[Studyplan] SSC CGL General Awareness Tier-1: Booklist, approach, free study material for Combined Graduate Level exam

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This article only deals with General Awareness part. The approach to Maths, English and reasoning, covered in separate articles.
  1. Introduction
  2. SSC CGL General Awareness (Tier I)
  3. Topicwise Analysis: 2010, 11, 12
  4. Indian Polity
  5. Indian History + Culture
  6. Geography+Biodiversity+Environment
  7. Economy
  8. Science
  9. CRAP (Misc.GK, Sports, PIN etc.)
  10. Final Touch to preparation
  11. Summary: Plan for SSC-CGL (GK)
  12. Free Download material for SSC General Awareness
  13. SSC CGL Tier 1 Cutoffs (2011, 2012)
  14. SSC CGL Tier-2 Cutoffs (2011, 2012)


Notification for SSC-Combined Graduate Level exam was released on 19th Jan 2013.  Click ME to read it
SSC-CGL exam is made up of three stages: Tier 1, 2 and 3.

Tier I (prelims)

General Awareness50
  • Time-2 hours. No. of question =200
  • Negative marking: 0.25 marks

Tier II (mains)

Those who qualify in the Tier-I, have to appear for Tier-II. But unlike the UPSC mains, the SSC tier-II doesn’t have descriptive paper. You just have to face Multichoie Questions (MCQ).

TotalDurationNegative marking?
Paper I (Maths)200 marks2 hrs– 0.50
Paper II (English)200 marks2 hrs– 0.25
Total400 marks
  • These two papers are compulsory for all candidates.
  • But If you’re applying for Statistical Investigator Grade-II, then you’ve to appear for one more paper, that is Paper III for Statistics, worth 200 marks.

Tier III (interview/CPT)

Those who qualify in Tier II (Mains), are called up for third stage (Tier III)

  • For some posts you’ve to appear for Interview worth 100 marks.
  • For some posts, you’ve to give computer proficiency test or Skill Test.
  • For example, Candidate for Tax Assistant job, will have to give test for data entry speed.

What’s the reform/change?

candidates qualifying in Tier-II of the Examination, will be subjected to a short descriptive paper of not more than one hour’s duration, with questions drawn from

  1. English Language and Comprehension
  2. Quantitative Abilities
  3. General Awareness
  • Please note: The main objective of above “Descriptive-Paper” reform is to prevent cheaters and dummy candidates.
  • So there is no need “fear” the descriptive paper.  If you’ve the guts and brains to clear Tier II (Mains), then you can handle this descriptive paper without much trouble.
  • And SSC chairman says if possible, they’ll conduct this descriptive paper via computer.

Anyways, let’s start. The studyplan is divided into four articles.

General Awareness Tier IExplained here in this article.
Maths / Quantitative Aptitude for Tier I and IIClick me
Reasoning / General Intelligence for Tier IClick me
English Grammar, Vocabulary, Comprehension for Tier I and IIClick me
Job profiles of various posts offered under SSC-CGLClick me

Tier I (Prelims)

  • Here you’ve to face Multichoice questions on General Awareness, English, Maths and Reasoning. (50 questions each).
  • This article only deals with how approach General Awareness.
  • How to approach Maths, Reasoning and English= will be explained later, in separate articles.

General Awareness (Tier I)

First of all, throw away Manorama Yearbook from your study-desk. That book doesn’t have much use for competitive exams.

Topicwise Analysis: 2010, 11, 12

SSC CGL General awareness analysis

SSC CGL General Awareness Analysis Bar chart

Indian History+Culture565
Geograhpy (Physical+Indian)+Biodiversity6116
Subtotal (Static)292923
Subtotal (Science)181617
CrapMisc.GK, Sports, PIN, Books, Current Affairs336
Yearbook (institutes, schemes, dates etc.)024
Subtotal (Crap)3510
Grand Total505050
  • I’ve  divided the General awareness portion of SSC-CGL exam, into

“S+S+C”= Static + Science + Crap.
(^in decreasing order of priority and importance.)

  • In the SSC exams, new players tend to pay too much attention to the ‘crap’ part. They keep buying books and magazines all the time as if there is nothing else to prepare except current-affairs.
  • But you must keep in mind that the Cost-benefit ratio is not really great for crap questions = “no. of data entries to be mugged up vs probability of getting a question vs probability of recalling the correct answer in actual exam.”
  • I’m not saying ignore current affairs, all I’m saying is, “don’t invest too much time and energy in them”.
  • On the other hand, If you look at “bigger picture”, almost 80% of General awareness questions come from Static + Science portion alone.  Hence they should form the priority.
  • The “Action-Plan” of SSC General awareness, rests on three pillars
Static + Science.
  1. Lucent General Knowledge
Filling up any missing details in Static + Science Part
  1. Competitionmaster.com OR Pratiyogita Darpan
For crap current affairs.

Indian Polity

  • If you’re simultaneously preparing for UPSC or State PSC exams, then just go with Indian Polity by M.Laxmikanth.
  • Same book available in Hindi, under the name “Bharat Ki Rajya Vyavastha
  • So, if you’ve Laxmikanth, don’t bother much with NCERT/NIOS/Lucent etc.
  • But If you don’t have Laxmikanth there is no need to specifically buy/borrow Laxmikanth for SSC Exam alone, because the questions are very rudimentary in nature and can be solved via NIOS zip files (given @Bottom), in combination with Lucent.
  • Also prepare current affairs associated with polity. But “major” current affairs only.
  • For example Shree-Krishna Committee =Telengana. Who is the chairman of new Finance Commission, who is the new CJI etc.etc.etc.

Indian History + Culture

  • In SSC exam, History means Indian History only.
  • So donot waste time preparing World History.
  • Sometimes one question may comes, but that is not worth the Cost-benefit.

Approach Indian History?

Indian History is subdivided into three parts

AncientHarappa, Vedic Age, Maurya, Sangam etc.
MedievalDelhi Sultanate, Mughals etc.
Modern1857 Sepoy Mutiny + Freedom struggle.
  • Start with TN State education board books class 11 and 12 (they’re better than NCERT for the history portion, free download at bottom).
  • Then use Lucent to fill up the missing details.
  • SSC questions on History, are mostly from the important personalities and events. So, Please donot waste too much time in mugging up trivial names, dates etc.

Approach Culture?

  • Culture= art, painting, dances, temples, mosques, Architecture etc.
  • Most of the “Culture” happened during Ancient + medieval. So, you’ll simultaneously prepare it while going through NCERT Textbooks.
  • Also use the NIOS ZIP file. Given @Bottom of this article.
  • Lastly Lucent to fill up the missing details.
  • +Winner of Gyanpith award, Sangeet Natak etc. (ONLY IF you’ve time, else don’t bother much.)
  • That pretty much sums up History + culture. Although revision =essential.


  • For SSC exam, we’ve to prepare only Physical Geography + Indian Geography.
  • World Geography doesn’t come into picture. (sometimes a question or two, but that’s again not worth our trouble, remember the “Cost-benefit”.)
  • Lately SSC too has started asking questions on Biodiversity and environment. Although they overlap with biology/science portion.


  1. NCERT textbooks: Social Science Class 7 to 10
  2. NCERT Geography Class 11, 12.
  3. Environment and biodiversity ZIP file of NIOS.

(^free download links given @bottom of this article)

Finally Lucent to fill up any missing details, such as names of multipurpose river valley projects. But here again, don’t waste time with numbers.

  • Hirakud=Mahanadi River in Odisha=important.
  • Hirakud=4800m long = useless.


  • Generally very straightforward questions based on definition and concepts of Economy.
  • NCERT Economy book Class 11. (India’s economy and Development.)
  • NIOS Zip file given @bottom.
  • Only major “current affairs”. Usually SSC’s Economy questions are based on budget. (if at all they ask from current affairs.)

This concludes reading sources for “Static.” Moving to the next important portion for SSC-General Awareness.


  1. Gravity
  2. Motion
  3. Work
  4. Pressure
  5. Units of measurement
  6. Sound
  7. Heat
  8. Eletronics
  9. Magnetism
  1. uses, common names and composition of various chemicals.
  2. Alloys
  3. Definition based questions. (heat, oxidation, reduction etc)
  1. Parts of plant and their functions
  2. Parts of body, their functions
  3. Basics of animal kingdom.
  4. Disease
  • By and large the science questions come from ^above topics. (it doesn’t mean other topics are not important though!)
  • Best way to prepare science=NCERTs.
  • Science tech related current affairs are usually not asked in SSC exam.
  • At most sometimes current-affairs question on NASA satellite launch etc. So just keep an eye on major events, without doing any Ph.D.
  • Candidates from science background shouldnot ride with overconfidence. Because whatever you have learned in college = not asked here. And whatever you had prepared in highschool= long evaporated from your memory.
  • Hence start with the basic NCERT Science textbooks of Class 7 to 10, irrespective of graduation.


  1. NCERT Science Text books from Class 7 to 10
  2. NIOS material almost overlaps with whatever science is discussed in NCERTs. So not much point in doing “double-majoori”, unless you’ve time and mood.
  3. Finally Lucent to fill up any missing details Big inventions/inventors, applications of various chemicals, computer related terms etc. (again don’t go in trivial details, for example Lucent has even given long chemical reaction formulas= useless.)

This concludes science. Now the final part

CRAP (Misc.GK, Sports, PIN etc.)


Based on SSC-CGL Tier I conducted in July 2012.

  1. They had asked question on Shree Krishna Committee report. (which was released somewhere in Jan 2011)
  2. Author of book Kurukshetra to Kargil. (again launched in Jan 2011)
  3. Santosh Football trophy (somewhere in May 2011)

So, Duration of Current affairs for SSC-CGL, is last one calendar year. (i.e. if you’re preparing for 2013, then prepare major events starting from Jan 2012.)

  • PIN=persons in news, like xyz person won ICC cricketer of the year award, new CJI, new army chief, sports winners etc. There is no dearth of magazines and books circulating this garbage.
  • But always remember, your mind has a limited memory capacity. So prepare the big personas, major events, avoid the small timers.
  • Same for books and authors.
  • Same for places in news.
  • Same for [Yearbook]: Government schemes, location of various Government institutes etc. (you’ll find them in Lucent.)
  • Most importantly: these things don’t stay in long term memory. Hence frequent revision essential.


Competitionmaster.com (they release monthly updates) OR Pratiyogita Darpan (PD).


  • Once you’ve sufficiently prepared Maths+English+Reasoning+General Awareness, solve the as many old question papers of SSC exam as you can. (Blank answersheets given @bottom)

Why should you practice old papers?

  1. SSC recycles questions. You solve 10 papers, then 11th paper has hardly anything new, surprizing or challanging for you.
  2. Trains Your Brain For Negative Marking
  3. Improves Your Speed.
  • Google search will lead you to many download links for SSC papersets.
  • Problem?
  • 1) scanned PDF files are in very poor quality. + the half mile long watermark only blocks the view= very tiresome for the eyes to read.
  • 2) most of the time, they don’t contain solutions. Hence makes the whole exercise frustrating. Because you can’t evaluate your performance without going wasting another hour and so in searching the answers manually (for GK etc.)
  • So if you can afford, just go for the Paperset of Kiran Prakashan.
  • Good thing: they give detailed solution of each and every question.
  • Same way, if you can afford, buy the NCERT textbooks from market (even second hand-used books will work).

Summary: Plan for SSC-CGL (GK)

  • Priority order for General Awareness preparation= static >> science >> crap
  • Essential booklist/reading list for SSC-CGL (GA)
  1. NCERT, NIOS (free download links @bottom)
  2. Lucent’s General Knowledge book
  3. competitionmaster.com OR Pratiyogita Darpan (from Jan 2012)

Revise minimum three times, practice a few old papers. General awareness shouldn’t give much trouble.

This concludes how to approach General Awareness for SSC-CGL Exam. In the upcoming articles, we’ll see how to approach

  1. English vocabulary, Grammar and Comprehension (Tier I and II)
  2. Maths  (Tier I and II) (update: article published-CLICK ME)
  3. Reasoning (Tier-I)

Free Download material for SSC General Awareness

NCERTs (English) Free download

TN State edu Books (for History) https://files.secureserver.net/0fnzZYT7SDNuC9

NIOS (for Culture) https://files.secureserver.net/0fdAWETp4sONW5

NCERT files: topicwise: http://mrunal.org/download

NCERT file: classwise (they’ve same pdfs as above)

Science Class 7Download
Our Pasts Part 2 – Class 7Download
Social and Political Life Part 2 – Class 7Download
Our Environment Class 7Download
Science Class 8Download
Our Pasts Part 3 – Class 8Download
Resource and Development Class 8Download
Social and Political Life – Class 8Download
Science Class 9Download
Contemporary India Social Science for Class 9Download
Economics for Class 9Download
India and Contemporary World 1 for Class 9Download
Science Class XDownload
India and the Contemporary World 2 Class X Social ScienceDownload
Democratic Politics Part 2 for Class X Social ScienceDownload
Contemporary India Part 2 for Class X Social ScienceDownload
Understanding Economic Development Class X Social ScienceDownload
Fundamentals of Physical Geography Class 11Download
India Physical Environment Geography Class 11Download
Indian Economic Development Economics Class 11Download
Themes in World History Class 11Download
India People and Economy Class 12Download
Introductory Microeconomics Class 12Download
Macroeconomics Class 12Download
Fundamentals of Human Geography Class 12Download
Themes in India History 1 Class 12Download
Themes in India History 2 Class 12Download
Themes in India History 3 Class 12Download

If it doesn’t work visit (or you want Hindi version): http://www.ncert.nic.in/ncerts/textbook/textbook.htm

DescriptionDownload Link

NIOS study Material

Economy, Environment n Biodiversity, Polity etc.Many zip files on various subjects. Download as per your requirements.click ME

Blank Answersheets

For practicing mock questions @homeclick ME

SSC CGL Tier 1 Cutoffs (2011, 2012)

Out of 200 marks.


(excluding Statistical Investigator/Compiler.)

SSC CGL Tier-2 Cutoffs (2011, 2012)

Interview postsNon-Interview postsInterview postsNon-Interview posts

(excluding Statistical Investigator/Compiler.)

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha

1,412 Comments on “[Studyplan] SSC CGL General Awareness Tier-1: Booklist, approach, free study material for Combined Graduate Level exam”

  1. Thanks Mrunal
    It is such a nice portal.

  2. CGL tier II cut off is 350 outoff 400?? dont u think it too high
    mrunal sir plz reply

    1. @amit, it is not out of 400, but it is the cutoff after adding marks of both tier 1 and tier 2..

      1. IF NOT FOR 400 then for hw much

        1. @[email protected] tier 2 cuttoff is actually the sum of tier 1 and tier 2 . Means out of 600 .

          e.g. If u have got 150/200 in Tier 1 . And 150/400( english +aptitude) in tier 2 .. then ur actual cutoff in tier 2 will be 300.

    2. 350 out of 600 (tier 1 + tier 2)

  3. hi sir plz provide the study plan and strategy for SBI PO S EXAM.

  4. Mrunal Sir, Can you please provide me caste certificate format for central govt. employee?
    I am OBC candidate.

  5. Hi Mrunal!
    I asked you that I am not able to upload the pic and signature as I have conformed to all the requirements given except I am not sure about the first point, i.e. JPG 8-bit image. I have tried to look into the properties of the image, it showed Bit-depth as 24. How to change it if that signifies the actual bits of an image?

    Please provide some solution if you have come across similar queries regarding form filling.

  6. the height for the post of insepectors, in ssc cgl notice is 157.5 for male candidates .is it correct?or misprinted ?? i m 165 cms in height.plz reply

  7. Sir, thanks for this great article.

    I, actually, want to ask you whether there are any sectional cut-offs in Tier-1 or only the overall cut-off is considered…

    thanks again..

    1. @anuj No anuj there is no sectional cut off in Tier 1 and 2 as well.

      1. @dilip: okk.. thanks for the info dear..

  8. is there sectional cut off in tire 1 ssc. if yes how many to attempt rightly in maths section out of 50 questions.

  9. Hi there,
    Can anyone please provide notes for series completion(quantitative) or some tricks to solve those numeric series. I am having so much trouble doing it n I am unable to understand the number pattern also.

    Please help asap.


    1. hi…
      please refer R.S.AGGRAWAL verbal non-verbal reasoning

      1. pls tell me why is exam on 2 dates i.e 14th n 21st april

  10. hello mrunal,
    can u plz tell me that which newspaper should i refer for cgl & banks xams………..!!!!& plz let me know from where i can get a best coaching for this provided they have weekend classes batch & located in south delhi near ber sarai or saket…also tell me the book names for all sub…..
    n one more thing wanna ask u…in coming cgl xam or banks p.o+clerks from which months should i begin to read p.d & newspaper too…..


      1. ya tell me what can i do for u???? n thankz too…..

  11. sir,i am in the final year of b.tech ,am i eligible for ssc cgl exam 2013 and also tell me about sbi po?????

    1. For SSC-CGL, ur not eligible.
      Don’t know abt PO

      1. i could complete my graduation within june can i apply

        1. ya..as i know u u can apply…..bt make sure u should check it on google also….u must be get answer there………..

  12. the cutt of marks with interiew marks or without interiew marks

  13. Is this assistant IB same as ACIO grade-I gp4600??
    Please tell if it’s delhi based or AISL like ACIO exe

  14. Mrunal Sir, Can you please provide me caste certificate format for central govt. employee?
    I am OBC candidate.

  15. mrunal sir, please tell me how to prepare SSC CGL TIER 1 to get good score.

  16. thanks a lot of this site which helps me for understand CGL …


  18. hi sir, Iam confused of choosing best book for preparing ssc cgl general knowledge section.which book is best?
    1.lucent’s gk book
    2. arihant’s gk book
    3. arihant’s objective type gk book
    4. manorama year book 2013 and so on……

    1. Manorama yearbook is useless for any competitive exam.
      Go with Lucent’s.

      1. please help me to choose book for Gk in Hindi

        as i have GS(spectrum), but time do not permit me to do that,

        1. same Lucent is available in Hindi under title “Samanya Gyan”.

  19. sir please suggest to which book for practice should be best for ssc cgl- T1 …………

  20. wow great site i love it thanks its help me a lot of

  21. it is wonderful work done by u.. one click complete info… gud work
    Thank you…

  22. please tell the highest marks gained by individual in tier 1 and tier 2(I &II)in the year 2011 and 2012.

  23. Sir if the cut off in CGL tier 1 is 70 to 75 then can i quit aptitude in some way if i am confirm with rest of 150 questions.

  24. sir i have arihant gk by tarun gook goyal, is this a good book for ssc cgl exam,or i have to go with lucent gk

  25. Dear Sir,
    i have done my BSc with Zoology Botany and Chemistry.what should i opt for in the subjects of the educational qualifictions as ZBC is not in the list of options.its either zoology or botany or chemistry.
    should i go for ‘OTHERS’
    please reply

  26. Dear Sir,
    i have done my BSc with Zoology Botany and Chemistry.what should i opt for in the subjects of the educational qualifictions as ZBC is not in the list of options.its either zoology or botany or chemistry.
    should i go for ‘OTHERS’
    please reply
    bye tc

    1. i think you should opt either zoology or botany,,,,,

    2. mrunal sir no words 2 thank u,,,,cant even dream of appearing without ua help….thanxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  27. It’s the third time I am posting my query! Can someone help? It is running out of time. Please:

    “Hi Mrunal!
    I asked you that I am not able to upload the pic and signature as I have conformed to all the requirements given except I am not sure about the first point, i.e. JPG 8-bit image. I have tried to look into the properties of the image, it showed Bit-depth as 24. How to change it if that signifies the actual bits of an image?

    Please provide some solution if you have come across similar queries regarding form filling.”

    1. u have to check the size of pic and sign..
      in all exams there is difference in size of pic and sign..
      in SBI PO its a 20-50 kb pic and 10-20 kb sign
      which form u have to fill???
      if ur image size is not according to dat then form cant be filled.
      then u have to change the size of image

      1. sorry.. how change it??
        go to the image ang open with micro soft office picture manager then upper side go to edit picture then right side click on RESIZE…

    2. Navneet….8 bit mean black & White Pic, in a way.
      I recommend you to use ‘IrfanView’ tool for doing both resize and converting it into 8 bit.

      If you face any problem, mail ur Pic and sign…I will do it for U and mail u back.
      email id – [email protected]

  28. it does not matter what ever the size is 8 bit or 24 bit…
    but it can not less than 8 bit because picture become very dull when we take picture less than 8 bit…

  29. sir plz forward me the preference list for ssc combined graduate level 2013 exam thanks in advance…………………………

  30. i am trying to download NIOS study material but google drive is giving error.so plg suggest me how to download it?

  31. respected sir, is there any changes going to have in ssc cgl 2014………..

  32. Thanku for giving precious information.. and download links

  33. Thank you for giving information about the syllabus….

  34. Sir,I wished to appear for ssc-cgl exam-2013 but I am currently in B.Tech 8th semester and the degree gets completed only in June-July 2013. So I am not eligible -Right??? Please confirm.

    1. Yes..U r not Eligible.

    2. As per notification “Candidate must have acquired the minimum educational qualification on or before the 1st January,2013, failing which the candidature of such candidate s will be cancelled by the Commission.”
      meaning you’re not eligible.

  35. hi sir, for sbi po data analysis and interpretation section which book i prefer……

  36. Sir, if someone selected for the interview’s post in SSC CGL exam and go for the interview but could not do pass the interview so after that can he selected for the non interview post if he gave the preference for it.

    1. mrunal sir,
      i have same question.
      please reply.

    2. Sir, am also having same question, Please Reply sir…

  37. Sir, i have missed letter in filling the form i.e in fathers name & phn no. So it will create any problem??? or i have to fill new form again? edit i possible? plz help me….

  38. pls tell the books for ssc combined

  39. i did BE IN MECH pls guide me exact books for upsc prelim and mains

  40. Will two months be enough for prep??? If exam is likely to be in April second week.

  41. this is my 2nd attempt..last time i secure 54 in tier 1………………..how should i prepare this time to get shortlisted foe asst.-css


  43. Mrunal Sir,
    I am amazed at the simplicity and insightfulness of your analysis of this SSC CGL exam. At the same time I would request you to please provide such an insicive analysis for SBI PO Exam-13 as well if your time permits.
    Thank You.

  44. sir is there any sectionwise cut off in ssc cgle 2013??please reply me.

  45. Please suggest books for ACIO tech exams and if time permits cover the syllabus as well.

  46. sir
    please tell me about ssc posts’ according to cut off

  47. mrunal sir no words 2 thank u,,,,cant even dream of appearing without ua help….thanxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  48. please tell me anybody is it neccesaary to attept minimum questions in each section of ssc cgl exam or if i leave one or 2 section fully and attempt rest of sections fully is it right?

  49. can anyone plz tell me why exam is on 2 days i.e 14th n 21st april

  50. wow..wat a gr8 effort to help students..god bless u mrunal..

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