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Priyanka Priyadarshini, AIR 387, Law optional UPSC

Priyanka Priyadarshini, is Graduate of National Law University Odisha , She opted law optional as her natural choice and in first mains she got rank.

Priyanka Priyadarshini AIR 387 law optional


Priyanka in her interview with Aditya Sir talks about her journey and preparation strategy for the Law optional paper. She goes into detail of how to prepare individual subjects and her journey. Topper's copy be found here

When journey Started?

Priyanka began her preparation in 2019 after graduating from National Law University, where she was a gold medalist. She gave her first attempt in 2020 without any preparation and realised the importance of a focused approach.

Over the next few years, she gave multiple attempts and narrowly missed the cut-off in her fourth attempt.

  • First three attempts - Couldn't clear prelims.

  • Fourth attempt - Reached the interview stage but missed the final selection by 10 marks.

  • Fifth attempt (2023) - Cleared prelims and interview, securing a rank.

Balancing Job and Preparation

Priyanka is already holding the post of Asst Director in Sports Authority of India. She managed her time between job and UPSC preparation.

She in her earlier attempts missed by few marks to make it to the final list, Last year she took the job is sports authority and has been working there since.

She use to study in morning and evening after job hours and did not wasted whatever time she got from the job. Any time she could find she devoted to study.

Subject-wise strategy for Law Optional

Here are the key takeaways from Priyanka's interview for the Law optional paper:

  • Constitutional Law: Refer to standard textbooks initially but focus on making your own notes later. Supplement your preparation with recent Supreme Court judgments through platforms like Supreme Court Observer. Traditional case law still are important and new decided cases needs to added for good marks. Law Optional Current affair supplied by De Facto was valuable.

  • International Law: Focus on areas that overlap with GS and refer to the internet for specific legal topics like nuclear law or WTO. Pdf Available of De Facto Website was big help for International law Preparation. Areas such as WTO and International Economic institution like World bank etc i combined their study with GS itself.

  • Criminal Law: Make notes on each act (IPC etc.) and refer to past year question papers to identify frequently tested areas. I simply revised them throughly and memorised the sections for all major areas. I didn't wrote about BNS, may be this year i will write as then it was not passed by parliament.

  • Contract Law: Refer to standard textbooks like D.K. Basu and Bang’s book on Contract Law. Pay attention to summarising important sections and case laws. Special Contracts (like Sale of Goods Act), NI act and Partnership act, I made notes covering relevant sections and important distinctions, Like difference between contract of sale and Sell, Difference between hire purchase and Insurance etc.

  • CLD- Contemporary Legal Development, consist of lot of laws but i totally relied on notes supplied by De Facto IAS, as it is concise and sufficient for all major topic given in CLD section of law optional syllabus

Law optional Resources

  • DUIs for initial reference (later found them to be overwhelming).

  • Consolidated notes prepared from standard reference books.

  • Supreme Court Observer for recent constitutional law developments.

  • Live Law and the provided list of cases for contemporary legal developments by De Facto IAS.

  • Relied on the internet for specific international law areas (nuclear law, TRIPS, WTO).

  • De Facto IAS prepared notes on each act for Criminal Law (CLD).

  • Dukki and college notes for Contract Law.

  • Bangia's book on Contract Law - summary of the Contract Act for quick revision.

  • Self-prepared notes from Bangia's book for Sale of Goods Act and Partnership Act.

  • Relied on standard reference book and made notes for IPC (Crime).

  • Focused on the Act and legal service articles for Prevention of Corruption Act and Civil Rights Act.

Discipline over motivation

Focus on maintaining a consistent routine and discipline rather than relying solely on motivation.

I use to write daily at least some mains question, it helped me keep into routine and perform better in mains examination. Motivation works but generally it wears off, Discipline is the key to success.

Support system

Having a strong support system of family and friends is crucial to overcome challenges during the long preparation period.

i was fortunate to have good support system, my parents supported me in every possible way and that gave me boost. When i use to feel demotivated my parents and friend Motivated me a lot.

GS and Law Optional Overlap

Priyanka also highlights the increasing overlap between GS and Law optional papers. She emphasizes that a strong foundation in Constitutional Law, Polity, and legal philosophy can be beneficial for both papers. GS paper - II question are more like law paper these days, question mentioning case law to answer the questions. In essay as well lot of lines of law was used by me.

  • Recent trends show GS paper II questions asking for case laws and legal philosophy, areas where Law graduates can gain an edge.

  • Legal knowledge can be used to strengthen answers in Ethics (GS Paper IV) by citing relevant articles and cases.

  • Overall Law preparation benefitted performance across GS papers.

Interview Experience

  • Described the interview as decent.

  • Major questions focused on:

  • Experience at the Sports Authority of India.

  • Her home state.

  • Basic Law questions (difference between law and rule, negotiation vs. mediation/conciliation).

  • Delegated legislation.

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