Combined Graduate Level Examination

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Combined Graduate Level Examination
TypeOnline standardized test
Knowledge / skills testedGeneral Knowledge, Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude, English.
PurposeSecuring jobs in Government Organisations
Year started1975 (47 years ago) (1975)
Countries / regionsIndia
Annual number of test takers2.7 million
Prerequisites / eligibility criteriaBachelor's Degree
Fee100 (US$1.30)q

Combined Graduated Level Examination (In short known as 'CGL Exam' or 'CGLE') is an examination conducted by the Staff Selection Commission to recruit Group B and C officers to various posts in top ministries, departments and organisations of Government of India. The Staff Selection Commission was established in 1975.[1][2]


Candidates applying for the various posts need to have a bachelor degree from a recognised university at the time of applying. The age requirements are between 20 and 30 years.[3][4] The age limits may vary depending on the position applied. For instance, the position for Inspector of Central Bureau of Narcotics which had an age range from 18 to 27 years, was extended to 30 years in September 2018.[5][6] The application fee for 2017 is Rs. 100. All women candidates and candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Physically Handicapped, and Ex-Servicemen eligible for reservation are exempted from paying application fee.[7]


The examination has several tiers which are conducted over different days with results posted after each tier. Previous exams also included an interview tier, but following a government order, interviews have been dispensed with for all non-gazetted posts in the central government as of 1 January 2016. A computer proficiency test or a skill test was also added as a tier for some posts.[8][9] There are four major tiers of examination.

Tier I: Preliminary [edit]

The Tier I exam consists of a written objective multiple-choice exam with four sections, covering the subjects of:

  • General Intelligence and Reasoning
  • General Awareness
  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • English Comprehension

The exam was typically scored with maximum 50 Marks per section for a total of 200 Marks.[10][11] The latest versions of this exam such as with 2018 have been conducted online.[12]

Based on results from Tier I, qualified candidates can then take the Tier II and Tier III exams.[13]

Tier II: Mains Exam [edit]

Also known as the Mains Exam, the Tier II exam consists of written objective multiple-choice exam, in four sections (also called "Papers"), covering the subjects of:

  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • English Language and Comprehension
  • Statistics
  • General Studies, which is subdivided into:
    • Finance & Accounting
    • Economics & Governance.

The exam was typically scored with maximum 200 Marks per section. Most positions required the candidate to take only the first two sections (Paper-I: Quantitative Aptitude, Paper-II: English Language and Comprehension), but certain positions require the third or fourth section.[10][11][13] The latest versions of this exam such as the 2018 edition have been conducted online.[12]

Tier III exam: Descriptive Paper [edit]

A pen-and-paper "offline" exam in which candidates are to do writing in the form of essay writing and letter writing, and sometimes précis and application writing. The exam can be done in English or Hindi any language can be chosen as per candidate's choice.[12]

Tier IV exam: Data Entry Skill Test / Computer Proficiency Test [edit]

In 2016, a fourth tier was added with two possible exams depending on the positions applied:[11][14][12]

  • Data Entry Speed Test (DEST): candidates enter data at the rate of 2000 key presses in 15 minutes. This is mainly for positions such as Tax Assistant. (Central Excise & Income Tax)
  • Computer Proficiency Test (CPT): covering the topics of word processing, spreadsheets, and making slides.

Other exams[edit]

Other exams are required for certain positions. The types included:[10][11][12]

  • Personality Test / Interview (discontinued starting 2016)
  • Physical Endurance Test / Medical Examination for Central Police Organization (CPO)


The 2016 exam was held in 44 batches across 96 cities.[15] There were 3.8 million applicants, of which 1.48 million took the Tier 1 exam. 149,319 candidates passed Tier 1,[16] and 35,096 candidates passed Tier 2.[17] The final number of positions for the 2016 exam was estimated to be about 10,661.[18]

Candidates were allowed to view their answer sheets and point out errors in the grading of answers for a fee of Rs. 100 per question.[19][20]

For the 2017 exam, the SSC said about 3,026,598 candidates filled in the online application,[21] of which 1,543,418 candidates took the exam. 226,229 candidates passed Tier 1,[22] and 47,003 candidates passed Tier 2.[23]


On 21 February 2018, it was reported that the screenshots of the question paper of the 2017 SSC Tier 2 exam appeared on social media before the exam began.[24][25] This led to massive protests.[24] The authorities canceled the exam, and Central Bureau of Investigation conducted an investigation, releasing a First information report that named several entities including employees at Sify Technologies that allegedly participated in the leak.[24][26][27] The Tier-III exam for that year was also postponed. SSC CGLE 2018 which was supposed to be held in 2018 got delayed multiple times. CGL 2018 final result was declared in early 2021 after delay of almost 3 years.

Exam delays[edit]

Postponements in exam dates and/or results have been a regular occurrence. In addition to the delays in launching the 2017 Tier 1 exams,[28][29] the 2016 exam final appointments were delayed.[30][18] The 2014 exam was also delayed[31] and the 2018 Tier 1 exams are being postponed.[32][33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SSC Exam 2016: Eligibility criteria and registration details : Notification". India Today. 6 February 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  2. ^ "SSC exam 2016: Check notification on Feb 13". The Indian Express. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  3. ^ Menon, Puja, ed. (5 May 2018). "SSC 2018 Notification Expected Today, Know Eligibility Criteria, Age Limit, Pay Scale & Selection Process". News18. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  4. ^ "SSC CGL 2018 Notification: Check SSC CGL 2018 age limit, salary, selection procedure and more". Times of India. 20 April 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  5. ^ "SSC CGL Tier I Exam 2018: SSC makes amendment in eligibility, check details here". Times of India. 7 September 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  6. ^ "SSC CGL exam 2018: Age limit for Inspector post increased, check details here". The Statesman. 9 September 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  7. ^ "SSC CGL Tier-I exam 2016 to held on May 8 and 22". The Indian Express. 13 February 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  8. ^ "No interview for non-gazetted govt jobs from January 1: PM Modi". The Indian Express. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  9. ^ "SSC CGL 2016: Registration date extended : Notification". 23 March 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  10. ^ a b c "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 March 2018. Retrieved 29 March 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ a b c d "Staff Selection Commission – Notice – Combined Graduate Level Examination, 2016" (PDF). India: Staff Selection Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2016.
  12. ^ a b c d e "SSC CGL 2018: Syllabus, Exam Pattern, Dates, Admit Card, Result, Cut Off - Times of India". Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  13. ^ a b "SSC CGL 2017 Tier 1 result declared: 1,50,404 qualify; check cut-off marks online at - Firstpost". Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  14. ^ Mavani, Sagar (17 October 2017). "SSC Declares Results of Combined Higher Secondary (10+2) Examination, 2016". Retrieved 30 March 2018 – via Business Standard.
  15. ^ "SSC CGL Tier II Results 2016: Declared at". India Today. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  16. ^ Ramball, Tripti (17 November 2016). "SSC CGL 2016 tier-1 results announced". Retrieved 24 August 2018 – via Business Standard.
  17. ^ Khurana, Kanika (1 March 2017). "SSC CGL Tier II Exam 2016 Results Declared, 35,906 candidates shortlisted for Tier III, IV". Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  18. ^ a b Pioneer, The. ""Speed Up the Appointment Process of 10,661 SSC Qualified Candidates" Says Staff Selection Commission to the Government". Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  19. ^ Ronamai, Raymond (7 October 2016). "SC CGL results 2016 likely to be out on Friday: How to check CGL Tier 1 Results". International Business Times. India. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  20. ^ "SSC CGL Tier 1 exam result 2016 set to be declared soon, check for latest update". The Financial Express. 10 October 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  21. ^ "SSC CGL 2017: Commission receives over 30.26 lakh applications". 19 June 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  22. ^ "SSC CGL Tier I exam 2017: Revised results, cut-off released at, 2,26, 299 qualify for Tier II". The Indian Express. 11 January 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  23. ^ "SSC CGL Tier II Result 2017 out on; 47,003 Candidates Qualify, Tier-III Exam on 8th July 2018". News18. 7 June 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  24. ^ a b c "What Is the SSC 'Scam' & Why Did it Lead to Massive Protests?". The Quint. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  25. ^ "'Malpractices' lead to cancellation of SSC CGL Tier II 2017: Important notice released at". India Today. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  26. ^ "CBI files case against 17 people on SSC paper leak". 23 May 2018.
  27. ^ "CBI questions Sify COO in SSC paper leak case". The Indian Express. 26 May 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  28. ^ "SSC CGL Official Notification 2017 delayed: Expected to be out soon at". India Today. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  29. ^ Livemint (19 July 2017). "SSC CGL 2017 tier 1 exam dates postponed, says notification on". Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  30. ^ "SSC delays SSC CGL 2016 appointment of over 10,000 candidates". Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  31. ^ "SSC CGL 2014 Exam Delayed, to be conducted in second half of the year". Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  32. ^ "SSC CGL-2018 Tier-1 Delays" (PDF). Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  33. ^ "SSC Exam Date 2018: Sources share reason of delay, exams likely in September – dates soon on". Retrieved 24 August 2018.