prepp logo

SSC CGL 2020 Exam pattern 1,2,3 & 4: Check marking scheme, type of questions and section wise paper analysis

Updated On -

Oct 21, 2020

Nikkil Visha's profile photo

Nikkil Visha

Exams Prep Master

SSC CGL 2020 is conducted in 4 levels i.e Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, and Tier 4. There is a set syllabus for the entrance exam that candidates need to follow thoroughly. Tier-I for SSC CGL 2020 has begun from March 3 and will be conducted till March 9, 2020. Tier-2 and Tier-3 will be conducted from June 22 to 25, 2020. Candidates must note that the score for SSC CGL Tier-I & Tier-II exam will be normalized if it is conducted in multiple shifts. The normalization score will be decided by SSC and it will be considered final for selecting candidates for the further rounds (Tier-III & Tier-IV) of SSC CGL 2020. Tier IV is the final round for cracking the exam. No interviews will be conducted as notified from the year 2016. Candidates can prepare from important books mentioned in the article below.

SSC CGL total marks: Marking Scheme

Tier I





General Intelligence & Reasoning



60 minutes (Total)

General Awareness



Quantitative Aptitude



English Language and Comprehension






Tier II



No. of Questions

Max Marks

Exam Duration


Quantitative Abilities



2 Hours


English Language and Comprehension



2 Hours





2 Hours


General Studies (Finance & Economics)



2 Hours

Get FREE SSC CGL 2021 Mock Tests, Sectional Quiz, Previous Years Papers. Click Here

SSC CGL syllabus is different for all the tiers. Tier 1 & 2 are computer-based papers with objective type questions. The major section of these two tiers is a quantitative aptitude, reasoning ability, English comprehension, statics, and general studies.  Check SSC CGL 2020 Syllabus

Highlights of SSC CGL Exam Pattern

SSC CGL Exam Pattern 2020 is different for every exam. The marking scheme and syllabus differ from exam to exam.

  • Tier 1 exam- 100 questions from General Intelligence & Reasoning, General Awareness/ General knowledge, Quantitative Aptitude, and English Comprehension. 60 minutes duration with negative marking for an incorrect response.
  • Tier 2 exam- This has 4 papers viz., Quantitative Ability, English Language and Comprehension, Statistics (only for the post of Statistical Investigator Gr. II & Compiler), General Studies of Finance and Economics (Only for the post of Assistant Audit Officer). 200 marks for each paper is allotted with a duration of 2 hours. Negative marking is applicable.
  • Tier 3 exam- Descriptive paper for Essay Writing, Letter/Application Writing, Passage Writing. The paper is conducted for a duration of 1 hour for 100 marks.
  • Tier 4 exam- Data Entry Skill Test/ Computer Proficiency Test for 15 minutes. This exam is qualifying in nature. No negative marking and no marks allotted.

Read SSC CGL Paper Analysis

SSC CGL Exam Pattern

SSC CGL Exam Pattern 2020 in Detail

As per the latest notifications by SSC, SSC CGL exam now has four levels of exams.

  • Tier-1 & 2: Objective Type – Computer Based Examination
  • Tier-3: Written Examination (Descriptive Type) 
  • Tier-4: Computer Test / Skill Test (wherever applicable)

SSC CGL Exam Pattern 2020 is given in detail for the convenience of the aspiring candidates.

SSC CGL Exam Pattern 2020 for Tier-I

ssc cgl tier 1 exam pattern
Number of Papers 1
Total Number of Questions 100
Total Sections 4
Sections General Intelligence and Reasoning
General Awareness/ General knowledge
Quantitative Aptitude
English Comprehension
Total Marks 200
Total Time 60 Minutes
Negative Marking Yes
Mode Online
Question Type Objective

Read Tips to Solve Quantitative Aptitude

SSC CGL Tier-2 Exam Pattern 2020

  • Tier II comprises four papers – Paper 1, 2, 3, 4.
  • Paper 1 & 2 mandatory for all posts.
  • Paper 3 is valid only for candidates who have applied for the post of Junior Statistical Officer (JSO) and shortlisted in tier-I for this post/ paper.
  • Paper 4 is valid only for candidates who have applied for the post of Assistant Audit Officer/ Assistant Accounts Officer and shortlisted in tier-I for this post/ paper
Number of Papers 4
Subjects Paper- 1: Quantitative Ability Paper-2: English Language and Comprehension Paper-3: Statistics (only for the post of Statistical Investigator Gr. II & Compiler Paper-4: General Studies (Finance and Economics) (Only for the post of Assistant Audit Officer)
Total Marks 800 (200 in each paper)
Total Time 2 hours for each paper
Negative Marking

Paper 1, 2, 4: 0.50

Paper 3: 0.25 

Mode Online
Question Type Objective

SSC CGL Tier-3 Exam Pattern 2020

Number of Papers 1
Total Marks 100
Question Type Descriptive
Sections Essay Writing
Letter/Application Writing
Passage Writing
Duration 1 hour
Exam Mode Offline

Solve Mock Tests (2) for free before appearing for SSC CGL 2020 Exam

SSC CGL 2020 Tier-4 Exam Pattern

Total Marks Qualifying in Nature
Time Duration 15 minutes
Tests Data Entry Skill Test (DEST)/Computer Proficiency Test (CPT)
Exam Mode Online
Data Entry Skill Test (DEST) Only for candidates applying for the post of Tax Assistants (in Central Excise and Income Tax)
Criteria: 8000 key depression per hour
Computer Proficiency Test (CPT) Only for candidates applying for the post of Assistant Section Officer
Three modules: Word Processing, Spreadsheet, and Generation of Slides

SSC CGL Practice Papers

SSC CGL Marking Scheme

SSC CGL Data Entry Skill Test

The aspirants, who are willing to apply the post of Tax Assistants (Central Excise & Income Tax), can apply the test. As per the regulations, the aspirants should have the capability of typing 8000 key Depressions in each hour (on the computer). On the other hand, as per the skill test, the candidates should type 2000 Key Depressions in 15 minutes. 

SSC CGL Computer Proficiency Test (CPT)

Read the below-mentioned content to understand, who are eligible to apply for the same:

  1. Assistant Section Officer in CSS MEA and AFHQ.
  2. Assistant in Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs
  3. Inspector (Central Excise)
  4. Inspector (Examiner) in CBEC
  5. Assistant (GSI) in Ministry of Mines
  6. Inspector (Preventive Officer)

SSC CGL Document Verification (DV)

Matriculation/secondary certificate

Educational qualification certificate

Caste/category certificate, if applicable

PwD certificate, if applicable

Mark sheets of all the three years of graduation

Provisional certificate/ certificate of graduation

Two passport-size colored photos

ID proof

Relevant certificate if seeking any age relaxation

Relevant documents for Ex-Servicemen

No Objection certificate, in the case already employed in Government/Government undertakings

Any other document specified in admit card

SSC CGL 2020 Marking Scheme

SSC CGL 2019 has both online and offline based tests. While Tier 1, 2 and 4 are an online computer-based exam, Tier 3 is a descriptive written pen and paper examination. Tier 4 is the final qualifying round where document verification is also done. No personal interviews will be conducted in SSC CGL 2016 onwards.

SSC CGL Exam Tiers Sections Total Marks Marking Scheme Negative Marking
Tier 1 General Intelligence and Reasoning
General Awareness/ General knowledge
Quantitative Aptitude
English Comprehension
200 marks Each question carries 2 mark -0.50 for each wrong answer
Tier 2 Paper 1: Quantitative Ability
Paper 2: English Language and Comprehension
Paper 3: Statistics
Paper 4: General Studies (Finance and Economics)
Paper 1: 200
Paper 2: 200
Paper 3: 200
Paper 4: 200
Paper 1, Paper 3, Paper 4: Each question carries 2 marks
Paper 2: Each question carries 1 mark
Paper 1, Paper 3, Paper 4: -0.50 for each wrong answer
Paper 2: -0.25 for each wrong answer
Tier 3 Essay, Application, Passage Writing 100 marks Minimum qualifying marks 33%
Tier 4 Data Entry Skill Test (DEST)/Computer Proficiency Test (CPT) (whichever applicable) Qualifying in nature

SSC CGL Syllabus

To Practice General Studies Sample Papers before the SSC CGL exam, click here

SSC CGL 2020 Syllabus

Syllabus for every tier in SSC CGL is different. The tables below give an idea about the syllabus in every paper under this exam.  Check Detailed SSC CGL Syllabus

SSC CGL 2020 Syllabus- Tier 1

Sections Syllabus
General Intelligence and Reasoning:

This section is based on Questions from Series (number, figurative), similarities and differences, analogy, space visualization. Spatial orientation, problem-solving, analysis, judgment. Decision making, visual memory, discrimination, observation. Direction sense test, Blood relations, arithmetical reasoning, and figural classification.

Arithmetic number series, non-verbal series, coding, and decoding. Statement conclusion, syllogism in reasoning, etc. The topics are Semantic Analogy, Symbolic/Number Analogy. Figural Analogy, Ranking test, Semantic Classification, Symbolic/Number Classification. Figural Classification, Input-Output questions, Problem Solving, Word Building, Seating arrangement, Numerical Operations, symbolic Operations. Questions on Dies, Clock, Calender.

Trends, Space Orientation, Space Visualization, Venn Diagrams. Drawing inferences, folding & unfolding of Punched hole/pattern. Figural Pattern – folding and completion, Indexing, Address matching. Date & city matching, Classification of center codes/roll numbers. Small & Capital letters/numbers coding, decoding, and classification. Embedded Figures, Critical thinking. Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence, etc.

English Language Questions on Fill in the Blanks, Idioms & Phrases, Jumbled sentences (ordering), One-word substitution. Synonyms, Antonyms, Spellings/Detecting Mis-spelt words, Common errors, sentence improvement, Passage, Cloze test are asked.
Quantitative Aptitude (Q.A.)

This section is based on questions on Percentages. Ratio & Proportion. Square and cube roots. Surds and indices. LCM and HCF, Averages, Age problems. Simple interest and Compound Interest, Profit and Loss, Discount, Partnership. Mixture and Alligation, Time and distance, Time & Work, Boat and Streams, Pipes and Cisterns. Numbers, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Heights and Distances.

Divisions and Remainders, decimals, fractions and relationships between numbers. Graphs of Linear Equations, Triangles (centers, congruence, similarity), In circles and circum-circle. Triangle, Quadrilaterals, Regular Polygons. Circle, Right Prism, Right Circular Cone. Right Circular Cylinder, Sphere, Hemispheres, Rectangular Parallelopiped.

Regular Right Pyramid with triangular or square base, Trigonometric ratio. Degree and Radian Measures, Circle and its chords. tangents angles subtended by chords of a circle. common tangents to two or more circles, Standard Identities. Complementary angles, Heights and Distances. Histogram, Frequency polygon, Bar diagram & Pie chart.

General Awareness (G.A. Syllabus) General Awareness will have questions on current events, India and its neighboring countries. Also questions from History. Geography, Economic Scene, Culture, General Policy & Scientific Research are asked. Scientific research includes physics, chemistry, and Biology. Current affairs of Last 6 months are asked.

SSC CGL 2020 Syllabus: Tier 2

Sections Syllabus
Paper-1 (Quantitative Abilities) Same as in Tier 1
Paper 2 (English Language & Comprehension) Same as in Tier 1 English syllabus plus Active Passive and cloze test
Paper 3 (Statistics) Collection Classification and Presentation of Statistical Data
Measures of Central Tendency
Measures of Dispersion-Common measures dispersion 
Moments, Skewness and Kurtosis
Correlation and Regression
Probability Theory
Random Variable and Probability Distributions
Sampling Theory
Statistical Inference 
Analysis of Variance
Index Numbers
Paper 4 (General Studies (Finance and Economics) Finance and Accounts, Economics and Governance

SSC CGL 2020 Syllabus- Tier 3

Sections Syllabus
Written Descriptive English Test Precis Writing/Essay/Formal Letter/Informal Letter/Application/Passage Writing

SSC CGL 2020 Syllabus- Tier 4

Sections Syllabus
Data Entry Skill Test/ Computer Proficiency Test DEST test requires 8000 key depressions per hour whereas CPT test requires computer knowledge

Know About SSC CGL Coaching Centers

SSC CGL Reference Books

SSC CGL 2020- Important Books for Preparation

Listed below are few important books that a candidate can prepare from for all the 4 tiers of SSC CGL 2020:

SSC CGL Important Books 2019
Subject Book Name Author
English English for General Competitions: from Plinth to Paramount (Volume – 1) Neetu Singh (KD Publications)
English English for General Competitions: (Volume – 2) Neetu Singh (KD Publications)
Quantitative Aptitude Advance maths for General Competitions Rakesh Yadav (KD Publications)
Quantitative Aptitude Arithmetic for General Competitions Neetu Singh (KD Publications)
Reasoning A New Approach to Reasoning Verbal & Non-Verbal BS Sijwali and Indu Sijwali (Arihant)
General Awareness India Year Book Various Authors
All Subjects Kiran’s SSC CGL Combined Graduate Level Exams Question bank 1999-2016 Kiran Publications
Tier 1 Comprehensive Guide Master Guide SSC Combined Graduate Level Tier-I Examination Arihant Experts
Tier 2 Comprehensive Guide SSC CGL Staff Selection Commission Combined TIER-II Exam Practice Work Book Including Solved Papers Kiran Publication

Improve your knowledge in Reasoning before appearing for SSC CGL exam, click here

Important Instructions for Candidates

Following instructions should be kept in mind while preparing for SSC CGL 2020:

  • Candidates should practice “mock tests” to get an idea of the computer-based exam for Tier 1 and Tier 2. Online tests for the same must be attempted.
  • Mock tests are available on the official website of the SSC as well as the regional office websites.
  • Time management is very important.
  • Be careful of negative marking. Answer only those questions which you are sure of.

Get SSC CGL Preparation Tips

Frequently Asked Questions

SSC CGL Exam Pattern 2020 FAQs

Ques.  What is the time allotted to attempt each section of SSC CGL 2020 Tier I?

Ans. There is no time limit to attempt Tier I sections, however, cumulative time of 60 minutes is there to attempt 100 objective type questions. Each question will carry 2 marks and for every wrong answer, 0.25 marks will be deducted.

Ques.  What are the topics under GK section, that one should know?

Ans. To prepare for GK section, you should focus on daily current affairs, GK quiz, study about History. Geography, Economic Scene, Culture, General Policy & Scientific Research.

Ques.  How many attempts are allowed in SSC CGL examination?

Ans. There is no limitation on the number of attempts for SSC CGL, however, there is an age limit for different category candidates.

Ques.  What are the sections in SSC CGL Tier-II?

Ans. SSC CGL Tier II comprises of 4 papers namely,

 Paper 1: Quantitative Ability
Paper 2: English Language and Comprehension
Paper 3: Statistics
Paper 4: General Studies (Finance and Economics)

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


avinash sahu
Can we crack the CGL exam after solving the previous year question paper of 10 to 15 years of the SSC CGL?
kavita rani

Hi Avinash. Doing last question papers of the past 10–15 years are necessary, but you need to do lot of other things as well to clear the SSC CGL exam. You must study as per the latest exam pattern and do more mock tests as well. You can refer to some important tips mentioned here while preparing for the SSC CGL exam.

ankur jain
What mistakes should be avoided during SSC CGL preparation?
kavita rani

Hi Ankur. Deviating From the target, referring to many books, not focusing on the mock tests and last year sample papers are some of the mistakes that must be avoided during SSC CGL preparation.

bhagyashri kene
Which is the best test series for the SSC CGL for practicing every day, that isn’t too expensive and provides the same pattern as that of the exam?
kavita rani

Hi Bhagyashri. You can attempt SSC CGL Mock Test to get better score in the SSC CGL exam. You can check the last year papers and mock tests here.

divakar sharma
What is the mark versus the rank pattern of the SSC CGL 2020 exam?
kavita rani

Hi Divakar. Marks means the overall score while rank is given based on the cut-off list. Refer here to check more details.

laxmi mishra
Can an undergraduate student fill the SSC CGL form to see the pattern of the exam?
kavita rani

Hi Laxmi. You cannot apply for the SSC CGL Exam, as you need to have a Graduation degree. For all the posts offered through the SSC CGL exam, it is important to obtain a graduate degree. Check out detailed eligibility criteria here.

What is the pattern of SSC CGL tier 3 exam and how should I prepare for it to get a score of 65+. Which books should I follow?
kavita rani

Hi Vipasha. SSC CGL exam is taken into 4 levels including Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, and Tier 4. Tier 3 exam is Descriptive paper for Essay Writing, Letter/Application Writing, Passage Writing. To know detailed exam pattern and preparation strategy, refer here.

bhagyashri kene
Is it worth it to prepare for the SSC CGL 2020 as the government announced the CET for all exams because the pattern may be changed?
kavita rani

Hi Bhagyashri. National Recruitment Agency will take Common Eligibility Test for appointing the candidates for Group B & C Non-technical Posts under Staff Selection Commission (SSC), the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS). NRA CET is launched to replace the Tier-1 Exam of the Central Government Jobs and make recruitment process easier.

Is SSC going to change the syllabus and exam pattern in the CGL 2021, or will it remain the same as before? I am a beginner, so my target is 2021.
kavita rani

Hi Soumi. Till now there are no changes announced in the SSC CGL exam pattern 2021. For more details, check here.

When will the SSC CGL exam 2021 be held and what is the syllabus and pattern for it ? How much time is needed for its preparation?
kavita rani

Hi Swarup. The SSC CGL tier-I 2021 exam is scheduled to be conducted from May 27 to June 7, 2021. Check out the detailed preparation strategies here.

preetam oinam
What is the pattern of SEBI AM exam? Is it more inclined towards banking or towards SSC CGL?
kavita rani

Hi Preetam. The candidates preparing for the SEBI exams, must go through the complete syllabus for SEBI Grade A Officer Exam. There are a few differences in the SEBI AM exam, which can be checked here.