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What Should Be The Back Up Options for an SSC-CGL Aspirant?

Other exams similar to SSC CGL/Back up options for SSC CGL

When you are preparing for SSC CGL or any other particular exam, ideally you should concentrate on that only. But there is no harm in appearing for exams which have a similar pattern and can be cleared with just a little bit of extra efforts.

Before you start reading this article, let me first clarify what a backup option is. In my opinion, a backup option for any exam should have almost the same syllabus and same pattern to your main target exam. If you are forced to give a considerable amount of time to your back up exam then it’s not an ideal backup. Another assumption I am making while writing this article it is that you know about the syllabus and pattern of various tiers of SSC CGL. Please note that I am not writing about job profiles here but only the syllabus and pattern of other similar examinations.

  1. SSC CPO:-This examination is for recruitment of sub-inspectors in Delhi police, SSB, BSF, CISF, CRPF and ITBP (along with ASI in CISF). There are three stages in this SSC CPO:-
  • Tier 1:- Same pattern as that of SSC CGL tier 1 but with slightly less competition due to the age limit. It carries 200 marks and there are 200 questions that are needed to be done in 2 hours.
  • PET:- Physical efficiency test. It involves running, sprint, long jump, high jump etc.
  • Tier 2:- One exam of 200 marks with the exact same pattern as that of SSC CGL tier 2 English.

This exam is a perfect back up option because you aren’t needed to study anything besides CGL syllabus. CPO tier 1 is conducted approximately 1 month before CGL tier 1, so it provides a really good reality check.

  1. SSC CHSL:-This examination is for recruitment of lower divisional clerk, upper divisional clerk, and other similar posts. It has three stages:
  • Tier 1: It carries 200 marks and follows the same pattern as that of SSC CGL tier 1.
  • Tier 2: Descriptive paper in traditional pen paper mode (similar to CGL tier 3). It carries 100 marks.
  • Typing: You will be required to have a good typing speed (35 wpm) to get a job ultimately.
  1. SSC MTS:- It also follows the same pattern as that of SSC CGL because of the same conducting body but job profiles are very ordinary. You wouldn’t like to see yourself doing these jobs in long run. You don’t need to study anything apart from SSC CGL to sail through in SSC MTS.
  2. SSC stenographer grade C/D:- Tier 1 of this exam has 200 questions out of which 100 questions are from English, 50 from general awareness and 50 from reasoning and general intelligence. But for the next stage, you need to have a great typing speed and must know stenography shorthand. Although this exam is not a great back up option due to the need of shorthand since it is conducted by SSC, there is no harm in appearing for it to judge your level of preparation.
  3. AFCAT:- (Acronym for air force common admission test) This exam is for recruitment of officers in Indian Airforce. It is conducted twice a year in February and August/September. Written Exam has 100 questions and carries 300 marks. It has 4 sections:-
  • English:- Similar to SSC CGL English.
  • Maths:- Only arithmetic portion and that too very easy.
  • General awareness:- Similar to SSC CGL but with greater emphasis on freedom struggle.
  • Reasoning:- Questions based on nonverbal reasoning, classification and analogy dominate this section.

If you are sincerely preparing for SSC CGL, then this exam will be more of a cakewalk for you. You will get 2 hours for 100 questions which are twice of what you get in SSC CGL tier 1. Even if you do not practice nonverbal reasoning, you can manage it easily because of the abundance of time.
 Once you clear AFCAT written examination, there is SSB personality test which can be cleared by anyone without any specific preparation. Working in defense carries its own charm and needless to say, a handsome salary.

  1. IB ACIO grade 2:-This exam is for recruitment of staff in Intelligence Bureau. IB ACIO carries 4600-grade pay and can be even first choice job for many. The only problem with this exam is that it is conducted once in 2 or 3 years. This exam was last conducted in 2017 so you can expect next notification in 2019.
    This exam also has three stages:-
  • Tier 1:- (100 marks) It has the exactly the same pattern as that of SSC CGL tier 1. The only difference lies in the maths section as advanced maths is not asked in IB. Earlier, the pattern of this exam used to be in favor of those preparing for UPSC civil services due to huge weightage of general awareness section but from 2017 onwards, the pattern has changed completely and now favors SSC candidates. This exam is not computer-based unlike SSC CGL, SSC CPO etc.
  • Tier 2:– (50 marks) It is a descriptive exam which is conducted in pen paper mode. There is one essay, one precis writing, and one unseen passage. The unseen passage is slightly different here as you have to write answers instead of choosing an answer (contrary to what we do in SSC). Although it looks different but can be easily managed with a little bit of practice.
  • Interview:– (100 marks) Normal routine questions are asked and can be easily managed.
  1. CDS:-(Acronym for Combined Defence Services) This exam is for recruitment of officers in all three branches of Indian defence that is Army, Navy and Air force. It has three exams of 2 hours each which are conducted on same day with a gap of one hour in between.
  • English:- Level is easier when compared to SSC CGL. 120 questions are needed to be done in 2 hours.
  • General awareness:- This paper is a bit tricky as the level of questions sometimes surpasses even UPSC civil services examination.
  • Maths:- Same level as that of SSC CGL tier 2. 100 questions are to be done in 2 hours. Those who apply only for OTA (officers training academy) need not appear for the maths exam.

You might get scared on seeing previous year questions of CDS but remember that cut off for clearing written exam is not very high. You need to score at least 20% in all three papers but your combined score should be above final cut off. If you are strong in even one of above 3 papers then you can clear this exam pretty easily, provided you score 20% marks in other two. If you have covered SSC CGL syllabus, then again you can clear this exam easily.
 After clearing written exam, there is SSB personality test (similar to AFCAT) which can be cleared without any specific preparation. You never know where your destiny lies, so appear for it.

  1. Delhi tees Hazari court JJA examination:-This exam recruits junior judicial assistant (read clerk) in tees Hazari courts. Exam pattern is very similar to SSC CGL but with slightly less weightage of English. Few Hindi questions are also asked but again they are super easy. A typing speed of 30 wpm is required in the next stage.
  2. Railway exams:- Syllabus and pattern is more or less same to that of SSC.
  3. Banking and Insurance exams:-If you can practice a little bit of reasoning and extra current affairs (related to banking like new appointments, banking rates etc), then you can appear for these exams too. But I would advise you not to prepare simultaneously for banking exams as competition has increased exponentially in recent years and you wouldn’t want yourself ending up without a job in pursuit of backup. But if you are preparing for SSC, then you can clear at least a preliminary stage of these exams very easily and you can prepare for mains if your schedule permits.

Concluding Note:-

Before concluding this article, I would like to give you a piece of free advice. If you are preparing for SSC CGL then prepare exclusively for it for at least first 6 months. Once you have reached a certain level, only then appear for all other exams. You must have a strong acquaintance with SSC CGL syllabus before thinking of other exams. If CGL is your ultimate goal then you must be aware of the enormous competition that CGL throws at you especially after 2015 exam.

You need to excel in the syllabus of your targeted exam first, then only you can appear or think of backup option and remember back up option is just a secondary resort. Don’t try to sail in too many boats simultaneously by trying to excel both in your main target and the backup options. Have an unwavering focus and if you are confident of your SSC CGL preparation, you need not study much for all these other exams. Treat them more of a reality check and self-analysis and give your best. Selection in any one of them will provide you with job security whereas cracking even any tier of above-mentioned exams will not only boost your confidence but also make you aware of the mistakes you need to avoid in your target exam.

All the Best

Choose Wisely

Work Accordingly.


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