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SSC CGL 2018 Exam Pattern

Last Updated - May 11, 2017

SSC CGL 2018 comprises 4 levels (Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4). There is a set syllabus for the entrance which the candidates need to follow thoroughly. SSC CGL 2018 Tier-1 is likely to be held between August 1, 2018- August 10, 2018, Tier-2 by November 10, 2018, CGL Tier-3 by December 12, 2018 (tentatively)

SSC CGL 2018 exam will be conducted in both online and offline modes. Few important highlights for SSC CGL 2018 Exam Pattern are:

  • Official Website-
  • Conducting Body- Staff Selection Commission (SSC)
  • Online Exam- Tier 1 and Tier 2
  • Offline Exam - Tier 3
  • Computer Based Skill Test- Tier 4

SSC CGL syllabus increases after every level of exam. The difficulty level also increases. Tier IV is the final round for cracking the exam. No interviews are to be conducted as notified from the year 2016. Candidates can prepare from important books mentioned in the article below.

SSC CGL 2018 Exam Pattern Highlights

SSC CGL 2018 Exam Pattern is different for every exam. Marking scheme and syllabus differs from exam to exam.

  • Tier 1 exam- 200 questions from General Intelligence & Reasoning, General Awareness/ General knowledge, Quantitative Aptitude and English Comprehension. 75 minutes duration with negative marking for incorrect response.
  • Tier 2 exam- This has 4 papers viz., Quantitative Ability, English Language and Comprehension, Statistics (only for post of Statistical Investigator Gr. II & Compiler), General Studies of Finance and Economics (Only for the post of Assistant Audit Officer). 200 marks for each paper is allotted with a duration of 2 hours. Negative marking is applicable.
  • Tier 3 exam- Descriptive paper for Essay Writing, Letter/Application Writing, Passage Writing. The paper is conducted for a duration of 1 hour for 100 marks.
  • Tier 4 exam- Data Entry Skill Test/ Computer Proficiency Test for 15 minutes. This exam is qualifying in nature. No negative marking and no marks allotted.

SSC CGL 2018 Exam Pattern in Detail

As per latest notifications by SSC, SSC CGL exam now has four level of exams.

  • Tier-1: Written Examination (Objective Type)
  • Tier-2: Written Examination (Objective Type)
  • Tier-3: Written Examination (Descriptive Type)
  • Tier-4: Computer Test / Skill Test (wherever applicable)

SSC CGL 2018 Exam Pattern is given in details for the convenience of the aspiring candidates.

SSC CGL Tier-I Exam Pattern 2018

Number of Papers1
Total Number of Questions200
Total Sections4
SectionsGeneral Intelligence and Reasoning
General Awareness/ General knowledge
Quantitative Aptitude
English Comprehension
Total Marks200
Total Time75 Minutes
Negative MarkingYes
Question TypeObjective

SSC CGL Tier-2 Exam Pattern 2018

Number of Papers4
SubjectsPaper- 1: Quantitative Ability Paper-2: English Language and Comprehension Paper-3: Statistics (only for post of Statistical Investigator Gr. II & Compiler Paper-4: General Studies (Finance and Economics) (Only for the post of Assistant Audit Officer)
Total Marks800 (200 in each paper)
Total Time2 hours for each paper
Negative MarkingYes
Question TypeObjective

SSC CGL Tier-3 Exam Pattern 2018

Number of Papers1
Total Marks100
Question TypeDescriptive
SectionsEssay Writing
Letter/Application Writing
Passage Writing
Duration1 hour
Exam ModeOffline

SSC CGL 2018 Tier IV Exam Pattern

Total MarksQualifying in Nature
Time Duration15 minutes
TestsData Entry Skill Test (DEST)/Computer Proficiency Test (CPT)
Exam ModeOnline
Data Entry Skill Test (DEST)Only for candidates applying for post of Tax assistants (in Central Excise and Income Tax)
Criteria: 8000 key depression per hour
Computer Proficiency Test (CPT)Only for candidates applying for post of Assistant Section Officer
Three modules: Word Processing, Spreadsheet and Generation of Slides

SSC CGL 2018 Marking Scheme

SSC CGL 2018 have both online and offline based tests. While Tier 1, 2 and 4 are online computer based exam, Tier 3 is descriptive written pen and paper examination. Tier 4 is the final qualifying round where document verification is also done. No personal interviews will be conducted in SSC CGL from 2016.

SSC CGL Exam TiersSectionsTotal MarksMarking SchemeNegative Marking
Tier 1General Intelligence and Reasoning
General Awareness/ General knowledge
Quantitative Aptitude
English Comprehension
200 marksEach question carries 1 mark-0.50 for each wrong answer
Tier 2Paper 1: Quantitative Ability
Paper 2: English Language and Comprehension
Paper 3: Statistics
Paper 4: General Studies (Finance and Economics)
Paper 1: 100
Paper 2: 200
Paper 3: 200
Paper 4: 200
Paper 1, Paper 3, Paper 4: Each question carries 2 marks
Paper 2: Each question carries 1 mark
Paper 1, Paper 3, Paper 4: -0.50 for each wrong answer
Paper 2: -0.25 for each wrong answer
Tier 3Essay, Application, Passage Writing100 marksMinimum qualifying marks 33% 
Tier 4Data Entry Skill Test (DEST)/Computer Proficiency Test (CPT) (whichever applicable)Qualifying in nature  

SSC CGL 2018 Syllabus

Syllabus for every tier in SSC CGL is different. The tables below give an idea about the syllabus in every paper under this exam.

SSC CGL 2018 Syllabus- Tier 1

General Intelligence and Reasoning:

This section is based on Questions from Series (number, figurative), similarities and differences, analogy, space visualization. Spatial orientation, problem solving, analysis, judgement. Decision making, visual memory, discrimination, observation. Direction sense test, Blood relations, arithmetical reasoning and figural classification.

Arithmetic number series, non-verbal series, coding and decoding. Statement conclusion, syllogism in reasoning etc. The topics are Semantic Analogy, Symbolic/Number Analogy. Figural Analogy, Ranking test, Semantic Classification, Symbolic/Number Classification. Figural Classification, Input-Output questions, Problem Solving, Word Building, Seating arrangement, Numerical Operations, symbolic Operations. Questions on Dies, Clock, Calender.

Trends, Space Orientation, Space Visualization, Venn Diagrams. Drawing inferences, folding & un-folding of Punched hole/pattern. Figural Pattern – folding and completion, Indexing, Address matching. Date & city matching, Classification of centre codes/roll numbers. Small & Capital letters/numbers coding, decoding and classification. Embedded Figures, Critical thinking. Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence etc.

English LanguageQuestions on Fill in the Blanks, Idioms & Phrases, Jumbled sentences (ordering), One word substitution. Synonyms, Antonyms, Spellings/Detecting Mis-spelt words, Common errors, sentence improvement, Passage, Cloze test are asked.
Quantitative Aptitude (Q.A.)

This section is based on questions on Percentages. Ratio & Proportion. Square and cube roots. Surds and indices. Lcm and hcf, Averages, Age problems. Simple interest and Compound Interest, Profit and Loss, Discount, Partnership. Mixture and Alligation, Time and distance, Time & Work, Boat and Streams, Pipes and Cisterns. Numbers, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Heights and Distances.

Divisions and Remainders, decimals ,fractions and relationships between numbers. Graphs of Linear Equations, Triangles (centres, congruence, similarity), In circles and circum-circle. Triangle, Quadrilaterals, Regular Polygons. Circle, Right Prism, Right Circular Cone. Right Circular Cylinder, Sphere, Hemispheres, Rectangular Parallelopiped.

Regular Right Pyramid with triangular or square base, Trigonometric ratio. Degree and Radian Measures, Circle and its chords. tangents, angles subtended by chords of a circle. common tangents to two or more circles, Standard Identities. Complementary angles, Heights and Distances. Histogram, Frequency polygon, Bar diagram & Pie chart.

General Awareness (G.A. Syllabus)General Awareness will have questions on current events, India and its neighbouring countries. Also questions from History. Geography, Economic Scene,Culture, General Policy & Scientific Research are asked. Scientific research includes physics, chemistry and Biology. Current affairs of Last 6 months are asked.

SSC CGL 2018 Syllabus: Tier 2

Paper-1 (Quantitative Abilities)Same as in Tier 1
Paper 2 (English Language & Comprehension)Same as in Tier 1 English syllabus plus Active Passive and cloze test
Paper 3 (Statistics)Collection Classification and Presentation of Statistical Data
Measures of Central Tendency
Measures of Dispersion-Common measures dispersion 
Moments, Skewness and Kurtosis
Correlation and Regression
Probability Theory
Random Variable and Probability Distributions
Sampling Theory
Statistical Inference 
Analysis of Variance
Index Numbers
Paper 4 (General Studies (Finance and Economics)Finance and Accounts, Economics and Governance

SSC CGL 2018 Syllabus- Tier 3

Written Descriptive English TestPrecis Writing/Essay/Formal Letter/Informal Letter/Application/Passage Writing

SSC CGL 2018 Syllabus- Tier 4

Data Entry Skill Test/ Computer Proficiency TestDEST test requires 8000 key depressions per hour whereas CPT test requires computer knowledge

SSC CGL 2018- Important Books for Preparation

Listed below are few important books that a candidate can prepare from for all the 4 tiers of SSC CGL 2018:

SubjectBook NameAuthor
EnglishEnglish for General Competitions: from Plinth to Paramount (Volume – 1)Neetu Singh (KD Publications)
EnglishEnglish for General Competitions: (Volume – 2)Neetu Singh (KD Publications)
Quantitative AptitudeAdvance maths for General CompetitionsRakesh Yadav (KD Publications)
Quantitative AptitudeArithmetic for General CompetitionsNeetu Singh (KD Publications)
ReasoningA New Approach to Reasoning Verbal & Non-VerbalBS Sijwali and Indu Sijwali (Arihant)
General AwarenessIndia Year BookVarious Authors
All SubjectsKiran’s SSC CGL Combined Graduate Level Exams Question bank 1999-2016Kiran Publications
Tier 1 Comprehensive GuideMaster Guide SSC Combined Graduate Level Tier-I ExaminationArihnat Experts
Tier 2 Comprehensive GuideSSC CGL Staff Selection Commission Combined TIER-II Exam Practice Work Book Including Solved PapersKiran Publication

Important Instructions for Candidates

Following instructions should be kept in mind while preparing for SSC CGL 2018:

  • Candidates should practice “mock tests” to get an idea of the computer based exam for Tier 1 and Tier 2. Online tests for the same must be attempted.
  • Mock tests are available on the official website of the SSC as well as the regional office websites.
  • Time management is very important.
  • Be careful of negative marking. Answer only those questions which you are sure of.



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