SSC CGL Exam preparation tips to crack in first attempt

The Staff Selection Commission has released the notification for Combined Graduate Level examination 2017. Every year the commission provides an array of opportunities to young graduates to make their career in the public sector. It conducts a single examination to fill a number of seats in different government departments. The notification was released in the month of May and a total of 4473 posts are available this year. In this article, the focus is on both tier-I & Tier-II exam preparations.

SSC CGL examination is one of the most famous competitive exams for the various post of central government Group B, C, & D posts like Assistant Audit/Account Officer, Section Officer (Railway, Secretariat, Intelligence Bureau, Ministry Of External Affairs) & Assistant in Various ministry & department etc. If you are an engineering graduate and thinks that SSC CGL job isn’t for you. I think this is the wrong perception because the some of the most famous PSU jobs like MTNL & BSNL JTO, BBNL Executive Trainee through GATE, DoT Junior Telecom Officer through Engineering services are of same grade i./e. Class –II Officer post.

As the form for the SSC CGL Notification 2018 has already been filled and Tier-I computer-based exam will be held from 1st August to 8th August. Many of the might have started preparation and those who haven’t started they need to start it immediately to get selected in the examination.

Mode of examination

Tier 1OnlineExam
Objective pattern
Tier 2Online exam
Objective pattern
Tier 3Descriptive exam
Paper pencil based

Be Mentally Prepared

As you are appearing in the most completive exam for graduates which will surely provide you a respectable and a secure job in central government departments. You should not fear from the competition as you don’t have control on it. The competition is going to increase every year so thinking about is just a wasting of precious time which may be helpful for preparations.

Check: SSC CGL Salary

Tier-I Paper pattern & Timings

SSC CGL Exam Tier-I paper consist of 4 sections Reasoning, General Awareness, Quantitative Aptitude & English and each section will have 25 questions of 5o marks. You will have 60 minutes to solve the paper. Now you must remember above facts before appearing in final paper plan the study accordingly.

Tier-II Paper Pattern & Timings

SubjectNumber of QuestionsMarksDuration Totat
100200120 Minutes
English Language & Comprehension200200
General Studies (Finance and Economics)100200


There will be negative marks for each paper. One-fourth of the allotted marks will be deducted in each paper i.e. 0.5 marks will be negative in paper 1 while 0.25 marks will be cut as negative from paper 2.

Tier 3: Descriptive paper

The descriptive paper is of 100 marks and 60 minutes duration. This paper includes essays, letter, precise, applications etc. One can go through the previous exam papers to know the type of questions asked in this section. No particular book is required for this section. Just start practicing essay writing and letters or precise after tier 1 exam on a weekly basis.

Let’s come to individual section preparations.

General Intelligence Reasoning:

The reasoning is one of the interesting topics which just need the presence of mind, quick decision-making ability. Here your purpose is only to get maximum marks from the paper. What I personally think that those who have the interest in reasoning they can score well in low time. So if your strength is General Intelligence prepare for every topic do more and more practice and score highest marks in the section.

But what for those who feel weak in this subject. Those candidates don’t have to worry. They should first check the all the syllabus. Few topics of reasoning are shown below

  • Semantic Analogy,
  • Symbolic/Number Analogy,
  • Figural Analogy,
  • Semantic Classification,
  • Symbolic/Number Classification,
  • Figural Classification,
  • Semantic Series,
  • Number Series,
  • Figural Series,
  • Problem Solving,
  • Word Building,
  • Coding & de-coding,
  • Numerical Operations,
  • Symbolic Operations,
  • Venn Diagrams,
  • Punched
  • Classification of center codes/roll numbers,
  • Small & Capital letters/numbers coding,
  • Decoding and classification,
  • Embedded Figures,
  • Critical thinking

Now check the questions on each of above-mentioned topics. By solving 4-5 questions, you will definitely get the decision that which topic you should study and which one is to leave. I am sure that you will get sufficient topics to prepare, just concentrate on these with your full strength so that if any question comes in the exam from these you should be able to solve it correctly. Some of the easy ones are number series, Venn diagram, Coding-Decoding, Word building, Analogy etc. Your easy ones may be different from mine.

Check: Bank PO Salary

General Awareness

This section is the least time taking among all and it could save your 10 to 15 minutes which you can use for other sections. What you need to keep in mind that don’t think too much while attempting general awareness section as the answer appears to mind immediately after reading the question. General awareness is a very vast section which includes very basic knowledge of Current Affairs, History, Geography, Economics, etc. Don’t read the theoretical book for it just direct attempt subject wise questions from top GK book. For revision of GK just reattempt those questions again.

Quantitative Aptitude

Quantitative aptitude is one of the scoring subjects for science background students especially for those who are engineers or already attended classes for JEE examinations. The purpose of this section is to check the computation ability to appear students. You will find all type of questions related to numbers, decimals, ratio, proportion, square roots, average, interest, profit & loss, Time & Distance, Time & work etc. You have to sort out the topics of your interest and do exercise as many as you can. You can learn basic problem solving for the topic which you feel tough to get a good score.


English is another subject which takes less time to answer the questions. I know there are many candidates who have done their basic schooling in Hindi medium. Such students feel the fear of getting failed in English exam. They must accept the truth that only hard work can save them. By putting some extra effort (1-hour extra study in a day for English) they can easily clear the English paper.

Daily Practice

Practice makes us perfect. And it is true for the competitive exam, more you practice, better you can perform in the exam hall. What is the most proper way to it?

First, read a topic and perform some example listed in the course book. Thereafter most probably within 48 hours start practicing problems on the same topic through various books. For an example, you are studying time & distance topic through R.S Aggarwal. First, read the formulae and example exercise and then start from unsolved exercises. If you have very limited time just do 10-20 question at the start of exercise and last 10-20 question. The Same procedure may be applied to other topics and subjects except for General awareness.

As SSC CGL Exam Tier-I & Tier-II paper are Computer based examination, so you must have the knowledge to appear in such paper. The Testzone offers various test series for SSC and banking exam which will be beneficial for you to practice more. Before appearing for such online practice test, you must study the topic for better results.

SSC CGL Exam Tips

Every student must study all topics of his interest before the examination as with help of these topics you can get a good score. And you know that Tier-I score also considered for making final merit list.

  • There may some topics or subjects in which you are weak, don’t leave such topics. You should study basic things from these and do some very basic exercise so that if an easy question comes from these topics in the final exam. You should be able to answer it.
  • Candidates should use pen and paper for the daily practice of Aptitude and reasoning questions.
  • You should start exam with General awareness paper as will take hardly 10 to 15 to complete it.
  • After General awareness, you can start the subject in which you are very strong.
  • Don’t give more than 2 minutes time to any question. If any problem taking more than 2 minutes, leave such questions immediately to save the precious in the examination hall.
  • Don’t leave any subject un-attempted as there might be some minimum qualifying criteria for each subject.

I think above tips would be very useful to crack SSC CGL Tier-I & Tier-II exam in your first attempt.

Some DOs and DON’Ts:


  • Know the examination: Never nose dive into preparation or mock tests without gathering full knowledge about the requirements of the exam. If you are a fresher it is very important to research about the exam syllabus, kind of job it offers, etc. It is essential to know what you are going to work for.
  • Analyze yourself: Make a list of your strong and weak areas during your preparation. Know what your strengths are and work on the weak areas. But this is possible only when one practices on a variety of topics.
  • Take mock tests seriously: The whole idea of test series is to let you know how you perform under pressure. So follow strict time frame as per the mock series and avoid any disturbance during the test.
  • Since the final score is a sum total of tier1+2(3 and 4 where applicable) all the papers, score as much as you can in tier1. It is comparatively easier, scoring and will help you immensely in the final result.


  • Don’t relax for long after Tier-I: The gap between tier1 and 2 is usually of around 3 months. Relaxing can break your momentum, especially in quantitative aptitude. Instead, you can bring some changes in your study pattern to break the boredom.
  • English is easy, I don’t need to study for it: Never get into this trap because you are more likely to get negatives in this section than quant. Also, the time is sufficient for English, so if prepared well, the reward is higher as compared to the effort put in this section.
  • Don’t get disheartened by the low scores of your mock. In fact, it is good if you make mistakes initially, that way you will get a better idea about your focus during an exam and help you know your weak areas.

I hope this article is helpful. Wish you all good luck for the preparation!

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