market. But sometimes the abundance of choice makes the task more indecisive. You can read as many books as you like for preparing, however, if you have limited time and want to make the best out of that time, the
Update: 25, Jan 2014
Due to some unavoidable reasons I have reduced activity on this blog. For better and faster response to your queries do reach me via Whatsapp at 9970352486 or via gmail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
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