How to prepare for English of SSC CGLE Tier II exam

Staff Selection Commission - Combined Graduate Level Examination (SSC CGL Exam), often referred to as SSC CGL is an examination conducted to recruit staff to various posts in ministries, departments and organizations of the Government of India.

Examination Pattern 2018: The Staff Selection Commission (SSC) conducts the Combined Graduate Level (CGL) every year in 4 different levels for various posts.

Exam Pattern - The Examination is conducted in four tiers as indicated below:

Level of Examination


Mode of Examination

Tier – I

Objective Multiple Choice

Computer Based (online)

Tier – II

Objective Multiple Choice

Computer Based (online)

Tier – III

Descriptive Paper in English/Hindi

Pen and Paper mode

Tier – IV

Skill Test/Computer Proficiency Test

Wherever Applicable

Selection process: Candidates are selected on the basis of their performance in Tier-1 and Tier-2 examination. This is followed by Tier-3 examination which is in the descriptive format. Candidates who will clear Tier 3 will have to appear for Tier-4 which is a computer-based proficiency test.

Important Dates: As per the latest notification of SSC CGL 2018, the schedule of exam will be as follows: 




Starting Date of Online Application

May 5, 2018


Last Date of Online Application

June 4, 2018 (up to 5:00 pm)


Tier I Exam Date

July 25 to August 20, 2018


Tier II Exam Date

November 27 to November 30,2018


Tier III Exam Date

To be notified later


Tier IV Exam Date

To be notified later


Tier II Examination Pattern:

SSC CGL Tier II exam is an objective exam and this exam is conducted online. There are four sections in this tier with 100 questions in each section and with maximum marks of 200. Please not that you will incur a negative marking of 0.25 marks for each wrong answer. There is no section wise cut off. No point will be deducted if the question is left blank or unanswered by the student. The subject-wise details are given below:



No. of Questions

Max Marks

Time Allotted


Quantitative Abilities



2 Hours


English Language & Comprehension



2 Hours





2 Hours


General Studies(Finance & Economics)



2 Hours

Tier-II English Comprehension Section Chapter-wise Analysis: 

For the exam, candidates must make a list of important topics which are frequently asked in SSC CGL Tier-II Exam. Also analyze the previous year’s papers to compare the break-up of questions. This will help you to identify the high scoring areas in this section. Let’s take a look at the analysis of SSC CGL Tier-II Exam for English Language and Comprehension Topics Section:




Tier- II (No. of Questions)

Sub Total


Synonyms & Antonyms


31 Questions

Idioms and Phrases


One-word substitution


Spelling Errors



Spotting Error


114 Questions

Sentence Correction


Para Jumbles


Fill in the Blanks







Cloze Test


55 Questions

Reading Comprehension






Tier II English Preparation:

You should prepare a strategy which will help in strengthening their weak areas. To begin with, you must start practicing with easy topics for building confidence and scoring well in this section. As you move on with your practice, start working on difficult topics. 

Tier II English Syllabus:

Many face difficulty in attempting English section and this section becomes a nightmare for getting a good score in the exam. English is not something that you can master in one day. So well planned preparation with consistency and practice will help you to overcome this hurdle and be successful in scoring good marks. English syllabus includes the following:


Synonyms And Antonyms


Words with similar meaning are called synonyms and words with opposite meaning are called antonyms. This is an area where you can score good marks, so a little focus is required in this area.

Steps to approach

Step 1: Guess the general meaning of the word. Alternatively, try and break the word into its roots. Try and guess the word by analyzing what the root word means. 

Step 2: Take note of positively and negatively charged answer choices. It is possible to connect a negative or positive charge with almost any given word. Try to figure out whether each word in the following list has a positive (+), negative (-), or neutral (=) tone / meaning. Choose the best synonym.

Step 3: Eliminate answer choices that are close synonyms. Identifying synonyms within the options given can be valuable as it allows you to narrow your potential answer choices. If two of the options given are similar in meaning, then it’s likely that the correct answer is too ambiguous. Therefore, it is possible to eliminate these choices.

Step 4: Try to associate the word with a context that is familiar.

Step 5: Keep an eye out for easily confusing words. Some words some the same but may be spelled differently.


Phrases & Idioms


The best way to learn and remember the phrases and idioms is to use them in your daily parlance while speaking to others and also while writing. 


One word substitution


One word substitution means a word that replaces a group of words or phrases without creating or changing the exact meaning of sentence. It helps in improving your vocabulary and understanding of English language.

Steps to approach

Step 1: Reading newspapers and magazines will improve your vocabulary up to a great extent.

Step 2: Play English word games like cross-word puzzles or other games that can enhance your vocabulary lists.

Step 3: Watch English channels and documentary movies to learn new words.


Spelling Errors


Spelling skills can be improved mainly by making a list of difficult words that you come across in your daily reading and listening and by looking them up in a dictionary.

Spotting Error



Use the grammar rules in this section like subject-verb agreement, Verb time Sequences, etc. to spot the errors.


Sentence Correction


You should find correct alternatives which improve the sentence. 

Steps to approach

Step 1: Spot the grammatical errors while reading the original sentence.

Step 2: Check all the options given.

Step 3: As you locate each error, eliminate all the options that contain the error.

Step 4: Eliminate the options that offer less effective or grammatically incorrect sentences.


Para Jumbles


Para jumbles are basically jumbled paragraphs. You are provided with a paragraph with sentences which are not in the right order. You have to rearrange the sentences for a meaningful paragraph. 

Steps to approach

Step 1: Look for the sentence that clearly introduces a person, place, committee, or concept in the para jumble. That will most likely be the opening sentence.

Step 2: Understand the flow of the story/dialog of each sentence which will piece together the paragraph in the correct order.

Step 3: Para Jumble will have sentences talking about activities. In such cases by analyzing the sequence of activities, the question can be solved very easily.

Step 4: Pay attention to pronouns, articles and conjunctions. They will help you in analyzing and help in forming meaningful paragraph.

Step 5: Take out the time to read the ordered Para again and see if it makes sense. This will help you in improving your accuracy.

Note: Best approach in mastering para jumbles is to focus on your reading skills.


Fill in the Blanks


In this exam, you are expected to fill the blanks with a single word. The candidates must select the right option (word/set of words) to fill in the blank and make the sentence whole.

Steps to approach 

Step 1: Read the given sentence.

Step 2: Try to fill in the missing word without looking at the options.

Step 3: Place the options one by one in the blank of the sentence. The option that makes the maximum sense or provides maximum meaning to the sentence should be the right answer.

Step 4: Re-read the sentence

Step 5: Eliminate the ones that don’t make the sentence complete or don’t make it meaningful.

Note: Don’t spend too much time one a particular question. If you are not able to spot the right answer despite repeated trials, mark the question for review and move forward. Come back to the question when you have the time. 


Direct/ Indirect Speech


English language has two ways to narrate the sentences spoken by anyone. They are direct and indirect speech. In direct speech, the actual or exact words used by the speaker or writer is reported. In indirect speech, you report someone else's statement in your own words without any change in the meaning of the statement.

Steps to approach

Step 1: Understand if the sentence is in direct speech or indirect speech

Step 2: Learn the rules for converting direct speech to indirect speech and indirect speech to direct speech. Eg: Tenses, pronouns, auxiliary verbs, historical truths, facts, universal truths etc.

Step 4: In Indirect speech, conjunctions like ‘that’, ‘if’, ‘whether’, ‘to’ are used to join the two sentences. 

Note: In your daily reading, try to understand the speech of each sentence and change them to the other one. Practice well for best results 


Active/Passive Voice


The verb form which indicates whether the subject (person or object) of a sentence does something is called the voice.  A sentence that begins with the subject or the object determines whether it can be categorized as active or passive voice.

Steps to approach

Step 1: Understand active voice and passive voice

Step 2: Distinguish every sentence you read as active or passive voice.

Step 3: Learn the rules for converting active voice to passive voice and vice versa.

Note: Practice converting one form of voice to other for better results.


Cloze Test


A Cloze Test or Cloze Reading Test is an exercise in which the candidates are provided with a passage which has certain words missing from it. It is important to understand the flow and context of passage to be able to fill the blanks with the right words.

Steps to approach

Step 1: Read the passage thoroughly.

Step 2: Link the sentences together.

Step 3: Place every option in the blank and see which option is making a logical sentence. The options that are of no use should be eliminated.

Step 4: Take help of prepositions. There are times when observing the meaning that the preposition may impart alone can fetch you a good score in cloze test.

Step 5: Look at context before and after a blank. By doing this, quite often you will get a confirmation or clue regarding the most appropriate word to fill.

Step 6: Read the passage again after filling all the blanks.

Reading Comprehension



Reading Comprehension is one of the most critical topics of English Language and Comprehension Section. Therefore, you should devote ample time in the preparation of this section. For doing this, a proper strategy has to be framed and followed to optimally utilize the limited time available for the preparation.

Steps to approach

Step 1: Identify the tone of the paragraph as it helps in answering questions easily.

Step 2: Read questions first so that you will know the information that is sought.

Step 3: Read first and last paragraphs thoroughly.

Note: Read more and more passages, this will improve your speed in understanding and reading. 

Books for Preparation

The important SSC English Books are given below:

  • Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
  • Objective General English by SP Bhakshi (Arihant)
  • Corrective English by AK Singh
  • Quick learning Objective General English by RS Aggarwal & Vikas Aggarwal
  • Perfect Competitive English by V.K. Sinha
  • Competitive General English by Kiran Prakashan

 Strategy and Tips for preparation

  • Analyze previous year’s question papers to understand the type of questions asked in SSC CGL exam.
  • Solve 5 previous years question papers
  • Understand your weak areas and spend extra time to practice these topics 
  • Learn the basic concepts about a topic and then start solving topic wise questions
  • Attempt as many mock tests as possible during your SSC CGL English Preparation 
  • Do not get discouraged if you get a low mock test scores. These are for deigned practice purposed only. They let you understand where you stand so that you can plan your preparations accordingly.  The more you practice, the better are your chances of success in the SSC CGL exam.


We hope the above information is helpful in your SSC CGL English preparation. As practice is the key to success, boost your preparation by starting your practice now. All the best.