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7.5k candidates for 25-30 seats: YOLO or no-no? 

This is a decisive question based on which you can take a call on attempting the SEBI Grade A Exam, or not.  

Most of the times, approx. 25-30 seats are released for SEBI Grade A Exam vacancies. 

Do I still have a good shot if I prepare for this exam? How is it any different from the stiff competition for the judiciary exam? 

The judiciary exam has approx. 0.5% average pass rate, and 30 seats out of 7500 candidates is slightly less than the judiciary as well!

So, how can we say that SEBI Grade A Exam has very little competition? 

Before I share our reasons for this statement, I want to share something that great people have said about statistics: 

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. – Benjamin Disraeli 

I can prove anything by statistics except the truth. – George Canning 

Numbers are hiding the truth in this case, as we have realised time and again from the results produced by our learners who attempt and clear the SEBI Grade A Exam. 

Let me explain why the competition in reality is lesser by many orders of magnitude than it is for judiciary exams. 

  1. Becoming a judge has been an aspiration traditionally for young lawyers and their parents across India for decades. Lakhs of lawyers pursue law knowing that they would like to eventually become a judge. 
  1. The SEBI Law Officer’s opportunity in comparison is not so well-known, although becoming a SEBI Law Officer has many similar benefits and definitely a better career in many ways.  Many talented and hardworking lawyers who could clear the exam do not prepare for it as they are not aware of it or focussed on preparation for other exams. 
  1. Thousands of people start preparing for the judiciary exam when they are in college itself. Many practitioners who have several years of experience, and may even have attempted the exam 1-2 times before and are well acquainted with the paper pattern compete against you. The best students are advised to take up full-time judiciary preparation, including thousands of college toppers. Overall standards of preparation are much higher for the judiciary exam in comparison to the SEBI Exam. 
  1. Most candidates who prepare for the SEBI Grade A Exam start preparation at the last moment, after the official notification is out, because they are not sure about becoming SEBI Grade A Officers. They do not know about the real opportunities available in their career once they clear the exam and become SEBI Officers, or even the amazing backups available if they fail to clear the exam, provided they prepare seriously! 
  1. Another question that prevents many serious candidates from starting preparation early is  whether seats will be notified in a particular year, so they wait until the notification is actually released to start preparation. This gives them only a couple of months to prepare, which is not enough to clear this exam, even though it has a limited syllabus. Most of the potential competition suffers a “timeout” as they realise that they do not have enough time to prepare. They especially struggle with the unique format of the paper and the corporate and securities law subjects. This number could be as high as 50-70%.    
  1. Most people are attempting this exam merely as a backup option, and without preparation, just because they saw a government notification being released. Why not give it a shot too? Some of them want more exam practice. Some of them are writing the exam to save face before their parents and family. They have no serious intentions to become SEBI Grade A Officers and are essentially unprepared. Unlike other exams, the number of such candidates is disproportionately higher in the SEBI exam. 
  1. This is despite the fact that seats have been consistently notified over the past few years. In fact, SEBI has a massive need to expand its legal strength due to huge current and projected growth in India’s securities markets. Very few candidates analyse the market and opportunities in this manner, or have access to mentors who can help them with this. 
  1. The last place where we have seen candidates lose the plot is with respect to studying corporate and securities law subjects. You might be able to understand the IPC or Evidence Act by reading the bare act to some extent, especially because these subjects are taught in colleges. In fact, this is the case with 80% of the law subjects forming part of the judiciary syllabus. However, it is extremely difficult to understand the Companies Act, SEBI Act, Securities Contracts Regulations Act and SEBI Regulations just by reading the regulations and case laws. They are poorly taught in colleges, and most candidates are uncomfortable with these subjects. Try to understand company law by reading the Companies Act and you will realise! Tell me if you last more than 10 mins without getting distracted or falling asleep! 
  1. The way a regulator tests your knowledge of commercial laws is very different from how judiciary paper setters test your knowledge of ordinary laws. Your focus is less on legal arguments, decisions and position of law, and more on the rules for business – what can be done, how it can be done, and what cannot be done in a practical way. Your preparation for these subjects requires a different approach from the other law subjects.  
  1. There are still others who do not practise writing answers for this exam. They never wrote enough answers until the last moment even for the judiciary exam, why will they write for SEBI Grade A Exam! After all, won’t it be much easier, given that they prepared for the baap of all competitive exams? 

Unfortunately, these realities are not evident from a superficial look at the numbers. 

After factoring in these aspects, it is possible that your real competition is only with 200-300 people! 

This is what we estimate as your real competition if you are a serious contender. Not more than 200-300 people put in 500 hours into the preparation for this exam.

Now, that means your pass rate can be considered extremely high. 

Over and above this, when you realise that the exam can be cleared with 500 hours of preparation rather than 5000+ hours (even lesser if you’ve been studying for other exams) needed for judiciary or UPSC and that the syllabus is much smaller, the exam suddenly looks a lot more worthwhile to attempt!

Can you see why the competition is really much lesser than it is made out to be?

I have seen people getting carried away by statistics to reach terribly wrong conclusions, and I hope that the above analysis helps you to create some space to accommodate a different and a more nuanced understanding than what the numbers state superficially. 

P.S. The second question is of course, whether there are enough vacancies that are going to be announced consistently. We have addressed why that is going to be the case here.

Just in case there is an exceptional year where vacancies are not announced, you can use the same knowledge to crack private sector jobs in law firms, large companies or other PSU exams in the banking and financial sector! You will have a far better understanding of corporate laws and will be lapped up by such recruiters! 

You can also continue your SEBI prep side by side for the following year, if you want while doing your job.

Would you like to learn how to prepare for the SEBI Grade A Exam?

Join us live in our free, 3-day bootcamp. 

Also, hope you already joined our telegram community here  that shall put you a step ahead of all your possible competitors.

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Here you will get:

1. 24*7 Doubt solving by expert mentors

2. Strategy sessions and toppers’ roadmap

3. Daily Current Affairs for Phase 1 exam

4. Daily Financial News for Phase 1 exam

5. Daily practice quiz for revision

6. Previous Year Questions’ compilation

7. Monthly Financial News Compendium

8. Monthly Current Affairs Compendium

9. Monthly practice tests and mocks

10. Essay topics with detailed pointers for Phase 2 exam

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