The Staff Selection Commission, popularly known as SSC, is a government body that takes the onus of conducting various competitive examinations to recruit eligible candidates in the ministries, organizations and departments of the Indian Government. SSC CGL & SSC CGSL are the two very well-known recruitment examinations conducted by the Commission. Every year, lakhs of aspirants appear in these exams while only a few thousand can make it to the SSC recruitment.

Many students prepare for both SSC CGL and SSC CHSL examinations simultaneously. Both of these exams extend lucrative jobs under different central government offices. However, one should be more specific regarding one specific target and follow a dedicated approach to cracking the exam. The existing notion amongst the incumbent students is that both these exams have a similar syllabus. The Tier 1 of both these examinations can be prepared simultaneously for saving time as well as effort. Let us analyze this aspect in more detail.

Subject Questions Marks Time
General Intelligence 25 50 60 minutes (Total)
& Reasoning
General Awareness 25 50 For VH & Candidates suffering from Cerebral Palsy: 80 minutes
Quantitative Aptitude 25 50
English Language 25 50
TOTAL 100 200


As the pattern of Tier 1 of both these competitive examinations is very similar, several students tend to misinterpret this to be similar for the other Tiers in entirety. All the tiers of both the examinations are not the same. A few of the pointers that differentiate or explicate both these exams are listed below:

  • Different difficulty levels for both the exams – Firstly, the basic difference between SSC CGL & SSC CGSL Tier 1 is the difficulty level. CGL is prepared by the students who have already graduated. The overall standard, tone and in-depth knowledge that are required for understanding & solving the paper are well-designed in accordance with that. SSC CHSL examination is prepared as per the level of standard XII.
  • Analysis of the exams – The examination papers are set with the strategic mix of moderate, easy & difficult questions. Both CGL has 15 to 20 per cent of questions that are difficult. In the case of CHSL, where the candidates are standard XII passed, the difficult questions are just 5 to 10 per cent.
  • Syllabus – Firstly, the syllabus of both these examinations look similar. But on a comprehensive & thorough analysis, one will surely find that the reasoning section of CGL also examines one’s Social Intelligence, Emotional Intelligence and level of Judgment capacity. The frequency of similar questions in the CHSL examination is limited as the costs associated with this exam requires clerical work. Obviously, the CHSL and CGL syllabus of both examinations appears to be the same, but the erudition depth of the topics varies largely for both of these examinations.
  • The section of Quantitative Aptitude – The official notifications state that the level of quantitative aptitude for both exams is commensurate with the standard 10th syllabus. This gives the right impression of the exams in the quantitative section. So, before you conclude about the difficulty level of Quantitative Aptitude, you should know that the Quantitative Aptitude section for CAT is also of Standard 10th level. Still, the difficulty level of the questions varies from exam to exam.
  • Competition –As per reports from credible sources, approximately 14.25 lakhs aspirants appeared in CGL 2016, whereas the CHSL 2016’s Tier 1 exam had 30 lakhs aspirants. Obviously, the candidates who are eligible for CGL are also eligible for CHSL. So, the candidates who appear for CGL also take the chance to appear in the CHSL exam. This fuels the belief that both the exams are of similar standard.
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We can conclude that the syllabus for SSC CGL and SSC CHSL Tier 1 exams are similar, but there is a difference in the difficulty level in both the exams. The candidates who are eligible for SSC CGL exams are also eligible for SSC CGHL, but vice versa is not true.

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