As you must be knowing, Mains Examination is the second stage in the Judiciary Recruitment Exams. It is a subjective type test that holds the most weightage in the selection process.

While clearing preliminary examination only makes one eligible to appear for Mains level. The cumulative marking of both the Mains Exam and Viva Voce (Personal Interview) becomes the decisive factor in securing merit for notified vacancies.

While the number of papers and subjects at the Mains stage varies from state to state, Law exams of Civil Law (Usually divided into Civil Law I and Civil Law II) and Criminal law are common to all stages.

In this post, addressing all the common doubts of Judiciary aspirants like you, we will elaborately lay down the types of questions asked, tips to write a good Answer in Mains Examination along the format of answers for all types of questions.

Types of Questions Asked in Mains Examination 

Questions asked in Mains Examination can be categorized on the basis of two basic parameters

Marks allotted and expected length of Answer

On this basis, Questions in Mains are either:

  1. Short Note Types (which are usually less than 10 marks and require only a precise answer)
  2. Long Answer Types (which are more than 10 marks and demands elaboration on the point of the law asked)

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The approach of asking a point of Law

On this basis, Questions in Mains can be either:

  1. Factual Matrix Question (This format of question presents a certain factual scenario and in connection with the same demands elaboration on some point/(s) of law. These types of questions are now increasingly being asked in several state Judiciary exams).
  2. General Law Questions (These are usual questions that you must have also attempted in your Law school exams which simply ask for elaboration on any concept or point of law)

While long and short note general questions of law are the most common type of questions that almost all the judiciary Mains examinations are filled with, Factual Matrix Questions which are usually long answer types only are now increasingly being found in Judiciary exams as a new emerging trend.

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General Tips for Answer Writing in Mains Examination

  • You should have clarity of concepts of all law subjects mentioned in the syllabus.
  • Keen reading of the question before attempting is a must so as to have a clear idea of what is exactly asked by the examiner.
  • You should definitely check out and practice answer writing from the previous year's question papers of Mains to be well-versed with the format and trends of your targeted state judiciary exam.
  • You must not only study the law but also learn the application of legal principles in a given set of facts.
  • The time-bound practice of answer writing can immensely help you not only with writing speed but can also equip you with the habit of thinking on your feet.
  • If the word limit to a question is not provided, the important question of how much is to be written in a given question depends primarily on two factors: Marks allotted to the same and scope/need of extension in the answer.
  • The length of the answer or number of pages is not a decisive factor for marking. So, keeping your answers brief and to the point helps a lot in completing the exam on time.
  • Decide your own word limit by considering the length of the exam, your writing speed, and the amount of content you have for any particular answer.
  • Make sure to write neatly in legible handwriting so that your answer is readable for the examiner.
  • Making short paragraphs or pointers is a suggested way so as to hold the examiner's interest.
  • Contrary to popular opinion, not every answer requires the mentioning of case laws. So, write case laws only if they are relevant and dealing directly with the question asked.
  • You should only write either the landmark judgments or recent important case laws which can help in conveying your clarity of the concept.
  • In spite of the kind of question asked, some requisites of a good Mains answer are: Legal Provision and concept of the law. Illustrations and/ case laws are only meant for the beautification of an answer.
  • Adhere to the Answer formats given below to secure good marks in the Mains examination.

The general format of an Answer in Mains Exam

Introduction

An answer can be made impressive by starting it with a brief introduction. It can either be about the definition of the legal concept asked in the question, importance or Object of the law or Background or history of the provision.

Whatever you may choose, the introduction must always be straightforward, precise and must not be more than 4-5 lines in total.

Main Body

This is the most important and decisive part of the whole answer. You should incorporate all the necessary details asked in the question here.

The main body of any answer must include the relevant provisions of law, applicability or enforcement of the same, recent amendments (if any), illustrations for clarity of your conceptual knowledge.

Landmark or recent case laws are also added in this part of the time permits or answer demands the same.

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Conclusion

While most of the candidates skip this part, writing a brief and effective conclusion can greatly impact your marks.

Here, a summary or gist of the whole answer is written along with major takeaways for the examiner to ensure that your knowledge of law has been sufficiently conveyed.

Format of a Short Note in Mains Exam

Since short notes carry fewer marks and are usually asked on short concepts of law, the elaborative general format can be skipped in this.

The following skeleton for a short note is recommended:

Introduction

In short notes, a simple introduction of 1-2 lines is sufficient to convey your point across.

Main Body/Pointers

Unlike long answers, here the main body should be restricted only to the relevant provisions of law and the concept.

Case laws are recommended only if the question directly demands it.

Tips for Answering Factual Matrix Questions

Since factual matrix questions are usually elaborative and demand more specific information, completely sticking to the general format will not be sufficient.

The following format is recommended for these kinds of answers:

Introduction

Since the object of asking a factual matrix question is to test if a candidate can decode what law and legal provision will be applicable in the given facts, the introduction should lay down the law/legal principles which will be relevant in the mentioned factual scenario. This needs to be brief and on point.

Main Body

In this part, you should emphasize the appreciation of facts along with elaboration on the law, legal provisions that are relevant in the facts.

Clearly laying down the ingredients of law and establishing a connecting link between the facts and law is very important in this part of the answer.

You should also make sure to mention illustrations or case laws that are based on similar facts and convey a better idea of the applicable law.

At this stage, justifying your answer with logical and legal reasoning adds quality to it.

Read More: How to deal with Negative Marking in Judiciary Exams?

Conclusion

In conclusion, summarizing the whole answer along with writing a direct answer with respect to the factual matrix is a good technique.

For example: If the question is whether the offense of theft is made out in the given facts?

After discussing the law of theft, its provision and ingredients, and justifying your answer that theft here is/is not made out, the conclusion should simply lay down a summarized and direct answer that the theft is/is not made out in these facts along with its reasons.

Things to Remember While Answering Factual Matrix Question

  • You should always write an answer that is balanced both in the incorporation of facts and legal principles.
  • Avoid directly answering. This means like in the previous example of a question on theft, built on the answer by discussing ingredients of theft and appreciation of facts in its light rather than simply writing that offense of theft is/is not made out here.
  • Always use the Deductive approach (General to specific) while answering factual matrix type of questions.
  • Do not forget to consider all the aspects of the relevant law and set of facts and justify your chosen answer elaborately. The examiner by questions like these aims to test your skill of applying the law in factual situations.

FAQ's

How do I prepare for bare acts for Judiciary Mains Examination?

Start your preparation with bare acts as most of the questions in the mains exam are from bare acts. Make sure to study 5-10 bare acts everyday.

How to handle panic during the Judiciary Mains examination?

To avoid stress or any sort of panic during the exam, focus on what you know the best. Attempt the sections that you are confident about and start answering the ones you know the answers first.

Which are the best books to learn about Indian laws?

Code of Civil Procedure by Jatin Kumar Das and Code of Civil Procedure by T.P. Tripathi are the best books for reading about Indian laws.

How to prepare for Judiciary mains exam?

Make a study plan that covers all the topics as per the latest syllabus and start your preparation accordingly for the exam. Read all the definitions of bare acts and practice them without seeing them. Focus on the latest amendments of each and every act of  Syllabus to score good marks in the exam.