SSC CGL Tier 3: Expert Tips and Most Important Topics to Cover

Combined Graduate Level Examination conducted by Staff Selection Commission is one of the examinations that faces the fiercest competition. Even though the number of vacancies released by the government rises every year, it is such a sought-after examination that the number of applicants is ever humongous.
In 2017, SSC received more than 30 lakh aspirants for this exam for around 5000 vacancies which had more than 600 examinees competing for one seat.

SSC-CGL is an elimination test and not a selection one. It is conducted in 3 stages, each more difficult than the last. Therefore, it is important for all candidates who are lucky enough to make it to tier 3 to prepare well to ace this stage as well.

Tier 3 which is a descriptive test is an hour long, pen-paper based test conducted to check the writing skills as well as to assess how well one can communicate his/her thought. The syllabus of SSC CGLTier 3 comprises essay/precise/letter writing and carries a total score of 100 marks.

Maximize the Chance to Succeed by Learning the Important Spheres

Tier 3 test can ask an examinee to write a well-thought and well-structured essay on a number of topics that comes from a range of topics from static and current general knowledge. One must cover as many topics as possible by keeping in touch with the national and international affairs through newspaper articles and by reading articles related to events of historical, geographical, etc. importance.

SSC can give topics to write on from the following areas-

  • Social issues like poverty, illiteracy, discrimination, child marriage, corruption, etc.
  • Finance &economy like demonetization, GDP rates, introduction of GST, news related to RBI, IMF, world bank, etc.
  • Politics like the latest schemes introduced by the government, recent elections of important heads of the world, etc.
  • Technology like medicinal achievements, social networks, latest inventions and scientific findings, etc.
  • Environmental concerns like pollution, global Warming, climate change, etc.
  • Geopolitics like Syrian refugee crisis, trans-pacific partnerships, non-proliferation treaty, etc.

Note: – The topic mentioned are just for reference and are not the official listings.

Helping Hand for the Aspirants Through Expert Tips

To help you with your preparation of the descriptive test, here are a few handy tips that will assist in getting a better understanding of the strategy you can adopt to optimize your level of preparation.

  • Preparatory material

Read articles and blogs on important events and topics from The Hindu, The Indian Express, Economic Times, etc. and try to cover 15-20 articles every day.

  • Time Management

You have 60 minutes in hand to write on 2-3 topics. Be smart while practicing, try and develop a habit of finishing a precis and letter writing topic within 15 minutes and an essay topic in 30 minutes. This will help you get acquainted with the strategy you need to apply during the actual test.

  • Sequence of Attempting the Questions

Always go for writing the essay first in the exam as essays carry maximum weightage and require a lot of brainstorming to create an impactful amalgam of thoughts. You need to optimize the time you have in hand. Letter has a set format and all you need is to express the requirement of the question in the best possible way which does not take too long.

Precis writing is a summary and should always be last choice to write on as it is an ad-lib and needs an original impromptu creation in limited words.

  • English Language Skills

The write ups need to be written in meticulous English devoid of grammatical errors. This test is set to assess your command on English language and vocabulary as well. Read and practice grammar papers to gain an acceptable level of proficiency in grammar.

  • Presentation of the Write Up

Write and present in a neat way and avoid making too many cancellations or overwriting in your write up. Underline the points of significance in paragraph neatly or put them in bullets or numbers for a good effect on the reader.

  • Revision

Try to keep some time in hand before the duration of exam ends to revise all your write ups. Just give it a glance to catch and correct any significant mistake.

Essay Writing

  • Essay writing should comprisethree-part structure-
    • Introduction of 50-60 words
    • Body of 150-200 words
    • Conclusion-50-60 words
  • Write your essay in a lucid and clear way. Use good vocabulary but do not go overboard with it because it might end up making your essay look like a show off.
  • Put important ideas in points for clean and impactful presentation.
  • Avoid any redundant information.

Topics expected to come for essays-

  1. Demonetization
  2. Digital payments, E- Wallets
  3. Unified Payment Interface
  4. The Seventh Pay Commission
  5. Corruption
  6. Intolerance
  7. Women Empowerment
  8. The Technological Revolution
  9. Sexual Harassment
  10. Reservation in educational institutions
  11. Right to Information
  12. Right to Equality
  13. Gender sensitivity/ Gender specific roles
  14. Triple Talaq
  15. PSLV-C37
  16. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
  17. Make in India
  18. Surgical Strikes
  19. Section 377
  20. The GST Bill

Letter Writing

  • All the letters have a set format, try to practice in that format.
  • This question will test your formal language skills, so avoid using any kind of informal writings or slangs.
  • Break the body of your letter in paragraph, this will give it a more presentable look.
  • Use a strong yet subtle tone in your letter to convey the message of your letter.

Letter topics expected-

  1. Complain letter highlighting the lack of sanitation in your locality.
  2. Letter to present views on women empowerment.
  3. Letter to present views on GST bill.
  4. Letter to present views on corruption.
  5. Letter to present views on educating the underprivileged kids.
  6. Letter to present views on nature and its protection.
  7. Letter to present views on effect of social media on the current generation.

Application Letter:

  1. Application for the post of a manager/consultant/assistant etc. in an organization.
  2. Letter to reschedule an interview date due to family crisis.
  3. Letter to accept/ reject a job offer
  4. Letter to postpone date of joining.
  5. Letter of resignation.


Precis Writing

  • Precis writing is a summary of the passage given and is usually 25% of the length of the original passage. Try to finish in given word limit or less.
  • Read the paragraph carefully and recognize the central idea and points of relevance in the paragraph.
  • Write a rough summary using limited words but including all the important points and then strike out the redundant part. Additionally, restructure the sentences that can be shortened.
  • Precis writing is not an expression of your thoughts like incase of essays and letters. Stick to the information given in the passage and only include those points

The best way to prepare for CGL includes two most important activities- reading and practicing. There is no short cut to crack this level, but to follow these techniques.