DJS Topper’s Interview: Anam Rais Khan [Rank 71] Shares Her Preparation Strategies on Clearing the Exam

Anam Rais Khan secured rank 71 in the Delhi Judicial Services Examination 2018. 

Anam Rais Khan is interviewed by our intern, Shivam Sharma.

Congrats on your success! Please introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Anam Rais Khan and presently I am working for an immigration consultancy firm in Sydney, Australia.

I completed my BA LLB (Hons.) from Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh in 2015 and LL.M from National Law University Delhi in 2016 before moving to Australia.

During my undergraduate course, I was the university Gold medalist at AMU and also received the Shujatullah Memorial Gold Medal in Constitutional Law. I have done Certifications in Teaching from Australia and have qualified UGC NET 2017.

Anam djs topper

What made you choose judiciary as a career option?

I have been working at law firms and immigration consultancies in Australia since my husband came here on deputation and I moved along with him.

Australia has a wonderful work culture but due to jurisdictional change, I found that my capabilities, knowledge and command over Indian Law was under-utilised.

Also, I did not find myself to be fitting well in the Australian Legal System and to fit in, I was required to start from scratch.

So I thought I should perfect my already acquired knowledge in Indian law and with this thought, I started doing my self-study in Australia so that once I return to India, I am able to stand out.

Moreover, I felt I was not able to contribute much to the nation that made me what I am today and felt an urge to render my services to the country.

Since college days only, I always wanted to be a judge because being a judge gives one the power and also the responsibility to correct so many injustices in society.

As a judge, one is able to contribute to the evolution of law, serve the nation, become a better student of law and at the end of the day sleep with a clear conscience by making a difference in the society.

Also, since the day I started studying law, my father wanted to see me as a judge. So it was also making his dream come true that I chose this career pathway.

What’s the pattern of the DJS exam?

DJS is not like the usual Judicial Services Examinations. It is more practical and applied. They already see you as a judge and expect an application of judicial mind while answering.

They are not looking for people who can cram law for you have the bare acts in the courtrooms handy. They are looking for people who can apply law rationally and reasonably.

DJSE like other judicial services is a three-level examination comprising of preliminary and mains exam followed by an interview.

Preliminary exam is an objective type paper of 200 marks with 0.25 negative marking. Minimum qualifying marks are 120 (60%)

Mains exam consists of four papers: GK and English (250 marks), Civil law 1, Civil law 2 and Criminal Law 200 marks each.

425/850 marks (50%) are needed to qualify for the interview.

In mains, there’s sectional cut off. It means you need to score 40% in each of the four papers and overall 50%. So you need to perform decently well in all papers.

The interview consists of 150 marks and minimum qualifying marks are 75 (50%).

Have you appeared for other judiciary exams also?

I have appeared for UP PCS (J) mains as well. The result is awaited. However, my preference was Delhi only.

In which year you have qualified the exam?

I have qualified DJS 2018. The result was declared in May 2019.

What was your overall strategy for DJS prelims?

To begin with, I analysed the syllabus of prelims and previous years papers to understand the paper pattern.

After this, I made myself through with the Bare Acts and tried to hit on the concepts instead of learning the section numbers and relevant provisions blindly.

However, when I made myself through on the bare acts, during the process I effortlessly acquired a fair idea of what section contained what, over time.

I read the newspapers, Lucent GK, and referred live law & bar and bench mobile apps, as well as study IQ videos for GK, current affairs and legal developments. I wrote them in notes form and revised them. They sufficed even for mains.

For English however, I did not specifically prepare using a book. Reading judgements of Hon’ble Supreme Court and Delhi High Court and the Hindu editorial helps develop a good English over time.

It is advisable to buy one book for MCQs practise and one for solved papers. I bought Universal which helped serve the purpose.

What was your overall strategy for DJS mains?

I prepared for mains before Prelims. Prelims need just 20-30 days of rigorous revision just before the exam.

I kept my day colourful and read different things in a day. Some GK, one-hour translation, then answer writing, then some law, then MCQs then listened to some videos.

Also played games in between, like PubG and candy crush. Believe me, you need some stress busters in life. One can also listen to songs to break the monotony but it is advisable to do these activities mechanically only.

To begin with, it is essential to go through the syllabus of pre and mains both very thoroughly as they are slightly different. One should know which subject is to be prepared from which point of view.

The syllabus should be on tips. After this, I analysed previous years papers to understand the kind of questions being asked. (universal solved DJS mains papers is helpful)

GK and current affairs sources were the same as for prelims. I concentrated more on current affairs up to 8-10 months before the scheduled exam.

For English: One can take any English book for judicial services. If they want to go a step ahead they can study Wren & Martin. (However, I didn’t refer it) It is important to develop the legal language to answer in mains.

Making a diary for good legal words and phrases from judgements helps. I did this.

For Law: It is essential to get through with the bare acts. Understand the concepts and try to interpret the language of the sections and read between the lines. One can refer to any law textbook on each subject for theoretical questions which are asked less frequently in DJSE.

For practical/applied questions: I developed a habit of reading judgements of Hon’ble SC and Delhi HC. I made one-pager of Landmark judgements and also recent ones mentioning law point and the ratio decidendi and if there was any important observation and also skimmed through the facts.

Judgement reading is an art and once you develop it you will enjoy this exercise. As stated above, I referred to live law and bar and bench for recent legal developments.

After clearing the preliminary exam it is advisable to read Delhi law times of the duration between pre and mains. Most problems in the exam are usually the decided cases of Hon’ble Delhi HC.

I did a lot of answer writing practice and also timed my answer. DJS is all about effective time management and not just hard work but smart work.

In the Examination hall, I gave good 20-30 mins to read the entire paper and highlight and make pointers so that I had the problem solved at hand and I just needed to present it in the copy.

Leaving the application of mind to a problem for the last few minutes is not a good idea. When you enter the Examination hall your mind is fresh, which should be straight away applied to solving the questions.

My advice to the aspirants would be to write crisp and to the point. Don’t beat around the bush. Length of your answer will not determine your marks.

According to your writing speed calculate how many words to write per minute for x marks question and leave an answer as it is when the time for that answer gets over and move to the next.

You can come back to it later if time permits. Completing the paper is very imp. Write short answers but attempt all. Practically if you don’t complete the paper, you are not even in the race.

All Bare Acts will be provided in the exam. But it’s a challenge and also a distraction. You won’t find direct answers in the bare act and since Bare Acts are provided, reproducing exact text from it would attract a penalty.

It is advisable to refer them only if one forgets any provision. It should be a last resort or one will waste his/her time in exploring the bare acts only and not writing the answer.

How did you prepare for the interview?

I kept myself updated and tried to practice with friends and family by speaking and trying to answer questions.

Following would be my advice to the aspirants:

The interview is more of a personality test than a knowledge test. They want to see whether your personality is such which is suitable for becoming a judge.

You can not develop this personality overnight. It is to be worked upon over a period of time. From the moment you start preparing for the exam, try to think and act like a judge even in your day to day life.

Be honest in your dealings. Be compassionate and rational.

On the scheduled day:

  1. Maintain your calm and relax
  2. Be thorough with your CV
  3. Prepare answers for the basic HR Questions, like, ‘why the judiciary?’, ‘qualities of a judge’s, etc.
  4. Recent Current Affairs and Supreme Court judgments.
  5. You should have Clarity of legal concepts
  6. Be respectful and bow down when you enter the interview room.
  7. Do not sit until asked, thank when asked.
  8. Listen very properly to the judges and be in the interview 100%.
  9. Be and feel positive and be thankful for the remarkable opportunity of meeting Hon’ble Justices.
  10. Know what you know and be confident. Above all, compassion, sincerity, spirit of public service and humility should reflect from your words and body language.

Can you share your book list for all subjects/parts (prelims and mains)?

Gk and current affairs:

  • News and events monthly booklet
  • Lucent GK
  • The Hindu newspaper
  • Study IQ YouTube channel

For translation practice: 

Constitution at work book bought in English and Hindi separately.

For Law:

  • Previous year pre-Singhal papers
  • Universal Guide for judicial services (text+mcqs)
  • Universal DJS mains solved papers
  • Apart from this, I didn’t use any other textbook. I read my notes made during coaching at Rahuls IAS and read judgements of Hon’ble SC and Delhi HC. (Delhi Law times, Livelaw, Bar and bench)

DJS has many local laws and other laws not asked in other judiciary exams. Which books did you refer for these? How did you prepare for these subjects?

DJS has only one local law i.e. Delhi Rent Control Act and some other Acts like the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, SRA, Limitation Act etc which are different from other judiciary exams.

I primarily prepared these using the bare acts and case laws and notes provided in the coaching at Rahul’s IAS. I did not refer to a single textbook apart from solved DJS papers.

What were your ‘secret sauce’ recipes, if any? 🙂

Well, my secret sauce recipe was combining positivity with smart work.

I always kept my spirits high and tried to find motivation in what I did. I believe a happy and positive mind produces better results than a mind which is only working hard but is full of negativities.

I always tried to imagine how beautiful life would be after I clear the exam, and that helped in boosting my morale and pushed me to work for it. Another important factor I believe is trying to limit what one reads according to the syllabus and demands of the paper.

One does not have to be a doctorate in each subject. Read as much as is required since you do not have to write a thesis. This is how you substitute hard work by smart work. Know the direction in which you have to work before working upon it.

For how long did you prepare and how many hours did you put in?

I went to India for around 1 year coaching at Rahul’s IAS which ended in May 2018.

After that, I studied around 8 hours a day till the preliminary exam was notified. From the notification till mains exam i.e. December 2018 to Feb 2019 I studied rigorously for 14-16 hours a day.

Do you think if one is aiming for judiciary exams he/she should start preparing from the college itself? if yes, then what would be the strategy for the same?

Yes. It is advisable to start off the preparation during college days only.

Mooting really helps to develop analytical abilities required for an exam like DJS. I did National and International Moot Courts which really helped me a lot in the long run.

One can start reading basic texts, analysing bare acts, Landmark judgements and making notes and synopsis.

anam djs topperWhat were some challenges you faced/mistakes you made, and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge for me was balancing my married life, household chores, job and studies. My husband was the biggest support during this journey.

Since here in Australia domestic help is not easily accessible, I still remember him doing the dishes and cooking after coming back from a hectic day at the office.

He always asked me to only focus on my studies and that he would take care of the rest. Actually, it is “US” that together made it happen and I owe this success to my husband without whose encouragement and support it would never have been possible.

I appeared for the May 2018 DJS prelims as well which was the first exam I gave and I would not even count it as an attempt because I missed getting selected not because I didn’t know the answers but because of poor time management and strategy.

I solved the entire paper first in the booklet and then started marking answers in the OMR. As the clock started ticking and time started to run out I got panicked and mismatched the order of circles in the OMR due to which lot of questions which I solved correctly in the question paper were marked incorrectly in the OMR.

I couldn’t qualify for the exam but still, I scored a decent 126.50. I learnt from this mistake and when I appeared for DJS prelims in Jan 2019 I had a well-planned strategy.

I knew that I had to solve x number of questions in y minutes which I calculated according to the time allotted. I kept marking the OMR after every 20 questions leaving only the doubtful questions to be rethought of at the end if time permitted.

This worked well and I got around 137 marks this time and cleared the Prelims.

What were the most important ‘right things/strategies’ you implemented?

  • Being positive
  • Keeping cool and Not panicking
  • Strategic time management in the exam hall
  • Paper reading before attempting especially in mains
  • Remaining updated
  • Being creative
  • Timed answer writing practise
  • Learning from mistakes

Did you take coaching from anywhere? If yes, how did it help? What are some good coaching institutes which candidates can go for?

I took coaching at Rahul’s IAS, Delhi. They gave me the right exposure and guidance from the beginning till the interview.

Apart from excellent class lectures by Rahul sir, the entire team at Rahul’s IAS Office deserves recognition. Even after completing my course, they emailed me whatever material I required be it recent and landmark case laws, model answers, GK and current affairs monthly magazines, test papers etc. you name it and they have it.

I also wrote answers and emailed them which they got checked by relevant faculty and sent comments and improvisations.

They also conducted special mains classes and interview guidance program including mock interview sessions which really helped me.

It is not that coaching is the sine qua non for selection. People also crack the exam by self-study but if you want proper guidance in less time, coaching is a good option. I would highly recommend Rahuls IAS to all the judicial services aspirants.

How was your interview and what sort of questions were asked?

My interview was a short personal interaction only. It was a very nice experience. They made me so comfortable and the board was highly supportive and encouraging.

They asked where I did my LL.M from and what was my specialisation. They then sought an explanation about my gap years after 2016. I explained to them that I had moved to Australia along with my husband.

They then sought an explanation on how am I going to manage two continents after selection. So I told them that my husband is only on deputation and our marital home is in Delhi and our visa will soon be expiring after which we will be moving to Delhi only.

They asked me about my present work profile as well. They seemed satisfied with my answers. The interview lasted for around 5 minutes.

Anything else you’d like to tell our readers.

Always be positive in life. There are ups and downs, but try to overcome them with strong will power and dedication.

Also, remember that few things are destined, so do your best and let the things flow. Time will take its own course. Hard work never goes in vain.

You will be paid for it in some form or the other. God forbid, even if you don’t clear any exam, if you have studied honestly, you will become an excellent student of law who can do wonders in any legal field. The sky is the limit.

All the best!

 

Editor’s Note: Read more on Delhi Judiciary Toppers’ Interviews here.

 

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