On Time management and cracking OJS – Interview with Monica Acharya

Today we have Monica Acharya, JMFC (Puri). She cracked the judiciary exam in the first attempt while balancing her time with an LLM degree. In this interview, we chat about getting into law, the various facets of the preparation stage, time management and the life after.

Namaste Madam! Thank you for taking out time for the interview today. It is so exciting to have you on the blog before we proceed further, would you like to introduce yourself?

Hello!! I am Monica Acharya and am currently posted as Judicial Magistrate First Class in Puri.

Let us start with the quintessential question – Why did you choose to study law?

Frankly speaking, I had no interest to join law. I gave the 5 year integrated entrance exams at random at Utkal University and I got a very good score. So I decided to join law. Initially I did not like the course but gradually when I got good marks in my semester exams, my interest in law developed.

Even within law, the corporate sector and litigation are highly sought after so what was your motivation to join judiciary?

I remember when I was in my 3rd-year law, I got to know about judicial services and one of our faculties cracked the OJS exam. Then I decided to prepare for OJS examination and I was determined and focused to get into judiciary. There were many other options given by family, friends and well wishers to get into civil services or lectureship or into practice, but my aim was to become a judicial officer. I had lost my father when I was only 18 years old at around the time I had just joined law. I wanted to fulfill his wish. He wanted me to become a judicial officer. Then as I am the elder one, I had many responsibilities. My mother is my biggest inspiration; she always motivated me in many ways. So these are the things which motivated me and pushed me to fulfill my aim and join judiciary

In a recent interview on YouTube, I saw someone mention that at least 5000 hours of dedicated study is required for cracking judiciary examination. What is your opinion on this point of view?

That’s fine, but in my opinion it is the qualitative study that speaks and not the quantitative study. How much you study, that is not important, but what you study that is important. From my personal experience I am telling I never studied for hours on end because I was doing my masters in law (LLM) while simultaneously preparing for judicial services exam. So what you study that is important according to me and not the hours of study done.

You cracked the OJS in your first attempt while balancing a master’s degree in Human rights. How did you balance your time and work load during your preparatory period?

Yes I cracked OJS in my first attempt and at that time I was doing my masters also. I made a timetable like what to study and how much to cover. With that things went very smoothly. I must tell time management is very important when you are preparing for competitive exams. I always believed in three things that are to be kept in mind. They are dedication, determination and perseverance. With these three things, everything will be fine.

What would you say is the secret sauce to your success in the judiciary exams?

There is not exactly any secret sauce. I also took coaching for OJS but coaching is not everything. Coaching is just guidance. In the end, everything depends on you. You have to work hard, make notes, stay calm, and have patience. You must have faith on yourself that yes I can do it. Being self confident is also required. But never be complacent on anything. Just keep on working and rest everything upon the almighty.

How did you prepare for the answer writing part of the exams, especially since they require both speed and accuracy?

See I always prepared the notes myself. I never borrowed anyone’s notes. I prepared notes of each and every subject on my own. By doing that I developed my writing part and yes you have to be a speed writer and answer to the point because we get less time in the exam. The mains exam is subjective, so we have to write long answers, short notes, etc. where time management becomes very important.

Among the aspirants, there is a popular belief that one needs to have elephant memory in order to memorise all the sections. Do you believe that memorizing sections is a huge chunk of the preparations? And how should one go about it?

Yes there are a lot of sections and case laws to remember. As there is a saying practice makes a man perfect. So you need to go through the topics, sections and make notes. Then revise it on a daily basis. Rome was not built in a day. Cracking a tough exam like OJS can’t happen overnight, so one should work hard and have patience, stay focused and things will fall into place.

Being a judiciary officer is a highly demanding job, do you have time to unwind and relax, perhaps pursue your hobbies? If so, how do you relax after a particularly tiring day?

It’s a really a tough job but we need to maintain a balance between our personal and professional lives. Of course our job is hectic but it also gives us a chance to serve our society by giving justice to the people who are victimized and seek relief from the court. So job satisfaction is very important. One should enjoy what one is doing. We must enjoy our work and yes I try to give time to myself and relax a bit. I love to painting, listen to music, watch movies and I love to cook. I also cook every day. After coming from the court I go on a walk – it feels so relaxing and I feel fresh.

Thank you again for your time today, would you like to give a parting message to our judiciary aspirants?

You are most welcome. Thank you for interviewing me. There is no particular message which I can give to the judiciary aspirants. Everyone has their own way to prepare for the competitive exams. I want to say just put your efforts and give your best, work hard, have patience, never be depressed or frustrated by thinking that you can’t do anything. There is no such thing that you can’t do. Always believe that you can achieve what you want. You have the potential to achieve anything you desire. Ignore the negative criticisms and take the constructive criticisms. Trust me it really works. That’s all I want to say. Thank you!

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