I'm a law graduate from one of the top National Law Schools. I wrote my first mains this year with law optional. I thought I'd share some of my impressions and realizations during the course of the preparation with fellow aspirants. Here are some of my key takeaways while preparing law-
1.) There is hardly any guidance available for law optional online. There is a patent lack of resources and study material as well as guidance from senior candidates/successful candidates on their strategies, methods etc.
2.) There is a serious lack of good coachings and test series especially true for students outside Delhi.
3.) The subject can be extremely rewarding if you have the right resources and the preparation is good. But it is difficult to finish the syllabus in a holistic manner and focus on important areas due to a lack of guidance.
4.) Finishing the syllabus is a task as there are a lot of specific things that you have to internalize but honestly speaking they might not be very important from the point of view of UPSC. It is difficult to ascertain the risk and reward quotient of different parts of the syllabus unless you have a clear idea of the requirement of the paper.
5.) The questions are always on predictable lines - a good mixture of current affairs based questions and key concepts. Current affairs based questions have gained significant prominence over the years.
6.) It is easy to predict the line of questions hence answer writing becomes even more important.
7.) Content enrichment in the form of adding case laws and relevant provisions is extremely important to fetch good marks.
8.) There are hardly any resources available to understand the answer requirements- no model answers or topper's answers etc.
Unfortunately, due to a number of above mentioned limitations, I could not give my best this year. It took a lot of time just to collate resources and even then there was a patent lack of genuine and good feedback. There was no way to judge the direction of my preparation or whether my answer writing was upto the mark. Therefore, I suggest the following for people preparing for next year-
*I'd humbly request senior candidates/successful candidates to take some time out from their busy schedules and guide the aspirants.
*Answer writing and feedback are extremely important. Due to a lack of good coachings, peer collaboration and review become the most important way to improve.
*Most of the questions are now related to current affairs hence it becomes really important to constantly analyse legal current affairs and make a list of possible questions and try and answer them.
*Solving past year question papers is also a very good way to practice answer writing. Past year question are often repeated.
*Finally, make a clear strategy of how to cover topics and stick to it while also practicing answer writing simultaneously.
I'm planning to do all of the above for my next attempt in 2018 and looking for a group of motivated individuals for collaboration and peer review. If you are interested, you can pm me or reply to this thread and we can start as soon as possible. Any genuine suggestions to improve the method of preparation are also welcome.
A fellow law aspirant.