1. Reasoning, General Intelligence (Tier 1)
  2. Breakup : Last three years’ papers
  3. Priority order
  4. Task #1:Series
  5. Task #2: Arrangement-Direction tests
  6. Task #3: Non-verbal
  7. Task #4: Coding-Decoding
  8. Task #5 remaining stuff
  9. Book for Reasoning?

In the previous articles we saw how to approach

General Awareness for Tier I Click me
Maths / Quantitative Aptitude for Tier I and II Click me
Reasoning / General Intelligence for Tier I Click me

In this last article on SSC-CGL series, we’ll see how to approach Reasoning (for Tier 1) and English (for Tier 1 and 2).

Reasoning, General Intelligence (Tier 1)

Just like how we did the Maths- first we’ll divide [Reasoning] into subtopics


Subtopics 2010 11 12


  1. Analogy (both word based and numerical)
  2. Odd pair (both word based and numerical)
  3. English Dictionary based word arrangements, missing letters
  4. Box containing some number, you’ve to find missing number.
  5. Ranking, missing characters etc.
27 26 30


  1. Typical coding decoding (PEAR written as GFDN then REAP is written as..)
  2. Symbols (circle is greater than, square is less than..)
  3. Maths operations (L=x, M=+, then value of 16L12M13 is..)
7 8 11


  1. Sitting arrangement (line, table and circular)
  2. Blood relations (mom-dad-father in law)
  3. Building, car, colour, occupations of persons.
  4. Schedules (lecture on Monday..etc.)
  5. Direction based (Mohan moves three kms north…how far he is from home)
5 7 2


  1. Syllogism (2 statements and 3 statements): shortcut techniques explained here: click ME
  2. Conventional Venn Diagrams (Venn diagrams (in a class 40 students like coffee and 50 like both tea and coffee..)
  3. Assumption, interference, conclusion etc.
4 2 2


  1. Clock, calendar
  2. Permutation Combination (rare)
  3. Age related problems (dad is 22 older than..)
  4. Geometry (lolz in 2012, one question in reasoning section was from Geometry!)
3 3 1

Image based (non-verbal)

  1. Cubes-dices: predicting color, numbers in other faces
  2. Sequence of figures
  3. Paper-cutting, folding, punching
  4. Mirrors and water reflection
  5. Configuration, fitting pieces, odd pieces etc.
4 4 4


Total 50 50 50

Breakup : Last three years’ papers

SSC CGL Reasoning Bar

SSC CGL Reasoning Pie

Priority order

  • Logical Reasoning portion doesn’t have much theory/formulas as such, except for Syllogism, clock-Calendars, Permutation combinations etc. so the only way to master Reasoning= via maximum practice at home.
  • Here comes the problem: You’ve to face Reasoning/General Intelligence only at the tier-I stage. (50Q) But In tier II: there is no reasoning, but only Maths +English. Besides, you don’t have to tick 200/200 questions in tier-I, to pass the exam.
  • So, you should have some sort of strategy about how much time and energy should be invested in Logical Reasoning portion. (like in General Awareness , the priority order was Static>>Science>>Crap.)

Task #1:Series

  • As you can see from the topic wise breakup charts given above, majority of the questions are asked from “series”(analogy, odd pairs, dictionary etc). Around half of the reasoning questions are based on this topic only.
  • In fact in every SSC- CGL paper, first 8-9 question are from analogy, next 7-8 question from “Find odd word/number” and so on.
  • Therefore, I suggest you first solve all the sums related to “series” from your reasoning book. And within that, more emphasis should be given to
  1. Analogy (words and numbers)
  2. odd pair (same)
  3. classification
  4. dictionary based series
  5. inserting missing characters
  6. logical sequence of words

The word based analogy/odd pair is very easy (compared to number based or letter based).

But number based analogy/odd pair etc. can be a tough cookie.

So while in exam, keep an eye on wrist watch. Don’t spend too much time in just one question.

For example: find Missing number in the box?

3 7 52
5 11 126
?? 9 107

Answer choice:

  1. 6
  2. 18
  3. 26
  4. 36
  • If you’re able to solve this quickly=well and good.
  • But sometimes the logic behind above number pairing won’t click in your mind immediately in the exam. So there is no point in wasting 5-7 minutes in just one question here. Just leave it and move on to next question.
  • On the last page of your question paper (space for rough work), write down the Question number of such “time-consuming” sums and leave them for the end part of exam. (same advice for coding-decoding).

Task #2: Arrangement-Direction tests

  • This includes blood-relation, arrangements (circular, line, building etc.)
  • To a new player, the arrangement questions may appear time-consuming. But once you’ve practiced enough sums, your speed will improve.
  • But the best thing with arrangement question= you can verify the answer (by applying the “conditions” given in the question to your arrangement).
  • Easiest of all arrangement is circular arrangement. I consider it “no-excuse” topic. Solve each and every sum given in your book. Once you’re comfortable with circular, move to linear and rectangular (dining table).
  • Next comes, Direction based question. Mohan walks 5 km north then… Again “no-excuse”. Solve each and every sum given in your book.
  • Then building-car-job, lecture schedules etc. arrangements.
  • Finally blood relations.

Task #3: Non-verbal

Image based question. Again no excuse, solve all the sums and it won’t pose much difficulty during exam. But yes keep an eye on wrist-watch.

Task #4: Coding-Decoding

This involves

  1. Typical coding decoding (PEAR written as GFDN then REAP is written as..)
  2. Symbols (circle is greater than, square is less than..)
  3. Maths operations (L=x, M=+, then value of 16L(12M13) is..)
  4. And other misc. questions.

Math operation =no excuse. Can be mastered with practice and can be solved quickly and accurately. Same for symbol.

So practice as much as you can.

Task #5 remaining stuff

  • Here, first finish Syllogism (All cats are dogs..): use the UP-UN method to quickly solve them. click me to learn it. Please note, in SSC, at most two questions on syllogism per year. But cost-benefit ratio is very good. So don’t avoid).
  • Conventional Venn Diagram questions. (50 drink coffee, 40 drink tea…) Usually just 1 question comes. Good part= answer can be verified and once you practice enough it doesn’t even take one minute to solve it (2 circle venn diagram cases).
  • Therefore, no excuse must be prepared.

Now once you’ve done Above things then spend remaining time in whatever topics are left. Clock, calendar etc. (based on time and mood.)

Book for Reasoning?

  • Since Reasoning/ General Intelligence topic doesn’t have much theory, the only way to approach it= practice maximum number of questions at home from your reasoning book.
  • I’m going to repeat the advice given in maths article:  You should simultaneously appear for IBPS, LIC, CDS, CAPF and all such exams depending on your career taste. (because putting all eggs in one SSC basket= bad idea sir-ji).
  • So you want to use one reasoning book that is universally applicable to all such exams. I suggest use either one of the following books:
RS Sijwali
Book A Modern Approach to Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning by A new approach Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning by
Author R.S.Agarwal BS Sijwali
Publication S.Chand Arihant
  • While content and coverage is almost the same in both these books, They differ mainly in terms of “size” (=no. of practice questions given in each book.).
  • BS Sijwali has less number of practice question (around 750 pages) while R.S.Agarwal’s reasoning book has about 1500 paper.
  • Both of them quite helpful in SSC-CGL, IBPS, LIC-ADO, AAO, CDS, and similar exams.
  • You don’t need to use both of them, just use any one of them. And practice as many questions as you can at home.
  • This concludes the discussion on How to approach Logical Reasoning/ General Intelligence for SSC-CGL exam.
  • Now only one topic remains: how to approach English vocabulary, grammar and comprehension. Will be discussed in a separate article.