SSC CGL 2020 ‘Tier 1’ Strategy | Aim 170+ Marks

SSC CGL Tier 1 Preparation Strategy
SSC CGL Tier 1 Preparation Strategy

Hello SSC CGL aspirants, today we will begin with SSC CGL Tier 1 Preparation strategy to score 170+ Marks in SSC CGL Tier 1 2019-20. This article which will cover A to Z things like SSC CGL Tier 1 Chapter-wise weightage, best books to study, important chapters to study of each section, Study plan for 6-7 month preparation, Effective Revision and time management which is must to score 170+ Marks in upcoming SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam.

General Awareness, General Intelligence and Reasoning, Quantitative Apptitude and English Comprehension are 4 sections of SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam. We will see strategy to tackle each section to score maximum marks as per our strengths and weakness. 

Selecting Best Sources to study and 70:30 Revsion Rule plays a very important Rule if you are aiming to score high marks in SSC CGL Exam

SSC CGL Tier 1 Preparation Strategy | Introduction

SSC CGL exam is conducted in 4 stages, that is, Tier 1, 2, 3 and 4. Many aspirants make the mistake of studying each Tier of SSC CGL exam in isolation. Which means that they initially focus only on clearing the Tier 1 of SSC CGL Exam and then in next 3 months, they focus on Tier 2 exam. This will surely be a nightmare for you if you are also planning to study each section in insolation.

We must study for SSC CGL Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 in co-ordination because:

  1. Syllabus of Tier 1 and Tier 2 are overlapping and it becomes more effective if we study both together.
  2. SSC CGL Final Merit list contains Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 Marks. So, its must to score high in each stage.
  3. Our aim is not just to clear the Cut off (30% Marks). So, our aim must be to score high in each stage which is possible only if you have a 6-7 months study plan for comprehensive preparation of Tier 1, 2 and 3 of SSC CGL Exam. 
  4. SSC CGL contains more than 34 posts. But only top 5-6 posts are highly worth it to prepare for. So, if you want to achieve those posts, you must aim to be in All India Rank.
  5. This exam contains reservation for different categories and lost of concessions in terms of age limit. Moreover, competition is extremely high. So, even 2 marks less can affect your future destiny !)

Why do more than 80% aspirants fail in SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam ?

Major reasons why most aspirants fail to clear stage 1 of SSC CGL exam (Tier 1) :

  1. They aim just to clear cut off of each Tier of SSC CGL exam. Due to which they can’t clear SSC CGL Merit List.
  2. They study Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 in isolation (separately)
  3. They give less time for revision (which is highly important in SSC CGL exam)
  4. They do not analyse SSC CGL previous year papers and keep on wasting time on topics with less weightage.
  5. They do not take SSC CGL Mock Test 2020 before actual exam.
  6. They are preparing for more exams at a time (No focus on particular exam)
  7. Smart Work Matters alot which comes only with Rigorous hard work (Practice)!!

How much time is required to complete Syllabus of SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam?

Time required to complete SSC CGL Syllabus 2020 with proper revision depends on how much time you can devote (on daily basis) for quality preparation.

I have divided this time in 3 common type of SSC CGL aspirants :

  1. If you are preparing Full time for SSC CGL and can devote 8 hours Daily for quality study :7 Months
  2. If you are preparing along with your job for SSC CGL and can devote 3 hours Daily for quality study:12 Months
  3. If you are preparing in last year of graduation and can devote 5 hours daily : 8-9 months

Role of Revision and Practice in SSC CGL exam

You might have listened or read about the importance of Revision in SSC CGL Exam. But how to Revise effectively? How much percentage of preparation time must be devoted for revision?

We will follow “70:30 Rule for Revision” that too on daily basis !

In simple terms, it means that, you must devote 30% of your daily preparation time in revising what you have studied before. And 70% time for new learning.

30% may seem a big percentage, but its very crucial. Because SSC CGL Tier 1 questions can be tackled with 100% accuracy and in limited time only with Revision and Rigorous practice.

For Example:

If you are studying 8 hours a day, then you must divide this time into 2.4 hours of Revision and Practice of subjects you have studied till now and remaining time for new learning.

Intially it will take time to revise, but with time, you will be able to revise 200 pages of book in 15-20 minutes (personal experience !)

Believe me guys, SSC CGL paper is so easy that 90% of aspirants can score 180+ Marks if there was no time constraint. But when time constraint is introduced, it becomes highly difficult. (It can be possible only with 70:30 Revision Rule !)

SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam Pattern and Syllabus

I have written a detailed article on SSC CGL Syllabus 2020 and chapter-wise breakdown of syllabus. Its necessary to know the SSC CGL Exam Pattern and exam trend so that we can do a targeted study.

(Because at the end we have to face Examination, so we must know the type of questions from each section)

Sr. No Sections (4) No. of Questions from each section Total Marks for each Section Time for SSC CGL Tier 1 Paper
1 General Intelligence and Reasoning 25 50 60 minutes to solve 100 Questions

(1 hour 20 minutes for PH and other disabilities)

2 General Awareness 25 50
3 Quantitative Aptitude 25 50
4 English Comprehension 25 50
Total 100 200

Other details related to SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam 2020:

  • SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam is “Computer Based Examination” which will be conducted in Online format at different exam centers all over India. (You have to choose prefered center at the time of filling the form)
  • One fourth Negative Marking (0.50 marks will be deduced for wrong attempt)
  • No sectional cut off for above 4 sections of Tier 1 paper
  • You need to score overall 30% marks in Tier 1 exam and clear Overall Tier 1 cut off marks (which is generally above 140) to qualify for Tier 2 of SSC CGL exam.

Realistic Target setting for SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam

We all want to score high in SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam, but what must be our exact aim in upcoming SSC CGL Exam?

In case of competitive exams like SSC CGL Exam, for which 27 Lakh plus applicationas are recieved every exam, we need to be highly specific with respect to our target score. Which includes:

  • Number of Questions to attempt
  • How many wrong attempts can we sustain
  • How much should we attempt and from which section of paper (based on our strength and weakness)
  • Ideal score for the “post we want through SSC CGL” anf then take efforts accordingly
Number of Questions to attempt out of 100 (Our Target) 91 questions (90-92)
Correct Attempt (Minimum) 86 Questions
Wrong Attempt (Maximum) 5 Questions
Time to solve 1 question : 36 Seconds Only
Our Target Score: 170 Marks

Calculating Marks as per out attempt:

(172-2.5=169.5 marks)

This article will be lengthy (Detailed Guide). So, keep patience till end if you want to prepare for SSC CGL exam at home !

English Comprehension Preparation for SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam

Number of Questions from This Section : 25

SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam (English Chapter-Wise Weightage)

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Fill in the Blanks (Fillers)
  • Spelling correction
  • Idiom and Phrase
  • Antonyms and Synonyms
  • Error Detection
  • Sentence Rearrangement
  • One Word Substitution

We will begin with English Preparation for SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam because we need to study English on daily basis till SSC CGL Exam. The efforts you will take on English will be helpful in SSC CGL Tier 1 as well as Tier 2 exam (And even in Tier 3 upto cetian extent)

So, make sure that your preparation is perfect for this section of English paper.

SSC CGL English Vocabulary:

We can include Synonyms, antonyms, One word substitution, Idiom and Phrases in English Vocabulary section. This section of English needs consistent efforts thoughout your preparation journey.

  1. Begin with learning 10 new Synonyms, antonyms, One word substitution, Idiom and Phrases on daily basis. And on next day, first revise the previous vocabulary and then continue with the new one’s (This exercise must be done in 30 minutes in the morning when you get up from sleep)
  2. Book to be used for English Vocabulary: Plinth to Paramount by Neetu Singh (Volume 1). This Book is more than enough for Vocabulary section.
  3. After few days of vocabulary study as per strategy, start praticing previous year English Vocabulary Questions from book I personally recommend.

SSC CGL English Chapterwise Objective Questions: Kiran Publication

This is enough for Vocabulary part of english section. Now let us see Grammar Section

SSC CGL English Grammar :

  1. SSC CGL Grammar preparation starts with covering basic chapters like Nounepronoun, etc and solving exercises based on it from best Grammar Book: English Grammar by Wren and Martin 

These basic chapters are must to build a strong foundation which will be helpful in Tier1, Tier 2 and Tier 3.

While studying English Grammar, make a ‘list of Grammar rules’ which you can revise on daily basis so that these rules can be implemented while solving the English grammar section.

2. After completing the basic grammar rules, shift to SSC Exam oriented question practice from the 2 best books:

  • SSC English Language Chapterwise Solved Papers: Kiran Publication

  • A Mirror of Common Errors

‘A Mirror of Common Errors’ book is especially for Hindi medium aspirants where explanation of each question is available in Hindi Language. So, it becomes easy to grasp difficult concepts in our mother tongue.

SSC CGL English Comprehension :

Easiest and scoring section of SSC English section is comprehension. You can score full marks if you just do following 3 things:

  1. Read “One The Hindu or Indian Express Editorial” on daily basis
  2. Practice solving 20-25 Comprehensions in a week from previous year questions (Kiran Publication book which you have used for Grammar practice)

The Hindu editorial Reading may seem cumbersome, but it develops our comprehension skills to next level !

While solving English Grammar questions, analyse the type of questions and make notes of grammar rules where you are making mistake. These notes will be highly helpful in revision few days before exam.

Also Check: SSC CGL Tier 2 Preparation Strategy (Score 360+ Marks)

Quantitative Aptitude Preparation for SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam

Number of Questions from This Section : 25

SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam (Quantitative Aptitude Chapter-Wise Weightage)

  • Number Series
  • SI & CI, Percentage and Profit-Loss
  • Algebra
  • Speed and Distance
  • Mensuration
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Average
  • Bar Graph and Pie Chart
  • Time and Work

Quantitative aptitude or Maths section of SSC CGL Tier 1 exam is very crucial as you need to be highly accurate and manage time properly in this section of SSC CGL paper. You will find Maths questions in SSC CGL Tier 1 and Tier 2 exam. So, we need to prepare thoroughly for Maths considering its higher weightage.

Types of Questions asked in SSC CGL Maths sections can be classified as:

  1. Arithmetic Topics
  2. Advanced Topics
  3. Data Interpretation

SSC CGL Tier 1 Maths (Arithmetic) Topics :

  1. Number System
  2. Alligation
  3. Average
  4. Ratio and Proportion
  5. Percentage
  6. Profit and Loss
  7. Time and Work
  8. Simple Interest, Compount Interest
  9. Speed, Time and Distance

SSC CGL Tier 1 Maths (Advanced) Topics :

  1. Algebra
  2. Geometry
  3. Trigonometry
  4. Mensuration

SSC CGL Tier 1 Maths (Data Interpretation) Topics :

  1. Pie Chart
  2. Bar Graph
  3. Line Graph
  4. Table questions
  • SSC CGL Book for Arithmetic : Fastract Arithmetic Book-Arihant Publication
  • SSC CGL Book for Advanced Maths : Advanced Maths Book by Rakesh Yadav sir 
  • SSC CGL Maths Practice Source : SSC Mathematics Chapterwise & Typewise Solved Papers – Kiran Publication

(You have to follow these 3 books if you want to score 45+ Marks in SSC CGL Maths section)

These Books are selected considering Tier 1 and Tier 2 Requirements of SSC CGL Exam !

Also Check : SSC CGL Exam Date 2020 (Tier 1, 2 and 3)

General Intelligence and Reasoning Preparation for SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam

Number of Questions from This Section : 25

SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam (General Intelligence and Reasoning Chapter-Wise Weightage)

  • Series
  • Classification
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Matrix
  • Water Image / Mirror Image
  • Odd one out
  • Analogy
  • Picture Diagram
  • Miscellaneous

5 Things you must know about General Intelligence and Reasoning section of SSC CGL Exam:

  1. There are no specific formula’s or rules in resoning section like Maths/English. You need to develop that intelligence with practice
  2. Reasoning questions may seem easy, but many aspirants end up making mistakes in actual exam. So, its necessary to build logic of solving questions at the time of practice.
  3. If you will solve multiple reasoning questions, a similar pattern of solving questions can be figured out. So, practice plays a important role.
  4. Reasoning questions are easy but time consuming. So, its challenging to solve one question in just 36 seconds. So, follow the below strategy to score 50/50 marks in Reasoning Section. 

We will follow 2 books to master Reasoning Section of SSC CGL paper:

  1. First book will be to cover theory part of Reasoning with ample practice.
  2. Second Book will be to solve thousand’s of SSC CGL Exam oriented problems. 

Book 1: A Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning by R.S. Aggarwal

Book 2: Kiran SSC Reasoning Chapterwise and Typewise Solved Papers

Please don’t directly skip to SSC Reasoning Questions practice if you want to score 50/50 marks. Scoring 30/50 marks is easy, but if you want to get that extra edge of 18-19 marks, follow the above strategy

General Awareness Preparation for SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam

Number of Questions from This Section : 25

SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam (General Awareness Chapter-Wise Weightage)

  • Geography
  • History
  • Current Affairs
  • General Science
  • Economics
  • Polity

Last but not the least section of SSC CGL Tier 1 preparation, that is, General Awareness, from which 25 questions will be asked in exam. Strategy for General Awareness is very simple:

  1. Complete the Lucent GK book which will cover majority of your General Awareness Syllabus. Here is the number of pages of each GK section given in Lucent Book:
Indian History 63 Pages
World History 15 Pages
Geography 41 Pages
Indian Polity 40 Pages
Indian Economy 41 Pages
Physics 25 Pages
Chemistry 22 Pages
Biology 26 Pages

2. We cannot neglect current affairs as 5 questions are asked from this section. For current affairs, you must follow Disha Quarterly Current Affairs compilation or 6 monthly current affairs book. Just make sure you cover last 1 year current affairs.

(This book is very small in size as it contains only highlights of each event happening in India and world. So, no need to worry about it.)

Reading Daily Newspaper for Current Affairs is not recommended as it will consume much time. Many questions can be tackled with above sources !

SSC CGL 2020 Tier 1 Test series 2020

SSC CGL Tier 1 Test series plays a very important role in last month of SSC CGL preparation. Your score will go on increasing after every test and at the end of 10-15 tests, you will be ready to take actual SSC CGL exam.

We will soon start SSC CGL Test series 2020 for Tier 1 and Tier 2. So, stay connected with us.

Also Check : SSC CGL Tier 4 (CPT, DEST, Physical Tests)

If you have not revised, you are same as a Fresher !

Revision, that too on daily basis is must if you want to recall what you have studied at the time of SSC CGL Exam.

You get just 36 seconds to solve 1 question in SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam. So, in oder to be highly effective in those 36 seconds, you need to do rigorous revision and pratice.

Should I study all subjects of SSC CGL 'Tier 1' Exam at a time?

Yes. You have to study all the 4 Sections on a daily basis.

I will recommend the following hours of study for each section of SSC CGL Preparation:

  1. Maths Preparation: 2.5 Hour Daily
  2. English Preparation: 2.5 Hour Daily
  3. Reasoning Preparation: 1 Hour Daily
  4. General Awareness: 1.5 hours Daily

(So total 7-8 hours of study including revision of previously studied syllabus)

Also Check: SSC CGL Tier 3 Preparation Strategy (Score 80+ Marks)


Now, you have SSC CGL preparation strategy for Tier 1 with you along with exact books to study. Now, its time to work hard on your dream of clearing SSC CGL exam with flying colours.

Scoring Very High in SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam is directly proportional to getting good rank in SSC CGL Merit List !

Sarkari Service team have taken review of toppers to select ‘SSC CGL Preparation best books’ from thousands of sources available out there. Moreover, SSC CGL Preparation tips by toppers are also provided free of cost to everyone. So, if you liked the SSC CGL strategy, do let us know.

Jai Hind !

Frequently Asked Questions

What is SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam?

Tier 1 is the first round of SSC CGL exam (Like Screening Test). You have to clear this Tier 1 Exam if you want to continue your journey in next stages of SSC CGL Exam.

Is there Normalisation in SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam?

Yes. Normalisation is seen in SSC CGL Exam when exam is conducted in different shifts.

What is Tier 1 and Tier 2 in SSC CGL Exam?

Tier 1 and Tier 2 represent the Stage 1 & Stage 2 of SSC CGL Exam. You need to clear tier 1 exam to qualify for Tier 2 & Tier 3 exams. Final merit list is total of all 3 stages.

Is SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam Qualifying in nature?

No. You need to clear the Cut off Marks of SSC CGL Tier 1 exam if you want to qualify for Next stage of exam.


  1. Dear Team,

    Kindly, update the details of SSC CGL 2021. Let me know ,Can i use kiran or other publication books (year 2017 or 2018 or 2019) for preparing CGL 2022.


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