[Studyplan] SSC-CGL English Vocabulary, Grammar and Comprehension: preparation strategy, tips, booklist, analysis

SSC491 Comments

  1. Introduction
  2. Topic-wise breakup for SSC-English (tier I and II)
  3. Overall: SSC-English  (Tier 1 And 2)
  4. Vocabulary?
  5. English Grammar: Approach
    1. Task #1: Active Passive (voice) and Direct-Indirect (speech)
    2. Task #2: Sentence Correction+Improvement
  6. Comprehension + Sentence Arrangement
  7. Recommended Book for English Grammar


In the previous articles we saw how to approach

General Awareness for Tier IClick me
Maths / Quantitative Aptitude for Tier I and IIClick me
Reasoning/ General Intelligence for Tier IClick me

In this article, we’ll see how to approach English for SSC-CGL exam.

In the SSC exam, you have to face English at two stages

Tier I (prelims)50 questions
(other 150 question will come from GK, Maths and Reasoning)
2 hours
Tier II (mains)
Paper II
200 questions2 hours
  • Negative marking: Yes

Topic-wise breakup for SSC-English (tier I and II)


Tier ITier II
Fill In Blanks0155302010
Vocab Subtotal203530554541


Tier ITier II
Sentence Correction555202020
Sentence Improvement555202022
Grammar Subtotal201510858589

Sentence Arrangement + Comprehension

Tier ITier II
Sentence Arrangement500102020

SSC CGL English Analysis

Overall: SSC-English  (Tier 1 And 2)

Tier ITier II


  1. Synonyms
  2. Antonyms
  3. Fill in the blanks (single statement)
  4. Fill in the blank (huge paragraph)
  5. Spelling mistake
  6. Idioms and phrases
  7. One word substitution (similar to synonyms)


  1. Sentence improvement
  2. sentence correction
  3. Active passive
  4. Direct-indirect


  1. Comprehension
  2. Sentence Arrangement
TotalGrand Total505050200200200
  • The SSC exams, the English questions usually come in the multiple of “fives” e.g. 5 question on synonyms,  then 5 on antonyms and so on. (tier 1)
  • Similarly in tier-ii, 10 questions on fill in the blanks, 20 questions on active passive and so on.
  • Please do not live in overconfidence that “SSC is a “pappu” exam and I’m a master of English. so I don’t need to prepare anything for vocabulary or grammar.“
  • If you observe the previous SSC papers particularly the tier-II papers of English, the vocabulary portion is not “pappu” at times, they ask  meaning of words that are not used in the day to day English.
  • Similarly, a lot of things that we say and write in English in our day-to-day life, are not grammatically correct. So you may not be able to tick the right choice in sentence correct/ improvement question.

First of all, get a fullscape notebook / diary. Divide it into two parts

  1. Grammar
  2. Vocabulary. (last 50 pages)


Vocabulary is of critical importance in SSC exam because of following reasons

  1. There are direct questions on synonyms, antonyms, idioms and phrases.
  2. You can read the passage faster, if your vocabulary is good, else you’ll have to pause and think.
  3. In comprehension passages, some questions are in the format of “what is the meaning of XYZ word in the sentence”

Apart from SSC, if you’re planning to appear for CAPF , LIC or PSU exams – they usually have a descriptive paper (précis, letter writing, essay etc.)

  • If you’re planning for UPSC, or State PSC, both have compulsory English paper during Mains. Again (précis, letter writing, essay etc.)
  • So, you’ll have to write English essay someday and without good vocabulary you can’t write a decent essay.

How to improve vocabulary?

  • There is no dearth of ready-made books in the market for “vocabulary”.
  • Any Tom Dick or Harry can download a list of synonyms, antonyms, idioms and phrases from Google search and publish a book.
  • But such books are useless because unfamiliar words don’t stay long-term memory.

Vocab: Basics

  • Most of the “so-called” books on English vocabulary, written by Indian authors, and merely rephrasing the concept of Norman Lewis’s book “Word Power made easy”+ copy pasting some synonyms-antonym list from google search.
  • My advice: Use this book called Word Power made easy by Norman Lewis
  • This book does not merely contain meaning of words but also helps you “guestimate” answers and probable meanings of unfamiliar words.
  • Because Norman Lewis explains how English vocabulary has evolved from certain roots. He has also explained the spelling rules.
  • Once you’re selected in some exam, gift this book to your siblings, friends or cousin. Really helpful for everyone, irrespective whether he/she is appearing in some competitive exam / not.

How-to approach Norman Lewis?

From outside, the book looks very thick and heavy just like Manorama yearbook. But actually this book is written in a very lucid, easy, reader friendly language. You can read it like a storybook after-dinner.

Structure of the book

Basics of vocabulary

  • This is subdivided into About 40 sessions (mini-chapters).
  • Try to finish 3-4 sessions per day. Complete all the exercises given at the end of each session.


  • In the appendix, he has given meaning of all the words you learned in above sessions.
  • I suggest you go through this list at least three times.
  • Why? Because while going through old papers of SSC, I realized that sometimes they’ve directly lifted words from this book in synonyms question!

Vocabulary: Advanced

wordweb software

  • Download free software called “WordWeb”: http://wordweb.info/free/
  • It is also available for android phones, tablets etc. for free (links on the same site).
  • Keep a habit of reading in English on daily basis- be it English-newspaper, magazine or some web-article.
  • While reading such things, whenever you come across any difficult word- note down in your diary, along with the sentence in which it appeared. (please keep in mind that absolute words do not stay long-term memory. You have to connect them with a sentence or context.)
  • Then lookup for its meaning in the Wordweb software, and write down the meaning back in your diary/notebook.
  • Repeat this exercise, until you’re selected in some exam.

This pretty concludes the approach for Vocabulary.

Moving to the next topic:

English Grammar: Approach

In the SSC exam, you have to face English grammar in following areas

  1. Sentence correction
  2. Sentence improvement.
  3. Active passive
  4. direct indirect speech

Approaching Grammar

Task #1: Active Passive (voice) and Direct-Indirect (speech)

  • This is no-excuse topic. Because it relies on a set of simple rules, almost like math formulas.
  • And usually Tier I has 10 questions on Voice+speech
  • and tier-II has almost 40-45 questions on these two topics alone.
  • Understand the grammar rules and practice maximum questions.
  • In your “diary” note down any special/odd rules you come across- including example sentences.

Task #2: Sentence Correction+Improvement

To master sentence correction, you’ve to master two subtopics:

  1. Grammar rules
  2. Phrasal verbs

Grammar Rules

  • First of all you need to know the grammar rules. But you don’t need to know all grammar rules!
  • Because in competitive exam, sentence correction relies on certain specific mistakes only.

For example: The topic “verb” has lot of theory and classifications.

But for “sentence correction”, it boils down to very few rules for example

  1. Either, Neither, none, each and every is singular.
WrongEach of the soldiers are disciplined
RightEach of the soldiers is disciplined.

Your task = first go through your grammar book, and note down such rules with example statements, in your note book. Revise these rules often (along with example sentences).

Phrasal Verbs

  • Grammar rules are like maths. Universal valid.
  • But Phrasal verbs are different game altogether. You need to know memorize the correct usage- case to case basis. For example:
Correct phrasal verbWrong Usage
Dispose of= sell.He has decided to dispose off his property.
Dispose to= willing, interested.He is disposed in discussing that business proposition.
  • Both statements are wrong because phrasal verbs are incorrectly used.
  • Many a times, candidates know the grammar rules very well, but they fail to detect the error in sentence because they’ve not prepared the phrasal verbs.
  • Standard English has truckload of phrasal verbs. But you should at least know the top/common 200 of them. (can be goggled and also available in various grammar books).
  • You next task: revise the list often and write down the very confusing ones into your diary: with example sentence.

Once this is done, try to solve as many practice questions as you can.

Comprehension + Sentence Arrangement

  • Just one word: Practice.
  • The best source for practice= old papers of SSC, IBPS.

Recommended Book for English Grammar

Objective English
  • There is no dearth of books on in English-grammar in the market.
  • Some people might even advise you to use “Wren and Martin” etc. but such books are written from board exams/ academic point of view. And for the competitive exams, we don’t need to study everything of English grammar, we just need a set of rules and practice questions.
  • If you already have some IBPS Manual/ some English grammar book (R.S.Agarwal, A.P.Bhardwaj) etc. use it.
  • If you don’t have any book, I suggest you go for objective general English by SP Bakshi (Arihant Publication).
  • He has given direct “rules” and example-sentences from competitive exam point of view. =makes  it easy to handle sentence correction.
  • Plus, the book also contains good list of phrasal verbs, idioms and vocabulary.
  • While most English grammar books cost for around Rs.300, SP Bakshi is half that price. (Around 150) and yet coverage is same, including number of pages. And it has Universal application for all exams: IBPS, LIC, PSU, CDS etc.

Note: Arihant publication has released multiple books on English grammar and two of them have similar sounding names. So please donot mixup.

AuthorPages (approx.)Comment
General English for All Competitive Examinations by S.C.GuptaS.C.Gupta370Not recommended because it contains mostly practice tests and very few rules on grammar= not comprehensive enough.
Objective general English by SP Bakshi.S.P.Bakshi730This is the recommended book.

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Bipin Chandra: Post Independence
  5. Spectrum Geography (selective) (Hindi | English)
  6. Fast-track to Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
  7. MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning
  8. Disha’s Topicwise Paperset (Hindi | English)
  9. Oxford School Atlas with Census 2011
  10. Mains: Language papers
  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 Arihant

So far 491 Comments posted

  1. devender

    I have studied s p bakshi for English but my score in tier 2 is still 120-130. Please help me for further preparation.

  2. ssc cgl tier 1 and tier ii both

    sir i am preparing for ssc cgl please suggest me to which books are more necessary to me.

  3. Mona gupta

    Everything that you’ve shared was of great help… Thankyou… But the pattern of ssc cgl 2015 has been changed completely.. it’ll be a great help if you can suggest some key points for cracking the mains descriptive paper..

    1. amriresh

      Mona jee from where u find that ssc cgl 2015mains will be descreptive as no notificaton about change of mains pattern given on site if u r sure then i can help u lot for descreptive as i am preparing for civil services


      mem ssc cgl ki prepare ke liye kya krna chaiye

  4. visnu

    sir, i am preparing ssc Delhi police exam tire-I how to get more marks suggest me sir.

  5. abhishek

    very useful site,thanks for the guidance.

  6. sravanya

    Thanks a lot sir.

  7. amit gupta

    Very useful site ,thanks

  8. Radhe Shyam

    Dear Sir,
    I am preparing SSC CPO- exam how to get more marks in English .
    My English is very poor & I am facing many problem in English.
    I have many time failed due to English.
    Kindly suggest me for this.
    do the needful help on urgent basis.

    With Warm Regards,

  9. pinki kumari

    my question is general awarence kya h and comprehension general knowlwdge kise kahte h plz answer to hindi


      Dear Student
      General awareness ka matlab hai samanya jankari ya jagrukta jiske antargat samanya gyan aur current affairs aate hai ..general knowledge bhi yahi hai but comprehension ka matlab hota hai ki aapko ek arranged paragraph de diya jata hai aou uspe based questions diye jate hai jo straight nahi hote aapko paragraph padh k samajhna hota hai tab qns ka ans dena hota hai …..

      1. Rajeev Kaushik

        m upsc ki tyari krna chahta hu so eng vocub mere liye bhut jruri h. Isliye m vocub ki ek notebook lagana chahta hu jo b word aye usko sentence k sath likh lu.
        1.Kya ye mera idea thik h?
        2. kya aap muje koi list of words de skte ho jisko m phle se notebook m likh lu alphbatecal order m

  10. Ayush Lakhiwal

    Very Very Helpful….Thankyou Sir :)

  11. Biplab das

    Very useful site. It show me the path for ssc preparation. Thank you

  12. sonam sahu

    sir i am preparing for po so plz suggt me book for english and bank ga

  13. sonam sahi

    sir suggest me how can i make my english,and general studies good for cgl,and also give me idea for book which one is best

  14. manohar sai

    Some one mentioned that pattern has changed, let us know what are the changes…

  15. Akhand Kumar Pandey

    hello sir,
    Please suggest me how to do a better preperation for ssc cgl…

  16. Ankit sharma

    Sir salute…
    For your unique effort to guide youth of India

  17. Vikas kumar

    How to improve in fillerand arrangaments.

  18. Shubham

    superb guidance sir…

  19. Amar

    Mera english bahut week h mujhe CGL k liye koi book bataye sir .

  20. Vishnu

    Sir I am preparing for ssc cgl suggest me to which books are important for better preparation

  21. ankit vrrma

    How wiil prepair vocab

  22. deewan singh

    hello preeti,
    general aware means general knowledge and current affairs


    sir i want to know the best job offered by ssc..both field and desk job…and work load of assistants in ministries.


    sir jatt community of utterpradesh is in OBC or not..i searched many times but never find..

  25. swati

    Hello sir
    Plzzz suggest me how can I make my english and GA good for ssc exam and also give me some idea for book.which one is better for me nd sir my grammer is so poor so plzz suggest me how can I improve our english

  26. Mohit kumar shukla

    I have passed the 12 exam and now i am going to prepreation for ssc cgl so plz give me suggetion for starting and crack the exam of ssc.

  27. himani bawari

    sir my question is how to prepare synonyms and antonyms because it is very difficult to memorise all the words and meaning. so please suggest some tricks for memorising synonyms. Thank you

  28. neha verma

    sir plz let me know whether the syllabus of ssc cgl 2015 has really changed??

  29. Saibaba Turapati

    Sir , I applied for SSC- CGL tier1 , but I haven’t taken application print out . Is print out of Application is essential ?

  30. k.k.yadav

    tell me about preparation para jumpled and passage . mera mo. 9565999359,9621038232

  31. Prabhat

    Dear sir, please provide us updated analysis including data of SSC CGLE 2013 and 2014……… Please its a humble request……..

  32. sudhir prasad

    sir , ssc 10+2 exam ke preparation ke liye tips de dijie

  33. sachin aswal

    Sir. I am going for ssc cpo s.i please help me for which books help me better…for English and maths.
    Please sir

  34. sachin aswal

    Help me sir…for which books better help me.. for English and maths….for Delhi police s.i

  35. dhana

    sir I am preparing for
    ssc cgl how can I can I score good mark in this papers.

  36. Vinod kumar

    Dear Sir,
    I am 12th passed student My English is very poor & I am facing many problem in English. I have many time failed due to English. Kindly suggest me for this. do the needful help on urgent basis.

  37. sweta

    sir i am preparing for ssc exam please suggest me which site and books are usefull

  38. Hitesh bhawsar

    can I learn properly English by taking this book
    . r. s. agrawal made English easy

  39. gurpal

    follow ssc pinnacle and sscportal.in. u ll get all d papers plus must read gk material…

  40. shweta Gupta

    Sir Mai ssc 10*2 Ki preparation Ker rahi Hu iske liye koi book batay


    sir me SSC cgl ki preparation kaise karu aur mujhe English ke liye kuch important books aur site bataiye please

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