Exam Pattern for SSC CGL (tier – I, ii, iii and iv)

Know the SSC CGL Pattern for all tiers

This article aims to cover the breakdown of the Staff Selection Commission’s exam pattern for all tiers of the exam  (tier – I ,ii, iii and iv)

The staff selection commission (established in 1975) conducts the combined graduate level exam each year to recruit staff for various posts in ministries, departments, and organizations in the government of India.

Read more: What is the profile of the Assistant to the Ministry of external affairs?

Read more: How to prepare for Reasoning Section in SSC CGL Exam?

ssc cgl exam pattern

The graduate-level exam requires a graduate degree in any field from a recognized university. Besides this, the age requirement for the same is between 20-30 years.

You can apply for the exam with a mere amount of `100 and women candidates and candidates belonging to scheduled tribes and castes, physically handicapped and ex-servicemen eligible for are exempted from paying the fee.

The exam takes place in 4 tiers that are conducted on separate dates and separate posts require a different qualification in a tier.

Tier- 1: Preliminary Exam

The tier-1 exam follows the multiple-choice-question pattern and consists of 4 sections:

A)   General intelligence and reasoning

B)    General Awareness

C)    Quantitative Aptitude

D)   English Comprehension

Each section carries 50 marks with the paper totalling to 200 marks.

Since 2018, the exam is being conducted online.

Based on results from tier 1, candidates qualify for tier 2 exams.

75 minutes is the time allotted to complete the paper.

The paper consists of 100 questions.

A negative marking of 0.25 is applicable per wrong answer.

Tier -2 Main Papers

Tier 2 is the mains exam, it consists of 4 sections covering the subjects of :

A)    Quantitative Aptitude

B)    English Language and Comprehension

C)    Statistics

D)   General Studies – a) Finance and Accounting

                                 b) Economics and Governance

The paper is scored out of 200 marks per section. Most Positions only require you to appear for the first 2 sections but certain positions require the third or fourth section.

This exam too is conducted online.

Tier 3- Descriptive paper

This paper tests the letter writing, essay writing and application writing of the candidates for special posts.

People can appear for this examination in either English or Hindi.

This paper is conducted offline.

Tier-4- Data Entry skill test/ Computer proficiency test

This tier was added in 2016 and consists of 2 exams:

a)     Data Entry Speed Test (DEST) – candidates enter data at the rate of 2000 key presses per 15 minutes. This is mainly for the position of the Tax assistant.

b)    Computer Proficiency Test (CPT) – This covers the topic of word processing, spreadsheets and making slides.

The personality test and interview have been discontinued starting 2016.

A physical endurance and standard test is mandatory for the Central Police Organization (CPO).

Success rate:

In 2016, 3.8 million candidates applied for the exam out of which 14, 25,234 candidates appeared for 10,661 posts offered.

This means that around 0.4% of people get selected.

For 2017, 30,26,598 candidates filed their application online of which 15,43,418 candidates appeared for the examination.

226,229 candidates passed tier-1 and 47,003 candidates passed Tier 2.


The SSC CGL exam is evidently a tough nut to crack but not impossible.

Many posts such as the Assistant audit officer and the assistant to the ministry of external affairs are extremely popular and prestigious posts in our societies.

Best of Luck!

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