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Overview of the SSC CGL Exam Pattern

The Combined Graduate Level (CGL) examination conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) is an important competitive exam. It is held every year by the SSC to recruit candidates for Group ‘B’ and Group ‘C’ posts in various departments, ministries, and organisations of the Government of India, as well as constitutional bodies, tribunals, etc.

The Staff Selection Commission also administers other exams, such as the SSC Junior Engineer (JE) exam, SSC Combined Higher Secondary (10+2) Level Examination, etc. Aspirants can apply for any SSC exam after going through the eligibility criteria given in the official notification.

An overview of the SSC CGL exam pattern is given below.

SSC CGL Exam Pattern

The SSC Combined Graduate Level examination is conducted in different phases based on the post. The various stages of the SSC CGL exam are given below:

  1. Tier-I: Computer-based Examination
  2. Tier-II: Computer-based Examination
  3. Tier-III: Pen and Paper Mode (Descriptive paper)
  4. Tier-IV: Computer Proficiency Test/ Data Entry Skill Test (wherever applicable)

The details of the different stages of the SSC CGL exam, consisting of the test format, number of questions, maximum marks, etc., are given below.

SSC CGL Tiers-I, II and III

The important points pertaining to the SSC CGL Tier I, II and III that aspirants should keep in mind are as follows:

  • Tiers I and II contain multiple-choice and objective-type questions.
  • Paper-I and Paper-II in tier-II are compulsory for all the posts.
  • Paper-III in tier II is not for all positions.
  • Paper-IV in tier II is only for those candidates who are shortlisted in Tier-I for Paper-IV, i.e. for the posts of Assistant Audit Officer/Assistant Accounts Officer.
  • With the exception of English Comprehension in Tier-I and Paper-II in Tier-II, all of the questions will be presented in both English and Hindi.
  • There will be a negative marking of 0.50 marks in Tier-I for each wrong answer.
  • For each incorrect response in Paper-II (English Language and Comprehension) in Tier-II, 0.25 marks will be deducted, and 0.50 marks will be deducted for each incorrect answer in Paper-I, Paper-III, and Paper-IV.

The exam pattern of the SSC CGL examination is given in the following table.

SSC CGL Exam Pattern
TierSubjectNumber of QuestionsMaximum MarksDuration of the Exam
Tier IGeneral Intelligence and Reasoning2550      1 hour  
General Awareness2550
Quantitative Aptitude2550
English Comprehension2550
Tier IIPaper-I: Quantitative Abilities1002002 hours ( for each paper)  
Paper-II: English Language and Comprehension200200
Paper-III: Statistics100200
Paper-IV: General Studies (Finance and Economics)100200
Tier IIIDescriptive Paper in Hindi/English (Essay, Letter, Applications, Precis)1001 hour  


Tier IV is the skill test, which is of qualifying nature. It is applicable to only certain posts. It comprises Computer Proficiency Test (CPT) and Data Entry Speed Test (DEST).

Candidates should review the syllabus and previous years’ question papers before starting their preparation for the SSC exams. For instance, if aspirants plan to take the upcoming SSC Junior Engineer exam, they should first go through the SSC JE syllabus given in the notification and past papers to understand the exam pattern and nature of questions. This will help candidates streamline their preparation.

The Staff Selection Commission exams are highly competitive in nature. Aspirants should study systematically and put in immense effort to ace the examination.

Read Also: It is quite painful to see a bad result in government exams even after working hard. Do you ever wonder what stops hard-working candidates from achieving success in government exams? check this link for learn more:

Silly Mistakes to Avoid While Preparing for the Government Exams

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