SSC CGL 2018 Preparation Tips, Strategies & Study Material

Staff Selection Commission (SSC) is all set to conduct SSC CGL 2018 Tier I from June 4 -June 13, 2019. The 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.

From this year, there is a slight change in the SSC CGL Exam Pattern and mode of the exam. This article will provide you major information regarding SSC CGL 2018 and help you devise a strategy that shall give you the impetus required to ace this exam. 

SSC CGL Exam PatternSSC CGL Exam SyllabusSSC CGL Sample Papers

Candidates must check the SSC CGL Exam 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.

You can even prepare for the SSC CGL exam online through several websites and apps.

How to Prepare for SSC CGL 2018 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

General Intelligence and Reasoning2550
General Awareness2550
Quantitative Aptitude2550
English Language2550

How to Prepare General Intelligence and Reasoning for SSC CGL 2018 Tier 1

  • Solve practice papers and last year 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 in not more than 20 minutes.

How to Prepare General Awareness for SSC CGL 2018 Tier 1

General awareness (GA) is observed to be the most scoring section of the exam in the 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, 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 exam preparation. 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 2018 Tier 1

Quantitative Aptitude (QA) is the toughest and most time-consuming segment of this exam. Check out a list of the best books to prepare for Quantitaive Aptitude for practice.

  • Begin with the 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 allot 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 2018 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, a 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

How to Prepare for SSC CGL 2018 Tier 2 Exam

Like Tier I, 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

Quantitative Aptitude100200
English Language and Comprehension200200
General Studies (Finance and Economics)100200

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 question are 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 question papers. 

How to Prepare Statistics Paper for SSC CGL 2018 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 2018 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 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

How to Prepare SSC CGL 2018 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 Desciptive 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 2018 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 latest crucial happenings. Analyze how the paragraphs are connected to each other and the approach that the editor has taken.
  • Read the editorial section of an established newspaper and try to contrive your own arguments pertaining to the topics.
  • Buy a good book which contains a number of essays as it will provide you good content on important topics and enhance your vocabulary.

How to Prepare SSC CGL 2018 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 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 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.


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

Answer: You may access it through the official website of SSC CGL –

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

Answer: Yes, because the syllabus of 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 exam, 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 preparation of SSC CGL?

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 checkout 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 in 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 down side.

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 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 computer. 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.