The next four months is the most crucial time when it comes to your CLAT preparation. Regardless of how much of effort you have/ have not put in, it can all be made up in these crucial months. This article will try to give you an overview of how you need to plan preparation to maximize the time that you have left.
The approach to your preparation can be split up into three parts. The first part is understanding concepts. Whether it be math or legal reasoning, if you understand basic concepts well enough to apply them without angst or frustration, then applying them in mocks would not be a challenge. I highlight the necessary effortlessness required: practice questions and explore concepts until you can explain them to an intelligent five-year old: you must not struggle with starting from scratch every time. For example, in profit-and-loss problems, you should be so thorough with formulas and shortcuts that you can play around with them at will. If you struggle, ask yourself what you don’t understand. Ask yourself every question possible and reach out to resources like teachers or the internet for help.
Next, figure out the order in which you will attempt sections. This is very important; the order can make or break your attempt. Some sections require a little more time, whereas some are demoralizing and therefore affect subsequent performance. The order is something that varies from person to person and cannot be determined by anyone other than yourself. Keep trying different orders in mocks until you reach the one that works for you and helps best utilize your time.
Towards the end, work exclusively on mocks. They test your preparation in a time-restricted setting and tell you where you stand amongst peers. Taking mock tests with a larger candidate base give you a reasonably accurate idea of your All India Rank. Another way in which mocks are important is that they help determine the amount of time that can be allocated to each section. Generally, the GK section takes up the least time and the Legal section the most due to the laborious attention and thought required to navigate questions. This may also hold true for the math section. Finding the correct distribution of time will help you optimize time you give to each section.
Here is a section-wise breakup of what should be done in the coming months:
CLAT English focuses primarily on grammar, comprehension and vocabulary. For vocabulary, the best approach is to learn root words (The word peninsula, for example, could be suitably deciphered if you knew that the root words paen and sula mean ‘almost’ and ‘island’ respectively). I would suggest using Norman Lewis’s Word Power Made Easy.
A good way to work through this section is constantly taking mocks. Identify errors and consciously work on those areas. For comprehension, practise reading paragraphs and work on increasing reading speed while maintaining accuracy.
Many consider this of the toughest sections in the CLAT exam. CLAT exam-setters are beginning to lean towards questions on current affairs rather than static GK. Static GK can be read from multiple sources including websites and books and completed in about 3 months. I recommend ‘CLAT essentials’ as it is a comprehensive collection of static GK covering a broad area of topics.
The current affairs section involves a more active process. It isn’t enough to just read a particular piece of information once but rather to cross-reference through multiple sources, and tug at various strands as appear in the news. It is important to stay connected and trace progress. I would suggest reading the daily briefs from ‘www.gktoday.in’ as a daily practice without fail. For a second time reading, I would suggest reading any monthly compendium that can be found online or in magazines.
This is a slightly unpredictable and varied section. The best way to prepare is to practise different types of questions. They can be found online or in books such as RS Agarwal.
You should also focus on understanding the method of tackling problems. Syllogisms and Arrangements are two such topics where having the basics down can help save time in the actual exam.
This section is easily scored in because a standard method, properly applied, will unerringly give you the correct answer. One book that I found especially helpful in this section was RS Agarwal for Quantitative Aptitude. Another source that relied upon during the final days were online tutorials that are available on YouTube for brushing up on shortcuts in the last minute.
Maths is not a section that is easy for everyone. But learning the formula and practicing a variety of questions is a good way to start preparing.
Legal Reasoning in general is split into 2 parts- Legal Awareness and Legal Reasoning. Legal Awareness concerns general developments in the law or legal system as well as basic law such as legal maxims. Last year, 15 marks were allotted to legal maxims. The split-up between these two sections cannot be predicted and it is always better to stay in touch with news of a legal nature. www.livelaw.in is a good source.
Legal Reasoning does not require any previous knowledge; merely application of the principle given to the facts. The best way to prepare for this section is to practise questions. It is also fair to keep in mind that you’re not expected to know the law and must not apply external knowledge, even if the principle yields counter-intuitive results. If the question says something, work on that assumption and answer it. CLAT papers from the previous years are a good source.
In addition to mocks there are 3 other resources I would recommend:
- Previous CLAT papers- These help you get a fair idea of the areas from which questions come. They also, obviously, serve as practise and reflect the trend that emerges in the setting of the papers.
- Previous AILET papers- Though they have a different pattern, they still are a good source of practice questions as they closely resemble the areas that CLAT tests.
- Pre- CLAT papers- Before 2008 national law colleges had separate entrances. The entrances of NLS, NALSAR and NUJS are a good place for short and effective tests. These can be done once a day as they consume less time. Most Legal Reasoning questions that are asked these days are taken from these papers.
Lastly, the way to doing well in the CLAT is not only to work hard but also to work smart. Working effectively for a fixed period of time daily and doing mocks consistently will help increase scores. It is also important to look at where you went wrong and to learn from those mistakes. Think about the material you absorb, and keep calm. It is important to think on your feet. Do not panic. Think of CLAT as an exam that attempts to eliminate people rather than select people. If you stay focused, anything is possible. Good luck!
We’d like to thank Abishek and Vasudha (Batch 2022, WBNUJS) for taking out time from their busy schedule and sharing their experiences.
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