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Preparation Tips for SSC CGL Tier III Descriptive Paper

Last Updated - November 18, 2017

SSC conducts the CGL (Combined Graduate Level) exam each year. Through SSC CGL, candidates are recruited in various Group ‘B’ and ‘C’ posts offered by different departments and ministries under GOI. Check SSC CGL Vacancies

  • SSC CGL test comprises four tiers. CheckSSC CGL Exam Pattern
  • The first two tiers are computer-based objective examinations while the third tier is descriptive pen and paper based examination.
  • Candidates must qualify each tier to advance to the next.
  • There is an additional tier 4 for selective posts which tests the computer proficiency of individuals.

Tier 3 is the final stage for most posts offered by the Staff Selection Commission. It is the only subjective paper in the exam and the scores obtained in it will also be considered to draw the final merit list. This is why it is paramount that students prepare well for this stage. In this article we have mentioned certain preparation tips regarding SSC CGL Tier III that can help applicants devise a strategy to ace this exam.

SSC CGL Tier III Exam Pattern

As per the updates, SSC CGL Tier III is scheduled for March 31, 2018. The examination will be conducted in offline mode, having descriptive questions. The objective of this test is to evaluate applicants’ writing skills and their ability to draft quick communication. Some quick facts about SSC CGL Tier 3 exam pattern are:

  • Tier 3 will consist of 3 type of questions- Essay writing, Letter/ Application writing and Précis writing.
  • The duration of the exam will be 1 hour and medium will be English or Hindi.
  • Maximum marks for Tier 3 are 100.
  • Essay carries maximum weightage of 50- 60 marks.

Letter/ Application writing and Précis writing will carry 20- 30 marks each. If only of these is asked, then the question will carry around 40 marks.

Important topics for SSC CGL Tier III

In order to crack this exam, applicants should practice writing essays, letters and précis. We have mentioned a few important topics that can be expected in the exam.

Essay Writing in SSC CGL Tier III

Essay writing carries maximum weightage in Tier III exam. Many students feel that writing a paragraph constitutes to writing an essay which is not true. An essay consists of many paragraphs interwoven together in a coherent manner. The word limit for the essay is 250-275 words which should not be exceeded.

Candidates must follow the rules of essay writing which can include developing vocabulary, preparing an argument or using quotations. The essay must have a proper structure. The examiners will evaluate the essay based on the following points:

  • Clarity of expression- Ability to define the given topic correctly.
  • Language- The essay should not have grammatical errors and punctuation should be used wherever necessary.
  • Continuity and Understanding- The paragraphs should be interlinked and the content written should be relevant to the topic.
  • Content- The objective of the topic, its components, its strength, and weaknesses, as well as threats, should be discussed in the main content. For instance, if the topic is about a certain government initiative like Make in India then students must write about the aim of this initiative, when it was launched, who launched it, how this initiative has changed urban and rural scenario and the advantages and disadvantages of the said initiative.
  • Suggestions- Ideas regarding better implementation or development of the topic.

The topics that can be expected for SSC CGL Tier 3 Essay Writing are:

  • The Seventh Pay Commission
  • Union Indian Budget
  • GST bill and its benefits
  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
  • UDAN Scheme
  • Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDSA) – Making Rural India Digitally Literate
  • Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PKVY) – Skills in Line with International Standards
  • Demonetization

Letter/ Application writing in SSC CGL Tier III

In SSC CGL Tier 3 exam, students can be asked to write a letter to an editor/ governing body or an application for a job opportunity or to accept/ reject such an opportunity. Letter/ Application writing is not very lengthy provided the candidate has an idea about what to write. They should keep certain points in mind while attempting this question:

  • Format: The most important point for such a question is the format. Aspirants should know the format of both letter and application writing. They should be able to analyze the kind of letter- formal or informal and follow that format accordingly.
  • Subject: The subject of the letter/ application should be mentioned clearly.
  • Structure: There should be an introductory paragraph followed by the main content and then a concluding paragraph.
  • Language: It should be written in formal language and students should not use acronyms or slang language.

The topics that can be expected for SSC CGL Tier 3 Letter/ Application Writing are:

Letter to Editor/ Authority in-charge-

  • Complain letter regarding increasing noise pollution in your locality.
  • Complain letter regarding trouble faced by common people due to bad roads/ no electricity/ demonetization.
  • Complain letter mentioning the state of traffic near your locality.
  • Letter to present views on Corruption in the country.
  • Letter to present views on effect of digitalization on the youth of today.

Application Letter-

  • Application for the post of a manager/ assistant/ clerk etc. in a company.
  • Letter to schedule/ reschedule an interview date.
  • Letter to accept/ reject a job opportunity.
  • Letter to postpone date of joining the company.

Précis Writing in SSC CGL Tier III

In précis writing, students will have to re-write a given passage. Aspirants will be required to summarize the passage and write it in their own words. They can follow the tips given below to attempt this question:

  • Highlight main points: Applicants should quickly read the passage and underline the main points. The content of the précis should have these highlighted points.
  • Language: Candidates should write the précis in their own words and they should not include their opinions in it. It should be written preferably in the reported speech.
  • Central theme: Understand the central theme of the passage and write the content accordingly.
  • Size: The size of the précis should be around 1/3rd of the entire given passage and should not exceed this limit.

Preparation/ Expert tips for SSC CGL Tier III

As the objective of the exam is to test the students’ writing skills and their ability to convey ideas. Writing is all about what aspirants reads and how they critically process it and represents it as their original content. We have given some preparation tips for SSC CGL Tier III exam for each section- Essay, Letter/ Application and Précis.

Essay Writing:

Generally, the topic that is asked is about the events happening in the country, measures taken by the government to tackle obstacles or some idea. To prepare well for the essay, an individual must follow these points:

  • Read: Aspirants must read newspapers, editorials and political magazines. This will give them an idea about the current affairs and how to write about such events. It will improve their vocabulary and help develop a coherent style of writing. Students should analyze the articles and form their own arguments about it. The Hindu and Indian Express are the best newspapers for English test-takers.
  • Structure: The essay should essentially have 3 components: Introduction, Body and Conclusion. The body can be further divided into 3-5 paragraphs. Introduction and Conclusion should be a paragraph each. Individuals should remember that the word limit of 250- 275 words should not be exceeded.
  • Tackling the essay: The first thing students should do after selecting the topic is writing down the key points pertaining to it. Alternatively, they can perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis on the topic. Now they should interlink these points to form meaningful paragraphs.
  • Language skills: Candidates should not make any grammatical or punctuation errors. The sentences should not lack clarity so that a person who does not know anything about the topic can understand all aspects of it through the essay.

Letter/ Application Writing: 

For these types of questions, candidates can go through the following points to help them prepare well:

  • Structure: The format of the letter or application should be accurate. Applicants should look at the formats used currently for writing such letters and follow it.
  • Reference: Individuals can mention the source from where they got to know about the job opportunity like newspaper ads. For letter to the editor, candidates can state reference to an article in the newspaper.
  • Language: Even if students do not have a strong vocabulary, they can use simple words to represent their ideas effectively.
  • Presentation: This is an important factor of the letter. The presentation should be neat and the handwriting should be legible. Avoid overwriting.
  • Practice: A letter should be finished in around 15 minutes (30 minutes if précis is not asked). So it is essential that students practice writing letters/ applications to finish writing it within time. They can even get their work evaluated by professionals so they know how they can improve their writing.

Précis Writing:

A précis is a short summary of the given passage. Individuals should retain important points or the essence of the passage and re-write it in their own words. They can follow the below guidelines to be able to write a better précis:

  • Size: The size as mentioned should be 1/3rd of the original passage. Aspirants can make a table so that they do not exceed the word limit. If there is a word limit of 100, then draw a 10x10 table so that each square would have 1 word.
  • Body: Candidates should identify the idea of the author and rewrite the passage without mentioning their opinions or review. It is advised not to change the order of the points included in the passage.
  • Language: In a précis, the passage should be written in the words of the individuals. Practice one-word substitutions so that several words can be encompassed in one.



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