SSC CGL exam pattern for Tier I, Tier II, Tier III and Tier IV

The Staff Selection Commission (SSC)  is an organization under the Government of India which annually conducts the Combined Graduate Level (CGL) exam for recruitment to various posts of the government.

The exam is conducted online and comprises of four levels: Tier I, Tier II, Tier III, and Tier IV, it includes a set syllabus that a candidate needs to follow thoroughly. While Tier I and Tier II are online exams, Tier III is a paper-based exam and Tier IV tests the candidate’s computer skills.

If conducted in multiple shifts, the score of Tier I and Tier II is normalized while the Staff Selection Commission decides the final score. This is taken as the final score for selecting candidates for further rounds.

Knowledge of syllabus and the exam pattern is very essential for candidates to prepare for the exam systematically.

Tier I: Exam pattern

Tier I is an objective multiple-choice exam that is conducted online, it consists of four sections and about a hundred questions. There are about 25 questions in each section, and each question is of 2 marks each, which accounts for a total of 200 marks.

The four sections that are included in the SSC CGL examination paper are Quantitative Aptitude, General Intelligence and Reasoning, English Comprehension, and General Awareness.

The entire exam needs to be completed within the time duration of 60 minutes. For the visually handicapped candidates or those suffering from Cerebral Palsy, the exam duration is 80 minutes.

Though there are no sectional cuts, SSC CGL examinations include negative marking. 0.5 marks are deducted for each wrong answer attempted by a candidate. No marks are deducted if the question is left unattempted by the candidate.

 A candidate needs to qualify Tier I to move to Tier II

Tier II: Exam pattern

Tier II is also an objective multiple-choice exam that consists of four papers and is conducted online. Each paper is of two hours and 200 marks each. There are almost 100 questions in each paper. The exam duration is 2 hours and 40 minutes for visually handicapped candidates. The paper is of a total of 800 marks.

Paper I and Paper II are compulsory for all the candidates applying for any post. While paper III is only for those candidates who are applying for the post of Junior Statistical Officer (JSO) and have been shortlisted in Tier I for this post, paper IV is for those candidates applying for the post of Assistant Audit Officer and have been shortlisted in Tier I for this paper.

Paper I or the Quantitative Ability Paper includes questions of matriculation level, Paper-II or the English Language and Comprehension Paper has 10+2 level questions, Paper III and IV have questions of graduation level. Candidates can choose their medium between Hindi or English.

For each wrong answer given by a candidate, 0.25 marks are deducted though there is no sectional cut-off. There will be no deduction if the question is left unattempted by the candidate.

Qualification of Tier II is essential for moving to Tier III.

Tier III: Exam Pattern

SSC CGL is a descriptive paper that is taken offline via pen and paper mode. The paper is of 100 marks, and the candidate is given an hour to complete the paper. For candidates who are visually handicapped and suffering from Cerebral Palsy, the time duration is 80 minutes.

The marks obtained in Tier I and Tier II together determine a candidate’s eligibility to appear for the Tier III and Tier IV exams.

In this tier, grammatical knowledge, language proficiency, writing skills, and vocabulary usage are tested in English or Hindi. The test requires candidates to write applications, letters, essays, precis, etc in 60 minutes’ time. This tier has been introduced to access and examine the writing skills of the candidates which are required for government jobs.

The best way to prepare for this tier is to read newspaper articles, knowledge of the pattern of letter and application is also very important.

The qualifying marks for this tier are 25% for OBC/EWS, 30% for UR and 20% for others.

Tier IV: Exam Pattern

Tier IV consists of a couple of online tests based on the computer skills of a candidate which are required for certain government posts. It also includes the procedure of document verification.

 SSC CGL Tier-IV exam is conducted in two ways: Data Entry Speed Test (DEST) and Computer Proficiency Test (CPT).

  • In DEST, candidates are required to write 2000 words in 15 minutes on a computer. This is done to check a candidate’s writing skills who have applied for the post of Tax Assistants.
  • CPT is conducted for candidates applying for the post of Assistant Section Officer (MEA), Assistant Section Officer of Central Secretariat Service (CSS) and Assistant in Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO). It checks a candidate’s proficiency in spreadsheets, slide generation, and word processing.

The time duration given to a candidate for completing this test is 45 minutes.

CPT is held in three modules: Word processing test, Microsoft Excel test, and PowerPoint test.

The last step to the final selection in the SSC CGL examination is the Document Verification.

Thus, the above information provides detailed information about the SSC CGL Exam pattern. It will help any aspiring candidate to know about the structure of the tests held.

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Hussein Terek

Founder of, I have a passion in software engineering and everything related to java environment.

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