All About paper II (English Comprehension) of SSC CGLE Tier II

The Tier II of the Staff Selection Commission Combined Graduate Level Examination (SSC CGLE) comprises a total of four papers. Of these, Papers I and II are compulsory for all the posts, while the remaining papers are for the post of Junior Statistical Officer and Assistant Audit Officer respectively. The latter two can be applied for by only those candidates who have applied for any one of these posts individually. For example, if a candidate had applied for either of these two posts, he/she needs to appear for papers I, II and III/IV.

The English Comprehension component, i.e., Paper II of the exam, carries 200 questions of 200 marks, with each incorrect answer carrying a negative mark of 0.25. The numerous test areas in this part include reading comprehension, sentence improvement, sentence completion, jumbled sentences, antonyms and synonyms, idioms and phrases, one-word substitutes, direct-indirect speech, and active-passive voice.

The following table provides the topic-wise split of questions, based on the CGLE test papers of the last few years. The English test paper is more or less predictable, with fixed question types and fixed number of questions

Though there is no such demarcation in the exam itself, this section can broadly be divided into the following four test areas:

Reading Comprehensation

The number of RC passages range between three and eight, with some passages followed by five questions each, while some have as many as ten questions each. Usually, the text presented is uncomplicated and manageable, and not tricky or high-flown, and can be interpreted with ease. These

SSCCGLE Tier II - English Language Topic wise split
Test Area No. of questions
Reading Comprehensation 30 - 50
Cloze test 5 - 25
Para Formations 0 - 20
Jumbled Sentence 0 - 20
Synonyms 3 - 6
Antonyms 0 - 3
Erroneous Spelling 3
Error Identification 20
Under-lined Part sentence 22
Direct/Indirect Speech 27
Active/Passive Voice 20
One-word Substitutes 12
Idioms and Phrases 10
Fill in the blanks 5

questions assess your ability to interpret the text and underlying idea(s), and are quite double.

You must first identify your weak areas and based on such assessment, you should build a preparation plan to channelize your preparation. Developing a habit of reading is central to achieving success in RC. In addition to reading a ‘normal’ book (i.e., a book’s physical copy), you can access several online resources, including free digital books. You should also read newspapers/magazines (any titles of your choice) as they feature informative articles across a diverse set of topics (like sport and politics).

T.I.M.E. has planned the comprehensive study material after after studying your requirements and the exam pattern. The study material is exhaustive and designed to help you succeed. The study material includes two books, one on vocabulary with 800 words, and the other a practice book with exercises across various test areas like grammar, reading comprehension, and verbal ability. Consistent practice will lend you an edge over the competition.

As you progress with reading and learn to interpret ideas better, your familiarity with complex grammatical constructions and difficult words will rise. The best way to put your new-found confidence and learning to test is to solve mock exam papers, which will help you get an excellent idea of how your test preparation is going.


Vocabulary is an important test area as it carries around 50 (sometimes 60) marks. There is a wide variety of questions, ranging from antonym-synonyms, meanings of idioms or phrasal verbs, one-word substitutes, and even spellings.

You must strive to build a strong vocabulary as it helps in understanding words in their entirety. Though the CGLE doesn’t require knowledge of difficult words, it is important for you to know the various meanings (like primary and secondary) of a word and its usage in different contexts.

You must not learn words by rote; in fact, there is an easier way to build an effective vocabulary – read extensively. Look up the dictionary to know the meaning (and other usage) of a new/familiar word. Once you understand the word (especially in a specific reading context), you would find it easier to recall its meaning, especially in an exam. In short, reading is the best way to build an impressive language ability, including a strong vocabulary. Therefore, read, read and read to learn and remember words and then read more!


Questions on grammar, which carry around 110 marks, test your knowledge of English grammar and its application. Questions focus on identifying errors in sentences, phrase replacement, direct and indirect/reported speech, active and passive voice, and grammar-based fill in the blank.

To use an often-used student’s phrase, these are ‘scoring

questions’. Most questions can be worked out accurately if your knowledge of basic grammatical concepts is strong. Spotting errors is easy, and here too, a good reading habit plays a significant role. The more you read, the greater will be your familiarity with the nuances of the language.

All major areas in English—RC, vocab, VA—are mutually interdependent, and reading equips you with skills necessary to overcome common language-related problems. You will find T.I.M.E.’s study material handy and highly relevant in preparing for the crucial English language test area in general and grammar in particular.

Verbal Ability

The focus areas in VA are cloze tests, sentence completion, jumbled sentences, and para formation. This area is quite challenging and it is necessary that you handle this area with great care to ensure high accuracy.

This area evaluates your understanding of the core ideas that run in individual questions, especially the para jumbled questions. A well-prepared student will not get scared by the erratic sequence of sentences, or get confused by their construction/presentation.

It is a universal truth that the pay-off for practice is generally significant, and hence you must not shy away from putting in a great deal of practice. A regular reader will be at peace; practice (across test areas) must always be complemented by several reading sessions. As you realise, time management is of great essence, both in your practice and exam. Try to time your practice, preferably with the help of a stopwatch. As you start, spend the first few minutes in identifying the doable and less time-consuming questions. This would help you commit fewer mistakes (thereby minimising the possibility of negatives marks) and thus increase your score.

Towards the end of your preparation schedule, you must take the numerous simulated tests on in the right testing environment to (a) raise your comfort level (including across test areas), (b) improve the degree of comfort in strong areas and lower the discomfort in weak areas, (c) fine-tune time management, and (d) ward off any unpleasant surprises in the real tests.