SSC CGL Exam Pattern

SSC CGL Exam Pattern: Staff Selection Commission Combined graduate level exam (SSC CGL) is a national level exam held each year for recruiting graduate candidates for various posts in central government’s ministries and departments.

  • The exam is conducted by Staff Selection Commission (SSC) which works as an attached office of Department of Personnel and training, the government of India.
  • The Exam has witnessed inception of new methodologies in terms of mode of the exam as well as its pattern since 2016. As per the new exam pattern, the entire examination process has been shifted to online mode from the previous pen and paper mode.
  • Another major change is seen in the context of exam pattern. From being a 200 question 2 hours test the Tier 1 of the exam has now become a 1 Hour 100 question test.
  • These 100 questions are divided into four sections of 25 questions each.
  • The four sections of 25 questions namely quantitative ability, English and comprehension, Reasoning and intelligence, and General awareness have equal weightage in terms of marks.
  • The interview stage of the exam has now been done away with as well.
  • SSC CGL 2018 would be a multiple tier selection examination with first two tiers being objective and the third and fourth being a descriptive and skill-based test.
  • Tier 1 exam would be the preliminary stage of selection and would involve qualification for Tier 2 of the examination.
  • The tier 2 exam comprises of four papers of MCQ type to be held in online mode. Only those candidates who qualify the SCC CGL 2018 Tier 1 exam are allowed to take the SSC CGL 2018 Tier 2 exam.
  • Out of four papers in tier 2 Paper 3 (Statistics) and Paper, 4 (Finance and Economics) are to be taken by only those candidates who have applied for the post of Statistical Investigator and Assistant Audit Officer respectively.
  • Paper 1 (Quantitative ability) and Paper 2 (English and comprehension) are to be taken by all the candidates irrespective of their post preference.
  • Two marks are awarded for each correct answer (Except English Paper in Tier-2) whereas 1/4th of assigned marks are deducted for a wrong one in both the Tiers.

Exam Pattern highlights table

Candidates who are willing to appear for SSC CGL 2018 exam should make themselves aware of the exam pattern, mode of exam, marking scheme of the exam, and other such information related to the exam. For your reference and assistance, we have tabled that information below.

Exam Mode Online (For Tier-1 and Tier-2)/Offline (Tier-3)
Number of Papers 2
Number of Sections 4 in Tier-1 (quantitative ability, English and comprehension, Reasoning and intelligence, and General awareness)
Question Paper Type Objective type (Tier-1 and Tier-2)/Descriptive (Tier-3)
Total marks 200 Marks (Tier-1)/400 Marks (Tier-2)/100 Marks (Tier-3)
Exam Duration 1 hour (Tier-1)/2 hour (For Each Paper of Tier-2)/1 Hour (Tier-3)
Language of question paper Both English and Hindi

Exam Pattern in Detail

SSC CGL 2018 exam would be conducted in a sequential manner with each stage being an eliminating one. Candidates would be required to secure minimum qualifying marks in order to progress towards the next stage of examination.

Tier 1 exam would be conducted in three shifts daily from July 25th, 2018 to August, 20th, 2018. Whereas Tier -2 exams would be conducted in the month of October 2018 (Tentative) in multiple shifts. The tier-3 exam would be conducted for Tier-1 and Tier-2 qualified candidates and would be of descriptive nature.

Tier 1

  • Tier 1 exam would comprise of 100 questions of two marks each.
  • Questions would be of matriculation level and would test candidates ability in quantitative aptitude, reasoning, General awareness, and English and Comprehension.
  • Tier-1 would be a qualifying stage for appearing in Tier-2 of the examination.
  • Its scores would not be utilized for preparing merit list.

The detailed pattern of Each Tier of the exam is mentioned below so as to provide a reference to the candidates.

Exam Mode Online (computer mode)
Number of Papers 1
Number of Sections 4
Question Paper Type 100 MCQ type questions
Total Marks for Tier-1 of SSC CGL 2018 200 marks (25 marks for each section)
Exam Duration 60 Minutes /100 Minutes for VH and Cerebral palsy candidates.
Exam Language English/Hindi

Tier 2

  • SSC CGL tie 2 is a computer-based MCQ type exam.
  • Candidates would be tested for their ability and competence in handling problems from areas like quantitative ability, English, finance, and statistics which would be largely based on the Matriculation, 10+2 and graduation level (Paper 3 and Paper 4).
  • For your reference detail, a subject-wise pattern SSC CGL Tier 2 exam is mentioned below.

Paper 1 (Quantitative ability)

Number of Questions asked 100
Type of questions MCQ type
Syllabus Matriculation and 10+2 level
Time allotted 120 Minutes/160 Minutes for VH and Cerebral palsy candidates.

 Paper 2 (English and Comprehension)

Number of Questions asked 200
Type of questions MCQ type
Syllabus Matriculation level
Time allotted 120 Minutes/160 Minutes for VH and Cerebral palsy candidates.

 Paper 3 (Statistics)

Number of Questions asked 100
Type of questions MCQ type
Syllabus Graduation level
Time allotted 120 Minutes/160 Minutes for VH and Cerebral palsy candidates.

Paper 4 (Finance and Economics)

Number of Questions asked 100 (40 from finance and 60 from economics and governance)
Type of questions MCQ type
Syllabus Graduation level
Time allotted 120 Minutes/160 Minutes (for VH and Cerebral palsy candidates).

In total the exam would comprise of 4 papers of 200 marks each with a total duration of 2hours/2 hours 40 minutes (for VH and Cerebral palsy candidates).

To make candidates familiar with the exam pattern SSC type online tests and mock papers are made available on the various website. Candidates can access these tests any time by visiting the respective website. Candidates can also visit our website for updated mock and sample papers.

Click here for SSC CGL Preparation Tips

SSC CGL Exam Pattern | Tier III 

SSC Tier III Maximum Marks Time Duration
Descriptive Paper in English /Hindi 100 1 Hour

SSC CGL Tier III is Descriptive Exam, and it is conducted offline. Candidate need to write Essay/Letter /Precis. this is the test of candidates writing skill in Hindi/English.

  • Time duration of Tier III is 60 Minutes.

SSC CGL Exam Pattern | Tier IV

SSC Tier IV Time Duration Syllabus
Computer Proficiency Test (CPT) for post of Assistant Section Officer in CSS & MEA only 45 Minutes Word/Excel/ PowerPoint

Click here to know for SSC CGL Important Topics

Marking Scheme in SSC CGL 2018

Total marks scored by a candidate in SSC CGL 2018 (Tier 1 and Tier 2 exams) would be calculated based on the calculation of questions attempted and marks per question minus the negative marks scored by the candidate for the wrong answer. The following marking scheme is applicable for SSC CGL 2018 Tier 1 and Tier 2.

  • Every objective question would carry equal mark. Marks would be awarded if the answer is found to be correct.
  • More than one answer to a question would be treated as incorrect answer and no marks would be awarded in that case even if one of the marked answers is correct.
  • There would be negative marking to the tune of 1/4th of the total marks allotted for the question. Negative marks would be added while calculating the final score of a candidate.
  • In Tier-3 marking scheme would be different due to its descriptive nature.
  • Negative marking is not applicable for this Tier of the exam.
  • In regards to Tier 4 SSC has stipulated that it would be of qualifying nature only.

Exam Syllabus for SSC CGL 2018

Syllabus for SSC CGL 2018 exam would be on the line with the 2017 exam and would include portions of quantitative aptitude, reasoning and intelligence, GK and general awareness, and English.

The detailed syllabus for each head under Tier-1 and Tier-2 is mentioned below.

Quantitative Aptitude

  • Number System
  • Trigonometry
  • Menstruation
  • Profit and Loss
  • Time and Work
  • Speed, Time and distance
  • Height and distance
  • Simple and compound interest
  • HCF, LCM
  • Permutation and combination
  • Probability

Reasoning and Intelligence

  • Seating Arrangement
  • Puzzles
  • Matrix
  • Analogy
  • Coding-Decoding
  • Circular arrangement
  • Mirror images
  • Syllogism
  • Water images
  • Series

General Awareness

  • History
  • Culture
  • Art
  • Polity
  • Science and Technology
  • Sports
  • Current affairs
  • Economy
  • Personalities
  • Awards


  • Comprehension
  • Tenses
  • Preposition
  • Verb
  • Pronoun
  • Noun
  • Adjective
  • Conjunctions
  • Modals
  • Active and Passive voice
  • Direct and Indirect speech
  • Error spotting based on above topics
  • Fill in the blanks based on above topics
  • Jumbled up sentences
  • Sequence formation

Statistics (In Tier-2 Only)

  • Time series
  • Index Numbers
  • Sampling distribution
  • Cluster sampling
  • Frequency distribution
  • Moments
  • Skewness
  • Kurtosis
  • Correlation and Regression
  • Probability Theory
  • Random Variable and Probability Distribution
  • Sampling Theory
  • Sample Size decision
  • Analysis of Variance

Finance and Economics (In Tier-2 Only)

  • Financial Accounting
  • Concepts of Accounting
  • Macro and Micro Economics
  • Accounting Principles
  • Theory of Demand and Supply
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Production possibility curve
  • Balance Sheet
  • Theory of production
  • Types of Expenditure
  • Economic Reforms
  • Trading
  • National Income Calculation
  • Bill of exchange
  • Poverty and Unemployment
  • Self Balancing Ledgers
  • Money and Banking
  • Types of Payments
  • Fiscal and Monetary policy
  • Finance Commission

There is no specified syllabus for Tier-3 and SSC mentions Essay, Precis writing, and English comprehension as a part of the descriptive test. Tier 4 is a computer-based skill test for select posts under SSC CGL 2018 exam.

SSC CGL 2018 Important Instructions

Candidates are advised to follow the following instructions on the day of exam and week prior to the same.

  • Candidates would be required to log in the exam window using their credentials that is roll number and date of birth. Necessary instructions would be provided by invigilator in this regards.
  • Try to make yourself calm and composed and avoid getting into panic mode even if you don’t know the answer to some questions. Hold on and move forward.
  • Make arrangements for necessary documents like admit card and Photo Id proof that are required to be carried to the exam venue a day before the exam date.
  • Visit the exam center before the exam day to get an idea of the time taken and shortest route to the exam venue from your location.
  • In case the exam venue is far away from your current location then you should make some arrangements near the exam center beforehand to avoid last hour rush.

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