Jun 19, 2024

How to Prepare English for SSC CGL Tier I & Tier II Exam

Not many of us are proficient in English language. We still doubt what a foreign language has to do in a country like India. Kindly bear in mind that, English is the universal language. Hence it has become mandatory to be good at English in this highly viable world. You would not have seen a single exam without testing the candidate’s expertise in handling English. Such is the significance this language holds in our nation, although our national language is Hindi. Also, the government circulars are released in both Hindi and English. Which means, both are equally purposeful in nature. Now, don’t you think your knowledge in English ought to be tested in SSC CGL exam?

There are sections namely English Language; and English Language and Comprehension in Tier 1 and Tier 2 respectively. The Tier 1 carries 2 marks each for 25 questions while Tier 2 carries I mark each for 200 questions. No matter, which Tier you are appearing for, the syllabus is almost the same.

As SSC CGL 2018 is likely to happen pretty soon, the preparations have to be begun in a trice. There are a few must read books every candidate has to purchase and be thoroughly read. They are of course advisable for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels. Here is the list of suggested reads:

Word Power Made Easy (Norman Lewis)

This is not a book a SSC CGL aspirant should just have in his shelf. Every time, there is a tendency for the candidate to cross check the etymological meaning and phonetic pronunciation of a definite word, this would be helpful and serves the purpose of a reference book, indeed. The exercises that follow each section are very much beneficial and help build the vocabulary too easily.

High School English Grammar and Composition (Wren& Martin)

Not many of us are good at English grammar. All of us forget that grammar is the basis for every language. English language too has many grammatical guidelines to be followed. This book helps out with sentence building, proper usage of words and teaches how to write composition. There are a few exercises put up right after the chapters so that English Comprehension section can be easily aced. Verbs, nouns and forming sentence structures are all part of the book that is in a way very helpful for scoring high in SSC CGL. Candidates seeking for basic learning for English should have a look at this.

From Plinth to Paramount

Neetu Singh’s book is more for advanced learners. If you think you are pretty good at English and have a strong grip over the language, this is a must have. Chapters covering almost all grammatical rules followed by practice exercises of high standard make the book lively and easy understandable.

Objective General English

This is another gem for SSC CGL candidates preparing for competitive exams. The author of the book, S.P. Bakshi has clearly divided the book into four sections where in English grammar and descriptive writing in English are given true priority. The objective questions/answers that are likely to be seen in SSC CGL are part of the book.

The whole English language section can be divided into three.

  1. Grammar
  2. Vocabulary
  3. English Comprehension
Grammar Vocabulary English Comprehension
a.    Cloze test

b.    Articles

c.    Propositions

d.   Simple and Compound sentence

e.    Indirect and Direct speech

f.     Active and Passive Voice

g.   Conjunctions

1.   One word substitution

2.   Spellings

3.   Sentence improvement

4.   Fill in the blanks

5.   Root words

6.   Synonyms

7.   Antonyms

8.   Finding errors

9.   Idioms and Phrases

a.    Comprehension Passage


Having viewed the outline of the syllabus, you might have understood the things to be concentrated on.


  1. Articles: A, An and The are the articles in English language. They are mainly used to emphasize a noun.
  2. Propositions: In, On, About, For, Of, To etc are propositions. They are used to link two words.
  3. Simple& Compound Sentence: A simple sentence means a cluster of words having one clause while compound sentence is a simple sentence coupled with coordinating conjunctions such as for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
  4. Indirect& Direct Speech: Direct speech is in the mode of conversation put in double quotes, often. While in indirect speech, the speaker is changed.
  5. Active& Passive Voice: SVO (Subject+ Verb+ Object) is the recognized sentence structure in English language while in Passive voice, it simply become OVS.
  6. Cloze Test: A passage with many missing blanks and the candidate is requested to fill up those blanks. Only a person who has strong command over English can ace it.


To improve the vocabulary, newspaper reading is a must. Also the aforementioned recommended books have to be put to full use.

  1. One word substitution: An appropriate and meaningful word to be replaced with the word given.
  2. Spellings: A careful reading and understanding of almost every single word you come across is mandatory to learn spellings.
  3. Sentence improvement: A part of the sentence given in bold letters might not be suitable for the given sentence. The sentence needs to be improved by choosing the correct word to be replaced.
  4. Fill in the blanks: The blank space has to be filled with the most suitable choice out of the four alternative answers.
  5. Root words: While learning the etymology of every word, prefixes, suffixes and root words have to be mugged up. It would help improve the vocabulary.
  6. Synonyms: Maybe the choices given appear similar in every candidate’s eyes. So to find out the appropriate answer, the candidate should have a keen eye for detail.
  7. Antonyms: This is as similar as dealing with synonyms.
  8. Finding errors: To find out an error, systematic usage of sentence structure has to be understood.
  9. Idioms and Phrases: SSC CGL exams normally have questions based on the idioms and phrases. Only a careful reader can make out the meaning of the sentence given.

English Comprehension

A concentrated and skillful reading of the passage is mandatory. Reread the passage twice or thrice. But don’t forget that the time is very minimal. So during your preparations, you must learn to gauge the speed and accuracy. Start reading at a slow pace and gradually increase your speed later on. 3 minutes of dedicated reading is inevitable to crack all the questions coming under this segment.

Always remember that nobody can improve one’s language in 24 hours. So please begin preparing from this very moment. If possible, befriend someone who speaks good English and has excellent hold over it.

Download SSC CGL app in Hindi to get free study material, notes, mock test, quiz, and previous year question papers of SSC CGL exam.

Please check our NCERT Solutions app which we have released recently for Class 6 – Class 12.


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