Success strategies for the CGL exam

Some pointers for those attempting the Combined Graduate Level Examination

Success strategies for the CGL exam

The Combined Graduate Level Examination (CGLE) organised annually by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) is an examination conducted to recruit staff to various positions in ministries, departments and organisations of the Government of India. It is among the most coveted of all government exams because of the high possibility of landing a secure government job.

The CGLE is conducted in preliminary and main stages. For a serious aspirant, the preliminary (Tier-I) stage is the major hurdle as it filters out most of the candidates. Therefore, it is very important to create a strategy that will not only help you beat the cut-off marks, but also get a headstart by scoring better marks right in the first stage.

Before starting with the strategy, note that the time limit for the CGL Preliminary exam has been reduced from 75 minutes to 60 minutes. There will be four sections with 25 questions in each section; each correct answer will fetch you two marks, and 0.5 marks will be deducted for every wrong answer. The difficulty level of the paper depends on your familiarity with the exam and your speed. Last year, the cut-off for this exam was around 137 marks. This year, despite the reduction in time limit, the cut-off might not come down much. However, to maximise overall chances of success, you should target a score of 150 in Tier-1. The only way to know that you are on the right track is by practising mock tests and reviewing your performance regularly. Now, let’s look at section-wise strategy to get the best out of the paper.

Quantitative Aptitude
The major topics that are given attention in the CGL paper include mensuration, geometry and trigonometry. Students should ensure that they have a strong hold over these topics. In Geometry, topics such as triangles and circles are among the ones that appear frequently. So, aspirants should start revising these concepts and practise them without fail. Data Interpretation offers easy scoring if practised well.

Reasoning Ability
Syllogisms, calendars and verbal reasoning are the most important topics in the reasoning section of the CGL Tier-1 paper. They can be mastered with regular practice. Questions that require visual analysis, like completing the image or finding the part of image do not require too much effort, but many students end up scoring negative marks in these questions.

General Awareness
This is the section that makes a world of difference as most students score well in the other sections, but end up ignoring this one. It is very easy to score quickly in this section; hence, this is the most important section for your overall performance. Topics that are important include Polity, Geography, History, Economics and Science. Most of the paper would be drafted out of these topics.
The important topics in Polity include various attributes about the constitution and other functionaries attached to it. The Science paper is generally of high school-level so that all the aspirants, irrespective of their educational backgrounds, have an equal shot at success.

English Language
English is again a scoring section which can be handled intelligently. Reading comprehensions and passages is generally not very intricate. If you develop a quick reading and comprehending ability, you are good to go. Vocabulary can be a scoring section if you have prepared well. The preparation for these topics includes as much reading as possible to develop a sense of deriving the context and the meaning of a statement quickly. Error spotting and filling in the blanks are more practice-based.

Final words of advice
Try to finish whatever new you have to learn at least 15 days prior to the examination. It will give you enough time to brush up. Do not try to finish one section at a time; try to take a topic from each section simultaneously.
This will make sure that you do not lose contact with any section in particular. Practising mo

ck tests is something that has to be taken very seriously and done regularly.
One should also keep analysing the performance in order to understand the points of improvement. Remember that the number of aspirants in SSC CGL makes it seem like very tough at first sight, but it can be safely said that if one works hard and makes a strategy, then the results are bound to be fruitful.

(The author is vice-president, content, Gradeup)

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