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SSC CGL 2021 Syllabus & Exam Pattern (Tier 1/2/3/4)

Updated On -

Jan 16, 2021

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Nikkil Visha

Exams Prep Master

SSC CGL Syllabus is different for all the tiers of the exam. 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. The major sections of Tier 1 are General Intelligence & Reasoning, General Awareness, Quantitative Aptitude, and English Comprehension. For more details, check SSC CGL 2021

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

The important sections of Tier 2 are Quantitative Ability, English Language & Comprehension, Statistics, and General Studies. Since tier 3 is a descriptive exam designed to tests a candidate’s aptitude via essay/ letter/ application/ precise writing. 

Check SSC CGL Preparation Tips

SSC CGL Tier 1 Syllabus

SSC CGL 2021 Syllabus for Tier 1

SSC CGL Tier 1 is a qualifying level exam conducted in the online mode. Given below are a few quick facts about the exam.

  • Questions are objective in nature.
  • Questions in General Intelligence, General Awareness, and English section are of graduation level.
  • Questions in Quantitative Aptitude are from the 10th standard. Also, Check SSC CGL Exam Pattern 2021 in a detailed manner.

General Intelligence and Reasoning Section

The section aims to test the logical thinking capacity of a candidate. Both, verbal and non-verbal reasoning questions are asked in this section. These are focused heavily on decision making, analogies, series, and intelligence. 

Sections SSC CGL 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.

ssc cgl practice papers

General Awareness Section

General Awareness includes questions from current affairs, basic science, and general knowledge. Questions are generally centered on India and neighboring countries of the sub-continent. 

History Geography
Culture General Policy & Scientific Research
Current affairs of Last 6 months  Economic Scene
Scientific research includes physics, chemistry, and Biology -

Best Books & Tips for General Awareness

Quantitative Aptitude Section

Quantitative Aptitude is the calculative section of Tier 1 of the CGL exam containing arithmetic questions. The mathematics part is asked from CBSE class 10 maths syllabus.  

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.

To qualify the SSC CGL 2021 session, you can take admission to the best and finest coaching centers of India. 

English Section

English section tests candidates’ understanding of the language through an assortment of questions comprising of both grammar and comprehension. 

Fill in the Blanks Idioms & Phrases Jumbled sentences (ordering)
One-word substitution Synonyms & Antonyms Spellings/Detecting Mis-spelt words
Common errors Sentence improvement Passage

Check Best Book for English Section

SSC CGL Tier 2 Syllabus

SSC CGL 2021 Syllabus for Tier 2

SSC CGL Tier 2 is conducted in online mode. The questions are objective in nature. Tier 1 qualified candidates can participate in SSC CGL Tier 2. Candidates can take a look at some of the best books for SSC CGL Tier-II Preparation. There are four papers in the exam:

  • Paper 1 – Quantitative Ability
  • Paper 2 – English Language and Comprehension
  • Paper 3 – Statistics for Jr. Statistical Officer (JSO) and Compiler post
  • Paper 4 –  General Studies for  Assistant Audit Officer (AAO) post. 

Quantitative Ability

The SSC CGL syllabus for the Quant section is similar to Tier 1 but the difficulty level for Tier 2 is much higher. Candidates must solve these quiz papers for Tier II Quantitative Ability for a better idea of the exam pattern. Major topics under this section are Geometry, Trigonometry, and Average. Check Preparation Tips for Geometry in SSC CGL 

Important topics are as follows:

Simplification Number Series
Number System Percentages
Ratio & Proportion Interest
Profit & Loss Time & Work
Time, Speed & Distance Mensuration
Data Interpretation Mixtures & Allegations
Trigonometry Geometry
Average -

Solve SSC CGL Mock tests (Tier II) for free during your preparation

English Language & Comprehension

The section tests a candidate’s aptitude in English. It is tested via essays, error spotting, sentence formation, change of speech, etc. The major topics in this section are Verbal Ability, Grammar, Active Passive Voice, and Direct Indirect Speech.


Statistics for Junior Statistical Officer (JSO), Ministry of Statistics & Program Implementation. 

Important Topics
Measures of central tendency Measures of dispersion
Moments, Skewness and Kurtosis Correlation and probability theory
Random variable and probability distributions Sampling theory
Statistical Analysis of variance

General Studies (Economics and Finance)

This is Paper 4 in SSC CGL Tier 2 examination. It is conducted exclusively for the post of Assistant Audit Officer (AAO). A total of 200 questions are asked in the paper, out of which 120 questions are from Economics and 80 questions are from Finance.

Economics & Governance Topics Finance & Accounts Topics
Auditor Role and Responsibility Fundamentals of Accounting
Finance Commission Role & Functions Principles of Accounting 
About Economics/ Micro Economics Basics of Accounting
Theory of Demand and Supply Nature and Scope of Financial Accounting
About Indian Economy Limitations of Financial Accounting
Role of Information Technology in Governance Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

Check Best Books for Economics & Finance

SSC CGL Tier 3 Syllabus

SSC CGL 2021 Syllabus for Tier 3

 Tier 3 is a descriptive examination conducted offline and involves:

  • Letter Writing
  • Essay Writing
  • Application Writing
  • Precis Writing

Tier 3 is a 100 marks paper of 60 minutes duration. Candidates are allotted time of 60 minutes to complete the descriptive written test. For visually handicapped candidates and candidates suffering from cerebral palsy the time of examination is 80 minutes. Introduced in the year 2016, Tier 3 examination focuses on the writing capability of the candidate. A candidate has a choice of selecting the language he/she wishes to write. Only Hindi and English languages are allowed. The candidate may not choose any other regional language. It should be noted that the minimum qualifying marks for this Tier 3 paper are 33%.

Check  Best Coaching Centers for SSC CGL 2019

SSC CGL Tier 4 Syllabus

SSC CGL 2021 Syllabus for Tier 4

Merit list is prepared based on Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 exam, and the shortlisted candidates are then asked to appear for Tier 4 of SSC CGL. Tier 4 is basically Skill Test comprising of two tests.

  • Data Entry Skill Test (DEST)
  • Computer Proficiency Test (CPT)

DEST is conducted for candidates who have applied for Tax Assistant Posts in Central Excise & Income Tax. Data entry speed skills will be tested at 8000 depressions per hour. CPT is conducted for candidates who have applied for Assistant Section Officer Post in CSS only. Candidates will have to appear for the Computer Proficiency Test to validate the selection and showcase their comfort and ease of computer usage.

Best Websites to prepare online for SSC CGL

Frequently Asked Questions

Exam pattern Highlights: SSC CGL 2021


SSC CGL Exam Highlights

Number of tiers


Exam mode

Tier-I: Online 

Tier-II: Online

Tier-III: Offline

Tier-IV: Computer proficiency test/skill test/document verification

Number of papers/sections

Tier-I: 4 sections (English Intelligence & Reasoning, General Awareness, Quantitative Aptitude, English Comprehension)

Tier-II: 4 papers (Quantitative Abilities, English Language and Comprehension, Statistics, General Studies)

Tier-III: 1 paper (descriptive paper in English or Hindi)

Exam duration

Tier-I: 60 minutes

Tier-II: 120 minutes for each paper

Tier-III: 60 minutes

Number of questions

Tier-I: 100

Tier-II: 500

Tier-III: 1

Type of questions

Tier-I: MCQs

Tier-II: MCQs

Tier-III: Descriptive

Total marks

Tier-I: 200

Tier-II: 800

Tier-III: 100

Language of paper

Tier-I: English and Hindi

Tier-II: English and Hindi

Tier-III: English and Hindi 

Solve SSC CGL Mock tests (Tier I) as much as possible for free before appearing for the exam

SSC CGL 2021 Syllabus FAQs

Q. What is the percentage distribution of SSC CGL 2021 Quantitative Aptitude topics?

A: The percentage distribution can be understood by the pie chart shown below

Q.  What should be studied in the SSC CGL General Knowledge section?

A. Candidate should focus on Static GK and Science as they can be very scoring. Candidate should be up-to-date with all the happenings around the globe that happened in the past year. Aspirants should make it a habit of going through newspapers on a daily basis.

Q. Which newspapers should be preferred while preparing for the current affairs section?

A. There are a lot of good newspapers available in the market and all of them tend to impart information. If a candidate is looking for to the point information which focuses on the facts, one should prefer looking up into newspapers like The Hindu, The Indian Express, Mail Today, The Times of India

Q. What are the best apps for preparing for SSC CGL?

A. There are a lot of apps available on the play store and apple store from where one can learn how to score in the exam. Experts say that candidates should stick to pen and paper for studying and learning for the exam and should use apps only for scoring purposes. The apps come with a whole lot of questions well segregated into topics. The benefit of using apps is that they won’t act as a burden on your shoulders and unlike books, you can carry them anywhere and practice accordingly. Some of the best apps that can be used in this case are GradeUp, Unacademy, etc.

Q. What are the best books for preparing Reasoning for SSC CGL?

A. Candidates can stick to Verbal/Non-Verbal Reasoning by RS Aggrawal and Previous years papers of reasoning by Kiran Publications for preparation of Reasoning. For more practice, one can look up for some good apps in the play store.

Q. Is there a strategy based upon which you can find out which questions are most likely to come in the exam?

A. Over the course of SSC CGL, it has been noticed that at least 40 - 50% of questions that are asked in SSC CGL are repeated year after year. If one goes through the previous years' question papers in the right manner, they will be able to find out what are the most common topics and hence prepare accordingly. The trend also shows that if a question which has been asked before but is missing in the past two papers has the highest chances of reappearing in the one that follows.

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


what is cpt in ssc cgl?
kavita rani

Hi Vipasha. CPT (Computer Proficiency Test) is the 4th stage of this test. In this Stage SSC take test of your typing, Excel & Powerpoint skills. You will get 50 Typing Assessment, 25 Excel Assessment & 25 Powerpoint Assessment.
More details are mentioned here.

How do I prepare for SSC CGL at home/without coaching?
kavita rani

Hi Vidushi. To be honest, to some extent only, coaching institutes help students with their preparations for SSC CGL. In case you are dedicated and not able to join a coaching center, then there is no need to feel dishearten as you can still crack SSC CGL by preparing at home. Some of the ways to prepare for the exam at home without joining a coaching institute include: • First of all, understand the CGL Exam pattern • Prepare an effective study plan • Spend equal time on all the subjects • Practice as study forum • Refer to Youtube videos and you can also take online classes, in case finding difficulty in any particular subject • Practice more mock tests Follow the above-mentioned strategies and tips that help you to prepare for the exam at home without joining a coaching institute.

vidya bhatt
How can I prepare for the SSC CGL Exam in 3 months?
kavita rani

Hi Vidya!!. It is possible to get a good score in the SSC CGL Exam in 3 months preparation as well. Before starting with your preparations, it is important to clear your basic concepts and if basic concepts are clear, you can easily focus on your studies.

kavita rani

Hi Vidya, It is possible to get good score in the SSC CGL Exam in 3 months preparation as well. Before starting with your preparations, it is important to clear your basic concepts and if basic concepts are clear, you can easily focus on your studies. 

Prepare s study plan

Get best books to prepare or SSC CGL 

Take more mock tests

Pratice daily

Stay motivated throughout the preparations

Follow these steps to get a good score in SSC CGL exam

kavita rani

Hi Vidya!! Everyone wants to be topper in the SSC CGL exam but only a few students achieve their target as they desire.

• Taking previous year papers is important to qualify in the SSC CGL exam. Referring to last year papers helps improve students’ understanding of a subject.
• Develop a habit to do mental calculations as fast as possible
• Practicing within the allocated time limit is another way to get a good score in SSC Exam.
• For English, candidates must have good command over subjects like One Word Substitution, phrase replacement, idioms, and phrases, etc.
Apart from these, joining the best coaching center, referring to the most recommended books, taking more test series, etc. are some of the ways following which you can become a topper.