Why Most Candidates Fail to Qualify SSC CGL Exam?

Planning to answer the SSC CGL Exam? It would be a good idea to know some points about why do most candidates fail to qualify SSC CGL exam so that you can tweak your preparation strategy accordingly and get success.

The Staff Selection Commission Combined Graduate Level Exam otherwise known as SSC CGL is a national level exam conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC). The exam is conducted every year by the SSC to shortlist eligible candidates for Group B and Group C posts in various departments, ministries and offices under the Government of India.

Each year lakhs of aspirants appear for the exam but only a few thousand successfully make it through the selection process to bag a reputed and lucrative government job. Despite their hard work, many candidates fail to clear the exam. They unknowingly commit a few mistakes that hamper their preparation of the written examinations.

On that note, let's talk about some common mistakes that candidates can avoid during preparation for the SSC CGL exam.

Unaware of the Updates in Exam Syllabus and Pattern

The pattern and exam syllabus of almost every government exam changes a little and SSC CGL is no different. For instance, before 2019 if a candidate cleared Tier-II were eligible for the Tier-III exam. This process was a bit time-consuming and tedious. To avoid this problem, a new process was introduced which allowed candidates who cleared Tier-I to become eligible for Tier-II and Tier-III as well.

Similarly, there have been few changes in the exam pattern regarding the mode of examination, the number of questions, time limit, cut-offs and more. This also includes the addition and subtraction of topics in the syllabus. Some candidates do not follow these changes; hence they do not come up with the solutions to counter them while preparing for the exam.

Unfamiliar with the Online Mode of Examination

Some candidates lack familiarity with the online mode of examination. This can cause technical problems for them during the examination. Some students don't know how to switch between sections or submit their answers before moving to the next question. These candidates eventually fail to qualify for the sectional cut-off, not because of their preparation but because of their unfamiliarity with the online mode of examination.

Multiple Government Exam Preparation App and portals have come up in the recent past that allow students to take online mock tests which offer a similar interface as that of the real examination.

Exam Fear

Exams like SSC CGL have a limited time for students to attempt all the questions. So students not only have to attempt the questions on the screen but at the same time have to tackle the pressure of the ticking clock.

This often results in anxiety and tension, due to which some candidates fail to think clearly and quickly to attempt the given number of questions correctly in the given time.

Students can kill their exam fear by attempting regular online mock tests which will help them get used to examination experience and will make them calmer and confident during the exam.

Vague Clarity of Concepts

Some of the students avoid in-depth study of the fundamentals behind concepts in every topic. This is a recipe for disaster as the majority of questions asked in major government papers like SSC CGL are concept-based questions and can range from easy to advanced levels.

Although the use of formulas and short tricks will save time in the exam, students should have a sound understanding of the basic concepts behind every question. This way they will be able to rescue themselves when encountered with a complex question where only the fundamental knowledge of concepts will work.

Referring to Multiple Sources for Study Content

Often most students end up wasting too much of their time and end up confused by jumping from one book or study material to another in search of the best and most credible source to study from.

To avoid this stress, students must make sure that the content of the study material and sources secured by them are updated, reliable and conform with the latest SSC CHSL syllabus.

However, students can now access the best quality sources for guidance and learning material to prepare for the exam in the comfort of their homes. Some ed-tech startups offer a one-stop solution to all learning needs of students preparing for various competitive exams by offering live classes, study notes, online test series, quizzes, previous years papers, current affairs and more.

Hesitancy Towards learning Short Tricks and Formulas

While the knowledge of the basic method of solving a question is important, if used in exams can be time-consuming. Therefore it is advised that students learn useful short tricks and formulas in every topic to avoid long time-consuming steps to reach the answer quickly and save time. The time saved could be used to attempt other questions and sections later.

Not Solving Previous Years Papers

This is one of the main reasons behind the failure of students in any competitive exam. By solving previous years' SSC CGL papers students will get an idea of how the paper is set by the SSC and will give them important inputs such as the type/pattern of questions to expect and the trend in the weightage of different topics in each section.

Not Attempting Regular Mock Tests and Lack of Self-Evaluation

Without speed and accuracy, it is difficult to crack the SSC CGL exam. Students often underestimate the positive effect of attempting mock tests regularly. It not only lets students track their progress but also gives insights into their strengths and areas of concern that need to work on to improve their performance.

Students must attempt regular topic-wise and sectional mock tests and quizzes and should take full-length mock tests once done with the majority of the syllabus. This will help them develop the ability to attempt questions fast with greater accuracy.

Lack of Practice

Only learning concepts, formulas and short tricks and not practicing questions won't work if you are planning on cracking a competitive exam. Especially subjects like quantitative aptitude and logical reasoning need a lot of practice.

Students must practice enough questions of different types in each topic to get a good grip on them. Attempting practice sets and sectional quizzes will help them to self-evaluate and improve their performance.

Random guesswork

There is a negative marking for every incorrect attempt in the SSC CGL exam. Often students tend to forget about this and use wild guessing to answer the questions that they are unfamiliar with to clear the qualifying cut-off.

Calculated guesswork at times can work in favor of the students but sometimes it can be dangerous and can reduce your score. This can also result in you failing to clear the exam. Avoid any type of guesswork and attempt only those questions that you know the answer of.

Attempting difficult questions first

Candidates often start and get stuck with the tough questions. This consumes a lot of their valuable time and later on, they regret missing out on easier ones due to the lack of time.

Candidates are advised to start by scanning through the sections and must attempt the easy or familiar questions first. This will save their time and will boost their confidence to tackle more complex questions later. Furthermore, Through this candidates will fetch marks for all easy questions at first and could avoid regretting missing out any later.


Author: Umesh21 Jul 2021 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5

This is a very exhaustive article bringing out the various reasons for the failure of candidates in the SSC CGL exam. The remedial measures suggested are also worth consideration and deserve merit.

This exam is one of the most coveted ones and a large number of students participate in it. The competition is definitely very high and losing even a single-digit score can push the student out of the list at any stage of the selection process. The fact of the matter is that these competitive exams require a long time of preparation and strategy rather than going for the last 1-2 months of preparation. Selective study and guesswork are not going to help in such an ambitious aspiration. The parents also have a crucial role here and they must emphasize the need for preparation right from the time the student is in the HSC/SSC level. So, the mindset has to be carved out from quite a beginning so that at the right time it does not become a burden but turn out a challenge worth trying. I have seen many cases where children groomed in that fashion did remarkably well in these exams.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha21 Jul 2021 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

The aspirants would do well in any competitive examination, including SSC CGL, if they take up the following points into consideration.
1) Avoid the fear of failure because that would impact the performance ultimately.
2) Draw out a plan to go through the basics of the syllabus of this examination.
3) Since the time is limited to think over a particular question, the aspirants would do well to know the shortcut tricks while solving such questions.
4) Positive attitude is to be maintained.
5) Attending the mock - test organised by the professional institution would help to raise your confidence if your scores are high and even if they have not fared well, there is room for improvement.

Guest Author: Rwanda30 Jul 2021

Most humbly and respectfully I beg to submit that the author seems to be totally unaware of the scheme of SSC CGL Examination. It is written purely on general terms and does not address the specific needs of the applicants of a multiple-tier all-India examination like SSC CGL.

How is this type of article being accepted by the website? This only makes the competitors very confused.

Author: Umesh12 Aug 2021 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2

Most of the competitive exams for jobs in Govt departments or Banks or PSUs more or less follow the same general pattern as far as the entrance exam question papers are concerned. SSC-CGL is no exception. There would be some questions on general aptitude, logical thinking, general English, etc, and depending on the area some specific questions related to Mathematics or Statistics etc. So the syllabus would be more and less common to quite a degree except some papers of specific nature opted by the candidate as is done in the IAS entrance examination. Anyway, for optional papers which would be from the core area of the candidates, one has to prepare oneself as per the understanding of the subject.

Keeping this background in mind, I think that the present article has given some good general tips to inspire and motivate the candidates for appearing in the exam with full zeal and vigour. To that extent it is serving its purpose.

Guest Author: Partha Kansabanik17 Aug 2021

I congratulate the author for this informative article. He has beautifully explained the overall scheme of the SSC CGL examination which would definitely be helpful to prospective candidates.

In this connection, I would request the author to indicate the category-wise aggregate cut-off marks after the Tier-I and Tier-II examinations. If the cut-off marks are indicated category-wise, it would help the candidates to set a target for their preparation.

I also request the author to elaborate on the preparation strategy for the Tier-III (subjective) examination.

Finally, I humbly request the author to explain with illustration his view indicated in the last sub-para "Attempting difficult questions first". In a computer-based MCQ, the applicants generally attempt questions serially as the questions appear on the screen. Is there any scope to attempt easy/difficult questions first? Further explanation would help lakhs of candidates who appear in this examination every year.

  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name: