How to Score 170+ in English for SSC CGL Tier 2 2019-20 Exam?

The SSC CGL Tier-2 2019-20 Exam has been, as per the latest notice, rescheduled for Nov 15th-18th 2020. The Staff Selection Commission [SSC] organises the prestigious and highly competitive Combined Graduate Level [CGL] Examination for recruitment into posts of Non-Technical ‘Group B’ as well as ‘Group C’ Non-Gazetted posts in Ministries/Departments of Govt of India.

Considering the apparent complex nature of the SSC CGL Tier-2 English Language and Comprehension section, in this article, we lay down the best tricks and suggestions to help you get through the most of out of the SSC CGL Tier-2 English questions.

SSC CGL Tier 2 2019-20 Exam Pattern

Let us look at the SSC CGL Tier-2 2019-20 Exam pattern and syllabus before progressing further. There are two compulsory papers-Paper 1 Quantitative Abilities and Paper 2 English Language & Comprehension. Each paper carries 200 marks while the number of questions varies. The total time allotted for each paper is 2 hours only. There is negative marking of 0.25 marks per incorrect answer in the SSC CGL Tier-2 2019-20 Exam.


PaperSectionNo of QuestionsMaximum Marks
Paper 1Quantitative Abilities100200
Paper 2English Language & Comprehension200200
Paper 3Statistics100200
Paper 4General Studies (Finance & Economics)100200


Note: Only Paper 1 and Paper 2 is applicable for all candidates. Paper 3 and Paper 4 are only for specific candidates who apply for certain posts as advertised in the notification.

SSC CGL Tier-2 English Language

Here are a few toppers-favoured tips and tricks that may come in handy to crack complex SSC CGL Tier-2 English questions.

  • SSC CGL Tier-2 English topic-wise weightage: The most important sections of the SSC CGL Tier-2 English Language Paper is the Reading Comprehension, Direct/Indirect Speech, Jumbled Sentences, Sentence Correction, Active/Passive Voice and Cloze test carrying a total of anywhere between 109-122 questions among them out of 200 questions. You can check out the weights of other portions in the SSC CGL Tier-2 English topic-wise weightage table given below.
Reading Comprehension25-30
Direct & Indirect Speech23-25
Jumbled Sentences/Paragraphs21-23
Sentence Correction20-22
Active & Passive Voice20-22
Cloze Test20-25
Error Detection20
Synonyms/Antonyms/Idioms & Phrases11-13
One-Word Substitution8-10


  • Underlying Strategy: As an objective, you must aim anywhere between 150-160 marks as the cut off of English Paper typically hovers between 140-155. Furthermore, as there is negative marking, you must refrain from guesswork as it ultimately harms your score.


  • For Reading Comprehension which has the highest SSC CGL Tier-2 English topic-wise weightage, you have to understand the basic elements of the passage:

Subject/Theme of the Passage: Coming from a wide variety of fields such as literature, science & technology, arts etc., the theme of the passage is the fundamental idea it is based around and on which the author builds up his ideas and presents counter-arguments. It may be written in a descriptive, rhetorical, imagery-filled or conversational tone and it is extremely important to gauge the type and nature of the passage.

Author’s Ideas and Counter-Arguments: On the passage’s subject, the author may have a favourable or unfavourable point of view. In this respect, he puts forward his ideas and opinions. Further, he may also give some counter-points of view.

Conclusion: This is the closing statement, a summary that wraps everything written above and brings it to a close. It may be, in some cases, an open-ended conclusion.

In addition to the above, the passage may also contain other elements like figurative language, imagery, visualisation and facts, amongst others.

  • Reading Approaches: In case of SSC CGL Tier-2 English questions on reading comprehension, there are two major reading strategies, that is, top-down approach and bottom-up approach. The former, a more traditional route, suggests you read through the passage in its entirety first before having a look at the questions or its options. It focuses on having a concrete understanding of the passage. The latter is an alternative approach wherein, you look at the questions first and then reference it with the passage. Although the bottom-up approach is, we think, is more suited to shorter passages, it is up to you to choose.


  • For questions on Sentence Correction and Error Detection, the technique is to identify the gaps in syntax, grammar or usage in particular words. Many a time they play with ordinary grammar usages like prepositions, conjunctions and verb forms. Build a solid SSC CGL Tier-2 English Language and Grammar foundation.


  • For a Jumbled Sentence question, look out for conjunctions like ‘but’, ‘though’, ‘however’, ‘either…or’, ‘neither…or’ which are commonly employed to connect two opposing statements. Moreover, try to guess the person [first, second or third] of the sentence as well as focus on the article, that is, ‘a’, ‘an’ or ‘the’ to know precisely the order of the statements.


  • Vocabulary: While synonyms/antonyms, idioms & phrases and one-word substitution have a combined SSC CGL Tier-2 English topic-wise weightage of around 19-24 questions, it is a general source of questions throughout SSC CGL Tier-2 English questions. Make 15-20 word lists depending on progressing difficulty.


  • Time Management: The SSC CGL Tier-2 English Language section comprises of 200 questions to be completed in 120 minutes. This leaves you with only 36 seconds per each question. With this amount of questions and the vastness of the syllabus, it is really important to worth through a strict time-based question paper attempting strategy. If you don’t know the question, move on and in any case, don’t go beyond the 36-second rule. Save up time and come back to it later while revising.


  • Important English Preparation Books: A few of the highly trusted books and writers are ‘Objective General English’ by S.P. Bakshi, Wren & Martin’s ‘English Language & Comprehension’, and ‘Word Power Made Easy’ by Norman Lewis.

The most important piece of advice we can give which goes for the SSC CGL Tier-2 2019-20 Exam is to have confidence in yourself. Remain calm and composed and keep feelings of nervousness at bay. Trust in your abilities and give your best.

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