11th May


Siddharth Bhardwaj  

(All India Rank-  1466)




SSC CGL Examination: An Overview


SSC CGL Examination is a gateway to some of the coveted Group B and Group C posts in Central Government. It consists of two stages – Tier 1(Prelims) and Tier 2(Mains). For some of the posts, a third stage of Computer Proficiency Test (CPT) or Data Entry Skill Test (DEST) is also prescribed. These tests are qualifying in nature. Interview process has now been done away with.

            Tier 1 consists of a single paper of 200 marks – Maths(Quantitative Aptitude), English, Reasoning and General Awareness each carrying 50 marks. Tier 2 consists of 2 papers – Maths and English- of 200 marks each. For the posts of Statistical Investigator and Compiler, there is also a third paper of Statistics of 200 marks. Till CGL 2015, it also had an interview stage consisting of 100 marks and the final merit list was prepared on the basis of the scores in Tier1(200), Tier2(400) and Interview(100). Now interview stage has been abolished. SSC is also contemplating making Tier1 qualifying in nature in CGL 2016 or conducting the exam online. Things are not clear yet and CGL 2016 as such has been postponed to August 2016. In nutshell, the following changes have been (or may be) made in SSC CGLE 2016:

  1. Interview stage has been done away with.                                          
  2. Tier1 may be made qualifying and Tier2 may be taken online.

Some of the most coveted interview posts of SSC CGLE with their cut-offs in CGLE 2014 are:




How to prepare for SSC CGLE?


Weightage of various subjects in SSC CGLE is as follows:


            It is clear from the above that one need to be good enough at Maths and English in order to crack this examination. Therefore, these two subjects need your maximum effort and time. Anyway, cost benefit ratio for GA (General awareness) is very bad. Questions come from unpredictable areas and are mostly factual in nature. At least half of the reasoning questions are simple common sense in nature and can be solved without any specific preparation. So, let us concentrate on the preparation strategies for Maths and English.

            Since the syllabi of Maths and English sections for Tier1 and Tier2 are almost identical, there is not much difference in the preparation for Tier1 and Tier2. We will, therefore, discuss the preparation method subject-wise rather than stage-wise.


Firstly, do the following (before starting the preparation):
1. Go through slowly and carefully through the exam pattern and syllabi of all subjects.
2. Solve 5 previous years papers of Tier1 and Tier2 (both English and Maths).
3. Note down your score and time taken in each of those papers.
4. Take the average of scores of Tier1 and average time taken by you. Do the same for Tier 2 Maths and English papers. Now you know where you are.
5. Now find out the cut-offs of Tier1, Tier2 and those of various posts. It will help you know how much effort you need to put in. Just to illustrate my point, when I used solve the previous year papers (before starting preparation of CGL), I would get around 160 in Maths and English both (in Tier2). So I knew that I need not do much to get an interview post. Now, being aware of your current position and your destination, you are in a position to embark upon this journey.


Preparation for Maths and English

It can be divided in 3 stages:

1) Foundation,

  • Foundation stage includes your basic understanding of the subject (Maths or English). For CGL preparation, this stage is the most important as questions are basic(fundamental) in nature. For example, if you have done your High School Maths (say, class VII to X) well, you won’t face much difficulty in dealing with Maths paper. Similarly, if your basic understanding of English grammar (such as Parts of Speech, Tenses, Voice, Narration) is good and you have a reasonably good vocabulary, then English won’t pose much problem either. Clearly, a good Foundation(stage 1) ensures that most of your preparation time and effort should be directed towards stages 2 and 3. In fact, you will take less time in covering last two stages if your foundation is strong

2)Exam Orientation,

  • Exam Orientation (Stage 2) includes reading and practising some exam-oriented book, directing and confining your efforts to CGL specific exam pattern and syllabi.

3)Exam Practice.

  • The last stage (Exam practice) includes solving previous year papers, taking Test series etc.


Sources for all the stages (for both English and Maths)




Preparation for Reasoning and GA


As Table 1 shows, they carry much less weightage compared to Maths and English. But they are very important in qualifying Tier1 and getting a good score therein. Since Tier1 marks have been taken into account in preparing the final scoresheet thus far (till 20156 CGL), these two subjects have often proved decisive in the end. Rendering Tier1 qualifying in nature will change the equation big time.


Suggested source of reference for GA & reasoning: 


Thank you, Sir