How to Prepare for SSC CGL at Home ?

ssc cgl preparation at home

The decision of SSC CGL preparation at home is a significant one for a lot aspirants. To pursue self study or coaching for one of India’s most vacancy generating exam requires some careful considerations. 

With the number of applicants increasing each year, the competition is getting stiffer and stiffer. Hence the decision of SSC CGL preparation at home is surely a crucial one.

The Staff Selection Commission conducts the Common Graduate Level examination annually. An average of fifteen to twenty lakh aspirants appear for it. Finally, the best ones make it. 

SSC CGL is a highly competitive and in demand exam. This is because thousands of vacancies on a PAN India basis are filled through it. 

If you’re one of those aspirants who feels like pursuing your SSC CGL preparation at home, make sure you understand the exam along with its complexity.

In the current article, I will write exclusively for aspirants who have made up their minds to pursue SSC CGL preparation at home.

SSC CGL Preparation at Home

Before you proceed with your SSC CGL preparation at home, it is extremely important that you understand the nature, pattern and complexity level of the exam.

Also, the different sections need to be taken into consideration.

This year the SSC CGL exam will be conducted from 25th July to 20th Aug 2018. High time, you start preparing.

SSC CGL Exam Pattern 2018

The SSC CGL exam is conducted in the form of 4 stages – Tier I, II, III and IV. The pattern of each of the 4 stages is as follows –

SSC CGL Pattern of Examination – Tier I

Nature: Objective

Total Time: 1 Hour

Negative Marking – 0.50

Section Questions Marks
General Intelligence
& Reasoning
25 50
General Awareness 25 50
Quantitative Aptitude 25 50
English Comprehension 25 50
Total 100 200

SSC CGL Pattern of Examination – Tier II

Nature: Objective

Time per section: 2 Hours

Negative Marking – 0.25

Section Questions Marks
Quantitative Ability 100 200
English Language and Comprehension 200 200
Statistics 100 200
General Studies (Finance and Economics) 100 200

SSC CGL Pattern of Examination – Tier III

Nature: Subjective

Total Time – 1 Hour

Section Questions Marks
English/Hindi (Writing of Essay, Precis, Letter, Application etc.) Tentative 100

SSC CGL Pattern of Examination – Tier IV

 Tier IV of SSC CGL is a Computer Skill Test. It is conducted in two steps –

DEST Candidates are required to type 2000 words in 15 minutes on a computer in English. This test is conducted to check a candidate’s writing skills.
CPT This test is conducted to check a candidate’s proficiency in Word Processing, Spreadsheets and Generation of Slides.

Level of Difficulty

The average level of difficulty of the SSC CGL examination (especially after the implementation of the new pattern) ranges from easy to moderate. This needs to be kept in mind by each aspirant who wants to pursue SSC CGL preparation at home.

Section Wise Study Planner for SSC CGL Preparation at Home

In order to crack an exam its significant to follow a planner or a time table. Create it as per your schedule and follow it religiously.

Weekly Time Table

Every aspirant has a different methodology to study. Also, the productivity hours during the day are varied. However, whatever your methodology, you have got to stay disciplined. Creating a time table and sticking to it, no matter what will prove extremely beneficial.

I’ve created one for you. If it suits your schedule, go ahead with it. If not , make sure to create your own.

Day of the Week Subjects to be Covered
Monday Quantitative Aptitude, General Awareness, Daily revision
Tuesday General Intelligence & Reasoning, English Comprehension, Daily revision
Wednesday Statistics, English Language, Daily revision
Thursday General Intelligence & Reasoning, General Awareness, Daily revision
Friday Quantitative Aptitude, English Comprehension, Daily revision
Saturday Quantitative Aptitude, General Intelligence & Reasoning
Sunday Weekly revision

In the time table above, more days have been given to Quantitative Aptitude and General Intelligence and Reasoning. This has been done on purpose because both of them are extremely scoring sections. So an aspirant should most certainly be able to attempt the maximum correct questions here.

It needs to be mentioned here that even Statistics and English Language have been given a slot in the above time table. This has been done to encourage you to prepare for Tier II along with Tier I.

Lastly, coming to General Awareness and English Comprehension, prepare for them diligently. Balance general awareness with a reasonable weightage of financial and banking awareness. 

For English Comprehension, practice as many passages as you can. The only way to crack this section is by exposing yourself to a variety of passages from varied sources.

Must Read Books for SSC CGL Preparation at Home

SSC CGL preparation at home is about studying from good resources , practicing questions and finally self evaluating yourself. Without a proper evaluation process for your self in place, you will lose out in the exam.

Some of the must recommended books for SSC CGL preparation at home are –

Subject Recommended Book
Quantitative Aptitude  Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations by R.S. Aggarwal
Quantitative Aptitude  Rapid Quantitative Aptitude – With Shortcuts & Tricks for Competitive Exams by Disha Experts
General Intelligence & Reasoning SSC Reasoning Guide by Disha Experts
General Awareness General Knowledge by Lucent Publications
English Comprehension Paramount Test Series of English Language Comprehension

Recommended Books for Practice 

Solved Practice Sets  Practice Sets & Previous Year Solved Papers
Covers all subjects for Tier I Kiran’s SSC CGL Tier – I Exam Self Study Guide-Cum-Practice Work Book
English Language & Comprehension  Objective General English by Arihant Publishers

Subject Wise SSC CGL Preparation at Home

While indulging in SSC CGL preparation at home, take each section seriously and develop a strategy for practicing and attempting questions.

English Comprehension

This is the trickiest section of the exam even though it appears easy.  You should familiarize yourself with all the English grammar basics. The comprehension in this section can be mastered only if one has a phenomenal reading speed. So while you pursue your SSC CGL preparation at home, read, read and read.

You need to read and grasp the content at the same time. Don’t read the passage more than twice. Else, you will waste a lot of time that can be invested in more scoring sections. 

The most trickiest component of the exam should be tackled carefully. Expose your self to as many comprehension passages as possible.

Quantitative Aptitude

Quantitative Aptitude Tests evaluate numerical ability and problem solving skills of aspirants. This is one of the most scoring areas of the exam but one’s basics need to be clear. Many a times aspirants start practicing from fancy books without knowing the fundamentals. This can be disastrous if you’re doing SSC CGL preparation at home.

There is no shame in practicing basics even if that means going through your Class 9- 10 mathematics books. Clear the basics and then master this section practicing as many questions as you can. Memorize all the formulas that will be used in solving problems.

Learn short cuts in order to save time in this section.

General Intelligence and Reasoning

Reasoning tests candidates to interpret and manipulate shapes, numbers and patterns. The ultimate goal of this section is to get a well rounded view of candidates’ mental capacity. This section can be attempted well only by practice.

Have access to a variety of questions from various books and keep practicing while doing SSC CGL preparation at home. Do not get intimidated by this section. It can be fun if one has been practicing well. Familiarity with the content, structure and timing of the test will benefit you.

Don’t rush through this section. Think analytically and then solve questions.

General Awareness

Make daily reading of newspapers a habit. Read at least two of the national dailies every day with a special focus to current affairs and the section on Indian economy.

The ongoing trends in the economy of the nation with a special reference to banking and other financial institutions of India need to be known. Go through magazines like Business Week and Political & Economic Weekly. Surf the internet for daily news on the economy.

In addition to preparing from GK books, please stay aware by reading a good newspaper daily.

Pros and Cons of Self Study

While pursuing SSC CGL preparation at home, you will realize that it comes with its own sets of pros and cons. Its essential that you understand them.

Pros – Self Study

No Dependency There will never be a dependency for a fixed kind of study material, notes or schedule. The fact that you have to study yourself will work out well.
Flexible schedule One can choose topics and prepare as per convenience.
Better Research The fact that an aspirant knows that he/she is own his/her own with regards to the resources of study, better research for content, subject matter and content will be done.
Notes The best thing about self study is that it instigates one to make damn good notes since there is nothing else to rely on.
No Distractions Since an individual will be preparing in isolation, there will be no external distractions. A lot of candidates waste precious time discussing topics.
Saves Time Self study saves way more time than coaching since an aspirant doesn’t have to venture out every day and spend a fixed amount of time in the classroom.

Cons – Self Study

No Guidance One should be very sure about the overall preparation strategy since there will not be any external guidance.
Doubt Solving. Each doubt will have to be solved by you alone. This can be irksome at times.

Pros and Cons of Coaching

Coaching – Pros

Study Material Good resources required to prepare are provided by coaching centres. So no individual running around is needed.
Handy Tips The professors at Coaching Centres will be more than sufficient to provide handy tips – subject wise – for the exam.

Coaching – Cons

Dependency One flaw of coaching is that it makes most aspirants dependent on their style of teaching, resources and even questions. This can prove disastrous in context of an unpredictable paper.
Expensive Coaching classes are expensive because at the end of the day, it is somebody’s business venture. Spending so much money on something that doesn’t even guarantee success doesn’t seem right.
Time Wastage Candidates waste a lot of precious time attending coaching. Many times, their own schedules get disrupted due to coaching.
No Guarantee for Success No matter what coaching class you join, there will never be a 100% guarantee for success. What will come to your rescue will be your own efforts and hard work, nothing else.

Four Attributes Required for SSC CGL Preparation at Home

The SSC CGL preparation at home needs the following attributes in an aspirant in order to qualify the exam –

1.Proper Scheme, Practice and Revision

Any individual preparing for this examination should be fully acquainted with the syllabus. One should know the areas of strength and weakness so that the former can be enhanced and the latter can be improvised.

Master the topics one by one and then move on to the next. The more you practice, the more time you will be able to save in the examination.

2.Attempt Previous Year’s Papers & Mock Tests

I see a lot of aspirants wasting precious time in enrolling themselves with coaching institutions. I mean its ok but what is most important is the ‘test’ part. No preparation can be deemed complete unless one is tested.

Mock tests are extremely important. They not only prepare you to get a good grasp of time but also make you aware of your preparation. Besides attempting mock tests, solving previous ten years question papers is important.

You should be acquainted with the type of questions asked. Solving previous year’s papers helps you do it.

3.Time Management

Time management is an integral part of this exam. In Tier I, attempt Quantitative Aptitude first because it is the most scoring section. Attempt English last.

Make sure that you do not divide time equally for all sections.

4.Self Analysis and Evaluation

If you are keen on pursuing SSC CGL preparation at home, it is paramount that you constantly evaluate yourself and learn from past mistakes.

Preparation is key to success but so is self evaluation. Unless you put yourself to test once you’re half way through your preparation, your preparation level cannot be deemed complete.

Frequently Asked Questions about SSC CGL Preparation at Home

Do aspirants undergoing coaching have an advantage over aspirants pursuing SSC CGL preparation at home ? Not at all.
How many hours should be devoted in preparation daily ? Prioritize quality over quantity. Don’t go by numbers of hours alone. Set daily targets.
Should revision be a part of daily schedule ? Yes.
Is it important to attempt mock tests while pursuing SSC CGL preparation at home ? Absolutely yes
What are the most recommended mock tests for SSC CGL preparation at home ? Mock tests by SSC Adda and Testbook

Invest a good amount of time for your SSC CGL preparation at home. Do not waste a minute. Most of all, do not go by hearsay. Focus all your energy on dedicated preparation.

All the very best for your exam. Give your best. Try not wasting your attempt.



Akriti Mattu


  1. Hi Ma’am,

    Thank you so much for starting SSC section on your blog. I keep reading your articles on Civil Services and they have helped me so much.

    There’s just one request. If possible can you please increase the frequency of publishing the articles. I know you are very busy person but its humble request. Many people wanting to give exams will benefit.

    Thank you once again. This time even I am preparing for SSC CGL at home.

    • Thank you for your kind words Anirudh.

      I have been receiving requests from aspirants across exams to increase the frequency of articles on my blog. I will be more than happy to write articles that benefit aspirants immensely. So I will try my best to increase the frequency of the articles.

      • Thank you so much for replying and for understanding the needs of students like me.

    • Actually for General Studies Lucent is good. It covers well for CGL exam.

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