SSC conducts the CGL (Combined Graduate Level) examination to hire personnel for Group B and Group C job categories. These include job posts like assistant audit officers, inspectors, tax assistants, and upper-division clerks. Recruited candidates get placed in different government institutions, ministries, and offices in India. Moreover, the selection process happens in four phases for the CGL jobs. Let’s discuss here the best books for SSC CGL exam preparation.

How is the CGL exam conducted?

The SSC conducts the CGL exam in four phases. They are the Tier-1, Tier-2, Tier-3, and Tier-4 exams. SSC carries out Tier-1 and Tier-2 exams online, while Tier-3 is a written examination. However, Tier-4 is a computer skill test. If SSC conducts the online exams in multiple shifts, the scores are often normalized. But this decision is made by the commission. The normalized scores will also reflect in the final selection for Tier-3 and Tier-4 exams.  

What is the syllabus of the CGL exam?

The Tier-1 exam is conducted online. Listed below are the subjects that comprise the syllabus of the Tier-1 examination:

  • General awareness
  • Logical thinking and Reasoning
  • Numerical Aptitude
  • English Language

The Tier-2 exam is also conducted online. It comprises four different exams based on the following subjects:

  • Quantitative ability
  • Statistics
  • General Studies (Economics & Finance)
  • English language and comprehension

The Tier-3 exam is descriptive. Hence, it has no syllabus. Only elementary knowledge and creativity are necessary.

The Tier-4 exam is a computer skill test. You need to clear the following tests to qualify:

  • DEST (Data Entry Speed Test)
  • CPT (Computer Proficiency Test)

What is the pattern of the CGL exam?

As mentioned, the CGL exam happens in four stages. The Tier-1 and Tier-2 exams contain only objective-type questions. The question papers are prepared in both English and Hindi, except for the English papers. Sometimes, the candidates may give both Tier-2 and Tier-3 examinations. But your Tier-3 answer sheet will be assessed only if you clear the combined cut-off for the first two exams.

Tier-1 exam

The tier-1 exam contains 100 questions divided into four parts. The maximum marks for this exam are 200 and the exam duration is just one hour. Moreover, a negative marking of 0.5 marks is applied for every wrong answer.

 Following is the subject-wise marks weightage of different parts:

  • English Language – 50 marks
  • Logical thinking and Reasoning – 50 marks
  • Quantitative Aptitude – 50 marks
  • General Awareness – 50 marks

Tier-2 exam

The Tier-2 examination comprises four different papers. They are Quantitative ability, Statistics, General Studies (Economics & Finance), and English language and comprehension. The maximum mark allowed for each of the papers is 200. Moreover, the time allotted for each paper is 2 hours. Except in the English language paper, a negative marking of 0.5 is applied for every wrong answer in the papers. But in the English language paper, only 0.25 negative marking is applied.

Tier-3 exam

The Tier-3 exam is a descriptive test. You can write the paper in English or Hindi. Also, the maximum mark allowed for this paper is 100. But the time duration allowed is 1 hour. However, PWD category aspirants, increase the time to 80 minutes. They may ask you to write anything such as Essays, letters, or articles.


This examination only focuses on the candidate’s computer skills. It tests a couple of skills required for several government jobs across India:

  • DEST tests the typing speed of the candidate. They will give you a passage in English that you have to type. A candidate has to type 2000 words within 15 minutes. Moreover, this skill is essential for the Tax Assistant post in Income tax.
  • CPT checks the proficiency of a candidate in Word processing, Spreadsheets, and Presentation skills. Besides, it is an essential qualification for the posts of Inspectors, MEA, and CSS.

Tips to prepare for the CGL exams

  • Firstly, draft a proper study plan. Include all the concepts in the exam syllabus and allow appropriate time for all of them. And follow this plan religiously.
  • Spend at least 5 hours a day studying. Because only this will help you complete the entire portion within a few months.
  • Attempt online mock tests for all the Tier-1 papers available at BYJU’s Exam Prep. This will also help you become used to the examination process.
  • Most importantly, try solving previous years’ question papers too.
  • Solving multiple question banks and papers will also help improve your time management skills.

Best books for CGL exam preparation

Although the syllabus of the CGL exam is very basic, candidates often face difficulty in finding the right study materials. Listed below are the best books to help you prepare for the CGL exam (subject-wise):

General Awareness:

  • Class X and XII NCERT books of Geography, History, and Economics
  • Manorama Yearbook
  • General Knowledge by Lucent Publication

Logical Thinking and Reasoning:

  • Analytical Reasoning by M. K. Pandey
  • How to prepare for Logical Reasoning by Arun Sharma
  • Logical and Analytical Reasoning by A. K. Gupta
  • Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning by Dr. R. S. Aggarwal


  • NCERT Maths books Grade VI to Grade XI
  • Magical Book on Quicker Maths by M. Tyra
  • Quantitative Aptitude by Dr. R. S. Aggarwal
  • Advance Maths by Rakesh Yadav
  • SSC Elementary and Advanced Maths by Kiran

English Language:

  • Quick Learning Objective General English by RS Aggarwal and Vikas Aggarwal
  • Wren & Martin – High School English Grammar and Composition by Wren & Martin
  • Competitive General English by Kiran Prakashan
  • From Plinth to Paramount by Neetu Singh
  • Objective English for Competitive Examinations by H M Prasad
  • A Mirror of Common Errors by Dr. Ashok Kumar Singh
  • Objective General English by SP Bakshi (Arihant)

General Studies (Finance & Economics):

  • NCERT Books of Class XI & XII
  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  • SSC CGL Finance and Economics (Tier-II) by Rph Editorial Board
  • Accounting and Finance is Bankers’ by Macmillan Education


Whatever study plan or preparation strategy you may adopt, the primary source must be the books. Moreover, preparation for a competitive examination does not conclude without the right study material. Hence, you must identify the best books that offer relevant information.  The right kind of groundwork and practice will certainly help you ace the CGL exams.