For today’s interview we have Abhinandan Rai who secured rank 8 in the Prestigious Odisha Judicial Service exam of 2019. He shares his journey of working in corporate sector to preparing for judiciary to finally cracking it! Enjoy!
Congratulations on cracking the prestigious and much coveted judicial services! And thank you for your time! Would you mind introducing yourself for our readers?
Thank you for the warm wishes. It would be my pleasure to introduce myself to the audience. I am Abhinandan Rai, born and brought up in Cuttack. After doing my matriculation from Secondary Board High School, i have pursued +2 Science from Ravenshaw Junior College, cuttack. I have completed my B.B.A.LL.B. (Integrated Law) from SOA National Institute of Law, Bhubaneswar and LL.M. (2018-20 Batch) in Criminal Law from Madhusudan Law College Cuttack.
Before we get to the preparation part, I must ask the quintessential questions – why law?
It was my childhood dream to be a Judge so choosing law as a career option is my own conscious decision. Apart from that i believed studying Law can boost the self confidence and improve the personality so after analysing the scope in this field i have joined Law School.
Why did you decide to prepare (read slog for thousands of hours) for judicial services when more lucrative options are available in today’s legal industry? Especially with the enhanced temptation of the corporate life?
Though from the beginning i have already made up my mind to crack Judiciary but with the passage of time i was lured to join corporate sector and eventually worked for two reputed Multi National Companies (LPOs) and in a NGO. But then i realized why i have started this journey and I felt my salary can not bribe me to forget my dreams. So i quit the job and started preparing for OJS and it was really satisfying when the hard work and enthusiasm pays off.
Having made up your mind when did you start preparing for OJS?
From the 3rd year i have buckled up my preparation for OJS and focusing more on OJS compulsory and optional subjects which i have decided to take up. I am blessed to have a teacher who always motivates us during the classes by showing some motivational quotes and videos and by encouraging us not to give up which really helped me to stay focused.
Do you believe coaching is essential for cracking the exam?
In my point of view coaching is not a sine qua non for cracking Judiciary and it varies from student to student but a proper guidance from seniors or teachers will certainly gears up your preparation and will help you to crack Judiciary expeditiously.
How did you go about your preparation? Is the age old formula of making notes – cramming – mock test still as good as gold?
Firstly, in Mains written exam of OJS Cramming something will not lead you to anywhere. If you will write the answer in your own language then it will fetch you good marks.
Secondly, making your own notes will help you to quickly revise it just before exam. So make it a habit to prepare your own notes for future references.
Thirdly, by attending mock series you could test where you stand and in which area you need to focus and work harder. Also by giving mock tests your confidence will be increased and your exam phobia will fade away.
Lastly, I used to solve many MCQ papers for prelims. I have decided to attend at least 85 questions in preliminary exam and surprisingly i have secured 80 marks out of 100 so i am happy to see my strategy worked out though many students have different strategies like attending only 50-60 questions of which they were sure as negative marking is there so its upto you and for Mains, i have selected some of the important questions by analysing past 10 years question paper of OJS and regularly practice it until i am satisfied with my answers. I used to refer many YouTube videos, text books, eBooks, commentaries etc. For answer writing. I think that clicks as i have scored 399 marks in Mains. For interview i watched many mock interviews and appeared for one mock interview and that helps me to secure 95 out of 100 (highest mark in viva for OJS 2019).
How did you remain consistent with your preparation during the entire period leading up to the final interview?
One need to have that fighting spirit alive in their stomach to crack Judiciary. So i made short term as well as long term plans and made routine and tried to stick to it. If one day i failed to adhere to it then in the next day i worked bit harder to make it up.
What was your reaction to the result?
I have a superstitious belief that if i will check my own result i will fail so my mother informed me that i have cleared OJS 2019 and secured Rank 8. Instantly i breathed a sigh of relief and was really thrilled and delighted as my hard work and sleepless nights paid off.
How did you memorise the sheer overwhelming amount of laws required for the exam?
I never tried to memorise the provisions literally rather i was more interested to know the intent behind the provisions. If you will enjoy reading as a story it will be easier to understand the concept. You just need to remember the ingredients, few important cases and some illustrations. Never try to by heart and mug up the bare act otherwise you will be confused.
There’s a difference in being in the top 10 and qualifying the exam. What is something that you believe you did differently that has helped you achieve your rank?
There’s no such big difference between being at Top 10 and others who have qualified. It’s just a matter of few marks. Your competition is with yourself so don’t compare yourself with anyone.
On a daily basis, how much time did you devote to the preparation?
Qualitative study and smart work matters as the Mains exam is so compact and you will not get time to revise everything within short span of time. I used to study for 10-12 hrs daily.
How did you unwind and rest after a long tiring day of studies?
I take power naps to refresh my mind in regular intervals of studies and in free time i used to discuss about law with friends and to reduce stress i used to watch some movies, series as well.
How did you look after your health during the preparation period since there are many aspirants that keep falling ill during this strenuous period.
If we took a lot of pressure and didn’t take the proper diet and sleep, naturally it will affect our health. Even due to late night studies i was having severe headache. So i have decided not to drag myself harder rather to utilize my time properly and take sufficient amount of rest. It helped me to increase my efficiency and memory power.
How did you make your notes? (If you did, that is)
Though I didn’t get enough time to make complete notes on each subjects but i used to make bullet notes and headnotes in the bare act and books itself. Also while reading a section i used to translate it in simple odia vernacular language which could be understood by layman. It helped me in quickly revising the sections.
Often those who prepare for competitive exams, quit technology and social media. What is your thoughts on this?
A coin has two sides. So its upto you how to utilize the technology in positive manner to achieve your goal. As i stated earlier due to covid 19 i got many e-books and commentaries free of cost and as many talented and reputed lawyers and academicians joined YouTube and conducted webinars, it works as a boon for me to crack Judiciary. So if i would have quit social media i couldn’t expand my horizon of knowledge.
Would you like to give a parting message to aspirants?
I can only show you the path, i can only guide you but ultimately you need to do all the hard work. So never get disheartened even after failing once. All your efforts will be paid off. Keep on learning and enjoying the journey. I wish you all the best for the upcoming Judiciary exams. I hope after reading my journey and experience, it will help you in your preparation.