How to prepare for Judiciary exams during Law School

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How to prepare for Judiciary exams during Law School

28 ,June 2022


‘Judicial Services’ is one of the most elite and coveted professions that a law student wishes to pursue. Commonly referred to as PCS-J in the legal fraternity, it is an acronym for Provincial Civil Service Judicial Examination. Exploring new options during law school may open the doorways of a new professional arena. However, being determined about Judicial Services Examination from the primitive days of law school can give you the ‘first-mover advantage’.

Notification of Seats:

Unlike other competitive exams like the UPSC - Civil Services Examination or the State PCS Examinations, Judicial Services Examination is not conducted in a fixed, regular cycle for a fixed number of seats. These examinations are conducted by the State Public Service Commission or the High Court (in some states) only after the number of vacant seats in the lower judiciary are notified by the High Court.

Eligibility Criteria:

PCS-J is conducted for appointment to the post of Civil Judge Junior Division, generally. In some states (such as Haryana) it extends to the post of Civil Judge cum Judicial Magistrate or Civil Judge II (as in MP). Since, it recruits individuals in lower judiciary, the eligibility criteria is only a Bachelor’s Degree in Law. The Bachelor’s Degree can either be a 5-year integrated course such as B.A.LL.B, BBA.LL.B etc. or can even be a 3-year degree, pursued after Graduation i.e. LL.B. A Master’s degree, though not a requirement, acts as an add on in terms of remuneration.

When to start preparing?

For a lot of students, the most confusing aspect of preparing for the Judicial Services Examination is deciding when to start preparing for the examination? Though graduating and then preparing for the exam is always an easy option, deciding to prepare for it, while still being in the law school will definitely save you a lot of time and will give you a headstart in the actual competition. If you decide to embark upon this journey of preparing for the Judicial Services Examination whilst still in law school, this article will help you in everything that you need to know. KEEP READING TILL THE END!

Tips for preparing for the Judicial Services Examination

Here are a few suggestions that will help you in strategizing for this examination without sabotaging your law school experience:

1. Shortlist the States that you wish to target: The most important and primary step in beginning your preparation is to identify the States that you wish to appear for, in the future. This step is relevant as every State has its own pattern and has a different prescribed syllabus. Deciding upon the States of your choice will help you in devising a better and focused strategy, thereby amplifying your chances of getting through the examination.

2. Analyse the syllabus and the previous year questions: To go through the previous year questions and the syllabus even before studying the actual subjects might look like a herculean task to some. However, it is extremely important as it gives you a better understanding of ‘What to expect’ in the exam. A sound knowledge and understanding of the Previous Year Questions will help you keep an eye for those important topics when you actually start reading the individual subjects.

3. Understand the pattern of the exam: This exam is chalked out across three different stages: Preliminary, Mains and Interview.

  • The Preliminary Test (PT) is an Objective, Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) based test merely for screening the candidates.
  • The Mains Examination is a subjective test, the score of which is added towards the preparation of the final merit list.
  • The interview is the final stage in the selection procedure. It is a test of an individual’s personality and not merely knowledge. Aspirants should approach this stage with confidence, positivity, spontaneity and presence of mind. There are no four walls around the domain from which questions can be raised in an interview. Be prepared to answer questions based not only on legal subjects or issues but also on your academic qualifications or the reason for your interest in Judicial Services. Watch Mock Interview videos or even better, appear for a few of them. Merit list is drawn on the aggregate score of Mains and Interview.

4. Make Bare Acts your Best Friend: Bare Acts are the most authentic and primary source of law. Therefore, they should be given utmost importance while you are preparing for this exam.

5. Start your preparation from the Mains (Examination) point of view: As tempting as solving MCQs is, always try to devise your preparation around the Mains examination. This has dual benefits:
i. It automatically braces you for the Preliminary Test.
ii. Most states do not take long in conducting the Mains Examination once the results for PT are declared. Early preparation will take the stress off your shoulders.

Pay attention to the subjects being taught at Law School: The syllabus for Judicial Services Examination is not absolutely alien to what you will study at Law School. Instead, in reality, it is an extension of what is taught in Law Schools. So focus on whatever is being taught in the classes.

7. Keep yourselves updated: A good understanding of your surroundings (i.e. Current Affairs) will not only help you in being a better law student but will also help you in the Judicial Services Examination. Almost all States have separate segments dedicated to Current Affairs and General Awareness in both PT and Mains. So, never be that frog in the well who did not know the world as it existed outside.

8. Have a strong command over the language: Language (both English and Vernacular) plays an important role in deciding the merit in this examination. Almost all the states have a full fledged Language Paper (in Mains Examination). Many students tend to overlook this and they end up paying a hefty price in terms of their scores or ranks. Do not commit this blunder. From the very onset of your preparation, keep a slot for your language as well. For this, you can adhere to tasks as simple as reading a newspaper in both English and Vernacular language or reading any other basic magazine or book. Practice a lot of translation and assess your performance.

9. Make Smart Reference Notes: Try to make notes of whatever subject you are studying. This might look like a futile exercise to many. But try to answer this question, what would you prefer studying from, a night before the exam: a bulky book of a thousand pages or a ten page, summarised version of it? Be creative while making notes. Use bullet points, graphical representation, diagrams etc. Here are a few books (for some subjects) you can refer:

Criminal Code of Procedure RV Kelkar
Indian Penal Code KD Gaur
Indian Evidence Act Batuk Lal
Civil Procedure Code CK Takwani
Indian Contract Act RK Bangia
Hindu Law Paras Diwan
Muslim Law Aqil Ahmed
  1. Attempt Mock Tests: All the aforementioned tips and suggestions will become impertinent if you do not assess your growth regularly. Attempt Mock Tests regularly. Analyse and chalk out the areas that need improvement and start working on them. This will help you in not repeating similar mistakes, all over again.

There are many practice books available in the market for your reference. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Singhal’s Multiple Choice Questions for Judicial Service Examination
  • Universal’s Multiple Choice Questions for Judicial Service Examination

11. Multiple Revisions: Revise the topic that you have already prepared. Multiple revisions is the key to retain all the information that you have studied and produce it as and when required.

12. MOST IMPORTANTLY, never forget to have fun: An individual’s personality is shaped by the kind of experiences and exposure that he has. Never miss on this aspect of Law School. Participate in activities, meet new people, and make new friends. All this will play an important role in your growth as an individual. The key is to draw a healthy balance between this and your studies.

Always remember, failure and success are factors beyond human control. Never let initial failures deter you from pursuit of your dreams. Know that the best you can do is being true to yourself and putting in your honest hard work and genuine efforts. Remember that hard work never goes in vain.

If you want to prepare for such competitive examinations you can look for institutes providing guidance and mentorship to help you crack these examinations. It is always advisable to get trained from the best legal luminaries .For more details visit