Higher Studies

Shruti Tripathi, Assistant Public Prosecutor, CBI, on preparing for the exam and securing rank 2 in JRF exam

Shruti Tripathi graduated from ILS Law College, Pune in 2016. Right after graduation, she did her Masters in criminology from Banaras Hindu University.  She also secured rank 2 in JRF/ NET exam conducted by UGC. She then went on to pursue UPSC(CBI(APP)). She shares her valuable insights with our readers on her experience along with advice on how to crack the exam.

In this interview, she talks about:

  • Her reasons for choosing law.
  • Her strategy for the preparation of the UPSC(CBI(APP)).
  • Advice to prospective law students aiming to make a career in UPSC(CBI(APP)).

 

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO OUR READERS?

I thought I didn’t need introductions anymore. Anyway, jokes aside, I would simply describe myself as a stoic. As a day-dreamer and a sloth, I am quintessentially an ambitious soul trapped in a lazy body. My mind is a battleground, wherein there are more losses than wins. Proving people wrong at every step is an utterly satisfying feeling and continuing to do so is pretty much what sums up my existence right now.  I was supposed to keep it short, so moving on now.

 

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO PURSUE LAW?

Looking at the hindsight I guess it was destiny, really. I was a Science group district topper from Varanasi. The entire North Indian neighborhood expected me to pursue engineering but, I was always drawn towards the enigma that my father’s chamber had to offer.(Yes! He was the Chairman, UP Bar Council, that time). And if I were allowed a bit of dramatics, Law was running down my family’s blood vessels and that’s how I happened to Law & ILS Law College, Pune happened to me. Don’t judge me for my bad theatrics, I am still learning.

 

PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR PREPARATION FOR JRF EXAM IN WHICH YOU SECURED RANK 2? WHEN DID YOU START PREPARING FOR UPSC(CBI(APP))?

Honestly, I wasn’t really aware all these exams ever existed. Like every other legal aficionado, I had my eyes set at cracking my state judicial exams. I still have that dream, though. Nevertheless, like every other government sector exams which test the threshold of one’s patience, judiciary vacancy never came after 2016. So, the waiting period opened up the Pandora’s Box for me and I realised that there was more to law than just judiciary and litigation. Therefore, I started filling all the forms that I could manage and that’s how I ran into UPSC via CBI(APP)

Since I had done my Masters in criminology from Banaras Hindu University, I was eligible for examinations for PHD and Assistant Professor, NET/JRF exams formerly conducted by UGC. The syllabus was similar to the judicial service examinations with a little modification. I qualified for Centre sponsored fellowship program(JRF) that awards scholarship up to 30k per month to the research scholars. So, I joined as a research scholar in BHU, shortly after being awarded JRF & started hogging on to that money: the money I never knew even existed.

 

HOW DID YOU START PREPARING FOR THE EXAMS? DO YOU THINK COACHING IS A PREREQUISITE TO CRACK THIS OR ANY EXAM?

Preparation for any competitive exams is a tough mistress and is notorious for going haywire, if executed without a pattern. While there isn’t any yardstick to articulate whether or not an individual will need a coaching, the secret recipe is the right form of guidance & a continuous thrust in the appropriate direction, to keep one motivated throughout the entire preparation period(As it gets really frustrating after a point of time).

Personally, I joined an institution, Varanasi Law Academy, managed by Praveen Dubey sir. Honestly, the kind of command he has over all the subjects including the ready-to-use dossier on the ever increasing career alternatives in legal field is quite enthralling.

WHAT WAS THE ROUTINE YOU FOLLOWED EVERYDAY THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF YOUR PREPARATION?

It was just get up, eat, sleep, and repeat. Adjusting study routine somewhere in between the important endeavours was the arduous task. Sincerely, preparation is all about wasting time and then end up feeling guilty about it. No matter how much you study, there’s always this humongous section of the day, where you didn’t. Each day the fight was to atone for that lost stretch.

On an average Day, I stole more time from the first half of the day for tough concept based studies & learning gig, while latter part of the day was devoted to making notes and solving question papers.

 

WHAT WAS YOUR STUDY PATTERN? PLEASE MENTION SOME OF THE BOOKS YOU REFERRED TO AND HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT PREPARING FOR EACH STAGE OF THE EXAM?

It might sound preachy, but success indeed knows no shortcuts. Neither notes, nor any coaching materials are going to help you unless you go back and do it conventional way, that is, the Textbooks. Any book which resonates with your style & understanding level is a good book.

I referred Takwani for Administrative law and CPC, Pillai for IPC, Avtar Singh for evidence and contract law, H.O. Agrawal for international Law & so on and so forth. I prepared my own notes, conducive for my slow processing brain, and would suggest everyone to do that, for law at least.

 

WHAT DID YOU DO TO KEEP YOURSELF MOTIVATED ALL THE TIME DURING THE COURSE OF PREPARATION?

As I said the primary Fillip to my Preparation module was My Teacher, My guide, My mentor, Praveen Sir. Another pillar to my vital mental sanity was & is my Mother, Anita Tripathi. I am just her conceptualised handiwork and owe everything I have, to her endurance and unwavering willpower.

For the other times where my mind gave up on me, I tried indulging myself in my poor musical taste and gulping down whatever I got. Having a cup of coffee by the window on a rainy day with my favourite author was therapeutic enough to get me through worst of days.

 

COULD YOU PLEASE GIVE SOME TIPS TO THOSE ASPIRANTS WHO ARE PREPARING FOR THIS EXAM? HOW SHOULD THEY GO ABOUT PREPARING DIFFERENT SUBJECTS LIKE GENERAL AWARENESS, OPTIONAL PAPER OF LAW?

There are no shorthand tips when it comes to exams like these. All I can say is having a robust dominance over the bare acts of all the subjects will give an assured and unqualified edge to the candidate over others. For remembering bare acts, I suggest all the novices to start by splitting the subjects into batches and then having it off pat by the correlation method. That would make it easier and less tiresome.

General awareness, well, I am sorry for the cliffhanger there, but that’s still a sixty-four dollar question for me too. You got to study all your history, geography and economy and current affairs and yet have to pray to be fortunate enough to be able to touch those minimum qualifying marks. At least that’s how it was for me.

 

PLEASE TELL US ABOUT HOW DID YOUR INTERVIEW? HOW SHOULD A LAW STUDENT APPROACH THE INTERVIEW FOR THESE EXAMS?

Haha! I totally savaged my own interview. I still remember passively crying over how bad I was in that room. One experience that I took back home that day was, that no one can prepare you for interview. Inside that space, in front of the panel, you forget that you were told not to be nervous, or to sit straight or not to fidget with hands & you are back to being yourself. And there’s where the key to cracking any interview is, my friends, be you.

Cliché as it may sound, but that’s what helped me. So, prepare for that panel since day one of your preparation. Act like you have been shortlisted & have to appear before a panel the day after so that the day you enter that room, which you definitely will, you are just yourself; the sheer perfection.

 

WHAT WOULD BE YOU MESSAGE TO THE LAW STUDENTS WHO WANT TO PURSUE THEIR CARRIER IN THE FIELD OF LAW?

Notwithstanding the fact that I don’t see myself as someone who could remotely give a message of great or any consequence for that matter, I’d surely like to write off my experience for future references. I’d suggest don’t be prejudiced against or oriented towards a particular career option. There are plethoras of option we aren’t conscious about. Also, don’t judge your success on the parameters of others, that’s a trouble-free road to depression & frustration; tread on your own risks. Be vigilant; be assiduous while simultaneously being indolent and blithe.

Here’s me signing off without further ado. Hope you find something helpful or entertaining, to the least, in the excerpt.

 

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