SSC CGL 2017 - Tier 1 Maths & Advanced Maths Strategy with Free Mock Test

SSC CGL Advanced Maths Strategy

Quantitative Aptitude is one of the most important & scoring sections of the Staff Selection Commission Combined Graduate Level Tier-1 & Tier-2 Examinations. This section requires a lot of preparation time & concentration compared to other sections of the SSC CGL Exam.

Following is a comprehensive guide on how to kickstart & approach this section for the SSC CGL Examination:

How is the Quant section of SSC CGL different from that of the Bank exams?
The topics & questions asked in the Quant section of SSC CGL are of higher level and more focus is on the advanced mathematics topics. Following are some common bank exam quantitative aptitude topics:
Number Series, Quadratic Equations, Data Interpretation (Tabular, Bar Graph, Pie Chart, Missing DI, Line Graph), Simplification/Approximation, Average, Ratio and Proportion, Interest, Time & Work, Time Speed and Distance, Boats & Streams, Permutation & Combination/Probability, Percentage, Mensuration, Problem on Ages, Number System, Linear Equation, Mixture and Alligation, Data Sufficiency, Partnership, Pipes & Cisterns.

As you can see, the topics under bank exams’ Quantitative Aptitude sections are predominantly arithmetic.

SSC CGL Quantitative Aptitude Topics

Quant is present in both SSC CGL Tier-1 & Tier-2. The syllabus of Quantitative Aptitude in SSC CGL can broadly be classified into: Arithmetic & Advanced Mathematics.

The Tier-1 focuses predominantly on Arithmetic section whereas Tier-2 the focus is mainly on advanced math. While Arithmetic consists on concept based topics, advanced math focuses on practice based topics. Some Arithmetic topics are Percentage, Profit & Loss, Averages, Time & Work, Time, Speed & Distance, Partnership, Interest, etc. The Advanced math includes those and also higher-level Mensuration, Trigonometry, Geometry and Algebra.

The topics under Arithmetic section require a deeper conceptual understanding and little practice whereas the topics under advanced math require more practice and little conceptual understanding.

Following are the topics under the SSC CGL Quant section:

Computation of whole numbers, decimals, fractions and relationships between numbers, percentage. Ratio & Proportion, Square roots, Averages, Interest, Profit & Loss, Discount, Partnership Business, Mixture & Alligation, Time & Distance, Time & Work, Basic Algebraic identities of school algebra and  elementary surds, Graphs of liner equations, Triangle and its various kinds of centres, Congruence and Similarity of triangles, Circle and its chords, tangents, angles subtended by chords of a circle, common tangents or two or more circles, Triangle, Quadrilaterals, Regular polygons, Circle, Right Prism, Right circular cone, Right circular cylinder, Sphere, Hemispheres, Rectangular parallelepiped, Regular, Right pyramid with triangular or square base, Trigonometric ratio, degree and radian measures, standard identities, complementary angles, heights and distances, histogram, frequency polygon, bar diagram and pie chart.

Preparation time

If your fundamentals are strong in math, you can allot around 10 hours per week for the Quant section. If you need to brush up on your basics, then give it 20 hours per week. If your math is average, allot 15 hours per week for Quant.

Quant preparation will require around 3 months. Allot one or two days for topics under arithmetic (concept based) and practice at least 100 questions from advanced math topics every day (3-4 hours a day). Arithmetic should take you around 20 days to master and advanced math 15-18 days.

Order of topics


In Arithmetic, understanding the concept is more important that practicing it. Percentage, Interest & Profit & Loss are considered as base of the Arithmetic section.

Most of the Quant topics will require you to apply the concepts of these three topics. Therefore, while it is important to learn each and every topic under Quant it’s also important to learn it in an order. Start with the topics that form the base or foundation of Quantitative Aptitude and then move on to the higher-level topics, which require you to have a knowledge of the base topics.

Follow this order for your Quant preparation:

  • Percentage
  • Interest (Simple Interest & Compound Interest)
  • Profit & Loss
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Number System
  • Average
  • Time and Work
  • Mixture & Alligation
  • Pipes & Cisterns
  • Partnership
  • Time & Distance
  • Boats & Streams
  • Train
  • Geometry
  • Mensuration
  • Indices and Surds
  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Stats and DI
  • Data Interpretation

Advanced mathematics:

The Advanced math is labeled as an intimidating section, but in reality it isn’t. It’s just a complex version of the advanced math topics you learnt in high school.

The four major topics under advanced math are: Geometry, Mensuration, Trigonometry and Algebra. After a thorough analysis of Previous years question papers, we discovered that the questions from topics under Advanced Mathematics are repeated year after year. So, it’s a good to refer to Previous Year Question Papers and solve all the Quant questions.

Preparation Material
What you need:
·         Practice Sets
·         Previous Year SSC CGL Question Papers (organized chapter-wise)

Note on books: It has been noticed that a lot of books containing SSC CGL practice sets and previous year question papers have a lot of errors. Therefore, you need to be extremely careful when it comes to choosing books for your preparation. Make sure you pick the best & the most recommended preparation material with least errors.

Here’s a list of books frequently recommended for SSC CGL Exam:
  • SSC 7300 by Rakesh Yadav
  • Kiran Prakashan’s SSC CGL Question Bank
  • Rakesh Yadav’s Class Notes

Note: Do not buy too many books or other preparation material as it will end up confusing you. Keep your preparation material minimum and make sure they’re free of errors.


Basic concepts –> Advanced concepts –> Practice sets –> Previous year question papers –> Revision –> Mock tests

Basic Concepts

To solve higher-level Math questions, your fundamentals need to be strong. If your fundamentals in math isn’t strong enough, we recommend you start by brushing up the basic math concepts.

Refer to the NCERT Mathematics books of 8th, 9th and 10th grades (selected chapters). Focus on Linear Equations (1 or 2 variables), and advanced mathematic topics like Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry and Mensuration. A lot of questions in Quant are based on these basic concepts, so it’s good to have a good command over them.

Calculation speed:

To save time during the exam, you must have a good calculation speed. Following are things you can do to make your calculation faster & save time & energy:

·         Learn quicker Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division. These are used in almost every math problem
·         Learn Tables up to 20, Square roots up to 30 and Cube roots up to 20
·         Follow the one-liner approach technique for quicker Addition & Subtraction

While learning these is important, it’s equally important to revise them multiple times. Practice by writing these down in a practice workbook and revise them regularly.

Advanced concepts

Once you’re done brushing up your basics, move on to more advanced competition specific concepts:

·         Watch online topic-wise video lectures
·         Make a note of the concept and important formulas and shortcut tricks (if any)
·         After learning each topic, practice 3 to 4 examples from the practice sets

A word on Shortcut Tricks:

Learn the shortcut tricks only after you have learnt & mastered the conventional way of solving the questions under Quant topics. Also, it’s important that you’re selective about which shortcuts you’re learning. There are plenty of books available in the market with shortcut tricks and learning all of them doesn’t make sense as it will end up confusing you.

Learn the most important ones that will help you arrive at solutions quickly. The key is to master both conventional method of solving and solving using shortcuts.

How to learn the shortcut techniques?
You can personalize your shortcuts. Every individual has their own strengths and weaknesses and can device shortcuts depending on it and on the understanding of the concepts. We highly recommend you try to come up with your own shortcut techniques. If and only if you cannot do that, refer to books that contain shortcut techniques.

Likewise, don’t waste your time trying to mug up all the formulas to all the questions. Learn only the most important formulas.

Practice Sets

To build concepts use practice sets which include topic-wise questions for practice. Each topic will have a variety of sample questions. Solve these after learning the concepts from video lectures or books and master the topics. Repeat till you finish all the chapters in Quant.

Previous Year Question Papers

After covering all the topics and understanding the concepts and after sufficient practice, its time to move to your next level: Solving Previous year SSC CGL question papers.

Why is it important to solve Previous Year Question Papers:
  • The SSC tends to repeat questions from previous years in its question papers
  • Solving previous year question papers gives you a brief idea of the difficulty levels of questions asked
  • They will familiarize you with the question patterns


Revision is one of the most underestimated part of preparation process. It’s not taken as seriously as it should be. It’s important to retain information learnt and master the concepts. So, make sure you:
  • Revise the basics (NCERT) at least twice before moving on to the competition specific lectures/books
  • Revise the practice sets twice
  • Revise important and high-level questions

Mock Tests

The one thing that will be constant from the start to the end of your preparation cycle is the Mock Test.
  • Take one Mock Test before you begin your preparation to assess your level
  • Take Topic Tests during your preparation
  • Take complete Mock Tests post your revision stage

Taking Mock Tests will help you measure your progress, determine your speed & accuracy and identify your strong and weak areas. Take as many Mock Tests as you can to fine-tune your Quant preparation.

Try a FREE SSC CGL Mock Test here.

General tips:
  • Maintain a book to write down mistakes you’re making and write down questions of higher level. This way, you won’t repeat mistakes again. Make separate notes of formulas of each chapter.
  • Practice questions and take Mock Tests in an Exam like environment to familiarize yourself with it. Avoid using calculators, minimize the number of rough sheets used, time yourself during practice sessions.
  • Do not waste too much time on a particular question during the exam. If you find yourself unable to answer a particular question, mark it for review and solve it later if time permits.
  • If you’re good at sections other than the Quant, solve them before Quant in as less time as possible (with great accuracy, mind you) and use the saved time for Quant.
  • Minimize the time and Maximize the accuracy in the Quant section. Try to solve all the questions in 25 minutes if you’re a fast solver and 30 minutes if you’re slow.
  • Try and answer all the questions. However, you can afford to leave 2-3 time-consuming questions unanswered, if you’re running out of time.

Use the above as a guideline to formulate your own preparation strategy for the Quantitative Aptitude section of SSC CGL Exam, based on your strengths and weaknesses. Here’s hoping the above tips help you prepare better.

The article is penned by Oliveboard team & published on