judiciary exams
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This article is written by  Suman Chatterjee Team LawSikho.

The first, BIG question that baffles most judiciary aspirants, and frankly, even the best of them, is whether to join any coaching institute or not. “Do I even need a coaching institute? Can’t I do without it?” 

Obviously, there are more fortunate people who need not ask this question. They have the money and they will definitely sign up for the best coaching service that money can buy and maximize their chance of getting through the difficult exam.

But there are people like us who need to think and rethink. 

Some of our friends are already preparing on their own. They say that all you have to do is to mug up the textbooks, bare acts and case laws, and read up on the current affairs daily. 

Some of them already have study notes with them from their LLB coaching classes, and they think that’s enough. 

Then there are some who have huge faith in their own capability and they think joining coaching classes goes against their philosophy. If they pass, they would do so on their own merit, without any help. 

So, what’s the truth?

Can you pass the judiciary exams without joining a coaching centre?

Definitely, you can. 

There are numerous examples where aspirants have overcome multiple odds in their lives and cracked the judiciary exam without joining any single class ever! A rare mix of talent, determination and hard work. 

However, from what I have seen year after year, is that a large majority of those getting through judicial services are obtaining coaching services. Very few makes it through without any coaching. For the purpose of this article, I have spoken to a few such judges to get an idea about how they did it.

I must warn you that it does not seem easy at all. Cracking the judiciary exam is one level of difficulty, but doing it without high quality coaching services on your corner is even harder.

I assume if you are still reading this, that is because you really do not have the money and you can’t help but prepare on your own.

Do not be demotivated. We are here to help you with the best information you need to know first. You are not the first person who faced this situation, and many before you have successfully cleared. 

If you want to go the “free” route, what choices do you have?

Read on.

What are the free resources available for judicial services exam training?

If you are looking for bare acts, you can get it online. There are several options for the same – Bare Acts Live, National Portal of India, Vakilno1 and Advocate Khoj – with the first one being my personal favourite.

If you are looking for legal study notes, I am sorry there are not many options. You might check this website for a quick revision but this is not going to suffice for your judiciary preparation though. iPleaders blog has tons for free articles that may be of great use if you know what you are looking for. 

There are several other legal blogs worth checking out. Blogs can be followed for informational purposes but they do not serve as good resources for judiciary test preparation. 

(Without any false modesty, I believe our blog is far superior to this one. We cover a varied range of legal topics over there every day, and You will learn a lot about law from the dozens of articles published over there every day.)

Definitely take full advantage of all the free tutorials on law that are available on YouTube, including the LawSikho YouTube channel.

Apart from this, if you are looking for a judiciary-specific resource, I am sorry I have not been able to find any worthwhile free resource so far. No free lunches this time.

Law textbooks can not be procured online, even via torrent engines! You have to buy them. 

Mock test papers? Past question papers? Again, not freely available. You have to buy them. 

Judgment writing? Well sure, you can read judgments online for free (Indian Kanoon is a great free resource for the same) but there is no one teaching you how to write judgements for free. 

Subscribe to current affairs and GK resources through YouTube and blogs that cover legal news regularly. For instance, we provide free GK and current affairs updates on LawSikho Youtube channel. We also do lots of free webinars with past years toppers which may help you to figure out your own strategy.

LiveLaw is also a good source for regular free legal news updates. 

Luckily there are lots of low-cost resources. Although not free, these are easy to afford.

What are the low-cost resources available for preparing for the judicial services exam?

The lowest-cost option is nothing but doing it alone but with paid resources such books and cheap mock tests

Also you will have to find people who will mentor you for free.

Buy the mock test papers and past years question papers. 

Buy the textbooks and bare acts (hard copies are always better!). 

And start preparing for the judicial services exam on your own.

I can’t think of any approach cheaper than this. The products and services that you buy or pay for are bare essentials. 

The rest … you go alone. 

I would suggest practicing a lot of mock tests which help a lot to develop a sharp understanding of what you need to prepare for.

You need someone to check your subjective answers and give feedback, this is not optional. You can get someone with experience of giving judicial exams in the past, provided they are knowledgeable and reliable. Paying at least a small sum is desirable because very few people will do this job seriously unless they are compensated in some way at least. 

You can find people who gave the paper in the past and acquire their study material for free or a low cost. Many people are happy to give away those materials, the sight of which gives them nightmares! 

Sometimes, you have to pay a penny on the dollar for them. Either way, you can get some good study material if you spend some time figuring this out. 

Getting your hands on the right study material and textbooks will be quite important here.

Also, sometimes you may have to prioritise saving time rather than saving money, if you have the option, given the massive amount of syllabus you need to cover. 

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How to balance law school curriculum with Judiciary preparation & attain success

Preparing for a judicial exam is not really easy when you start your preparations early while still being a law school, we struggle a lot to keep a balance between our preparations and academics. 

Let us hear from Mohit Rai (Jharkhand Judiciary Rank, 45) who shares some tips and tricks to balance law school curriculum with Judiciary preparation & attain success.

(Click on the Play button to watch the video)

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What kind of self-study is required to clear the exam without any coaching?

The trick to crack one of the toughest competitive exams is to focus on speed and accuracy. Not only do you have to cram tonnes of information and memorize dozens of case laws but you also have to be able to crank all of that out at an insane speed during the exam. 

To start with, self-study for the judiciary exam is going to be one heck of a challenge! Why? 

To pass this exam, you have to put yourself through a military routine and you have to do it on your own. There will be no one to motivate you, inspire you or push you. 

You may not have any peer to compare or collaborate with, and you will be alone in your room with your books and your laptop.

Also, keep in mind that during this time, some of you might have been taking a one-year hiatus to prepare for the exam. The level of mental pressure and expectation is at a maximum at such times. 

To cope with that and still have a solid enough preparation to crack the exam in one shot is not easy at all.

If you still are determined to be a lone wolf and prepare for a solo journey, here are a few pointers for you.

  • You need to have a plan. You need to be completely honest with yourself and decide where you stand. You must know where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Once you know what you need to work on the most and the least during your preparation, you can start with the rest. 

  • Bare acts above everything else! No, not textbooks or practice test papers. What you must make sure first is that the sections and articles of Indian acts and rules and regulations are at your fingertips. When asked whether the section of that act contains the word “may” instead of “shall”, you should be able to recall it in its entirety.

  • Latest amendments and case laws must not be ignored.  Some of the acts like the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996, are dynamic in nature and go through a lot of changes almost every other year. You must stay abreast of those little changes and also maintain a list of the relevant case laws that preceded or followed any amendments.
  • Read newspapers daily. If you want to improve your GK and current affairs, there is no better alternative to this. In my opinion, The Hindu and The Indian Express are the two best newspapers with lots of value for judiciary aspirants in terms of information and analysis. 
  • Prepare your own study notes. Study from your textbooks and bare acts, but don’t forget to prepare study notes from the same. Juggling between multiple fat tomes and shuffling through pages to find that one single section or word you forgot even after 10 times revision, is definitely not a good idea. Especially during the exam, before which you will need some effective revision. What you need instead are easily accessible notes that are laid out in an eye-catching and simple-to-understand manner.

  • Previous years’ question papers? Of course. If you are aware of the types of questions that are often asked in the judiciary exams, you would be able to prepare better for those specific questions. Many publications provide question papers from previous years, and that too, chapter-wise, so that you can focus on a single chapter at a time. 
  • Time management. Do remember that you are chasing a huge syllabus and that too in a limited time. Time is of the essence. You have to set out a time goal for each paper to complete studying, revising and then re-revising it. You also have to do hundreds of mock test papers within the stipulated time. Keep a timer if you want. Sometimes, you know everything but you could not finish the paper because of running out of time. Not this time though, right?

Frankly, self-study for this exam is not a piece of cake! Only the truly meritorious one with massive determination and ironclad discipline might be able to pull this off. 

Once you join a good coaching system though, like one from our LawSikho Lord of the Courses, you get a huge support system. You have top teachers helping you learn the most important concepts and helping you to focus your energy on only high priority tasks. You get all your study material in one place. You get regular capsules for GK and current affairs. Your revision notes are prepared by someone else even if you struggle to make your own handwritten notes. You always have access to faculty members for doubt clearing!

Naturally, many students who wouldn’t get through with self study only, get through to judicial services because they can afford all this support system which helps them to produce better results.

In order to clear the judiciary exam without this support system, you need to create your own support system. If you have enough well wishers who can help you with doubt clearing and guidance, that is a great start. 

Remember that you don’t want to take a chance with this exam. In many judiciary exams, you are allowed no more than three or five attempts.

Every attempt counts. 

What are various premium solutions available for cracking the judicial services exam? Can you get scholarships?

There is only ONE premium solution available for cracking the judicial services exam.

It’s joining a coaching class that specializes in training for the exam. 

Even if you can’t afford it or do not want it, no problem. You at least should know what it is like, so you can make your strategy better. Also, you can approach coaching centres and see if anyone is willing to give you a scholarship that will bring down your costs big time or even cover the entire course fee.

Many coaching centres are willing to take highly intelligent law graduates, provided they are dedicated, at a negligible or low cost for coaching. They do this for talented students because they want to build track records of having trained successful candidates, which they advertise later.

Now coaching classes come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are extremely popular with big banners around the city and some of them are relatively unknown ones around the neighbourhood corner. 

https://lawsikho.com/course/lord-of-the-courses-judiciary-test-prep

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While the popular ones can charge lakhs of rupees (1.5 lakh to 2.5 lakhs per annum), the smaller ones will be more budget-friendly. 

Again, do you want to save a few thousand rupees or spend more if you can increase your chances of becoming a judge? It’s your call. That is how most people who have the money look at it.

The coaching class can also be either an online or an offline coaching class. Some aspirants prefer offline coaching classes while others prefer online ones. We really prefer online because you save travel time, get to stay at home and save money on that count, do not have to struggle with living in a strange city in conditions of hardship as is the case with most PGs for students, and can continue to work while preparing for judicial services exams.  

Your background, preferences and resources at your hand should dictate your choice, and you don’t want to make the wrong choice. In most cases, coaching centres charge an upfront fee which they probably might not refund if you don’t like it later. 

(This is unlike LawSikho’s judiciary test prep course, Lord of the Courses, that is bound under a non-wavering 45 days money-back guarantee. Also, we have a monthly payment plan that is very easy on the pocket. Also, we give out some scholarships at present.)

Are their examples of people being able to crack judicial services exams without coaching?

There are many instances where law graduates have passed the judiciary exam without any coaching at all. More so, some of them have even been able to secure a rank and become a topper!

Manu Prinja, a Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (RGNUL) grad with an LLM from the Panjab University of Law, Chandigarh, who cleared the Himachal Pradesh Judicial Services Exam, 2018, focused on memorizing bare acts before everything else.

“Get acquainted with the Bare Acts. I did not take any coaching. I did it through self-study, which was a long shot. It took me a couple of years to get acquainted with each and every part of every Bare Act in the syllabus. 

Memorise almost all the Bare Acts. Mostly, in exams you will get a Bare Act. The clearer you are with the Bare Act – it’s easier to apply the law then. It doesn’t really matter if you know a lot of case laws or know a lot of jurisprudence, because it is not a test of that. It is a test of the law. I think everyone should stick to the Bare Act.”

Aakash Sharma, an LLB graduate from Campus Law Centre, Faculty of Law, Delhi University, with an LLM from NLU, Delhi, cracked the UP Judicial Services Examination, 2016, without any coaching.

This is what he writes:

“I did not take coaching. I made my own notes from scratch. It was a painstaking job. Preparation for judicial services can informally start from the law school itself once the candidate has diligently read all the landmark cases in the various subjects. One should also cultivate a rational and reasonable world view and should be able to have independent opinions which are free from any bias. This exam requires utmost dedication from the candidate. It requires at least 1-2 years of dedicated preparation if you are starting from scratch. On the other hand, if you were paying attention in college itself and actually studied from cases and bare acts and not guidebooks, you can clear the exam with 6 months of preparation also.”

Harsh Vardhan Dhakar, a law graduate from School of Law, Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, Indore, in 2018 and who hails from Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh, secured AIR 62 in UPPCSJ 2018-19 and AIR 49 in MP Judiciary 2019. 

He took coaching but is of the view that coaching is not necessary to crack the judiciary exam. In fact, he claims that the exam strategy he used is his own and that anyone, regardless of whether they have gone for any coaching can do the same.  

Even Utkarsh Singh, an LLM from LU, who bagged the 542nd rank in the UP Judicial Service Civil Judges (Junior Division) Exam, did not take any coaching except for guidance from his university professors.

I hope these words will fill you with hope in case you are unable to afford any judiciary coaching and that all your hard work will bear fruit.

Do you have any further questions?

If you have any further questions that we can help you with, let us know. And we are giving out a few scholarships. 

This would be a good time to apply if you are interested in studying Lord of the Courses with a scholarship. 

We are soon going to launch a scholarship test as well, to identify the best candidates who deserve a scholarship. 

Stay in touch and watch this space. Forward this to friends who can benefit from this. 

To your success.

P. S. LawSikho is running hour-long webinars every day. Want to learn how to improve your learning skills? Prepare an LLM application to a foreign university? Career opportunities in new, upcoming areas of law? Don’t miss these high-quality webinars with industry and academic experts. 

P. P. S. All our premium courses are covered under an unwavering 45 days full money-back guarantee

After taking a course, if you feel like it is not working out for you, maybe you are not getting enough value out of it or it is not meeting your expectations, just get in touch with us. We will refund every rupee you paid for the course.

No questions asked, as long as the minimum requirements of the refund policy are fulfilled.


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