The story of my tryst with SSC.

My tryst with SSC started purely by accident. I had not even heard the name of SSC just 2 months before I appeared in SSC CGL pre-2012. Sounds strange? Let me back up a little bit and fill you in.

I was in the final year of my engineering in 2012 when I first came to know of SSC in 2012. It was the month of April and the exams were about to start in 6 days. We were sitting in the computer lab for practicals when one of my batchmates asked me to compress one of his digitized passport size photos. He was filling up the SSC form and apparently it was the last date. I enquired him about it and got to know a bit about SSC that its an exam conducted for government jobs.

Although I was not that interested in it as I had already been placed in Wipro Technologies through campus placements, I filled up the form considering its low cost of registration. (It was Rs. 100/- back then). I had absolutely no idea about the posts or vacancies so I filled up just 5 posts and 3 state preferences which were most familiar to me in my day to day life.

The posts I filled were (In sequence)

  1. Income Tax Inspector
  2. Assistant in Intelligence Bureau
  3. Assitant in Railway
  4. Assitant in CVC
  5. Sub-Inspector in CBI

and the 3 states which I chose were (In sequence)

  1. Delhi
  2. Uttar Pradesh
  3. Punjab

[In 2012, the states and the posts were asked at the time of filling the form and these were not allowed to be changed after that]

My pre-exam was scheduled for 1st July 2012. After finishing my college on 31st May, I prepared for SSC but not very sincerely. When I sat in the pre-exam, my ass was set on fire and my ears started emitting dense white smoke. The level of the exam was so high that all my sensibilities and pride got smashed in a second. I felt dejected and broken. I knew I wouldn’t even qualify for the mains exam.

Well, the results were declared on 7th August 2012 and as it turned out, I was selected for the mains exam but I had done very poorly. I scored just 96 marks out of 200 and the cut-off was 84.25 (In general category). Out of a total of 1,12,000 candidates, I was in bottom 20000. It really hurt my ego as I had been an above average guy throughout my life.

Not one to accept defeat easily, I went to Delhi and joined a small coaching institute to aid in my studies (SSC coachings were not popular back then). The SSC mains exam was scheduled on 16th September 2012. I studied very hard in this one month and appeared in the mains exam.

SSC did it again, the Maths paper was so hard that most of the students including me were clueless. Leave alone solving these 100 questions within 2 hours, students could not even read all the questions. Some students reached 50, some up to 60 while very few of them did more than 80 questions. As for me, I did 79 questions and could not even get to read the remaining 21 questions [later I found out that these questions were relatively easier than the ones I had attempted]. I had appeared in CAT 2011 exam, and to tell you the truth, I found the CAT quants section a lot easier than the quants of SSC-2012.

Similar to the maths paper, English paper was hard as well.

When the results were announced in October 2012, the cut-off for interview posts was lowest ever in the history of SSC, just 349.5 marks (Tier-I + Tier-II) for General category. Later on, looking at the trend of subsequent years, it can be said that the SSC CGL 2012 has been the toughest exam in the history of SSC.

As to the scores, I had scored 148 marks in maths and 150.5 marks in English. In maths, 75 of my answers out of 79 were correct. I scored a total of 298.5 marks in the Mains exam (Tier-II).

My total marks in Tier-I plus Tier-II stood at 394.5. I had 45 marks more than my category average which was a positive sign.

Some websites and SSC groups then compiled the rank list of top 10,000 candidates. As it turned out, in the mains exam (Tier-II), I had secured All India rank under 100. This was beyond my wildest imagination. Furthermore, my tier-II score had pulled up the weight of my not-so-impressive Tier-I that I still managed to secure the 115th rank in Tier-I and Tier-II combined.

Then came the Interviews. My interview was held on 22nd December 2012 and it was the worst interview of my life. I could not answer any question and I stuttered most of the time. (Maybe because they asked me questions from out of my field). I scored a paltry 50 marks in interview. My total stood at 444.5 marks in all the 3 tiers combined.

When the final results were declared on 6th February 2013, I found Central Bureau of Investigation written against my name. This was huge.

[Learning point here is that I was lucky to get selection in my last post preference. It was a mistake on my part to fill up just 5 choices and 3 states. If you don’t fill up a post choice, you will not be considered for that job even if you have qualifying marks for it. If I didn’t have qualifying marks for CBI, I’d not have gotten selection in any other post either. Always fill up all the choices and all the states while filling up the form.]

I was in Bangalore that time as I had joined Wipro technologies by that time. I got my joining letter in the month of September with the direction to join CBI Academy on 17th October 2013.

I joined CBI in October 2013 and left on 15th Jan 2016 because the job wasn’t satisfying for me. Meanwhile, I had reappeared in SSC 2014 and had gotten selection as Income Tax Inspector.

The experience of CGL-2014 was not so dramatic except for the falling level of SSC papers. The cut-offs soared by as high as 81 marks from the cut-off in 2012. While the cut-off in 2012 was just 349.5, the cut-off in 2014 was 430.5 marks.

I joined as ITI in September 2016 and have been working here ever since.

Thanks for reading.

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