Staff Selection Commission is the organization of the government that conducts the Combined Graduate Level (CGL) examination every year in order to recruit candidates in various Group B and Group C posts in the offices of the central government across the country. The exam consists of tier I and tier II examination with the interview being discontinued from 2016 onwards.
Tier I consists of English, Quantitative Aptitude, Logical Reasoning and General Awareness whereas Tier II examination is all about English Language and Quantitative Aptitude. So, English Language is an important section for candidates as it helps the candidates in both tier I and tier II examination.
English Language Section: What am I going to face?
English Language section in SSC CGL is of elementary level but the rules and regulations of English grammar should be kept in mind because most of the questions are tricky ones in this section.
• Tier I: In Tier I of the examination, there will be a total of 50 questions for each of which, a maximum of 1 mark is allotted. The questions are basically from areas such as reading comprehension, cloze test, error identification, one word expression, phrase and idioms, synonyms and antonyms, fill in the blanks, misspelt words, sentence improvements etc.
• Tier II: This phase of the examination consists of 200 questions for each of which 1 mark is allotted. The questions are from areas such as reading comprehension, cloze passage, error identification, sentence improvement, synonyms and antonyms, fill in the blanks, active and passive voice, direct and indirect speech etc. Though the questions seem to be of elementary level, the tricky ones are chosen and if you are not well conversant with the exceptions and special rules, it is difficult to attempt these questions.
English Language: Why is it Important?
English Language is an important section of the SSC CGL exam because of its presence in both the phases of the recruitment process. This section is useful for candidates as well because:
• Not time consuming: English Language section is not time consuming because here either you know the answer or you do not. There is no calculation involved in this section and it takes less time to solve a question in this section compared to reasoning or quantitative aptitude.
• Weightage given to the Section: The importance of the section is well documented in its presence in both the phases of the recruitment procedure. In tier I, you will get 50 questions whereas for tier II, the total number of questions is 200. If you are serious about the examination, English is your best bet to get the post of your first preference.
• Inherited Weakness of candidates in the language: Most of the candidates are very scared of the language because the basics are not clear to them regarding the grammar of the language. This is a very big opportunity for you to score over them if you are good at English. It gives you the edge over your peers.
• Repetitive Questions: English language is based on certain rules and most of the questions are repetitive in case of error identification or sentence improvement if the rule of grammar involved is taken into account. So, if you are well aware of the previous year question papers or are conversant with the exceptions of grammar, it will make your life easier to score in this section.
• It does not require much practice: You do not need much practice as mathematics to score well in this section because it is not about speed but pure knowledge. So, better go through all the exceptions and tricks diligently.
English Language: How to Master it?
We are already aware of the importance of English in SSC CGL examination. But most of the students are very scared of this section. So, how to get out of it? How to make the most out of this section?
• Get your basics right: This is the most important thing for any subject. You must master the rules of grammar in detail so that no trick question can get the better of you in the examination hall.
• Increase your vocabulary: This is another aspect of doing well in this section because SSC CGL relies on both grammar and vocabulary. Improve your stock of words as well as their various usages in sentences.
• Improve reading capacity: Reading and understanding what you are reading are very important for scoring well in comprehension questions. Go through the daily newspaper and try to grasp the summary of important news items every day. This gives the most effective practice of reading comprehension passages.
• Newspaper reading: When you are talking about English section, no discussion can end without a reference to this point. Get your hands at any standard daily English newspaper and read it as a habit daily. Make it a lifelong practice as this will serve you for the rest of your life.
• Practice: Practice as much as possible before the examination but do not go for speed. Try to attempt diversified questions rather than a large number of questions. You do not need to worry about the quantity of the questions, go for the quality and difficulty level of the questions
• Memorize and Revise: Unlike Bank exams, SSC CGL is not only about grammar but also vocabulary. So, you have to memorize things such as one word expressions, phrases and idioms etc. The best way to handle them is to revise them as many times as possible before the examination.
English section in SSC CGL carries the most number of questions if both the phases are taken into account. It is a game changer because it does not take as much time as quantitative aptitude but fetch you quick marks if you know the answer. The success mantra is to get out of the fear for the language and follow whatever has been suggested. You will see the section as one of your strengths rather than your Achilles’ heel in due course of time. All the best!!