Can SSC-CGL be Cleared by an Average Aspirant?
SSC CGL, as the name suggests, is a graduate level examination to recruit group B and C employees for the central government of India. The scope and pattern of SSC CGL are of matriculation level which can be mastered by any candidate without any special degree or qualification. But is it really manageable for an average aspirant?
Before going further, let’s first define what an average aspirant is according to the usual convictions
1. He is not an outstanding performer according to his academic records.
2. He doesn’t belong to any elite education institution.
3. He is initially neither too strong nor too weak in sections asked SSC CGL.
4. And other similar definitions.
Now I will narrate two stories which are fictional yet true. There are a plethora of aspirants who had and have been living either of these two stories.
Akhil is preparing for SSC CGL for a few months now. His studies are going on in full swing and he is confident that he will crack SSC exam. But he was not like that initially. He was always in the latter half of his class throughout school and college days. On expected lines, he couldn’t fetch a job after college. He came to know about SSC CGL from one of his friends and ended up researching about it both out of curiosity and desperation. He didn’t find it a big deal when he saw the syllabus and previous SSC CGL question papers. He was getting this feeling that he could crack SSC exam and get a reputed government job. Due to the lack of other options and excitement on seeing the supposedly “easy” syllabus, he decided to go for SSC CGL. Initial journey was tough as he didn’t have that sitting habit and it was difficult for him to zero on a strategy that could work for him but he was adamant. He thought of this exam as an opportunity to correct past failures and a shot at redemption. He was determined. He was consistent. He was confident. Slowly but gradually, he started building momentum and his sitting increased. Things started to fall in place and he was getting more and more confident with each passing day. His score in mock tests gradually increased. There were a few setbacks in between related to his personal life but he didn’t allow it to hamper his studies. He treated his studies and preparation process as something very sacred and gave everything to it. After a few months of preparation, he appeared in tier 1 and performed well. This performance in tier 1 further boosted his confidence and worked as added fuel in the fire. He kept giving his best in preparation and nailed tier 2 too. The final result was announced after tier 3 and the document verification. He was in tears when he saw the results but those were the tears of joy. His year-long penance had finally yielded the desired result. He was so proud of himself as he had successfully battled not only ruthless competition but also the inner demons. Many people got inspired by his success story while many others termed it as a mere fluke.
Nikhil is an SSC CGL aspirant with a similar academic background as that of Akhil. He has been preparing for a few months but his preparation is not shaping up as of now. When he started preparing, he was perturbed by the comments made by his fellow aspirants, friends and so called well wishers. Everyone commented that it was impossible for a below average student to crack SSC exam in the first attempt. Nikhil tried to shove off such comments but he was still affected by them. He had joined various online study groups and subscribed to tonnes of SSC CGL based YouTube channels. Those groups and channels diluted his concentration and worked as a perfect platform to spread rumors rather than knowledge. He somehow continued his preparation but every small setback in his preparation reminded him of the fact that he was an average student and it would be difficult for him. He was clouded by self-doubts. Although he continued his preparation he was nowhere near improvement. There were some days when he studied like there was no tomorrow but he couldn’t sustain that momentum. Every small setback or comment disturbed his studies for many days in a row. This pattern of “hit and miss” continued throughout his preparations. Just like the sand in a closed fist, time went by slowly. He appeared in tier 1 but failed miserably. His self-doubts and people’s comments were vindicated. He appeared for next year SSC CGL too but his performance didn’t improve by any substantial margin. He gave up after a couple of more attempts and switched to a different field. His failure in exam served as an example for next year aspirants that it is impossible for an average student to crack SSC exam!
What’s the point of the above two stories? Both of them were average aspirants but results were radically different. One story presents a rosy picture while the other shows the dark reality. The difference between the attitude of Akhil and Nikhil is what makes all the difference. Let me elaborate on these things:-
1. Habits and patterns:- If you have been an average student throughout your academic life then it can be safely assumed that you do not have a habit of studying for long hours. The pattern of studying that one develops during one’s academic life is what differentiates an average aspirant from a bright student. A bright student might study with full concentration for a long time while an average one might study for a lesser time with almost zero concentration. The past record doesn’t matter in SSC CGL but that study pattern surely comes into the picture. If you are an average student then all you need to do is improve this pattern. It will be tough. It will take a substantial amount of time and effort but it is definitely possible. You won’t be able to study effectively from day 1 itself but with time and consistent efforts, you will get in a rhythm. The key is to keep going.
2. Confidence:- Akhil was imperturbed by people’s comments while Nikhil ended up doubting himself. Real confidence builds up with time when preparation starts taking shape but you need to believe in yourself initially. This is the first and most important step. Do not worry about the competition if you are getting a positive feeling of seeing the syllabus.
3. Consistency:- If you are an average student then you do not have the luxury to skip a few days of studies in between. You need to study and give your best every single day. If you are consistent with your efforts then your sitting habit will improve with time (point 1). If you are studying for two hours initially then you will easily beat six hours after a couple of months provided you give your best every day.
4. Time:- A below average student might take a slightly longer time to complete his preparation but it is better than not completing preparation at all, isn’t it?
5. Keeping the foot on the ground:- Those bright students whom you are afraid of might be on another end of the frame. Many of them end up either underestimating the competition or overestimating themselves. If you are an average student then you are clearly aware of your shortcomings and you will never underestimate the ruthlessness of competition. This carries an inherent advantage.
Concluding Note:- Theoretically speaking, it is pretty much feasible for even a below average student to crack SSC exam but hard work is undoubtedly needed for that. Most (not all) of the selected candidates have above average academic record while there are some who have a very poor academic record but end up getting among top rankers. Everything is possible in SSC CGL but a lesser number of “below average” candidates in the final list is a clear sign that it isn’t that easy. To crack SSC Exam, work hard with a proper strategy and you will surely get success sooner or later. With the right strategy and full determination, you can even become an Income Tax Officer. You couldn’t score well in 12th, fine. You couldn’t score well in graduation, fine. You couldn’t get desired placement after graduation, still fine. Treat SSC CGL as an ultimate holy grail to compensate all your past sins. Once you will crack SSC Exam and get a decent job, nobody (including you) would care about what you did in school or college days. Everyone is judged on the basis of the final destination rather than the path taken.