what is ssc exam

Government jobs in India offer immense benefits and are highly lucrative. They are stable, flexible, where housing facilities, additional allowances, pensions, timely income make them more enticing to larger scale of people, especially youth. Various government jobs are available in the country and SSC exams one of them which is reputed and offers immense opportunities.  

SSC or Staff Selection Commission is a recruiting organisation working under the government of India headquartered at New Delhi. The unit recruit staffs for various ministries, departments, subordinate offices and other Group B and C positions as chairman, secretary, controller of examinations etc. SSC was established in 1975 and the examination is conducted annually across the country. The minimum requisite qualification is a Bachelor’s degree. SSC is currently functioning as the subordinate office of DOPT.


SSC CGL is conducted in four tiers where the results are published on the completion of each tier. Previously interview tier was included in the selection procedures non gazetted posts which were dispensed following a government order. Later central government introduced a computer proficiency test or skill test for selected posts.

Tier 1: Preliminary exam

Preliminary exam is a written objective multiple choices with four sections. Maximum 50 marks can be scored in each section making the total maximum score to be 200 marks. The sections include General Intelligence and Reasoning, General Awareness, Quantitative Aptitude and English Comprehension. Marks scored in tier 1 decides the eligibility for appearing in the consecutive tiers1and 2.

Tier 2: Mains exam

Mains exam is a written objective multiple choice exam, conducted in four sections which covers the subjects including Quantitative Aptitude, English language and Comprehension, Statistics, General studies subcategorised into Economics and Governance, Finance and Accounting. Each section is worthy of 200 marks and paper 1and 2 is required for most of the positions offered, whereas paper 3 and 4 is essential for certain positions.

Tier 3:  Descriptive Paper

This paper is a pen and paper test conducted offline which includes essay, letter, précis and application writing. Candidates are free to choose between the language English and Hindi for examination.

Tier 4: Data Entry test or Computer Proficiency Test

A fourth tier was introduced in 2016, for selected positions. DEST (Data Entry Speed Test) and CPT (Computer Proficiency Test) are the two possible exams for the selected positions. DEST is conducted for tax assistants under central excise and income tax, where candidates are required to enter data at a rate of 2000 keys in fifteen minutes approximately. Whereas CPT encompass spreadsheets, word processing and slide preparation.

Types of SSC Exams and Eligibility

SSC eligibility for candidates for various posts include a bachelor degree from university recognized by the board and final year students in their under graduation. The age requirement varies with the posts and is normally between 20 and 30 years. The age group for the Inspector of Central Bureau of Narcotics have extended their range from 18 to 30 years in 2018. Women candidates and applicants belonging to scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, physically challenged and ex-servicemen are exempted from the application fee under reservation quota. The application fee for SSC examination is ₹100. 

The various exams conducted by SSC for staff recruitments in different departments, organisations are as follows:

(SSC CGL) SSC Combined Graduate Level Examination

  • Bachelor’s degree and students in the final year of graduation
  • Conducted in four tiers and interview in excluded
  • Age limit is from 20 to 30 years.

(SSC CHSL) SSC Combined Higher Secondary Level Exam

  • Indian citizenship
  • Minimum qualification of twelfth passed from a recognized Board.
  • Conducted in three tiers (computer-based exam, descriptive and skill test)
  • Age limit is from 18 to 27 years.

(SSC MTS) SSC Multi-Tasking Staff

  • Minimum qualification of matriculation passed from a recognised Board.
  • Conducted in two tiers (computer-based exam, descriptive)
  • Age limit is from 18 to 27 years

Stenographer C & D

  • Minimum qualification of twelfth certificate from a recognized Board
  • SSC Stenographer skill test which is a written exam.
  • Age limit from 18 to 30 years

Sub-Inspector in Delhi Police, CAPFs and Assistant Sub-Inspector in CISF

  • Minimum qualification of graduation from a recognized university
  • Tier 1 consists of Two Papers of Objective Multiple-Choice type
  • PST – Physical Standard Test and PET – Physical Endurance Test
  • Age limit from 20 to 25 years

Constables (GD) in CAPFs, NIA, SSF and Rifleman (GD) in Assam Rifles

  • Minimum qualification of matriculation passed from a recognised Board.
  • Computer based exam
  • PST – Physical Standard Test and PET – Physical Endurance Test
  • Age limit for 18 to 23 years

Selection Post

How to prepare for SSC CGL Examination?

A preparation strategy is a necessity for clearing the SSC CGL examination and well laid study plans would make it easy for every aspirant. All you need is a heart to prepare you for the same. The beginners applied for the SSC CGL examination should devote themselves into a preparation strategy for up to seven or eight months in order to clear the tiers mentioned above.  

Before moving on to the preparation and study strategies of SSC CGL exam, try to research on the eligibility criteria and the exam pattern. Most importantly be well versed with the study syllabus provided for the exam and explore on the best study materials suggested in each subject by scholars and professional guides. Special emphasis should be given to the topics holding higher weightage in the SSC CGL exam.

SSC CGL exam pattern and syllabus

Proper understanding of the exam syllabus for each stage enhances your chances for cracking the tiers for recruitment process. The syllabus for SSC CGL is designed on the basis of different parameters required for the job recruitment in each stage. The subjects included in the SSC CGL syllabus are General Intelligence and Reasoning, General Awareness, Quantitative Aptitude, English language, General studies and Statistics.

SSC CGL Exam Analysis

Exam analysis is a wise method of proceeding into the SSC CGL preparation where applicants can avail previous year question papers and assess their difficulty levels and important topics curated for the exam. This would help the candidate device a better study plan for cracking the SSC CGL tiers. Always try to start with the subjects you are least confident about.

SSC CGL Study material

Best SSC CGL study materials can sort out half of the barrier for cracking the exam. Select latest and updated syllabus for the examination and it is important in the preparation procedures. It is advised to read newspapers and regularly update your current affairs, general knowledge and helps in polishing your vocabulary and grammar skills. Referring to too many sources and confusing the syllabus would do no good to the SSC CGL preparation. Hence be selective in choosing study materials and inculcate the habit of reading newspapers. Some of materials that extend the best results in the SSC CGL examination are given below.

  • NCERT Textbooks Class 6-12: Maths, Science and Social Studies
  • NCERT Class 10-12 History/Geography/Economics
  • The Hindu Newspaper

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Newspapers for SSC CGL Preparation

The Hindu is one of the best national daily but if the newspaper is hard to follow it isn’t necessary to stick on to The Hindu. The general awareness questions and English writing sections asked in SSC CGL examination are not as difficult as of UPSC. Hence you can follow other newspaper which carries simple vocabulary and structure to read and digest. Culture the habit of reading the newspaper entirely and jotting the pointers of the day would help you recollect the major topics in the end. This would meet your purpose and equally helps in English comprehension and general awareness.  

Watch Malayalam review of The Hindu Newspaper daily in our YouTube Channel.

Solving previous year’s SSC CGL question papers

Previous year’s SSC CGL question papers will assist you to self-evaluate your precision and level of completing the exam. The more papers you solve, the more pace you would achieve in excelling the SSC CGL examination. Moreover, it helps you understand your weak and strong points so that you can design the study plans. Sample papers and previous year’s papers can be downloaded from various sites and culture a habit to solve them intermittently to improve the performance in the SSC CGL examination.  

Good preparation can easily fetch you marks in SSC CGL examination and always avoid random preparation on a specific subject from too many resources. Focus on the SSC CGL syllabus and prepare on both online and offline levels with a detailed understanding of the concept prescribed in the syllabus. Study materials for SSC CGL should be chosen with better research and analysis and all queries need to be resolved prior to a week of the examination. SSC CGL examination is a cake if you have a devised study strategy with quite determination and dedication.