How to Prepare for SSC CGL Tier 2 – By Ganesh

Hi All, I am sharing here my personal experience about how I have prepared for , cracked SSC CGL and joined Ministry of External Affairs as ASO in IFS B Cadre.
This post which had been pending for a long time, I thought to start with Tier 1, but could not write in right time, as Tier 1 is already finished I thought to write something on how to prepare for Tier 2 and this will be justified even if it helps at least some aspiring candidates…!!
A pic that was taken long back during my Preparation !!

Coming to SSC CGL , I had written both the exams tier 1 and tier 2 twice, so I had a very good experience to share vth, which i would not have if everything had went smooth and I would not written this article as well..
Whatever i write about the books and my preparation and my suggestions or pieces of advice, its all personal and it can be different for different people so you are not required to follow whatever I mentioned and i strongly suggest you to prepare in your own way, and get maximum benefit either way…!!
Firstly I congratulate all the candidates who have cleared the Tier-1 exam !! and wish you the very best for your Tier 2 🙂
In my opinion, the real competition in CGL starts at Tier 2 only, as everyone who got cleared Tier 1 are worthy candidates and are those preparing serious only, of course those who got more score in Tier 1 will have some advantage, but in tier -2 , everyone is a competitor for you, which is not the case with Tier-1, so you need to be so cautious and you have to compete with each and everyone and get the best score possible in order to get your desired post.
I have written Tier-2 exam twice as i already said, but each on is a different one i can say, it can be either in the way of preparation and in the way of my approach…. So here i m putting my experience about the exam

My Personal Experience 

SSC CGL Tier 2 ( First time)
During this time, I was good at confident and English both, but I was little bit over confident about the quant, so didn’t practice much and I was of the view that, if time permits, i could answer all the questions correctly. Its not that I dint know the concept, I know the concepts very well but could not put my 100% efforts the way its required. Also I could not spend time effectively on all the chapters – Ex. if you take geometry, I just read the concepts and solved a few questions and I thought I ll get the answers there directly and didn’t practice well the geometry questions …. I can say, I had only underestimated the Geometry chapter thinking that I can leave few geometry questions in case if cannot solve all the questions and still get better marks in quant….
But what happened in the real exam it was entirely different thing…
The exam has started, in the starting of the paper almost all are one line questions and i felt bit happy and felt comfortable so thought that I don’t require 2 hours to finish that paper… After almost an hour, the real picture is understood, in the ending almost all the questions are from geometry and many of them i could not answer due to lack of practice and on each question i had wasted around 3-4 minutes on geometry question but could not answer the question … and the worst part is calculation and silly mistakes which lead to a disaster of the paper, which i realized only after I cross checked the paper after coming home..
So leaving geometry questions and spiced up with the calculation mistakes lead to the disaster of the paper and i was about get around 145 which was below my avg score in quant of 160-170… Fortunately or unfortunately the exam is cancelled due to court case later
SSC CGL Tier 2 ( Re-Exam)
This time I had learnt so much from the past experience and decided to change the way of my preparation and decided not to do the same mistakes that I did earlier…
I had changed my way of preparation and as well as strategy towards attempting the paper…
On the exam day, I was very much confident this time before starting the exam, but after starting the exam its again it was an adventure !!!
For my set, all the lengthy and geometry questions are given in the starting and ending… so first i started from the starting of the paper… I felt that all questions are lengthy and tried attempting few questions but dint get the answers and then i turned the papers and went to the last few pages of the question paper and started doing and here also the same case, and i tried attempting few questions and except for one or two questions i dint get the correct answers…. I lost my confidence by this time and almost 40 minutes have been completed but I could answer only 12-15 questions and at that time, I for the first time, thought whether I could clear the tier 2 or not and my fingers stated shivering… then I tried to convince myself that, this is not my best performance and I could give my best if I concentrate more and try a different approach…
I literally kept silent without attempting any question in the paper for 2-3 minutes… and simply sat and encouraged myself that i can do better… so i decided to attempt first all the questions which are very easy and i calculate it in terms of the length of the question… so i tried attempt all the questions which are half line or max one line questions and questions from Algebra which was my strong area… So i started searching the questions from the start and tried answering the questions that meet the above criteria i had set ,,,,, slowly i was able to answer all the questions correctly, my confidence had increased and by the then i almost finished all the easy questions till the end of the paper, then came back and started answering the questions which i left in the first round and this time i got answers for almost all the questions which i could not get in the starting… and at that time I have understood and proved myself that, it was only presence of the mind and our confidence levels that matters … so by the end of 2 hours i had almost attempted 96 questions with 2 3 guesses and out of which i guess 88 were right and my score was settled at 172 after considering the negative marking … which i felt was a decent score considering my worst performance in the starting of exam 🙂
My total score in Tier 2 was …. Quant 172 + English 150 ( Yes, it was a disaster, compared to the one before re-exam ~170, i screwed up sentence correction section n vocab this time 🙁 ) 322 and the overall score after tier 2 was 466/600 

Preparation & BOOKs

* After I have finalsed on the books, i almost did not go through any other books specially for quant. 

* I had prepared notes and noted down (shortcut) formulas for almost almost all chapters that I had practiced from the starting of the preparation itself, which helped me to revise all the notes one day before the exam.
* Put more efforts on Geometry and Mensuration and practiced more and more no of questions though I know the concepts and This helped me to reduce some silly calculation mistakes. Almost finished the the SSC Chapterwise mathematics book.

* Wrote two tests on avg a week (1 Quant and 1 English mock test)

Regarding Books which i had prepared and I personally suggest for anyone are given below
For Quant 
First I had tried 2 books 
1) Quantitaive aptitude for CAT – that book was very good for concepts and for CAT, after few days I had realized that, its level is far beyond CGL and not suitable so left that ,
2) SSC CGL Quantitative abilities for Tier2 by Kiran prakashan, then i left this one also, as it has only a few no of questions for each chapter.  
Then finally fixed for SSC Chapterwise mathematics by Kiran Prakasan given below
For Quantitative Apptitude
Advantages — This book has so many question in each chapter and in turn again separated by model i can say, also it covers all the previous papers questions, so i thought it was very useful, because when we write mock tests, sometimes we usually know where and which topic and which type of questions mostly we don’t answer correctly, so for that type of questions this would be right book..
It contains almost all the models that are going to be covered and specially keeping in view of only CGL.
Disadvantage is that , it does not explain the concepts before each chapter so those who are not familiar with the concepts, they should depend on something else for knowing the concepts and come back to this book only for practice.
For English
Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
For Vocabulary
First book i suggest for anyone writing any competitive exam for vocabulary. Its not easy to remember all the words first time, I almost revised it for 5-6 times … but still i don’t know how many words i still remember 🙁
Anyways, English is so vast that you cannot learn everything trough a single book. So its a long term process… you must keep on reading and learn new words 
Also read as many one word substitutes online/off-line and revise as many times as possible.
Objective General English by SP Bhakshi
For English


Good for concepts and grammar rules which are useful for correction of sentences,  in the starting sections it will be boring but later sections they are good… I also din’t finish the book completely. Left some chapters and read some which are important like that.. 
For Mock tests
General Suggestions 
1) for getting high score, u should attempt as many questions as possible — i feel attempting 92-96 in quant (English 200) would be decent for a moderately difficult paper. 
2) You should not be in a position to miss or not answer a question without reading the question at least once. If u read the read the question and decide that u cant answer that question and if u skip then its fine but you should not leave a single easy question un-read. 
3) Read the question completely before answering and also make sure you round off the option of the answer to the question , not the answer u got… sometimes we ll get answer as 1, but the 1 ll be in third option, but what we do is we ll round of 1st option instead of 3rd option. This is the general mistake even i do many times, but the best thing is to minimize that type of silly mistakes.
4) spending so much time on a single question. should not have ego to skip a question when u r not able to get the answer; I am sure when u attempt the question again in the next attempt after finishing other question u ll get the answer for sure. so Don’t waste so much time on a question when u r not able to solve just skip the question n come back again.
5) Round off the answer to each question as soon as u answer the question. don’t think that , i ll round off 10 questions at a time after getting answers to all the 10 questions like that. It sometimes spoils the whole paper, if u missed the sequence whole paper will be gone.
6) Suggest to prepare notes or even note down formulas for some lengthy models in quant and start using the shortcuts/formulas in d practice exams only otherwise it would be difficult to use them directly in the exam.Notes ll be helpful for revision in the last 2 3 days before the exam.
7) Sometimes simple logic/thinking ll solve the problem instead of a big and lengthy formula. so it also should come with practice. 
8) sometimes try substituting the values and get the answers this will work out mostly for algebra and trigonometry questions.
9) sometimes make intelligent guesses when you don’t have time to finish all the questions,  for some questions we know 2 3 options cannot be answers though we don’t know the exact answer. So such questions we can answer simply elimination.
10) Avoid silly mistakes and calculation mistakes as much as possible.
Hope i had covered all the things which i want to convey…!!
Wish you all the very best for the exam …!!


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  1. hello brother

    your journey and cracking cgl is really inspiring.

    iam also preparing for cgl. could please explain to me how to crack tier 1.

    thank you

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