Who can appear for judges’ exam and how to prepare for it?


Judgeship is one of the most respected and coveted position in legal system of India. As Judiciary is as independent as Legislative and Executive, in our country, the importance and responsibilities of the judicial system and its custodian’s cannot be undermined. In fact, judges are the officials responsible for administering, interpreting and applying the laws incorporated in the constitution and the laws implemented by the legislature of the state and the central. To become a judge, the law graduate need to be highly knowledgeable and must have plenty of experience.[i]

What is Judicial Service Exam:

Judicial Services Exam is commonly known as the Provincial Civil Service-Judicial Exam (PCS(J)). These are the preliminary stage exams for law graduates to become a member of the subordinate judiciary. These exams are conducted, for hiring subordinate judges at the lower courts, by the state judicial department. The exams focus on Indian legal and constitutional governance and history, current developments of national and international interest, and analytical aptitude and skills of the candidate. Approximately fifty to sixty thousand law graduates apply for Judicial Services Examination each year, amongst which, hardly only 15 – 20 percent of the candidates pass the exam.

Examination Eligibility Criteria:

In case of appearing for Lower Judiciary Services :-

  • Must be a citizen of India.
  • Must be a law graduate holding a law degree from a recognized institution.
  • Must be enrolled as an advocate under The Advocates Act, 1961.
  • Must be a member in the state Bar Council.
  • Must be above the age of 21 years but below the age of 35 years.

In case of appearing for Higher Judiciary Services :-

  • Must be a citizen of India.
  • Must be a law graduate holding a law degree from a recognized institution.
  • Must be above the age of 21 years but below the age of 35 years.
  • Must have experience in litigation for a period of minimum 7 years.

Note: Qualified applicants of Law Service Commission or State Public Service Commission are also eligible for appointment as Magistrate and Sub Magistrate.[ii]

Structure of the Examination:

Preliminary Examination :-

It is a screening exam conducted to select candidates for the main exam, where the aspirants from general category needs to score 60 percent to pass the exam and in case of reserved category the passing mark is reduced to 55 percent. The results of this examination are not taken into account for final selection.

Main Examination :-

It is a subjective type of examination comprising three to four papers, the results of this examination are taken into account for the final selection. The candidates selected for the Viva-Voce / Personal interview are equal to three times the number of vacancies available.

Viva-Voce / Personal interview :-

This is the stage where the final selection is done, where candidates are assessed on general interest, personality and intelligence among other factors. The minimum passing marks required in this stage is 40 percent. After summing the marks scored in main examination and in the interview, the list of selected candidates for appointment as subordinate judges is prepared.

Syllabus :-

It differs between states, but the basic syllabus followed is between Civil law, Criminal law and Language. The weight given for language is up to 20 to 30 percent, the civil and criminal law sums up to be the majority portion of the syllabus.[iii]

Job Opportunity:

The final list of selected candidates would be provided with various job roles, among which the candidate needs to make the choice of what he/she wants to become :-

  • Magistrate
  • District and Sessions Judge
  • Sub-Magistrate
  • Public Prosecutor
  • Attorney General
  • Solicitors
  • Advocate General
  • Notary
  • Oath Commissioner

How to Prepare:

  • Need to make a proper plan and follow it with discipline.
  • Need to concentrate more on areas such as provisions, illustrations, the period of limitation, period/time-limits etc.
  • Need to solve previous year question papers to familiarize with frequently asked questions.
  • Can seek guidance from any known Judicial Officer, recently selected and delegated in the state.
  • Need to solve various related examinations, to improve time management and to understand the exam pattern.
  • Need to routinely visit official websites of High Courts and Subordinate Courts, and understand, the writings and ideas of orders or judgments passed, and drafts of charges and issues.
  • Need to read journals, newspapers, recognized books, and reports presented by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the Hon’ble High Courts.[iv]


It can be concluded from the above information that, any citizen of India with a law degree, within the prescribed age, with or without experience in litigation is eligible to appear for the Judicial Service Examination and be appointed as a subordinate judge. But the importance and responsibility of the role of a judge is highly significant, which requires for the examination to be immensely difficult for the applicants to pass and make it up to the final list. Thus it requires proper planning, high amount of motivation and discipline on the part of the candidates, to qualify for being appointed as a judge.

Edited by Pragash Boopal

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[i] Target Study, Magistrate/Judge – How to become a Magistrate or Judge, https://targetstudy.com/professions/magistrate-judge.html

[ii] NeoStencil, Judicial Services Exam, https://neostencil.com/judicial-services-exam

[iii] Careers 360, Indian Judicial Services Examination: What and How to prepare?, https://law.careers360.com/articles/indian-judicial-services-examination-what-and-how-prepare

[iv] NeoStencil, Judicial Services Exam, https://neostencil.com/judicial-services-exam

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Himanshu Parmar
I'm S. Himanshu parmar from SASTRA Deemed University pursuing B.B.A., LL.B. (Hons.). I generally show my interest towards Property laws, Family law, Company law and Mediation. I like listening to people and solve their problems which helps me focus on to things properly. I like to deal with numbers which is a main reason for me to be interested towards the above laws. The free times are spent reading news articles, listening to music, and watching movies.