SSC CGL Tier II 2015 Exam – Likely Cutoff, How to prepare & Smart Tips

Dear Readers, 

The Staff Selection Commission recently announced the results of the SSC CGL Tier-I exam. The Tier-II exam is scheduled is scheduled to be held on October 25th & 26th, 2015. As that is less than a fortnight away, in this article we will discuss about the best last-minute preparation strategies, the general exam pattern and this year’s likely cut-offs. 

Exam Pattern: SSC CGL Tier-II exam comprises two papers for all the posts. However, for the posts of Statistical Investigator and Compiler, there is an additional paper on Statistics. 

Paper       Subject             No. of questions    Maximum marks         Duration

   I       Quantitative Aptitude         100                           200                     2 Hrs.     

  II       English Language and       200                           200                     2 Hrs.


Negative Marking: 

In Paper I, 0.5 will be deducted for every wrong answer.

In Paper II, 0.25 will be deducted for every wrong answer.

Expected Cut-offs: We can predict that this year the cut-offs (Tier I + Tier II) will almost be comparable to last year’s, if the difficulty level remains the same as that of last year’s paper. Let us take a look at last year’s cut-offs for all the interview posts (other than Statistical Investigator/Compiler).

Category          Interview Posts        Non-Interview posts

General                 426.50 marks                  397.25 marks                      

OBC                      398.75 marks                  365.00 marks

SC                         365.50 marks                  331.50 marks

ST                         349.75 marks                   308.50 marks

Note: The score is out of 600 i.e. 200 marks for Tier-I and 200 marks each for Paper I and Paper II in Tier-II exam.

Your Goal: 

To develop a proper plan of action for last-minute exam preparation, you must set a target. Let us now consider what could be the ideal target score for this exam based on the last year’s cut-offs.

As this year’s Tier I paper was similar to that of last year’s, the same can be expected for the Tier-II paper. Thus, it is likely that in the General category, the cut-off for interview posts will be around 430 marks (Tier-I + Tier-II) and for non-interview posts it will be around 400 marks (Tier-I + Tier-II).

Assuming that a General category candidate has scored around 102-115 marks (out of 200) in the Tier-I exam, s/he should aim for 320+ in the Tier-II exam (out of 400). To achieve that, a candidate’s minimum target score should be 160 marks each in Paper I and II. (aim for 170+ marks each in both papers to be on the safe side). Thus, you have to attempt around 90+ questions in Paper I and around 180 questions in Paper II. 

Similarly, candidates from other categories can calculate the required marks in Tier-II exam based on the figures given above.

Topic-wise break up of Tier-II papers : 

In order to understand how to tackle the exam, let us now take a look at the expected break up of questions per section:

Quantitative Aptitude          Number of Questions       Level of Difficulty

Arithmetic                                             50                                   Easy

Algebra                                                 10                                Moderate

Mensuration                                          15                                Moderate

Geometry/Trigonometry                      20                                Tough

Statistics & Data Interpretation            05                              Moderate

English Language &          Number of Questions     Level of Difficulty


Grammar                                            90                                Moderate

Vocabulary                                         35                           Moderate-Tough

Para Jumbles                                     20                                Moderate

Reading Comprehension                  55                           Easy – Moderate

+ Cloze Test                    

Key Strategies: 

We will now analyse both Paper I and II to understand how you can get the required number of attempts:

Paper I (Quantitative Aptitude): 

Sections                             Number of attempts     

Arithmetic                                      45-47                              

Algebra                                            7-8                               

Mensuration                                  12-13                              

Geometry/Trigonometry               15-17                              

Statistics & Data Interpretation      4-5                               

a) Around 50% of Paper I comprises questions from the Arithmetic section. (Averages, Profit & Loss, Percentage, Ratio & Proportion, Time & Work, Time, Speed and Distance, Simple and Compound Interest, etc.)

b) You should focus on attempting at least around 45-47 questions (out of 50) in Arithmetic section as they are fairly easy. 

c) Further, you should aim to attempt at least 90+ questions (out of 100) in Paper I with maximum speed and accuracy. 

d) Do not get stuck solving tough and time-consuming questions. Go for them after completing questions you are sure of. 

e) You should also try to minimise the usual errors and silly mistakes while performing basic math calculations. A quick glance to verify the calculations is always beneficial and will ensure accuracy.

f) Note that this paper is for 200 marks, i.e. each question carries 2 marks for the right answer and -0.5 for the wrong answer. 

g) Therefore, with this strategy you should be able to attempt around 90 questions. If you maintain 90% accuracy, you can easily score around 160 marks. 

Paper II (English language & Comprehension):

Sections                                     No. of attempts      Minutes to be spent

Grammar                                           85-90                            40-45                               Vocabulary                                        25-30                               10-15         

Para Jumbles                                     10-15                               15-20             

Reading Comprehension                 40-45                               35-40

+ Cloze Test        

a) In Paper II, the Reading Comprehension passages are given at the end of the question paper. Ideally, you should first attempt the Grammar and Vocabulary sections as they are relatively easy and can be accurately solved. Aim to complete around 120 questions from these two sections within the first 75 minutes. Besides helping you gather speed, it will also boost your confidence.

b) You will find four sets of Para Jumbles with a total of 20 questions. Focus on solving at least 10-15 questions within 15-20 minutes. These questions are quite tricky and may consume a lot of your valuable time. So, it is advisable to tackle this section carefully.

c) If one set of Para Jumbles is proving to be time-consuming, you can atleast try to find the first and the last sentence of the given set. This will surely fetch you a minimum of 2 marks without eating up too much time.

d) Out of the remaining 55 questions based on Reading Comprehension and Cloze Test, go for the latter as they are comparatively easy and less time-consuming. 

e) You can use the remaining 30-35 minutes for Reading Comprehension. Within this time frame you can easily solve more than 30 questions. 

f) Note that this paper is for 200 marks wherein each question carries 1 mark for the right answer and -0.25 for the wrong answer.

g) With this strategy, you will be able to attempt around 180 questions. If you maintain 90% accuracy, you can easily score 160 marks. 

Tips for Preparation:

a) Be sure while marking answers. If you are not confident of your answers, do no mark them just to maximise number of attempts. In this exam, both speed & accuracy are equally important. Also, negative marking is higher for Paper I (-0.5 for every wrong answer.). So, tackle questions you are unsure of in the end. 

b) Thoroughly practising Arithmetic and Algebra topics will easily fetch you more than 50 marks in Paper I. 

c) Important formulas are the soul of topics like Mensuration and Trigonometry. Revise these formulas and keep up your daily practice.

d) Even if you are comfortable with Geometry or Trigonometry, do not waste excess time on these topics. However, be well-prepared for such questions from these topics as they are pretty straight forward and can be solved quickly using right formulas.

e) For Paper II, keep revising basic and advanced grammar rules, as Grammar comprises almost 90 marks. 

f) While solving Reading comprehension, make sure to highlight important lines simultaneously while reading the passage. This will save a lot of time and help you attempt more questions. Also, during the last 5 minutes of exam, instead of going through a whole passage, try to solve the vocabulary questions based on the passage. 

Importance of mock tests: Candidates are advised to take at least two mock tests before appearing for exam to test their speed and accuracy within the given time limit. Mock tests will help candidates to test their preparation, strengths and weaknesses & time strategy before the actual exam. This will help candidates develop a proper strategy for time management in exam.  Solving previous years’ papers of SSC CGL Tier-II is also a good alternative to test your preparation.

Finally, we are here for you!

From now on, till the end of the SSC CGL Tier-II 2015 exam, feel free to post all your queries on this website. We will always be there to guide you. Do use @rahul.krishna in all your posts/comments.

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All the Best!

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