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How to Prepare English & Comprehension for SSC CGL

Last Updated - May 30, 2017

English in SSC CGL: English in SSC CGL 2017 is one of the fundamental section. Covering 25 questions for 50 marks, this section could be a major scorer in the exam. Since SSC does not entertain sectional cutoff, candidates can cover the marks lost in other sections such as general awareness and make up for it in SSC CGL English and Comprehension.

Staff Selection Commission (SSC) has been one of the most desired organizations for Government exams in India. Every year many vacancies in Government departments are filled by the SSC. There is no doubt that Government jobs are the most sought-after profession choice in India. Also, the government put emphasis and efforts on providing better facilities and services in every aspect of our lives.

SSC conducts Combined Graduate Level (CGL) exam every year for recruitment to non-technical Group ‘B’ and Group ‘C’ non-gazetted posts in various Ministries/ Departments/ Organizations of the Government of India.

The Staff Selection Commission (SSC) conducts Combined Graduate Level Examination (CGLE) for recruitment in various departments, such as:

  • Assistants in Ministries/Departments, Subordinate office of the Govt. of India.
  • Inspectors of Central Excise & Customs.
  • Inspectors of Income Tax.
  • Preventive Officers in Customs.
  • Examiner in Customs.
  • Sub-Inspectors in Central Bureau of Narcotics & CBI.
  • Assistant Enforcement Officer in Department of Revenue.
  • Divisional Accountant, Jr. Accountant, Auditor & UDCs in various offices of Govt. of India.
  • Auditor Offices under CGDA, C&AG, CGA.
  • Accountant/ Junior Accountant.
  • Tax Assistant in CBDT and CBEC.
  • Compiler in Registrar General of India.

How to Prepare English & Comprehension for SSC CGL 2017


SSC CGL Tier I is scheduled for the month of August 2017. It will be conducted from August 01 until August 20. Covering General Awareness, Quantitative Aptitude, Logical Reasoning and English Language. Each section holds 25 questions with 2 marks for each correct response. Total marks of SSC CGL will be 200. With the unexpectedly high cutoff of SSC CGL Tier 1 in 2016, candidates are advised to make each section their forte.

Exam Pattern for English Language

  • Total Questions asked: 25
  • Total Marks: 50
  • Marking Scheme: +2/-0.50
  • Time to be invested: 10 to 15 minutes advisable
  • Healthy Attempts: 23-25 questions advisable

Syllabus of SSC CGL Tier I English

The level of questions asked in SSC CGL English is of secondary and higher secondary level with only few surprises. Attempts should be made only in case of confirmed and assured answers. Here’s syllabus of SSC CGL for Tier 1 exam.

Error SpottingTenses, Subject-Verb Agreement, Article-Noun Agreement, Correct Part of Speech, Correct use of Prepositions, Parallelism, Phrasal Verbs, Sentence Construction, Degree of Comparison, Correct use of different parts of speech.3-5 QsModerately Scoring, Time Consuming, Moderate Accuracy Possible
Reading ComprehensionPassages based on any topic. Questions are mostly fact based & can be directly picked out of the passage. Sometimes vocabulary questions are asked on commonly used words.5 Qs (1 passage)Scoring, Easy to Solve, High Accuracy Possible, Time Consuming
Fill in the BlanksA mix of grammar and vocabulary based questions. Important topics: Phrasal verbs, conjunctions, prepositions, tenses, usage in context, confusable words0-5 QsScoring, Easy to Solve, High Accuracy Possible, Quick Solve
SpellingsChoose the correctly spelt word or the misspelled word from different words. The same word can be spelt in different ways and you are asked to select the correct spelling.0-2 QsScoring, Easy to Solve, High Accuracy Possible, Quick Solve
Phrase or Idiom MeaningThe meaning of the phrase or idiom can be asked in a sentence. The meaning can also be asked directly.0-2 QsModerate to High Score Possible, Moderately Time Consuming, Moderate to High Accuracy Possible
One Word SubstitutionSubstitute one word for the phrase given.Go through a list of the one word substitutions from past papers and solve questions on one word substitution.3-5 QsModerate to High Score Possible, Moderately Time Consuming, Moderate to High Accuracy Possible
Phrase Replacement/ Sentence CorrectionA mix of grammar and vocabulary Based questions.Important Topics: Tenses, Subject-Verb Agreement, Article-Noun Agreement, Correct Part of Speech, Correct use of Prepositions, Parallelism, Phrasal Verbs, Sentence Construction, Degree of Comparison, Correct use of different parts of speech, Easily confusable words, Usage in Context, Avoid guessing too much in these questions. Be aware of no-improvement questions5 QsModerately Scoring, Time Consuming, Moderate Accuracy Possible


In TIER-II of CGL exam, the English part of the paper contains 100 questions of 200 marks and negative marking of 0.25 and total time allotted is 2 hours.

Thus, we can conclude that for any post in SSC CGL examination, one must attempt 125 questions in English over the two tiers. Therefore, English has the biggest share of the SSC CGL paper.

Thus, one must be thoroughly prepared with English.


In Tier -III, the English section is descriptive paper for 100 marks for which a candidate is given a time duration of 60 minutes. This test will be based on a pen and paper.

Thus, we can look at the English section for the SSC CGL exam in 4 parts:

  1. Vocabulary
  2. Grammar
  3. Reading Comprehension
  4. Verbal Ability

Check SSC CGL 2017 Exam Pattern

SSC CGL English: Answering Questions based on Comprehension

  • This part of the English section is easiest, most scoring section. The questions are direct and are based on the content present in the passage. One need to be alert while attempting the correct option as some of the options resent are sometimes very similar to each other.
  • Though the passages given in the examination might be short, the aspirant might make mistake of reading fast in order to save time for other sections, thus not understanding what the passage is trying to say and thus, there should be intent to understand the passage to minimize the time and maximize the output.

How to Learn Vocabulary in SSC CGL English

  • This segment is of great importance in SSC exam. The maximum number of questions in SSC CGL Tier 1 exam and Tier 2 exam papers is given from this division. Thus, you should prepare and revolve your study around strengthening your vocabulary skills. You can use application like Volt on android which brilliantly displays the meaning of every word in order to memorize for longer period.
  • There are direct questions on the following topics in both Tier 1 and Tier 2 exams :
    • Synonyms and Antonyms
    • Phrase or Idiom Meaning
    • One Word Substitution
    • Spellings
    • Fill in the Blanks
    • Phrase Replacement 
    • The best part about building vocabulary is that it doesn’t require any much efforts. One can read a newspaper or a book to build vocabulary.
    • One can test his/her vocabulary by solving vocabulary sections from previous papers.

SSC CGL English: How to Practice Grammar

  • Questions present in English section of the CGL examination have following topics in both Tier 1 and Tier 2 exams.
    • Error Spotting
    • Phrase Replacement
    • Fill in the Blanks
    • Topics for Tier 2 exam are
      1. Direct and Indirect Speech
      2. Active and Passive Voice

Download Free SSC CGL Sample Papers

SSC CGL 2017: How to Excel in Verbal Ability


  • This section is only tested in Tier 2 of CGL examination. It consist question on the following topics:
    1. Sentence Jumbles
    2. Paragraph Jumbles (Para jumbles)
  • One must practice these questions occasionally like if you are taking a break from your Tier 1 preparations and need a change, you can switch to this topic.
  • Follow logic more than instinct while answering these questions

SSC CGL English: Tips to solve Spotting Error in exam

  • Firstly, in order to solve questions on spotting errors, one should take read the complete sentence carefully. In most of the cases, one can detect the error in the first go itself.
  • On reading the entire sentence, one must check the subject-verb agreement.
  • If you are still not able to detect the error or are unsure of the correct answer, then you need to read each individual part of the sentence and closely examine which part has the error.
  • Reading Comprehension has the ability to improve your marks in SSC CGL Tier I
  1. Firstly, identify the tone of paragraph as it helps in answering questions far more easily.
  2. read questions so that you know what need to look for.
  3. One must read the first and the last paragraph thoroughly.
  4. One must practice previous year’s question papers as that can give you insights on how to answer and what can be your efficiency. This will not only help you understand the type and style of questions asked but you will also be able to prepare better keeping in mind the questions that have been asked before.
  • You can follow few of the Suggested books for SSC CGL English Section:
  1. Quick learning Objective General English by RS Aggarwal &  Vikas Aggarwal
  2. Perfect Competitive English written by V. K. Sinha
  3. Competitive General English written by Kiran Prakshan
  4. Objective General English written by S P Bakshi
  5. Word Power Made Easy written by Norman Lewis



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