How to prepare for SSC CGL Reading Comprehension

Updated On -

Jun 1, 2017

Simran Nigam's profile photo

Simran Nigam

Content Curator

Reading Comprehension is one of the important topics in SSC CGL exam which comes under English Comprehension in Tier 1 and under Language & Comprehension in Tier 2.

Staff Selection Commission, conducts SSC CGL 2017 in four Tiers. SSC CGL 2017 exam pattern of each Tier will be different from others. The SSC CGL Tier 1 & II will be a computer based examination while Tier III is a descriptive exam to be conducted in paper based mode.

Solving English Reading Comprehension has become an inevitable part of almost every competitive examination. Reading Comprehension is one of the easiest topic in SSC CGL and also the topic which carries maximum marks so some smart working is required while attempting questions in the best way possible.

  • Tier 1 contains 25 questions from English Comprehension which carries two marks each and .5 deduction for every wrong attempt.
  • Tier 2 consists of four papers in which Language and Comprehension (Paper 2) comprises of 200 questions and 0.5 deduction for the wrong attempt.
  • After clearing Tier 1 and Tier 2, candidates qualify for the Tier 3.
  • Reading Comprehension consists of 5 questions (10 marks) in Tier 1 and 10 questions (10 marks) in Tier 2.

Here are some tips and strategies to achieve success in SSC CGL

  • Try to solve online passages: Solving online passages will prove to be more useful because Tier 1 and Tier 2 are both online exams, so it will enhance your thinking skills and will allow you to understand online passages more.
  • Focus on the Keywords: You need to eliminate the words, phrases, sentences from the Reading Comprehension that are not useful and need to focus on keywords because in this way you will be able to solve your passage in lesser time.
  • Knowledge, Skills and Time Management – By proper time management, candidates can complete their section easily and for that proper knowledge and skills/techniques are must. Tips provided in this article can lead you towards scoring good marks and less time consumption.
  • Practice- Practice a lot to know your strength and weaknesses. Start reading in English like - Newspapers, stories, comics, and textbooks, anything that keeps you immersed in English. Practice will also improve your speed and will help you solve the passage quicker.
  • Work on Vocabulary: Read and solve comprehensions, as many as possible. Solve passages from different fields of knowledge, like Science, Arts, Literature, Politics and Economics.
  • Focus: Focus on the content. Don’t let your mind go away from there.
  • Be Confident: Stay calm and fresh. Be confident and no need to panic because under- confidence can inhibit your performance.

SSC CGL Tier- Wise Preparation Tips

Tier 1: Reading Comprehension

There will be a reading passage question in Tier 1, English Comprehension section. The question will be of 10 marks with 5 questions carrying 2 marks each. Passage is simple and easy to understand but just some focus and technique is required to solve them in a better way.

Here is an Example from SSC CGL Question Paper


The desert floras shame us with their cheerful adaptations to the seasonal limitations. Their whole duty is to flower and fruit, and they do it hardly, or with tropical luxuriance, as the rain admits. It is recorded in the report of the Death Valley expedition that after a year of abundant rains; on the Colorado Desert was round a specimen of Amaranths ten feet high. A year later the same species in the same place matured in the drought at four inches. Seldom does the desert herb attain the full stature of the type. Extreme aridity and extreme altitude have the same dwarfing effect, so that we find in the high Sierras and in Death Valley related species in miniature that reach a comely growth in mean temperatures. Very fertile are the desert plants in expedients to prevent evaporation, turning their foliage edge-wise toward the sun, growing silky hairs, exuding thick gum. The wind, which has a long sweep, harries and helps them. It rolls up dunes about the stocky stems. encompassing and protective, and above dunes, which may be, as with the mesquite, three times as high as a man, the blossoming twigs flourish and bear fruit.


1) What stops the desert floras from performing their duty well?
A) The people who pluck them
B) The desert sand
C) The desert animals
D) The rain

2) what lesson do the desert floras have to teach us?
A) How to grow with grace.
B) How to live a long time
C) How to adapt to limitations
ID) How to grow in dry places.

3) The desert plants face the danger of from extreme aridity and extreme altitude.
A) Early death
B) Painful growth
C) Dwarfism
D) Loss of reproduction

4) how does the wind keep the desert floras to grow?
A) By blowing the heat away
B) By blowing the clouds away
C) By blowing gently
D) By rolling up protective sand dunes.

5) The mesquite is a 
A) a type of desert animal
B) a sand dune
C) a tribe of people
D) a desert flora

Important Tips to Solve SSC CGL Tier 1 Reading  Comprehension

  • Read the questions first- Because it saves time to know what you are reading for. Make sure you understand the question. It will help to look at the required information rather than reading the whole passage and will save your precious time.
  • Read to the end- Don’t depend on the half information. Read the entire passage as quickly as you can and then answer the questions.
  • Don’t waste time on any one question: Skip the question which you think is consuming more time than it should and mark it with pencil or pen so that you can come to it after solving the whole paper.
  • Improve your Vocabulary: Read newspapers, novels, textbooks and comics or anything that will enhance your vocabulary because one or more questions asks for the meanings.
  • Practice: The best way to prepare for SSC CGL is to practice as much as you can. Learn the shortcuts and be quick while answering them. Go through previous year question papers and try to solve them as much as you can for better preparation.

SSC CGL Tier 2: Reading Comprehension

The reading passage in Tier 2 will consist of 10 questions each carrying 1 mark. The passage will be in the form of clove. A Cloze Test Passage is basically a reading comprehension where a certain set of words are missing. A cloze test passage has a defined structure, logical pattern and chronological order which helps in maintaining a unified tone throughout.

Here is an Example from SSC CGL Question Paper

Every month scientists (i) new gadgets and new ways to make technology faster and better. Our homes are full of hardware (ii) and (iii) suggests, it is the young people who are best able to deal with this change. Whereas, a teenager has no problem (iv) a DVD player, their parents find using technology (v) and different. But if you are a teenage who criticize their parents for their (vi) of technological awareness, Don't be too hard on them. Sometime (vii) the future you have got children of your own, your (viii) to deal with technology will probably (ix) and your children will feel more (x) with new technology as you do.

Fill in the blanks

(1) (v)
(a) Unique
(b) Automatic
(c) Sudden
(d) Complicated

(2) (i)
(a) Estimate
(b) Found
(c) Discover
(d) Invent

(3) (vii)
(a) To
(b) In
(c) At
(d) On

(4) (x)
(a) Able
(b) pleased
(c) comfortable
(d) easy

(5) (iii)
(a) Experiment
(b) Research
(c) Industry
(d) program

(6) (ii)
(a) Gadget
(b) screen
(c) laptop
(d) software

(7) (vi)
(a) Effect
(b) amount
(c) lack
(d) storage

(8) (viii)
(a) Talent
(b) ability
(c) possibility
(d) master

(9) (iv)

(b) ease

General Tips for Solving Cloze Passages

  • Focus on Grammar: clove passages mostly contain questions regarding nouns, pronouns, adjective, determinant or anything else. So try to focus on all these topics to solve clove passages in the best way possible
  • Read about multiple areas of study - like science, geography, history, technology etc. Do not limit yourself to a particular type of subject. Read blogs, newspapers, journals and whatever you can get your hands on. This will not only help improve your reading speed but also your understanding of various tones and related words used in them.
  • Practice, Practice and Practice:  One can only expect to grow significantly after a regular habit of solving cloze test questions. Make it a habit to solve 3-4 cloze passages each day. Make sure you analyze your performance in terms of speed and accuracy after each test. After a while, you can see promising results for sure.

Previous Year Question papers: Go through all the previous year SSC CGL question papers that will allow you to get a clear idea about Reading Comprehension section. So Through the above mentioned tips (General, Tier 1 and Tier 2) candidates can save their time and can solve their questions quicker. Practice is must so go through all the previous year SSC CGL question papers which will help you to get a better understanding of the pattern as well as questions. As reading section can fetch you some more marks and can improve your score, so don’t take the section lightly and prepare it wisely!

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.