The most important thing before you start preparing for a competitive exam is to be mentally prepared for all the hard work and be so motivated that you enjoy the process of learning. This is very important for every competitive exam. Self motivation is the most important factor that will sail you through this exam or any competitive exam for that matter.
Now when you have set your focus on judicial service examination, it is important to understand the nature of the exam. The pattern of civil judge exam differs in every state. However, there are certain similarities as well. The basic similarity is that you have to know the law as it is. You are not expected to be an expert on any topic and write commentary on anything. You are expected to know the foundation, the basics of the law. Since, the lower judiciary’s area of work is mostly limited to application of the law as it is the exams are aimed to test that skill of yours- the knowledge and application of law.
Along with the knowledge of the law the exam involves testing basic language skills and in some states there is a portion of general knowledge which may involve topics from static or current general knowledge as per the syllabus and pattern of the particular state’s exam.
Hence, before you start your preparation try to understand the syllabus well. Get the copy of the syllabus of the exam held in previous years and try to analyse the syllabus and the objective of the exam. In addition to that try to get your hands on the previous years’ question papers.
Now when you have the syllabus and the previous years’ paper try to analyse as to what is that you are expected to study as per the syllabus, then see from the list of laws provided in the syllabus how are the questions asked in preliminary and mains exams respectively. For example, see if the exam has a lot of principle based questions or if the exam was purely based on the bare provisions. Mostly, you will see that in the prelims there the focus is on the bare provisions that is to say you will see that most of the questions are about sections of the bare acts prescribed in the syllabus. However, in the mains exam the questions are more based on the concepts and principles.
The biggest issue with this exam is that the syllabus is vast and there are few resources to prepare from. In a few states like Rajasthan the syllabus has almost 45-50 topics. So what is the best strategy? Try to read each and every bare act prescribed in the syllabus. First try to develop the understanding of that particular law and then learn the bare acts by heart. Now this is time consuming but this is the best option to get selected in this exam. Know the bare acts well. In every bare act there are certain sections more important than others know these very well. But do not ignore other sections. The pattern you will surely get after analysing the syllabus and the previous years’ papers is that in each state there are some questions that are repeated in one or the other form and then there are some questions which are totally random. Try to identify these questions and keep them in mind while you study.
Start with simple acts which you already know or have interest in and be consistent in learning it. Try to make it up like a story and try to learn. Try anything that works for you. You can also study with friends and “recite” the sections. I have been to various coaching classes and everywhere this is the rule- “recitation”.
Once you are done with learning one act take another act and prefer the one which is somewhat related to the previous one. In essence, all laws are interconnected but then when you have already crammed up CPC then limitation act is the best next choice. The reason is that it maintains the continuity in learning and understanding a subject matter. This will also help you to identify the connection between sections from different bare acts and in mains you will get questions where you will have to see how the provision from one bare act applies to provision from another bare act. Also in the process, you will be revising the bare act you have crammed up earlier.
Another important step in the process of your preparation is that you need to revise whatever you have learnt every single day. There should be no gap in this. It will be tough in the beginning, but once you have crammed up the sections you will need less time per subject with each passing day. Now, when you are done with one part of the syllabus, the civil or the criminal, try to solve the previous years’ papers of that section. This will help you enhance your writing skills.
Coming to the language section try writing an essay per week in English and Hindi (or any language which is prescribed in the course). Try to understand what level of language skills the exam is trying to test. In RJS preliminary exam you are tested on grammar and in the mains exam you have to write essay in Hindi and English.
When you align your preparation with the syllabus there will hardly be any surprises for you in the exam because there will never be anything out of the course.