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SSC CGL 2021 Preparation Tips, Strategies & Study Material

Updated On -

Feb 15, 2021

The SSC CGL exam is conducted every year for the recruitment of candidates in various Grade ‘B’ and ‘C’ posts in different departments and ministries under the Government of India. This article will provide you information regarding SSC CGL 2021 and help you devise a strategy that shall give you the impetus required to ace the exam. 

Candidates must check the SSC CGL Syllabus for better preparation. SSC CGL recruitment comprises of 4 tiers. While the first two tiers are computer-based objective examinations, the third tier is a descriptive pen and paper-based examination to be conducted in both English and Hindi.

There is an additional tier 4 consisting of DEST (Data Entry Skill Test) and CPT (Computer Proficiency Test) for selective posts. Candidates can even prepare for the SSC CGL exam online through several websites and apps.

SSC CGL Sample Papers

Preparation Tips for Tier 1

Preparation Tips for Tier 1

SSC CGL Preparation Tips 2020 for Tier 1 Exam

The duration of the exam is 60 minutes (80 minutes for visually handicapped candidates or those suffering from Cerebral Palsy). There is no sectional time limit so you have the liberty to attempt the sections in any order.

Exam Pattern for SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam

Subject Questions Marks Duration of the Exam
General Intelligence and Reasoning 25 50 60 minutes
General Awareness 25 50 60 minutes
Quantitative Aptitude 25 50 60 minutes
English Language 25 50 60 minutes
Total 100 200 60 minutes

To know more about the SSC CGL exam pattern, click here

How to Prepare General Intelligence and Reasoning for SSC CGL 2020 Tier 1

  • Solve practice papers and last year's question papers.
  • Practice GI and Reasoning questions every day.
  • Topics like puzzles, figure-based questions, analogy, coding-decoding, series, are particularly scoring. Start solving these and then, move on to more versatile questions. You will witness a significant improvement in your accuracy within a few weeks if you practice regularly.
  • Non-verbal reasoning topics like image assembling, figure-counting, etc. demand you to employ visual imagination. Do not skip or ignore these questions as they may seem time-consuming to you initially. Practicing them is the best way to make them less time-consuming.
  • While practicing, you should aim at attempting at least 15-20 questions in 20 minutes with reasonable accuracy. In the exam as well, try to complete this section is not more than 20 minutes.

How to Prepare General Awareness for SSC CGL 2020 Tier 1

General Awareness (GA) is observed to be the most scoring section of the exam in recent years.

  • If you start preparing this section thoroughly two months before the exam, it will not take you more than 10 minutes to finish this section. You can utilize the time saved here for doing calculations in Quantitative Aptitude.
  • This section mostly consists of more questions from Static GK than current affairs. Thus, focus more on static GK and concurrently stay in touch with the current affairs.
  • Prepare the subjects in the order of priority mentioned here; it is in accordance with the trends observed in the last few years. Science> Polity> History> Geography> Economy> Miscellaneous
  • Static GK is related to Culture, Indian History, Economy, Geography (India + World), Polity, and Environment.
  • Avoid cramming. Make notes and mind maps to remember facts, a chronology of historical events and dates.
  • Try attempting at least 75 questions of GA every day in a span of 30 minutes.
  • Current Affairs App: At the time of a revision, you can go through the well-structured notes and capsules in this app which can be beneficial for SSC CGL preparation tips. It offers good quality daily/weekly/monthly quizzes to the aspirants.
  • When it comes to General Awareness, revision is the key to success.

How to Prepare Quantitative Aptitude for SSC CGL 2020 Tier 1

Quantitative Aptitude (QA) is the toughest and most time-consuming segment of this exam. 

  • Begin with topics like percentage; profit and loss; speed, distance and time; boat and stream questions; ratio and proportion; data interpretation, etc.
  • Formulate a list of all shortcuts, formulae, concepts, and tips. Shortcut tricks can help you big time in Quantitative Aptitude.
  • Focus on topics like simplification, age problems, interest, percentages, ratio, and proportion as they are simple and quite scoring.
  • Memorize all important formulae by heart. Solve an array of questions so you are aware of your strong and weak areas.
  • Try to allow at least 2 hours every day to practice questions from QA.
  • In the exam, do not devote more than 25 minutes to this section.

How to Prepare English Section for SSC CGL 2020 Tier 1

  • The three key aspects that you need to efficiently prepare for SSC CGL Tier 1 English test are vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension. Half the battle is won if you achieve proficiency in vocabulary and grammar. 
  • The pattern and questions in this exam are repeated time and again. Thus, thorough preparation can help you wrap up this whole section in not more than 20 minutes.
  • Practice at least 2 comprehension passages each day. Whenever you come across a new word, look for its meaning, synonyms, and antonyms.
  • Skim through the newspapers daily.

Check SSC CGL Tier 1 Syllabus

Preparation Tips for Tier 2

SSC CGL Preparation Tips 2020 for Tier 2 Exam

SSC CGL Tier 2 exam will be objective in nature. However, its level of difficulty is higher than that of Tier 1. You can check the exam pattern for Tier II to get acquainted with the type of questions asked. It will be conducted online and the medium will be English/Hindi. It will consist of 4 papers (refer to the table below).

Exam Pattern for SSC CGL Tier 2

Paper Questions Marks Duration of the exam
Quantitative Aptitude 100 200 2 hours
English Language and Comprehension 200 200 2 hours
Statistics 100 200 2 hours
General Studies (Finance and Economics) 100 200 2 hours

How to Prepare English Language and Comprehension Paper for SSC CGL Tier 2

SSC CGL Tier 2 English Language Paper has 200 questions carrying 1 mark each. The duration of this paper is 2 hours.

  • 0.25 marks will be deducted for every incorrect answer. So if you are not confident about a particular question, it is preferable not to attempt it.
  • The pattern of this section is very similar to that of tier 1 but the level of difficulty is much higher.
  • Nearly 40- 50% of the question is based on grammar. So, if you are adept in the language you will not face difficulty in attempting this paper.
  • Read newspapers with attention to detail. Practice the questions given in the books on grammar and last year's question papers. 

Check how to prepare for Tier II in 30 days.

How to Prepare Statistics Paper for SSC CGL 2020 Tier 2 

SSC CGL Tier 2 Statistics Paper has 100 questions carrying one mark each. The duration of this paper is 2 hours. Each correct answer will fetch 2 marks while ½ a mark will be deducted for every incorrect answer.

  • SSC CGL - Statistics Tier - 2 (Paper - 3) Practice Work Book is a comprehensive book for students preparing for SSC CGL exams. It is based on the new pattern and comprises solved papers of exams held in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
  • Focus on important topics like skewness and kurtosis, correlation and regression, probability theory, time series analysis, sampling theory, statistical inference, etc.

How to Prepare General Studies (Finance and Economics) Paper for SSC CGL 2020 Tier 2

With the introduction of the new post of Assistant Audit Officer (AAO), Paper 4 has been added to CGL Tier 2. The duration of this paper is 120 minutes. It will consist of 100 questions of 2 marks each. 0.5 mark will be deducted for an incorrect answer.

  • This paper does not involve the application of formulae and tricks or cramming vocabulary which takes a lot of time. It is easy to learn and score in Economics and Finance with accuracy.
  • Prepare thoroughly definitions and concepts pertaining to Indian and world economies. It takes hardly 2-3 seconds to answer questions based on them.
  • Candidates should have the knowledge of basic topics of class XI and XII like national income and aggregates, foreign exchange demand, supply, economic development, the balance of payment, and national and international financial institutions.
  • This paper holds maximum weightage in the general awareness section. About 3-5 questions are asked from this section. Here are the topics you should cover at any cost as it is observed that approximately 7-10 questions are based on them in SSC exam:
  1. Five Year Plans
  2. Indian Tax Structure
  3. Money and Banking
  4. Economic Terms
  5. Economic Reforms in India

Preparation Tips for Tier 3

SSC CGL Preparation Tips for 2020 Tier 3 – Descriptive Paper

SSC CGL Tier 3 is a newly added tier in lieu of the interview conducted for various posts till last year. It is also aimed at assessing candidates’ ability to manage official communication and correspondence. Candidates have to write an Essay/Precis/Letter /Application Writing in the examination. 

SSC CGL Tier 3 Exam Pattern

SSC has introduced a new paper i.e. Tier 3 in place of the personal interview round recently. Candidates can prepare for the Tier 3 Descriptive Paper once they are well acquainted with the syllabus and pattern. Here is all the pertinent information.

SSC CGL Tier 3 exam is conducted in pen and paper mode. It is a 100-mark Descriptive Paper in English/Hindi (writing essays/precis/letter/applications etc.). The time allotted to this paper is 60 minutes (80 minutes for visually handicapped candidates and those suffering from Cerebral Palsy).

This exam is qualifying in nature and marks are included in the preparation of the final merit. The paper is bilingual i.e. you can choose to write answers either in Hindi or English Language.

Tips to Prepare for SSC CGL 2020 Tier 3

  • This paper is introduced to assess the writing skills of candidates. The best strategy for this paper is to practice. The more you write, the better you get.
  • Good content and the ability to provide a proper structure to content are significant to write an essay or letter. If you practice, then both these skills can be improved over time.
  • There will be essay/letter/ application/precise writing in the exam. So, practice writing essays as it will build your confidence.
  • Read the newspaper every day to comprehend the efficacious way of writing and be aware of the latest crucial happenings. Analyze how the paragraphs are connected to each other and the approach that the editor has taken. Some of the useful English Newspapers are highlighted in the following, which are essential for SSC CGL Preparation 2020:
    • The Hindu
    • The Telegraph
    • The Hindustan Times
    • The Indian Express
  • Read the editorial section of an established newspaper and try to contrive your own arguments pertaining to the topics.
  • Buy a good book that contains a number of essays as it will provide you good content on important topics and enhance your vocabulary.

Preparation Tips for Tier 4

SSC CGL Preparation Tips for 2020 Tier 4 Exam

SSC CGL Tier 4 exam is held after the declaration of the Tier 2 result of the Combined Graduate Level Exam (CGL). Candidates who successfully qualify the Tier 2 exam are eligible for the Tier 4 exam.

It comprises two types of tests i.e Computer Proficiency Test (CPT) and Data Entry Speed Test (DEST). The objective is to test your ability to do basic tasks such as type correctly at a reasonable speed and your knowledge of fundamental office software tools like Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.

Computer Proficiency Test (CPT)

CPT includes the following three modules:

  1. Word Processing: You will be given an English passage; 2000 key depressions have to be made in 15 minutes. This is not difficult if you practice typing daily.
  2. Spread Sheet: In this module, the students will be asked to perform basic mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division on the Microsoft Excel sheet. For this, they should well-versed with the basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel.
  3. Generation of slides: The students will be asked to create slides on Microsoft Powerpoint. To do well, it is must to have an understanding of header, footer, inserting date and time and foundational skills of Microsoft Powerpoint.

Data Entry Speed Test (DEST)

DEST consists of only a typing test wherein the students have to make 2000 key depressions in 15 minutes. It is a speed test that can be cleared without a hitch with regular practice.

Best Books to Crack SSC CGL 2020 exam

Best Books to Crack SSC CGL 2020 exam

General intelligence:

Book Name Author
Verbal and Non-verbal reasoning R.S. Aggarwal
Analytical Reasoning M.K. Pandey

General Knowledge:

Read newspaper regularly to keep yourself up to date with the current affairs
To revise your study, make short notes. It helps you to save your time of studying.

Quantitative Aptitude:

Book Name Author
Elementary & Advanced Mathematics Kiran Prakashan
Advance Maths for General Competitions Rakesh Yadav/ KD Publications

General Awareness:

Book Name Author
General Knowledge Arihant Publications
General Knowledge Dr. Binary Karn/ Lucent

English Comprehension:

Book Name Author
English for General Competitions: from Plinth to Paramount (Volume – 1) Neetu Singh /KD Publications
A mirror of Common Errors Dr. Ashok Kumar /Academic and test publication
Competitive General English Kiran Prakashan
Objective General English S. P. Bakshi
SSC CGL Preparation Tips 2020

Practice Mock Tests: SSC CGL Preparation Tips 2020

It is essential for the students to practice online mock tests since the SSC CGL exam is conducted in the online mode. Hence, it will be helpful for the aspirants to understand the exam pattern of the SSC CGL EXam. As a result, the aspirants will get a chance to identify their strong and weak points and can rectify themselves accordingly. Taking a full-length mock tests exams are useful before SSC CGL 2020 exam for the students. In a nutshell, the aspirants should spend more time on their weak areas. 

SSC CGL Preparation Tips 2020 without Coaching Institutes

SSC CGL Preparation Tips 2020 without Coaching Institutes

Though SSC CGL 2020 is a common competitive exam among the students, however, the aspirants should follow some basic preparation tips while they do not admit to any coaching institutes. At first, the students should know the SSCL CGL Syllabus thoroughly before starting to take preparation. The aspirants should go through the good books for preparing themselves for SSC CGL Exam. You should choose the books wisely, especially while you do preparation without coaching institutes. You can also check the youtube channels, which provide the free online coaching classes. Hence, you will get plenty of study materials and tips and tricks to qualify for the SSC CGL 2020 exam. 

Download SSC CGL Practice Papers

Frequently Asked Questions


Q 1. From where can I find the detailed syllabus of the SSC CGL exam?

Answer: Candidates can access the syllabus by visiting the official website of SSC CGL - Tier I and Tier 2 are online examinations consisting of different subjects, Tier III is a descriptive paper that can be answered in Hindi and English language. Check Detailed SSC CGL Syllabus

Q 2. Will I be able to prepare for both the SSC CGL and IBPS simultaneously?

Answer: Yes. You can prepare for both at the same time because the syllabus for these exams is nearly the same. 

Q 3. I am already preparing for Civil Services. Could I prepare for SSC CGL exam at the same time?

Answer: Yes, in both of these exams, you will have to prepare Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning and Unseen Passages.

Q 4. In how many months will I be able to prepare for the SSC CGL exam?

Answer: If you could dedicate 5-6 hours a day, you will be able to cover the entire syllabus in good terms in around 3-4 months.

Q 5. Should I join a coaching institute for the SSC CGL preparation tips?

Answer: It is not mandatory to join a coaching institute. Many students crack this exam with self-study only. All you require is dedication and hard work.

Q 6. What are the sources of best study material for preparing for the SSC CGL exam?

Answer: You may check out the online tutorials, web blogs and papers of previous years. Those are really beneficial.

Q 7. How many questions from the General Intelligence section should I practice before attempting the SSC CGL exam?

Answer: It is recommended to practice at least 50 reasoning questions every day and at least 2000 questions before attempting the real exam.

Q 8. What are the most scoring topics that I should prepare for Tier I?

Answer: You should focus more on puzzles, analogy, coding-decoding, series, and figure-based questions, but also cover up the remaining topics.

Q 9. How much time should I spend in attempting the General Intelligence & Reasoning section of Tier I?

Answer: You should practice well to attempt this section in around 20 minutes.

Q 10: How much time should I spend on each question of the General Intelligence & Reasoning section of Tier I?

Answer: You should not spend over a minute on each question in this section.

Q 11: How much time should I spend in attempting the Quantitative Aptitude section of Tier I?

Answer: You should practice well to attempt this section is not more than 25 minutes.

Q 12. Which section of Tier I should I attempt first?

Answer: You should start attempting the Tier I paper with the easier sections like General Awareness.

Q 13. How much time should I spend in attempting the English Language section of Tier I?

Answer: The English Language Section should not take more than 15 minutes.

Q 14. What should be the first step while attempting the English Language section of Tier I?

Answer: You must attempt the Reading Comprehension part at the beginning very quickly.

Q 15. Does SSC CGL have Negative marking?

Answer: Yes, the exam has a concept of negative marking. Your incorrect attempt would bring your score to a downside.

Q 16. What is the most important tip for preparing Tier I and II in SSC CGL?

Answer: You must cover all the topics and work hard on time management.

Q 17. Is there a sectional time limit in the Tier I exam?

Answer: There is no sectional time limit.

Q 18. Can I switch between sections while attempting Tier I?

Answer: Yes, you can.

Q 19. What could I do to be updated on the current affairs?

Answer: Read any English newspaper on a daily basis. Also, subscribe to any monthly GK magazine and go through it.

Q 20. I am not very familiar with computers. How could I prepare for the SSC CGL exam, as the first two levels will be online based?

Answer: Try to attempt as many mock tests as you can. This will surely enhance your speed.

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


sujeet sharma
how to prepare current affairs for ssc cgl? this my whatupp no 9930855801 give me whatupp no details information

Dear Sujeet Sharma

Greetings from Collegedunia. You can prepare for General Studies with current affairs and with our practice papers for SSC CGL Tier 1, 2, 3 & 4 sections examinations 2020. Tier 1 consist of 4 sections, Tier 2 consist of 4 papers, Tier 3 consist of 1 paper, and Tier 4 consist of Computer Proficiency Test/ Skill Test/ Document Verification. For more details, kindly go through this link – SSC CGL 2020 Syllabus

puja sao
how to prepare current affairs for ssc cgl?
kavita rani

Hi Puja. Candidates must stay well aware of the latest and updated Syllabus, and read more newspapers to develop familiarity about the latest Current Affairs. Candidates must read both National & International Updates regularly.
Other useful tips are mentioned here.

fauzia shahid
how to prepare for ssc cgl tier 2 maths?
kavita rani

Hi Fauzia. Candidates must complete the entire syllabus on time, also solve more mock tests and last year papers to do well in the exam. Some books and other useful preparations tips are mentioned here.

kavita rani

Hi Fauzia. Candidates must complete the entire syllabus on time, also solve more mock tests and last year papers to do well in the exam. Some books and other useful preparations tips are mentioned here.

fauzia shahid
how to prepare for ssc cgl general awareness?
kavita rani

Hi Fauzia. Candidates have to stay well aware of the latest and updated Syllabus, and go through the newspapers to develop familiarity about the latest happenings.
Other useful tips are mentioned here.

aftab saab
If i need to apply in SSC CGL so how i can apply for it and can i use the last year papers for my practice?

Hello Aftab,

Kindly visit the following links to know about the- Application process, Eligibility Criteria, Exam Pattern & Syllabus, Preparation Tips and Practice papers.

priya sen sharma
What mistakes do we make that will make us unable to clear the SSC CGL?
rakhisree chatterjee

Hi Priya, Students often lack consistency, do not practice previous years’ question papers or enroll for the mock tests which makes them unable to clear the exam.

How should I prepare for SSC CGL if I am a beginner?
How do I prepare for English for the SSC CGL exam to score 190+ marks in Tier 2?
neer singh
What is your struggle for the duration of preparation for the SSC CGL?
kavita rani

Hi Neer!! Initially many students faced a lot of trouble while deciding what to study and which books they must refer to. But slowly and steadily, candidates preparing for the exam can move on the right track. Few struggles witnessed by candidates preparing for SSC CGL exam include:

• Lack of understanding about the exam pattern and syllabus.
• Not paying attention on technical aspects of the exam.
• Difficulty preparing for SSC CGL exams
• Difficulty finalizing books/sources.
• Not planning your studies in advance.

What mistakes did you do while preparing for SSC CGL?
kavita rani

Hi Shiwam!! The amount of hard work you invested while preparing for SSC CGL can get wasted in case candidates do mistakes. Some of the mistakes made by the candidates preparing for SSC CGL include:
• Not focusing on the Target
• Reading many Reference Books
• Not taking Mock Tests
• Ignoring your performance
• Giving minimum importance To Basic Concepts
• Ignoring important Sections while Preparing
• Not doing Revisions