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How To Prepare For SSC CGL, A Complete Guide By Experts

Have you ever wondered why SSC CGL Exam Preparation is difficult for most students?
Well, the answer to this question is explained by the toppers in this article!

The Staff Selection Commission (SSC) conducts the Combined Graduate Level (CGL) Exam every year. Millions of aspirants try their luck and very few get success. The simple reason behind their success is the “Comprehensive and Structured Preparation”.

This article will help you design your strategy based on your personal preferences that will help you crack the upcoming SSC CGL 2024 Exam.

How to Prepare for the SSC CGL Exam at Home?

The candidates who wish to prepare for the SSC CGL Exam by themselves at home should ensure that they have a strategy that fulfills all the requirements of the preparation process. Before making the decision they should ensure that they are not missing out on anything that might give other aspirants an edge in the competition. In the points below, let us explore the various aspects of preparing for the SSC CGL Exam at home.

1. Candidate-Specific Strategy: The syllabus for the CGL Exam is very vast and covers a large number of subjects. The candidates preparing for this exam have different sets of strengths and weaknesses. So, they have the opportunity to craft a strategy that uses their strong areas to work upon weak areas. Therefore, the candidates who prepare for the CGL Exam at home can make decisions that suit them in order to be successful in the exam.

2. Daily Routine: The candidates who prepare at home have the ability to keep room for flexibility in their daily schedule and keep their preparations dynamic. They do not have to be bound by the rigid schedule provided by someone else.

3. Health: During the preparation period it is most important to maintain one’s physical and mental health. When a candidate prepares at home, he/she has the option to dedicate some time to their physical fitness and mental relaxation. As the preparation for Tier 1 and 2 levels of the CGL exam is a long process, the candidates need to stay motivated and encouraged to cover the syllabus and perform well in the exam.

These are some of the advantages of preparing for the SSC CGL Exam at home. When someone joins coaching, he/she is tied to the demands of the daily schedule and is under constant pressure to match the competition level. In the next section, let us look at the strategy regarding the preparation for the SSC CGL Exam at home.

SSC CGL Preparation Strategy

There are some steps that are common to the preparation for all competitive exams. It includes analyzing the exam pattern & syllabus, learning the concepts, practice & revision and attempting mock tests. Let us look at each of these steps, specific to the preparation of the SSC CGL Exam, one by one.

Analyzing the Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The candidates should be aware of the exam pattern of both Tier 1 and Tier 2 as it will help them make an integrated preparation strategy for both levels of the exam. The candidates can refer to it from the official notification that is released every year by the commission. However, they can also go through the tables provided below.

SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam Pattern

The first stage in the selection process is an objective computer-based examination. SSC CGL 2024 Tier 1 consists of 100 questions, containing 25 questions each from 4 different subjects. For each correct answer 2 marks are added and for each wrong answer 0.50 marks are deducted from the overall score.

SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam Pattern
Subject No of Questions Max Marks Exam Duration
General Intelligence and Reasoning 25 50 60 minutes ( 1 hour and 20 minutes for the candidate’s scribe)
General Awareness 25 50
Quantitative Aptitude 25 50
English Comprehension 25 50
Total 100    200

SSC CGL Tier 2 Exam Pattern

The SSC CGL Tier 2 exam will be conducted in 3 phases- Paper 1, Paper 2, and Paper 3. Paper I (Compulsory for all posts), Paper II for candidates who apply for the posts of Junior Statistical Officer (JSO) in the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, and Paper III for candidates who apply for the posts of Assistant Audit Officer/ Assistant Accounts Officer.

SSC CGL Tier 2 Paper 1 Exam Pattern
Sections Module Subject No. of Questions Marks Duration
Section I Module-I Mathematical Abilities 30 90 1 hour
Module-II Reasoning and General Intelligence 30 90
Section II Module-I English Language and Comprehension 45 135 1 hour
Module-II General Awareness 25 75
Section III Module-I Computer Knowledge Test 20 60 15 minutes
Module-II Data Entry Speed Test One Data Entry Task 15 minutes

This exam pattern will give the candidates an idea about the different subjects asked and their weightage in both levels of the exam. The detailed syllabus of these subjects is also provided to the candidates in the official notification. Going through each topic to be asked in the exam will give a direction to the preparation strategy.

Going Through Previous Year Papers

For a candidate who is preparing for the SSC CGL Exam at home, the most important source of guidance is the previous year papers. They help the candidate recognize the level and trend of questions asked from different topics in the exam. Some important points regarding the use of the previous year’s papers during the preparation are:

  • It gives the candidates an estimate of how much work is required in the different areas according to the level of questions asked in the recent installments of the exam.
  • It provides the candidates an opportunity to solve actual exam-level questions on the concepts they have learned.
  • It is advised that the candidates preparing for the CGL Exam should also solve the previous year’s questions asked in other exams conducted by SSC to be prepared for all levels of questions that can be asked.

Learning Concepts, Practicing and Revision

Concepts – All the subjects asked in the exam contain a large number of concepts that can be asked in the paper. The detailed syllabus provided in the official notification lists out all the important concepts that are to be asked. The candidates preparing at home for SSC CGL should go through the basic textbooks and make handwritten notes for each subject.

Practicing – Learning the various concepts is not enough to score well in the exam. To be ready to recall any concept in a matter of seconds requires a lot of practice. Solving questions from textbooks, question banks, quizzes and previous year’s papers is a very authentic way to solidify the concepts learned.

Revision – One of the most repeated advice that toppers of any competitive exam give is to keep the sources limited and revise them multiple times. Practicing questions on the concepts learned helps the candidates prepare for any type of questions they may face in the exam. However, doing multiple revisions ensures that they do not commit any mistakes while solving these questions.

Attempting Mock Tests

Mock tests prepare the candidates in many ways to be exam-ready. The candidates who are preparing for the exam  at home this is the one step that they have to take help from a reputed institute. Generally, test series for the SSC CGL Exam are quire affordable and easily available. Candidates should get access to both sectional as well as full length tests in order to ensure better results.

  • Sectional Tests – These act as a quick assessment of the concepts learned in any topic/subject. Analyzing the results of these tests helps the candidates filter out the weak areas that need more work and helps them make changes in the preparation strategy accordingly.
  • Full-Length Tests – These tests present the candidates with a set of new questions and are structured the same way as that of the actual exam. Practicing these tests helps them improve their time management skills and reduce the negative marking.

Some Tips and Tricks to Prepare For SSC CGL At Home

The points provided above are mere suggestions and the candidates are advised to make changes according to their strengths and weaknesses. To complement these suggestions, here are some tips and tricks specifically for the candidates who are preparing for SSC CGL at Home.

  • Make handwritten notes of every subject and keep a log of all the mistakes in the mock tests. Keep going through these notes in order to make suitable changes in the strategy.
  • Start your preparations as early as possible and set short-term as well as long-term targets.
  • Take the help of online resources such as blogs, apps, YouTube videos and PDFs.
  • Participate in preparation and conceptual discussions with like-minded friends.
  • Avoid excessive use of social media.
  • Take short breaks in study sittings and take some time out for your physical and mental well-being.


When will the SSC CGL Notification 2024 be released?

The SSC CGL Notification 2024 will be released on 11th June 2024 at ssc.gov.in.

What is the exam pattern of the SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam?

SSC CGL 2024 Tier 1 consists of 100 questions, containing 25 questions each from 4 different subjects i.e. General Intelligence and Reasoning, General Awareness, Quantitative Aptitude and English Comprehension.

Is there negative marking in the SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam?

Yes, there is 0.50 negative marking in SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam.