SSC CGL Exam : Syllabus & Exam Pattern
SSC CGL Tier – I, Tier – II, Tier – III and Tier – IV Exam Pattern 2021
The Combined Graduate Level (CGL) Exam conducted annually by Staff Selection Commission (SSC) consists of four phases, where each phase needs to be cleared depending upon the requirement of different posts. SSC CGL 2021 Exam will be conducted in four tiers, i.e., Tier – I, Tier – II, Tier – III and Tier – IV as shown below in the table:
Tier | Type of Exam |
Mode of Exam |
Tier – I | Objective Multiple Choice | Computer Based (Online) |
Tier – II | Objective Multiple Choice | Computer Based (Online) |
Tier – III | Descriptive Paper in English or Hindi | Pen and Paper mode (Offline) |
Tier – IV | Skill Test: Data Entry Speed Test (DEST)/ Computer Proficiency Test (CPT) | Wherever Applicable (Not necessary for all the post) |
Document Verification | Applicable for all |
In the past few years, SSC has made some changes in the exam pattern. Students must make note of changes in exam pattern and syllabus before beginning the SSC CGL exam preparation. Below are some important points to take note of:
- Tier –I objective exam will be of 60 minutes duration in online mode.
- Tier –II objective exam will consist of 4 papers, each paper will be of 60 minutes duration in online mode.
- Tier – III descriptive exam will be of 60 minutes duration in pen and paper mode.
- There will be no sectional cut-off.
SSC CGL 2021 Tier – I, Tier – II, Tier – III and Tier – IV Syllabus
After thoroughly going through the exam pattern of SSC CGL, next step is to understand the detailed syllabus of various phases of the exam. Since the SSC CGL is comprised of 4 different tiers, it is imperative to understand their syllabus independently.
Tier – I Syllabus
SSC CGL 2021 Tier-I exam is an objective exam which will be conducted online. The exam comprises of four sections having 100 questions (25 questions in each section) which will account for a total of 200 marks (maximum 50 marks in each section). The time duration of Tier-1 exam will be 60 minutes. The section wise details of the exam are shown in the table given below:
Section | Questions | Marks | Time |
General Intelligence & Reasoning | 25 | 50 | 60 minutes (Total) |
General Awareness | 25 | 50 | |
Quantitative Aptitude | 25 | 50 | |
English Language and Comprehension | 25 | 50 | |
TOTAL | 100 | 200 |
Key Points
- There is negative marking in SSC CGL 2021 Tier 1 Exam. 0.5 marks will be deducted from every question that is attempted wrong by a candidate in all the sections.
- The exam duration is 80 minutes for candidates who are visually handicapped and suffering from Cerebral Palsy.
Subject-wise Detailed Syllabus Tier – I Exam
The above-mentioned syllabus was just a brief of SSC CGL Tier-I Exam. Students must go through the detailed syllabus of all the sections and frame a study plan which will be helpful to identify and focus on their weakest topics.
General Intelligence and Reasoning | General Awareness | Quantitative Aptitude | English Language & Comprehension |
Classification | Static General Knowledge (Indian History, Culture, etc.) | Simplification | Reading Comprehension |
Analogy | Science | Interest | Fill in the Blanks |
Coding-Decoding | Current Affairs | Averages | Spellings |
Puzzle | Sports | Percentage | Phrases and Idioms |
Matrix | Books and Authors | Ratio and Proportion | One word Substitution |
Word Formation | Important Schemes | Problem on Ages | Sentence Correction |
Venn Diagram | Portfolios | Speed, Distance and Time | Error Spotting |
Direction and Distance | People in News | Number System | Synonyms |
Blood Relations | Computers | Mensuration | Antonyms |
Series | Awards and their importance | Data Interpretation | Idioms & Phrases |
Verbal reasoning | Geography | Time and Work | |
Non-Verbal Reasoning | Economy | Algebra | |
Critical Thinking | Polity | Trigonometry | |
Emotional & Social Intelligence | Population Census | Geometry |
Let’s look at the detailed syllabus of SSC CGL Tier-I sections one-by-one:
General Intelligence & Reasoning: This section tests the candidates’ ability to think and problem-solving skills. The questions asked in this question are mainly the brain teasers and sometimes can be quite tricky to answer. The questions will be of both verbal and non-verbal type out of the following chapters:
General Intelligence & Reasoning Topics | |||
S. No. | Topics | S. No. | Topics |
1 | Analogies | 21 | Figural Classification |
2 | Similarities and Differences | 22 | Semantic Series |
3 | Space visualization | 23 | Number Series |
4 | Spatial orientation | 24 | Figural Series |
5 | Problem solving & Analysis | 25 | Problem Solving |
6 | Judgment & Decision making | 26 | Word Building |
7 | Visual memory | 27 | Numerical Operations |
8 | Discrimination & observation | 28 | Symbolic Operations |
9 | Relationship concepts | 29 | Embedded Figures |
10 | Arithmetical Reasoning and figural classification | 30 | Space Orientation & Visualization |
11 | Arithmetic Number Series | 31 | Venn Diagrams |
12 | Non-verbal series | 32 | Drawing inferences |
13 | Coding and Decoding | 33 | Punched hole/ pattern–folding & Un-folding |
14 | Statement conclusion | 34 | Figural pattern–folding and completion |
15 | Syllogistic reasoning | 35 | Critical thinking |
16 | Semantic Analogy | 36 | Address matching |
17 | Symbolic/ Number Analogy | 37 | Date & city matching |
18 | Figural Analogy | 38 | Classification of center codes/ roll numbers |
19 | Semantic Classification | 39 | Small & Capital letters/ numbers coding |
20 | Symbolic/Number Classification | 40 | Decoding and classification |
General Awareness: This section is considered to be one of the high scoring sections of SSC CGL Exam. It aims at testing the candidates’ general awareness of the environment around him/her and its application to society. Questions from current affairs taking place around the world and in India will also be a part of this section. Below are the major topics covered in SSC CGL Tier-I exam under the General Awareness Section:
- History: Facts about Harappa Civilization; Vedic culture; Name of the Kings who built important ancient Temples and Institutions like Nalanda; Chronology of Medieval India and their important systems; India’s freedom Movement and their leaders.
- Geography: India and its neighboring countries; Famous Seaport and Airport and their location; the important institution of world and India and their locations like BRICS, World Bank, IMF and RBI etc.
- Economy: Terminology of Budget (like National Income, GDP, Fiscal Deficit and many more); Five Year Plan and its importance; Famous persons in economy; Institutions and their importance like RBI, SEBI etc.
- Biology: Important Inventions and their inventor; Important and Interesting facts about human body parts; Nutrition in Animals and Plants; Diseases and their causes like Bacteria; Viruses and Protozoa; Last four chapter of NCERT of Class 12th for environment.
- Polity: Supreme Court; Meaning of Write; Election of President and his functions; Important constitution bodies like CAG; Facts about parliament; Fundamental Duties; Governor and his functions; State legislature; Major Constitutional amendments and their importance; Official Language; Emergency Provisions; National political parties and their symbols.
- Chemistry: Chemical Properties of Substance and their uses; SI units; Chemical Name of Important substances like Plaster of Paris etc.; Chemical Change and Physical Change; Properties of Gases; Surface Chemistry; Chemistry in Everyday life.
- Physics: Important inventions and their inventor; S.I. units; Motion; Sound; light; Wave; Energy; Electricity.
- Computer: Development of computers; Input and output devices; Memory.
- Miscellaneous: Population Census; Important books and their writers; First sports achievement for India and world like first Olympic, first Asian Game etc.; State Animals and Symbols; Awards and their importance; Name of the Scientist who got Noble prize for important discoveries.
Quantitative Aptitude: This section will test the candidates’ mathematical skills and how good he/she is with numbers. For developing proficiency in this section, candidates are required to develop great command over the general mathematical concepts, methods and their applicability. The questions will be designed to test the ability of appropriate use of numbers and number sense of the candidate. Below are the major topics covered in SSC CGL Tier-I exam under the Quantitative Aptitude Section:
Quantitative Aptitude Topics | |||
S. No. | Topics | S. No. | Topics |
1 | Number System | 20 | Congruence and similarity of triangles |
2 | Fractions and Decimals | 21 | Circle and its chords, tangents |
3 | Percentage | 22 | Angles subtended by chords of a circle |
4 | Ratio & Proportion | 23 | Common tangents to two or more circles |
5 | Square roots | 24 | Triangle |
6 | Averages | 25 | Quadrilaterals |
7 | Interest | 26 | Regular Polygons |
8 | Profit and Loss | 27 | Right Prism |
9 | Discount | 28 | Right Circular Cone |
10 | Partnership Business | 29 | Right Circular Cylinder |
11 | Mixture and Alligation | 30 | Sphere & Hemispheres |
12 | Time and distance | 31 | Rectangular Parallelepiped |
13 | Time & Work | 32 | Regular Right Pyramid with triangular or square base |
14 | Basic algebraic identities of School Algebra & Elementary surds | 33 | Degree and Radian Measures |
15 | Graphs of Linear Equations | 34 | Standard Identities |
16 | Trigonometry | 35 | Complementary Angles |
17 | Bar diagram & Pie chart | 36 | Heights and Distances |
18 | Geometry and Mensuration | 37 | Histogram |
19 | Triangle and its various kinds of centers | 38 | Frequency polygon |
Getting a good score in this section demands in-depth knowledge of all the formulas and the pattern of the question asked. Therefore, rigorous practice is required for acing this section. This section is important in both Tier-I and Tier-II level of SSC CGL Exam.
English Language and Comprehension: This section tests the candidates’ ability to understand correct grammar usage, vocabulary usage and basic comprehension skills. Here is the list of topics covered in English Language and Comprehension Section of SSC CGL Tier-I Exam:
- Synonyms
- Antonyms
- One Word Substitution
- Sentence Completion
- Spotting Errors
- Sentence improvement
- Idioms & Phrases
- Spelling Test
- Reading comprehension
Normally, questions asked in this section are direct and quite easy. Therefore, candidates can score really well in this section. This section is important in both, Tier-I and Tier-II, levels of SSC CGL 2021 Exam.
Tier-II Syllabus 2021
SSC CGL 2021 Tier-II exam is an objective exam which will be conducted online. The exam comprises of four Papers – Quantitative Abilities, English Language and Comprehension, Statistics and General Studies (Finance & Economics). The time duration for each Paper is 2 Hours. The section-wise details of the exam are shown in the table given below:
Paper | Subject | No. of Questions | Max Marks | Exam Duration |
I | Quantitative Abilities | 100 | 200 | 2 Hours |
II | English Language and Comprehension | 200 | 200 | 2 Hours |
III | Statistics | 100 | 200 | 2 Hours |
IV | General Studies (Finance & Economics) | 100 | 200 | 2 Hours |
Key Points
- Paper-I and Paper-II are compulsory for all posts.
- Paper-III will be for only those candidates who apply for the post of Junior Statistical Officer (JSO) and who are shortlisted in Tier-I for this Post/Paper.
- Paper-IV will be for only those candidates who are shortlisted in Tier-I for Paper-IV, i.e., for the posts of Assistant Audit Officer/ Assistant Accounts Officer.
- There will be negative marking of 0.25 marks for each wrong answer in Paper-II (English Language and Comprehension) and of 0.50 marks for each wrong answer in Paper-I, Paper-III and Paper-IV.
- Questions in Paper-I will be of Matriculation Level, Paper-II of 10+2 Level and in Paper-III and Paper-IV of Graduation Level.
- The exam duration is 2 hours and 40 minutes for candidates who are visually handicapped.
Subject-wise Detailed Syllabus Tier – II 2021 Exam
The above-mentioned syllabus was just a brief of SSC CGL Tier-II Exam. Students must go through the detailed syllabus of all the papers and build a proper strategy to score well in the respective subjects.
Quantitative Aptitude | English Language & Comprehension | Statistics | General Studies: Finance and Economics |
Simplification | Reading Comprehension | Collection and Representation of Data | Finance and Accounting |
Interest | Spelling | Measure of Dispersion | Fundamental Principles |
Averages | Fill in the Blanks | Measure of Central Tendency | Financial Accounting |
Percentage | Phrases and Idioms | Moments, Skewness and Kurtosis | Basic Concepts of Accounting |
Ratio and Proportion | One Word Substitution | Correlation and Regression | Self-Balancing Ledger |
Speed, Distance and Time | Sentence Correction | Random Variables | Forms of Market and price determination in different markets |
Number System | Error Spotting | Random Variables | Theory of Production and cost |
Mensuration | Cloze Test | Sampling Theory | Economics and Governance |
Data Interpretation | Para Jumbles | Analysis and Variance | Comptroller and Auditor General of India |
Time and Work | Synonyms-Antonyms | Time Series Analysis | Finance Commission |
Algebra | Active-Passive Voice | Index Number | Theory of Demand and Supply |
Trigonometry | Direct-Indirect Speech | ||
Geometry | |||
Data Sufficiency |
Let’s look at the detailed syllabus SSC CGL Tier-II papers one-by-one:
Paper – I: Quantitative Abilities
This paper has exactly the same syllabus which was earlier stated for the Quantitative Aptitude Section of SSC CGL Tier -1 Exam. Below are the major topics covered in SSC CGL Tier-II exam under Paper I – Quantitative Abilities:
Paper-1: Quantitative Abilities Topics | |||
S. No. | Topics | S. No. | Topics |
1 | Number System | 20 | Congruence and similarity of triangles |
2 | Fractions and Decimals | 21 | Circle and its chords, tangents |
3 | Percentage | 22 | Angles subtended by chords of a circle |
4 | Ratio & Proportion | 23 | Common tangents to two or more circles |
5 | Square roots | 24 | Triangle |
6 | Averages | 25 | Quadrilaterals |
7 | Interest | 26 | Regular Polygons |
8 | Profit and Loss | 27 | Right Prism |
9 | Discount | 28 | Right Circular Cone |
10 | Partnership Business | 29 | Right Circular Cylinder |
11 | Mixture and Alligation | 30 | Sphere & Hemispheres |
12 | Time and distance | 31 | Rectangular Parallelepiped |
13 | Time & Work | 32 | Regular Right Pyramid with triangular or square base |
14 | Basic algebraic identities of School Algebra & Elementary surds | 33 | Degree and Radian Measures |
15 | Graphs of Linear Equations | 34 | Standard Identities |
16 | Trigonometry | 35 | Complementary Angles |
17 | Bar diagram & Pie chart | 36 | Heights and Distances |
18 | Geometry and Mensuration | 37 | Histogram |
19 | Triangle and its various kinds of centers | 38 | Frequency polygon |
Paper – II: English Language & Comprehension
Questions in this components will be designed to test the candidate‘s understanding and knowledge of English Language. Here is the list of topics covered in Paper II – English Language and Comprehension Section of SSC CGL Tier-II Exam:
- Spotting the error
- Fill in the blanks
- Synonyms
- Antonyms
- Spelling/detecting miss-spelt words
- Idioms & phrases
- One word substitution
- Improvement of sentences
- Active/passive voice of verbs
- Conversion into direct/indirect narration
- Shuffling of sentence parts
- Shuffling of sentences in a passage
- Close passage
- Comprehension passage
Paper – III: Statistics (For Junior Statistical Officer)
Paper-III will be for only those candidates who apply for the post of Junior Statistical Officer (JSO) and who are shortlisted in Tier-I for this Post/Paper.
S. No. | Paper III Statistics Topics |
1 | Collection Classification and Presentation of Statistical Data |
2 | Measures of Central Tendency |
3 | Measures of Dispersion |
4 | Moments, Skewness and Kurtosis |
5 | Correlation and Regression |
6 | Probability Theory |
7 | Random Variable and Probability Distributions |
8 | Sampling Theory |
9 | Statistical Inference |
10 | Analysis of Variance |
11 | Time Series Analysis |
12 | Index Numbers |
Here is the detailed list of topics covered in Statistics Paper-III of SSC CGL Tier-II Exam:
- Collection Classification and Presentation of Statistical Data: Primary and Secondary data, Methods of data collection; Tabulation of data; Graphs and charts; Frequency distributions; Diagrammatic presentation of frequency distributions.
- Measures of Central Tendency: Common measures of central tendency – mean median and mode; Partition values- quartiles, deciles, percentiles.
- Measures of Dispersion: Common measures dispersion – range, quartile deviations, mean deviation and standard deviation; Measures of relative dispersion.
- Moments, Skewness and Kurtosis: Different types of moments and their relationship; the meaning of skewness and kurtosis; different measures of skewness and kurtosis.
- Correlation and Regression: Scatter diagram; simple correlation coefficient; simple regression lines; Spearman‘s rank correlation; Measures of association of attributes; Multiple regression; Multiple and partial correlations (For three variables only).
- Probability Theory: Meaning of probability; Different definitions of probability; Conditional probability; Compound probability; Independent events; Bayes‘ theorem.
- Random Variable and Probability Distributions: Random variable; Probability functions; Expectation and Variance of a random variable; Higher moments of a random variable; Binomial, Poisson, Normal and Exponential distributions; Joint distribution of two random variables (discrete).
- Sampling Theory: Concept of population and sample; Parameter and statistic, Sampling and non-sampling errors; Probability and non-probability sampling techniques (simple random sampling, stratified sampling, multistage sampling, multiphase sampling, cluster sampling, systematic sampling, purposive sampling, convenience sampling and quota sampling); Sampling distribution (statement only); and Sample size decisions.
- Statistical Inference: Point estimation and interval estimation, Properties of a good estimator, Methods of estimation (Moments method, Maximum likelihood method, Least squares method), Testing of hypothesis, Basic concept of testing, Small sample and large sample tests, Tests based on Z, t, Chi-square and F statistic, Confidence intervals.
- Analysis of Variance: Analysis of one-way classified data and two-way classified data.
- Time Series Analysis: Components of time series, Determinations of trend component by different methods, Measurement of seasonal variation by different methods.
- Index Numbers: Meaning of Index Numbers, Problems in the construction of index numbers, Types of index number, Different formulae, Base shifting and splicing of index numbers, Cost of living Index Numbers, Uses of Index Numbers.
Paper-IV: General Studies-Finance and Economics (Assistant Audit Officer/ Assistant Accounts Officer)
Paper-IV will be for only those candidates who are shortlisted in Tier-I for Paper-IV, i.e., for the posts of Assistant Audit Officer/ Assistant Accounts Officer.
Paper | Subject | No of Questions | Max Marks | Exam Duration |
Part – A | Finance and Accounts | 100 | 80 | 2 Hours |
Part – B | Economics and Governance | 120 |
Let’s look in detail the syllabus for Paper-IV – General Studies (Finance and Economics):
Part A: Finance and Accounts – (80 marks):
Fundamental principles and basic concept of Accounting:
- Financial Accounting: Nature and scope, Limitations of Financial Accounting, Basic concepts and Conventions, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
- Basic concepts of accounting: Single and double entry, Books of original Entry, Bank Reconciliation, Journal, ledgers, Trial Balance, Rectification of Errors, Manufacturing, Trading, Profit & loss Appropriation Accounts, Balance Sheet Distinction between Capital and Revenue Expenditure, Depreciation Accounting, Valuation of Inventories, Non-profit organisations Accounts, Receipts and Payments and Income & Expenditure Accounts, Bills of Exchange, Self Balancing Ledgers.
Part B: Economics and Governance – (120 marks)
- Comptroller & Auditor General of India – Constitutional provisions, Role and responsibility
- Finance Commission – Role and functions
- Basic Concept of Economics and introduction to Micro Economics – Definition, scope and nature of Economics, Methods of economic study and Central problems of an economy and Production possibilities curve
- Theory of Demand and Supply – Meaning and determinants of demand, Law of demand and Elasticity of demand, Price, income and cross elasticity; Theory of consumer’s behaviour – Marshallian approach and Indifference curve approach, Meaning and determinants of supply, Law of supply and Elasticity of Supply.
- Theory of Production and cost – Meaning and Factors of production; Laws of production- Law of variable proportions and Laws of returns to scale.
- Forms of Market and price determination in different markets – Various forms of markets – Perfect Competition, Monopoly, Monopolistic Competition and Oligopoly ad Price determination in these markets
- Indian Economy –
- Nature of the Indian Economy Role of different sectors – Role of Agriculture, Industry and Services-their problems and growth;
- National Income of India – Concepts of national income, Different methods of measuring national income
- Population – Its size, rate of growth and its implication on economic growth
- Poverty and unemployment – Absolute and relative poverty, types, causes and incidence of unemployment
- Infrastructure – Energy, Transportation, Communication
- Economic Reforms in India – Economic reforms since 1991; Liberalisation, Privatisation, Globalisation and Disinvestment
- Money and Banking –
- Monetary/ Fiscal policy – Role and functions of Reserve Bank of India; functions of commercial Banks/ RRB/ Payment Banks
- Budget and Fiscal deficits and Balance of payments
- Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003
- Role of Information Technology in Governance
Tier – III Exam Syllabus 2021
SSC CGL Tier – III Exam is a descriptive paper which will be taken offline via pen and paper mode. In this exam, candidates’ language proficiency, grammar knowledge, vocabulary usage and writing skills will be tested in English/Hindi. Candidates are required to write essays, précis, application, letter, etc. in 60 minutes.
Mode of
Examination |
Subject | Maximum Marks | Time |
Pen and Paper
Mode |
Descriptive Type Paper in English or Hindi
(Writing of Essay/ Précis/ Letter/ Application etc.) |
100 | 60 Minutes |
Key Points:
- This exam will be bilingual means, Hindi/ English as per the choice filled by the candidate earlier at times of application filling.
- The questions are based on 10+2 level.
- The exam is qualifying in nature. At least 33% should be scored by the candidate to qualify this particular tier, rest is dependent on cut-offs.
- The exam duration is 80 minutes for candidates who are visually handicapped or suffer from cerebral palsy.
The best way to prepare for this tier is to read lots of articles from various newspapers. Apart from this, you need to be well aware of the pattern of Letter and Application.
Tier – IV Exam Syllabus 2021
The SSC CGL Tier – IV Exam comprises of a couple of skill tests which are required for certain government posts and document verification procedure:
DEST (Data Entry Speed Test):
- Data Entry Speed Test (DEST) at 8,000 (eight thousand) Key Depression per hour on Computer is specifically for the post of Tax Assistants (Central Excise & Income Tax).
- The “Data Entry Speed Test” Skill Test will be conducted for a passage of about 2000 (two thousand) key depressions for a duration of 15 (fifteen) minutes.
- This test will be of qualifying nature and is used to check the typing speed of the candidate.
- DEST will be conducted in the manner decided by the Commission for the purpose.
- Orthopedically Handicapped (OH) candidates opting for the post of Tax Assistant in CBDT are exempted for appearing in Skill Test. OH candidates opting for post of Tax Assistant in CBEC are not exempted from Skill Test.
- Hearing Handicapped (HH) and Visually Handicapped (VH) candidates are not eligible for exemption from the Skill Test. VH candidates will be allowed additional compensatory time of 5 minutes in DEST. Only those VH candidates who opt for scribes in the written examination will be provided passage reader at the time of Skill Test.
CPT (Computer Proficiency Test):
- The Commission will hold CPT, comprising three modules –
- Word Processing,
- Spread Sheet and
- Generation of Slides
- The test will be conducted for the post of
- Assistant Section Officer of Central Secretariat Service (CSS), Assistant Section Officer (MEA), Assistant in Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Assistant (GSI) in the Ministry of Mines.
- CPT will be of qualifying nature.
- The CPT will be conducted in the manner decided by the Commission for the purpose. No exemption from CPT is allowed for any category of Persons with Disabilities (PwD) candidates.
Document Verification:
The last step to the final selection would be Document Verification. Candidates will have to submit copies of various documents like Matriculation Certificate, educational qualification, caste certificate, relevant document, if any relaxation is taken, etc. Candidates will be required to produce all documents in original for verification at the time of document verification.
After going through the above mentioned detailed syllabus of SSC CGL 2021 Exam, the next step is to create a study plan and start working on it. For instance, start your practice by solving some previous year question papers and analyse your strong & weak points. Regular practice will help in achieving accuracy and high score in the exam.