SSC CGL Exam Pattern: A Brief Guide for Complete Preparation

The Staff Selection Commission or SSC conducts examination and recruitment for various ministries and department of the Central Government. THE SSC CGL exams are Combined Graduate Level test meant for bachelor degree candidate in any discipline. 

The SSC CGL test comprises of a four-tier examination. The Tier-I is an objective multiple choice question and answer format, and the exam will be held online. The Tier-II also follows the same pattern with the MCQ format conducted in an online medium.

The Tier-III is entirely different from the Tier-I and Tier-II. It is a description written examination, and it will be an offline pen and paper-based one.

In Tier-IV, the last stage, there will computer skill test with Data Entry Speed Test (DEST) and Computer Proficiency Test (CPT). All this will be finally concluded with a candidate document verification. The detailed SSC CGL exam pattern and mode of examination have been provided below:  

TierType of ExaminationMode of Examination
Tier IMultiple Choice Objective QuestionComputer Based Test (Online)
Tier IIMultiple Choice Objective QuestionComputer Based Test (Online)
Tier IIIDescriptive Paper (English/ Hindi Language)Pen & Paper Based Test (Offline)
Tier IVComputer Skill Test: Data Entry Speed Test (DEST)/ Computer Proficiency Test (CPT)Wherever required ( not applicable for all posts)
Candidate’s Document Verification Applicable to everyone

SSC CGL Tier-I Exam Pattern 

The SSC CGL Tier-I is an online computer-based test (CBT), with multiple question and answer format. The candidates have to prepare from four subjects of General Intelligence and Reasoning, General Awareness, Quantitative Aptitude and English Language and Comprehension. The total number of questions asked will be 100, and each topic has 25 questions.

Each of these topics carries 50 marks which sum up to 200 marks. The cumulative time duration provided for this test is 60 minutes (1 Hour).  Only candidates with visual impairment and cerebral palsy will granted additional time of 80 minutes. In SSC CGL Tier-I, there is a negative marking of 0.5 marks, for every wrong attempt of a question. The Tier-I exam pattern is tabulated below: 

Topic No.SubjectsNumber of QuestionsMaximum MarksTime Duration
1General Intelligence and Reasoning255060 minutes    (Total Time)
2General Awareness2550
3Quantitative Aptitude2550
4English Language and Comprehension 2550
Total 1002001 Hour

SSC CGL Tier-II Exam Pattern 

The SSC CGL Tier-II also incorporates four papers, but the difficulty level increases considerably. The papers are Quantitative Abilities, English Language and Comprehension, Statistics and General Studies (Finance and Economics). This level is also has a multiple choice question and answer format with an online computer-based test (CBT).

Paper I and Paper II are mandatory for all posts. Paper III is for the position of Junior Statistical Officer, and the Paper IV is for the position of Assistant Audit Officer/ Assistant Accounts Officer. There is a negative marking of 0.25 marks for Paper-II only, and 0.50 marks for Paper I, Paper III and Paper IV.

The Paper I is based on 10th standard, Paper II is based on 10+2 standard, and Paper III and Paper IV are based on graduation level. 

In English Language and Comprehension, there are a total of 200 questions. However, in other papers like Quantitative Abilities, Statistics and General Studies ( Finance and Economics), there are 100 questions from each section. In every subject, the maximum marks are 200 marks and time duration is 2 hours.

The time duration extends for 2 hours 40 minutes for visually handicapped candidates. The tabulated format of SSC CGL Tier-II has been given below. 

PaperSubjectsNumber of QuestionsMaximum MarksTime Duration
IQuantitative Abilities1002002 Hours
IIEnglish Language and Comprehension 2002002 Hours
IIIStatistics1002002 Hours
IVGeneral Studies (Finance  & Economics)1002002 Hours

SSC CGL Tier-III Exam Pattern

The SSC CGL Tier-III exam will be conducted in an offline medium, which is based on pen and paper format. The question asked is a descriptive one, and the candidates are required to write an essay, precis or letter application, etc. This test is mainly to evaluate the language proficiency, grammatical know-how, writing skills and vocabulary stock of the candidate in either of the two languages English or Hindi.

The questions asked in this exam is from 10+2 standard. This particular tier of the SSC CGL is a self qualifier, and the candidate must score a minimum of 33% to pass this stage. The rest is determined based on the cut-off score. The exam duration is of 60 minutes and 80 minutes for candidates who have cerebral palsy and visual impairments. The total marks in this tier of the exam are 100 marks. 

SubjectMaximum MarksTime Duration 
Descriptive Paper in English/Hindi (Writing of Essay/ Letter Application/ Precis, etc.)10060 minutes (1 Hour)

SSC CGL Tier-IV Exam Pattern

The SSC CGL Tier-IV is a computer-based skill test, that is carried out in two stages the 

Data Entry Speed Test (DEST) and Computer Proficiency Test (CPT). 

SSC CGL Tier-IV Exam Pattern

1. Data Entry Speed Test (DEST)

In this examination, the candidates are required to type 2000 key depressions for the timing of 15 minutes. The DEST pattern is entirely subjective to the Staff Selection Commission for the purpose. Orthopedically Handicapped (OH) candidates appearing for the post of Tax Assistant are only exempted in the government department of CBDT and not CBEC.

Visually Handicapped (VH) and Hearing Handicapped (HH) candidates are not granted exemption from appearing in the DEST skill test. The Visually Handicapped candidates who opt for scribe in the written test will be given a passage reader during a skill test. An additional 5 minutes will also be provided to them. 

2. Computer Proficiency Test (CPT)

The Computer Proficiency Test (CPT) incorporates three modules of Spread Sheet, Word Processing and Generation of Slides. This test is applicable for positions like Assistant Section Officer (MEA), Assistant Section Officer of Central Secretariat Service (CSS), Assistant in Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) under the Central Government Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Assistant (GSI).

The Commission also decides the CPT pattern for the purpose. No candidates in the Persons with Disabilities (PwD) category will be eligible for any kind of exemption.

The SSC CGL selection process is quite extensive if the candidate qualifies all the four-tier of the examination, then the final step is to go for documents verification.

It includes submitting copies of vital documents like educational qualification, caste certificate ( SC/ST/OBC category), matriculation certificate, and other relevant information.

Now, after getting all the details regarding SSC CGL exam pattern, candidates start working on the strategies for preparation.

Leave a Comment