[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 Awareness 50
Reasoning 50
Maths 50
English 50
Total 200
  • 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).

Total Duration Negative marking?
Paper I (Maths) 200 marks 2 hrs – 0.50
Paper II (English) 200 marks 2 hrs – 0.25
Total 400 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 I Explained here in this article.
Maths / Quantitative Aptitude for Tier I and II Click me
Reasoning / General Intelligence for Tier I Click me
English Grammar, Vocabulary, Comprehension for Tier I and II Click me
Job profiles of various posts offered under SSC-CGL Click 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

Topic 2010 2011 2012
Static Polity 7 5 8
Indian History+Culture 5 6 5
Geograhpy (Physical+Indian)+Biodiversity 6 11 6
Economy 11 7 4
Subtotal (Static) 29 29 23
Science Biology 6 4 8
Chemistry 4 4 3
Physics+Space 7 6 4
Computer 1 2 2
Subtotal (Science) 18 16 17
Crap Misc.GK, Sports, PIN, Books, Current Affairs 3 3 6
Yearbook (institutes, schemes, dates etc.) 0 2 4
Subtotal (Crap) 3 5 10
Grand Total 50 50 50
  • 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

Ancient Harappa, Vedic Age, Maurya, Sangam etc.
Medieval Delhi Sultanate, Mughals etc.
Modern 1857 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.


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

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

Description Download 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 @home click ME

SSC CGL Tier 1 Cutoffs (2011, 2012)

Out of 200 marks.

Year 2011 2012
General 86.75 82
SC 63.5 64
ST 63.25 62
OBC 70.25 70
EXS 60 25
OH 50 60
HH 50 25
VH 50 25

(excluding Statistical Investigator/Compiler.)

SSC CGL Tier-2 Cutoffs (2011, 2012)

category 2011 2012
Interview posts Non-Interview posts Interview posts Non-Interview posts
General 354.75 315.25 349 313.5
SC 281.25 247.25 284 251
ST 295.75 251.75 282 242
OBC 323.75 283.75 319 281.5
EXS 293 180 308 211
OH 246.5 208 274 227
HH 200 150 191 123
VH 246.5 150 261 225

(excluding Statistical Investigator/Compiler.)

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1,418 Comments on “[Studyplan] SSC CGL General Awareness Tier-1: Booklist, approach, free study material for Combined Graduate Level exam”

  1. sir ,
    sectional cut-off is applied for this exam or not?
    we have to give first priority to English & maths, next is there any flexibility to prepare some what less for either of remaining subjects(GS,reasoning).
    Why because i didn’t have much time to prepare all N CERT books.
    I don’t want any loophole just suggestion.
    Plz reply me sir.

  2. sir
    plz tell me minimum cutoff for each section.
    thank u.

  3. No sectional cutoff,attempt that part first in which u r most comfortable coz each questn carries 1 mark,u myt b gud in maths bt it is very tym consuming whn compared wid g.k,eng,reasoning,betr attempt it in d end coz every questn hv equal mark weightage

    1. Pleaz read notification 1s again..in 15th page it has been clearly written that SSC has liberty to fix min. qualifying marks for each component..if u know correctly OK ,if not why to confuse or misled others

      1. SSC has liberty to decide only in TIER 2.. not in TIER 1.. sectional cutoff is possible only in TIER 2… not in 1

        1. Hey dude..please see 15th page ..its clearly written Tier-1…

          1. Dude, they have the liberty to, does not mean that they will.. this is just there to make sure they are not contradicted later.. they have had this liberty since ever.. its just that too many people are asking this questions hence forcing them to mention it in the notice. It’s their discretion. RELAX. NO SECTIONAL CUTOFF

    2. SSC Chairman to decide. The current one doesn’t believe in sectional cut off, for CGL2013 new Chairman will decide. So concentrate on all sections.

    3. fuck you read the instruction properly from onward section cutoff is started.

  4. thnxz sir i want such a type of information.

  5. Anybody plz tell,cgl mein vaccany kese allot hoti hai,har state mein particular vacaany dekhte hai ya ,ek state mein sari vaccany dekhtay hai ssc waley
    plz help.

  6. I want to convert my photo to 8-bit jpeg. want to apply.. pls help me with this…

    1. open with PAINT software then resize to 8 bit or whatever u want

  7. Sir, i am getting confused in physical standards set by ssc for post of Inspectors(Examiner,Central excise etc) of Male candidates:- Chest 81 cms.(fully expanded with a min expanses of 5 cms.) does this mean 81 cms with expansion or without expansion? please reply as soon as possible.

  8. please help to select subject in prelims as i am BE(E&C) gradute…for upsc

    1. Since 2011, UPSC has removed optional subjects from preliminary exam. (CSAT=GS+aptitude)

  9. is there any chance to postpone cgl exam due to re exam of fci

  10. Hi Mrunal,
    Thanks for the precious info, I need to know that what all tests are conducted during medical test for Assistant after the nomination done in SSC CGL.

  11. sir,i have ncert gk kiran publication,..is it AS GOOD AS LUCENT…plz rply to mail cntact…need to know

  12. hey,now ssc has provided post and work place details…but there is no information regarding joining date of that post…plz anybody tell after how much time (approx.) cgda uttrakhand will send joining letter to the qualified students…

  13. sir you are doing a great job and seriously i was looking all over for certain instructions and set pattern for ssc and this site literally solved major issues and problems i was facing.
    thanks a lot :)

  14. Thank You for your valuable information. You’re doing a great job… keep going.. And i bought Lucent’s GK book as per your advice and it is very useful to me.


  16. Dear sir..
    I have general study book for pre of upsc civil services publication is
    spectrum india, is this only sufficient for gk, ga section of ssc cgle or uptu what extent?? Pl guide .. thanks in advance.

    1. use can use its science, history, polity, geography portion (without going into trivial details).
      And NCERTs should be first weapon of choice. General studies manuals come later.

      1. Sir Mrunal. Tata Macgrawill General studies manuals is sufficient for SSC CGL related to pertaining History, Culture, Geography, Economic Scene, General Policy & Scientific Research. This selective book of GS Manual covers the whole syallbus of GA is very useful. Thank you in advance.

  17. Hey i recently bought kiran’s practice workbook of 60 sets…
    i was wondering if it is sufficient or not??

    1. There is nothing to worry, you have bought all in one.

  18. thanks a lot for your effort sir…

  19. Hello Sir,
    Information u providing is really good.I am preparing for SBI PO.MK Pandy is very helpful.I am lil confused abt banking awareness bcoz i am frm science background.I am using “Banking Awareness ” book from arihant pub.Is it helpful.Also suggest some material for English.

  20. THANK YOU SO MUCH ! you doing a great job. Well done and please keep it up !

  21. kudos to you for preparing such a stupendous site,catering to all needs,meticulously planned ,well structured and superbly designed and last but not the least is your pin point approach to queries from various fields.
    keep up the good work

  22. Hiii sir. can you please give us the study plan for sbi po-maths͵english and gk and as well az for descriptive paper. i liked ur reasoning study plan. its awesome. And syllogism understandinv is too gud. plz help me.

  23. Lolz , actually I am one of those who spent most of the time on preparing CRAP part,
    thanks man you saved me
    you are the man
    from now on I will make strategy for my preparation with expert’s opinion only rather than trying for the same exam over the years.

    again thanks a ton

  24. Thank for such information provided how to plan to write combined graduate level As guided which books to follows and cut-off marks are provide…who serious prepare ssc its really help.Thank you

  25. i have got central excise inspector in cgl 2012 but my target is examiner.
    Now tell me any possibilities of any general knowledge materials in mp3 format(in english only required)
    as hindi mp3 of lucent general knowledge is available on internet. if u initiate efforts in this regard it will be a great help for us,
    i need the chapters of algebra and trignometry of tata mcraw hill MATHEMATICS FOR NDA. will it be useful for cgl 13. can i have it in pdf format.

    Thanks in Advance.

    1. Shiva can you provide link of website where LUCENT GK HINDI is available ? Your answer is definitely going to help aspirant from HINDI Medium !!

  26. Tier II cut off is separate from tier I. i mean last year cut off was 349 for tier II, is this out of 400 or it include tire I marks also.

  27. nice information provided but i cant belive tat cutoff table in previous years…

  28. sir plz tell me the criteria regarding cut off .is final cut off including all mark of tier 1 and tier 2?

  29. sir please tell me can i crak the pri exam upsc?
    my present condition is ..i hv coplete almost basic ncert bks of geography,economy,history and polity of lakshmikant..but my current affair is to weak…

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