The Staff Selection Commission conducts the SSC CGL Exam every year to fill in various vacancies under the department of ministries and other Government Organizations. Knowing the exam pattern will help candiadtes to better prepare for the exam. Candidates appearing for the exam can go through the post to get complete details about SSC CGL Exam Pattern in this post.

SSC CGL Exam Pattern 2021

The official notification of the SSC CGL Exam 2021 will be released on 21 December 2020. Hence, going through the exam pattern will help candidates to be aware of the number of questions that would be asked from each section and the marking scheme. Before starting with preparation, it is important for candidates to be aware of the detailed SSC CGL Syllabus and exam pattern as this will help enhance their preparation levels.

  • There are four stages involved in the selection process of CGL i.e., Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, and Tier 4. Candidates need to qualify all the stages to receive an appointment for their applied post.
  • In this post, we have provided the paper pattern for all the tiers of the CGL exam. Candidates can go through the exam pattern and start their preparation well in advance to score good marks in the exam.
  • Solving SSC CGL Previous Year Papers will help candidates to know the difficulty level of the paper and the type of questions asked in the exam.
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SSC CGL Exam Pattern 2021 Highlights

Exam SSC Combined Graduate Level Examination(CGL)
Conducting Body Staff Selection Commission (SSC)
Tier 1 (Prelims) Total Marks - 200; Total Questions - 200; Sections- General Intelligence and Reasoning, General Awareness/ General knowledge, Quantitative Aptitude, English Comprehension
Tier 2 (Mains) Total Marks - 800 (200 for each paper); Sections- Quantitative Ability, English Language and Comprehension, Statistics (only for the post of Statistical Investigator Gr. II & Compiler, General Studies (Finance and Economics) (Just for the post of Assistant Audit Officer
Tier 3 (Descriptive) Type - Descriptive; Time - 1 hour; Language - English/Hindi; Sections- Essay Writing, Letter/Application Writing, Passage Writing
Tier 4 (DEST/CPT) Time - 15 minutes; Tests - Data Entry Skill Test (DEST)/Computer Proficiency Test (CPT)

What is the Pattern of SSC CGL Exam 2021?

There are four stages involved in the CGL exam: Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, and Tier 4. All four stages are qualifying in nature. As per the Exam Pattern of the SSC CGL 2021, Tier 1 and Tier 2 are of objective type paper while Tier 3 and Tier 4 are descriptive type paper. It is important for candidates to score above the SSC CGL Cut Off in Tier 1 exam to get shortlisted for the next stage of the selection process i.e., Tier 2. 

SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam Pattern 2021

The Tier -1 Exam consists of four sections: General Intelligence and Reasoning, General Awareness/ General knowledge, Quantitative Aptitude, and English Comprehension. In order to crack all these stages with a high score in one attempt, following expert-designed SSC CGL Preparation Tips would be of great help.

  • CGL Tier 1 Exam is an Objective paper.
  • There is a negative marking of 0.50 marks for each wrong answer.
  • The duration of the exam is 60 minutes.
  • For disabled candidates, the time allotted is 80 minutes

Let us have a look at the table below to know the latest SSC CGL Exam Pattern for Tier 1

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 (80 minutes for disabled candidates)
Negative Marking Yes (0.50 for each wrong answer)
Mode Online
Question Type Objective (MCQs)

SSC CGL Pattern Trends for Tier 1

  • 2015-16 - The Tier 1 Exam was initially conducted in offline mode. The exam was conducted for 1-2 hours. The marking scheme was 200 marks. 
  • 2016-17 - First time the Tier 1 and 2 were scheduled to be held in online mode. Negative marking was increased from 0.25 marks for each wrong answer to 0.50 marks in Tier-I Exam. The number of questions were 100 while the time duration was reduced from 120 minutes to 75 minutes. 
  • 2017-18 - The time duration was reduced from 75 minutes to 60 minutes.
  • 2018-19 - The normalization method was introduced for the first time to normalize the scores of students who appear for exams in different shifts. 

SSC CGL Tier 1 Marking Scheme

Go through the table below to know the marking scheme of the Tier 1 exam.

Section Subject Maximum Marks No. of Questions
A General Intelligence and Reasoning 50 25
B General Awareness 50 25
C Quantitative Aptitude 50 25
D English Comprehension 50 25
Total - 200 100

SSC CGL Tier 2 Exam Pattern 2021

Candidates who will get qualify in the Tier-I exam are eligible to appear for the Tier- II Exam. The Tier-2 exam is a computer-based examination and the questions asked in the exam are of an objective type. Going through the SSC CGL Important Questions will help candidates enhance their preparation and better succeed in the exam.

  • CGL Tier 2 exam consists of a negative marking of 0.25 marks for each wrong answer
  • The exam is conducted in online mode
  • Moreover, the time allotted to complete the paper is 2 hours (2 hours 40 minutes for PwD candidates)
  • Hence, the Tier 2 exam will cover 4 sections: Quantitative Ability, English Language and Comprehension, Statistics (only for the post of Statistical Investigator Gr. II & Compiler), General Studies (Finance and Economics) (Just for the post of Assistant Audit Officer)
  • Questions in Paper I will be of 10th standard level, Paper-II of 10+2 level, and Paper III of graduation level. 
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) (Just for the post of Assistant Audit Officer)
Total Marks 800 (200 in each paper)
Total Time 2 hours (2 hours 40 minutes)
Negative Marking Yes (0.25 deduction on every wrong answer)
Mode Online
Question Type Objective (MCQs)

SSC CGL Tier 2 Exam Pattern Trends

Here is the list of changes introduced every year for Tier 2. 

  • 2015-16 - Three papers are introduced for Tier 3 i.e., Paper I (Quant) & Paper-II (English)], Paper-III (Statistics). 200 marks for English Section including 200 Questions + 200 marks allotted to Quantitative Aptitude Section for 100 Questions = 400 Marks in Total (300 Questions). 
  • For JSO Post: 400 Marks + 200 Marks For 100 Question (Paper III of Statistics): 600 Marks (400 Questions)
  • 2016-17 - Paper 4 Economics was introduced for AAO posts. 
  • 2019-20 - Tier 2 and Tier 3 are conducted simultaneously. Hence, candidates must prepare accordingly. 

SSC CGL Tier 2 Marking Scheme

  • The Tier 2 exam is conducted for a total of 800 marks. Each section carries 200 marks
  • The total number of questions is 500
  • There is a negative marking of 0.25 marks for each wrong answer.

The following table tells about the marking scheme of the SSC CGL Tier-2 Exam.

Section Maximum Marks No. of Questions
Quantitative Ability 200 100
English Language & Comprehension 200 200
Statistics 200 100
General Studies
(Finance and
200 100
Total 800 500

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SSC CGL Tier 3 Exam Pattern 2021

  • Tier 3 examination for SSC CGL is a descriptive exam to test the writing skills of the candidates in English/Hindi.
  • Furthermore, the examination will be conducted in offline mode
  • The exam lasts for 60 minutes.
  • PWD category will have a total time of 80 minutes to complete the paper
  • Also, only specific candidates will attempt Tier - 3, those who are applying for the post of "Statistical Investigator Grade-II" and "Compiler"
  • The difficulty level of the exam will be of 10+2 grade

Go through the table below to know all details about SSC CGL Tier 3 Exam Pattern.

Number of Papers 1
Difficulty Level 10+12th standard
Question Type Descriptive

Essay Writing, Letter/Application Writing, Passage Writing

Duration 1 hour (80 minutes for VH & Candidates suffering from Cerebral Palsy)
Exam Mode Offline

SSC CGL Tier 3 Exam Pattern Trends

There were many changes introduced for SSC CGL Exam Pattern that are explained below

  • 2015-16 - There was segregation in Tier 3 conduction for many posts. For a few posts, there were only interviews for 100 marks while there was a Skill Test/Computer Proficiency Test.
  • 2016-17 - It was the first time where the Tier 3 exam was conducted in pen and paper mode i.e., Descriptive mode of exam. The exam was conducted for 100 marks with 60 minutes time duration.
  • 2019-20 - This year, the Tier 3 exam will be evaluated if the candidate has qualified both Tier 1 and 2 above cut off marks.

SSC CGL Tier 3 Marking Scheme 2021

Tier-3 marking scheme details are given in the table below:

Type Marks
Descriptive Paper in English/Hindi (writing of Essays/Préci/Letter/Applications etc 100

SSC CGL Tier 4 Exam Pattern 2021

Through the DEST Test, the typing speed of the candidate will be tested as part of the Tier 4 Examination. Therefore, candidates are provided with an English article. Moreover, they will be required to type 2000 words in 15 minutes. CPT test is conducted to check a candidate's proficiency in Word Processing, Spreadsheets, and Generation of Slides. The below table explains the SSC CGL ASO Exam Pattern for Tier 4.

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 positions of Tax assistants (in Central Excise and Income Tax)
Criteria: 8000 key depression per hour
Computer Proficiency Test (CPT) Only for candidates who are applying for the positions of Assistant Section Officer
Three modules: Word Processing, Spreadsheet, and Generation of Slides

SSC CGL Tier 4 Exam Pattern Trends

Basically, the Tier-4 exam is a skill test.  In 2016-17, the Skill Test and Computer Proficiency Test was introduced which is qualifying in nature. The skill test which is conducted by the commission is of two types as explained below:

SSC CGL Data Entry Skill Test 2021

This test is conducted for candidates who have applied for Tax Assistants (Central Excise & Income Tax). The test includes typing at 8,000 (eight thousand) Key Depression per hour on the computer. The skill test will be conducted for a passage of about 2,000 key depressions for a duration of 15 minutes. The test is of qualifying nature.

SSC CGL Computer Proficiency Test 2021

This test is conducted for candidates who have applied for:

  • Assistant Section Officer in CSS MEA and AFHQ
  • Assistant in Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs
  • Assistant (GSI) in the Ministry of Mines
  • Inspector (Central Excise)
  • Inspector (Preventive Officer)
  • Inspector (Examiner) in CBEC

The test is qualifying in nature and includes 

  • Word Processing
  • Spread Sheet
  • Generation of Slides

SSC CGL Document Verification 2021

Candidates qualifying all the stages will be eligible for document verification. Here is the list of documents that has to be carried for the document verification round.

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 coloured photos ID proof
Relevant certificate if seeking any age relaxation Relevant documents for Ex-Servicemen
No Objection certificate, in case already employed in Government/Government undertakings Any other document specified in admit card

Section-wise Important Questions and Answers 2021

Here is the table that helps you with preparation for all the sections under SSC CGL Tier 1 and Tier 2 Exam. Candidates can view or download these questions PDF to enhance their preparation. These questions are as per the latest SSC CGL 2021 Exam Pattern. 

Section Questions and Answers PDF
General Intelligence and Reasoning View/Download
Quantitative Aptitude View/Download
General Awareness View/Download
English  View/Download

What are the Most Recommended Books for SSC CGL 2021?

You can read through our handpicked collection of SSC CGL Books that will help in preparing for all sections involved in the SSC CGL 2021 Exam. To gear up your preparation for the exam, we have listed out the SSC CGL best books for scoring more in the exam.

  • These SSC CGL books are prescribed by experts as each and every concept is explained in depth so that candidates can understand them easily.
Subject Books Author
General Intelligence and Reasoning A Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning Revised Edition R.S. Aggarwal
Analytical Reasoning M.K. Pandey
General Awareness Manorama yearbook
Lucent’s General Knowledge
Quantitative Quantitative Aptitude For Competitive Examinations R.S Aggarwal
Advanced maths for SSC Rakesh Yadav
English Language Objective General English RS Aggarwal
Objective General English by S P Bakshi Arihant

SSC CGL Syllabus 2021

The following are the tables with important topics of SSC CGL Tier 1, 2, 3, and 4 from the syllabus that you can start preparing. This is just a glimpse of each stage of the exam while you can find the complete syllabus from the link provided above.

SSC CGL Tier 1 Syllabus 2021

Go through the table below to know all the important topics that need to be prepared for Tier 1 exam.

Subject Important Topics of SSC CGL Tier 1
General Intelligence and Reasoning Analogy, Codding-Decoding, Puzzle, Matrix, Word formation, Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, Problem Solving, Word Building, Space Orientation, Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence
General Awareness Static General Knowledge, Science, Current Affairs, Sports
Quantitative Aptitude Simplification, Interest, Averages, Percentage, Ratio and Proportion, Problem on Ages, Speed Distance and Time, algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Square Roots, Profit & Loss, Discount, Histogram, Graphs
English Comprehension Reading Comprehension, Spellings, Phrases and Idioms, One-word Substitution, Sentence Correction

SSC CGL Tier 2 Syllabus 2021

Let us have a look at the table below to know the SSC CGL Tier 2 Syllabus and plan your preparation in a better way for the upcoming exam.

Subject SSC CGL Tier 2 Important Topics
Quantitative Aptitude Simplification, Interest, Averages, Percentage, Time and Work, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Data Sufficiency, Square Roots, Profit & Loss, Histogram, Graphs
English Language Reading Comprehension, Spelling, Fill in the Blanks, Phrases and Idioms, One Word Substitution, Sentence Correction, Error Spotting, Cloze Test
Para Jumbles, Synonyms-Antonyms, Active-Passive Voice, Synonyms/Antonyms, Indirect/Direct Speech
Statistics important topics Collection and Representation of Data, Moments, Sampling Theory, Analysis of Variance, Time Series Analysis, Index Number, Statistical Inference,
General Awareness Finance and Accounting, Fundamental Principles, Financial Accounting, Basic Concepts of Accounting, Self-Balancing Ledger, Error Spotting and Correction, Economics and Governance, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Finance Commission, Indian economy, economic reforms, money and banking, the role of IT in governance

SC CGL Tier 3 Syllabus 2021

The third stage of CGL is a descriptive exam consisting of the following sections:

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

SSC CGL Tier 4 Syllabus 2021

The  Merit list is always based on Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 exams. Similarly, the candidates who have qualified in all four Tiers will be asked to take up the exam for Tier 4 of CGL. Tier 4 is a Skill Test involving two tests.

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

PSPCL Exam Dates

SSC CGL Preparation Tips 2021

Following expert preparation tips along with a proper SSC CGL Study Plan will definitely help in cracking all stages of CGL in the first attempt. Certainly, preparation for any exam takes dedication and hard work. Hence, there are so many ways a candidate can prepare for the exam in an easy and effortless way. So, some of them are as follows:

Tips To Prepare for English Language and Comprehension

  • More importantly, focus on your Grammar because, without it, the sentences are not clearly understood. Additionally, practice Reading Comprehension every day (at least 3 passages)
  • Moreover, learn a new word every day to enhance your Vocabulary. 
  • Try to solve SSC Quiz regularly and that helps improves your vocabulary and grammar skills.
  • Furthermore, Read. Reading is the best way to enhance your command and understanding of the English language

Tips to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude Section

  • The calculation speed matters a lot. Take Quizzes, certainly, as a part of the practice and keep a major check on your performance levels
  • Solving Previous Year Question Papers would definitely help improve your time management skills and problem-solving skills.
  • Most importantly, if you opt for using some kind of short cut, it is good. But if you are not sure, do not risk any wrong answer

Tips for General Intelligence and Reasoning

  • Sharpen your problem-solving skills. So, you can do it by performing Quizzes and giving Mock Tests from time to time.
  • Try to solve at least 2- 3 SSC CGL Mock Test Series to improve your speed and accuracy in the exam.
  • Also, for General Intelligence, be aware of current issues/affairs which are going on and read a newspaper every day

Tips for preparing General Awareness & General Knowledge

  • First and foremost, be updated with the current affairs by reading a newspaper or watching the news
  • Take up the Daily Current Affairs Quiz regularly to know your preparation levels. Learn different topics every day about History, Geography, Economy, etc.
  • Follow monthly magazines to stay updated about all the happenings around the world.


How many subjects are there in SSC CGL exam?

There are a total of 4 subjects that candidates have to cover properly in order to crack SSC CGL exam. The four subjects are: GK, Reasoning, English, and Maths

Is there any negative marking in SSC CGL Exam?

Yes. As per the analysis, there is a negative marking of 0.25 marks for each wrong answer in SSC CGL Tier 1 and 2. Therefore, candidates must be careful while answering the questions.

Do the questions repeat in the examination?

Yes. A lot of times questions appear from the previous question papers. That is why we always advise the candidates to study and practice the previous year question papers

What is the time duration of each paper for physically handicapped students in SSC CGL Tier 2 exam?

For physically handicapped students, the cumulative time to complete the Tier-II exam is increased to 2 hours 40 minutes.

Are Paper III and IV compulsory in SSC CGL Tier 2 Exam?

In Tier-II, Paper-I and Paper-II are compulsory for all the posts. Paper III is only for candidates who opted for Junior Statistical Officer (JSO) and Paper-IV will be for candidates who opted for Assistant Audit Officer/ Assistant Accounts Officer

What is the time duration of the SSC CGL Tier 1 exam?

As per the SSC CGL Exam Pattern, the overall duration of the SSC CGL Tier 1 exam is 1 hour i.e., 60 minutes.

In which mode is SSC CGL Exam Conducted?

Tie1 and Tier 2 exams of SSC CGL are conducted in online mode while SSC CGL Tier 3 and Tier 4 exams are conducted in offline mode.

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