Sneha Singh is a graduate of CNLU, batch of 2020 who secured Rank 4 in the recently conducted 31st Bihar Judiciary Examination. She has also cleared UGC-NET-JRF 2022.
1. First of all many congratulations on your success. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
– Thank You! Hi! I am Sneha Singh. I belong to Motihari, East Champaran District of Bihar. I did BA LLB (Hons.) in the year 2020 from Chanakya National Law University (CNLU) Patna. After that, I enrolled for LLM in Constitutional and Administrative Law from the Faculty of Law, BHU, which I completed recently.
2. Please share your experience at CNLU, Patna. How do you think CNLU has attributed to your success?
– Five years of law school is the golden period of my life. CNLU provided me with the platform to evolve not only academically but also in my overall personality and perspective enhanced. CNLU provides a dynamic set of environments; whatever may be your aim, litigation, corporate, judiciary or academics, you can always find your corner.
However, CNLU has a special thing for judiciary. Each year we witness CNLU pupils getting selection in various State judicial service examinations. It provides the environment and support to start your preparation in the college itself.
One of the best things about law school life is that you get a new experience every day. In my case, in the five years, I spent at CNLU, I not just learned law but evolved as a person. The experiences that different academic and non-academic events like moot courts, debates, or culture provided were great. Apart from academics, I was actively engaged in moot court competitions.
At CNLU, I got the opportunity to learn from the best legal minds, which provided me with legal acumen. When in the year 2020, I started preparation for BJS Exam, I did not have much difficulty because most of the things in the law paper I had already studied in detail in college time. In fact, for a few subjects, I referred to my class notes too.
3. 31st Bihar Judicial Service (BJS) took 2 years to complete the process. How did you maintain your motivation during this long period? What was your secret sauce recipe while preparing for the exam?
– Judicial service examinations not just test your knowledge but also check your patience. Naturally, we get impatient, I also used to get impatient. I used to talk to my friends and to my family to calm my nerves down.
I started my preparation in September 2020. Since I had very little time on my hand, so I started strategically. In prelims, for the law part, I solved as many MCQs as I could, and after that, I referred to Bare Acts. For GK, also I solved the MCQs of the respective subjects along with Lucent and Ghatna Chakra. I used to solve as many MCQs as I could and then analyse the area where I was lacking. Once I identify the weak areas, I used to dedicate separate time to studying those areas. For current affairs, since I had a habit of reading newspapers, so I was aware of recent development, but at the same time, I used several YouTube channels and a few current affairs apps. I would say it is very important that we devote equal time to Paper 1 because GK GS holds the key to success in the BJS exam in both pre as well as mains.
For mains, I analysed PYQs and prepared my notes after referring to various books, coaching notes, and guidebooks. Before the mains examinations, I had my short notes on every subject for quick revision.
For the interview, I gave mock interviews. Also, I was engaged in group discussion classes, and most importantly, I used to discuss questions daily with my friend.
4. Covid was at its peak during your preparation. How did it impact your preparation and how did you deal with it?
– In a way, I became eligible for this exam due to Covid. I filled out the application form when the date was extended due to Covid. Covid did not impact my preparation, I got the privilege to prepare in the comfort of my home. But yes, with so much uncertainty and bad news all around, sometimes it was challenging to stay motivated. To deal with this, I used to take a break from my studies and watch some web series, talk to friends, and do gardening.
We must face challenging situations and not run away from them, as our mind is difficult to control; the more you try to avoid something, the more it will come. So, it is crucial to take a day or two off and rejuvenate ourselves.
5. Please tell us about the exam structure/pattern of BJS.
– BJS comprises three stages: pre, mains, and interview.
In prelims, 150 questions of law are asked while 100 questions come from the general studies. Each question carries 1 mark and there is no negative marking and it is only qualifying in nature.
Mains comprises 850 marks (apart from Hindi, and English which are just qualifying in nature). In the mains certain papers are compulsory like language papers, procedural law, general knowledge, and general science. For substantive law, you get to choose three optional from five. One should choose the optionals as per interest.
The interview is of 100 marks and 35 is the minimum qualifying mark. In Bihar, it is the most crucial because no matter how much you score in mains if you are not able to get 35 in the interview you will not be considered in the merit list. They check your aptitude and attitude for the service along with your legal knowledge.
6. Students aspiring for a corporate law or litigation career have a settled path to chart. There is clarity as to what they need to do to develop their CV accordingly. However, there is a lack of clarity for those who aspire to judicial service. What would you advise such students to do to develop their profile and skills suitable for judicial service?
– If you have decided that you want to go for the judiciary, first of all, you should select the State for which you want to prepare then analyse the syllabus and previous year questions of both pre and mains. You should prepare the notes for the respective subjects during the semester. One of the benefits of preparing the notes during the semester is that you get ample time to refer to 3-4 books and also doubts get clear in the class.
Also, one should do internships in the State judicial academies and National Judicial Academy. I got the opportunity to do an internship at Bihar Judicial Academy in my first year of college, it was quite enriching. Internships in the District Courts, High Courts, and Supreme Court are beneficial for getting acquainted with the nature of procedure and working of the court. Internships under Judges would also be helpful in understanding the personality of the Judges and the art of judgment writing.
7. You have qualified JRF NET as well. Do you plan on getting into academia in near future?
– Yes, I always had an inclination towards academia so once I was eligible to apply for UGC NET I applied, and luckily, I qualified for it. As of now, I want to focus on the new responsibilities which I am about to get but indeed. Given the opportunity I would always love to teach.
8. What is your view on “exhaustion of research”?
– Indeed, in the legal field, we all may experience this at some or the other time, hence it is important to use smart research tools and modern sources, along with taking a regular break to refresh ourselves.
9. Any parting message for law students and aspirants?
– Law school is all about “balance”. You have to balance your grades, extracurriculars, and personal life. It is the best part of your life, you should live it to the fullest. However, you should also keep in mind that these years are the building blocks of your life.