CLAT Preparation Strategy 2021
The CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) is considered by and large one of the toughest examinations to crack in India. While the number of aspirants, is still much lower than some of the other leading examinations at the after XII level such as the JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) or the NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test), the number of seats on offer, too is on the lower side. This makes the task of securing a seat at any of the leading NLUs (National Law Universities), such as in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata or the others, amongst the toughest. With CLAT 2019 results having just been declared, now is the perfect time to reflect on how to prepare for next year’s edition. CLAT 2021 is less than a year away, and typically, this is the time that students start preparing for it. There are some who go for two-year prep periods, while some even crack the exam during a month’s preparations after their boards, but one year is usually considered the best time duration of study for CLAT.
Let us tackle each of the five areas within CLAT individually:
General Knowledge (GK)
GK is possibly the toughest topic for most, but also the one that has the highest weightage. There are 50 questions directly from it, with another 15 odd questions from Legal GK asked in the Legal Aptitude portion. In recent years questions from Static GK have dwindled in number, but we can’t totally leave it out either. So, students must go through History, Geography, Economy and General Science from any national level publication such as Arihant, Pearson, Lucent or Manorama. Polity and Miscellaneous will need greater degree of study due to their relevance in Legal and Current Affairs respectively. Current Affairs forms the vast majority of questions nowadays in CLAT. Although the time duration of twelve months prior to the exam are considered, most of the questions are asked from the October to March duration. One needs to thoroughly go through newspapers such as The Hindu, especially its Editorial and National pages. Plus, online portals such as GK Today, TCY and Cloud Affairs are of much help.
This is another crucial segment, with fifty marks of weightage. In case of any tie between two students, the scores of this section are considered as the tie- breaker. Besides the earlier discussed Legal Knowledge, there are three major sections to this subject - Torts, Contracts and Criminal Law. Students must go over thoroughly from books on Legal Aptitude and Legal Reasoning. Universal, Arihant and Truemen are good books in this regard.
For many students, this becomes the easiest segment to approach. Unlike say GK which requires continuous study, or Legal which is a new concept, English is something students are constantly in touch with. While a good reading habit helps, regular practice is needed to hone the skills. For grammar, editions of Wren & Martin and Geraldine Woods are considered the best. Reading Comprehensions (RCs) often act as the time killers. So, these need to be treaded with much caution. Regular practice from across the topics will ensure, that the least amount of time is needed. The most popular topics for RCs are from philosophy, history, wildlife, art, literature, business and economy. Thorough reading of the passage is needed, as questions are mostly inference based.
Like English, this is also a fairly easy segment. The weightage is for a mere twenty marks, and no questions are ever asked which require higher mathematics, from beyond class X. Tenth standard R.S. Aggarwal or R.D. Sharma will suffice for this. Arithmetic and Algebra usually cover the larger segments of the paper.
Reasoning is actually a combination of both verbal logic, as well as analytical reasoning. So, one part is full of numbers and data, while the other is made of words and puzzles. Reasoning needs ample practice. Books by M.K. Pandey and R.S. Aggarwal will suffice. For Data Interpretation (DI) questions, the trick lies in forming the table. Once this is done, the rest of the questions flow automatically.
Besides these individual segment prep styles, there needs to be an overarching strategic idea, for the bigger picture. Since GK is something that cannot be skipped for too long, regular newspaper - reading habits will need to be inculcated. Beyond passive reading, one needs to form one’s own notes for the same. The legal concepts too will need to be grasped thoroughly. Interspersed between them, have to be the other areas. Needless to say, students need to work harder on areas of their weakness.
Test taking is also an art. The CLAT reverted to its earlier offline mode this year. Assuming it stays the same, students need to prepare with as many such offline tests as possible. Due to notifications being late, one cannot take a complete chance. So, some tests will also need to be taken on an online mode. Students also need to prepare for scenarios on which section to start with, which to end, and the general order. Such trends differ from one student to another, but the general consensus is that one may start from an area where the student is strong at. GK obviously requires the least amount of time due to the fact that, students either know or do not. There is no middle ground here. Whatever extra time a student gets, needs to be given to legal, as this is the make- or- break section.
RCs in English and the table-based DI questions are usually lengthier. So, students must divide their time adroitly, to make sure they aren’t spending too much time on one topic alone. The time of the test also matters. The CLAT exam typically takes place between 2 and 5 pm on a Sunday. Students must prepare at this time period especially. Mock papers need to be given during this time slot. This is to acquaint the body along the clock. Some students have a habit of taking an afternoon nap. So, this timing could affect them psychologically, that needs rectification.
Test givers must also seek continuous improvement in their CLAT mock papers. Too many mocks, especially at the start and the end may simply complicate matters. Instead, one could start off with topic-wise tests, to master individual areas. A year remains on from CLAT 2021. An early start will ensure they remain ahead of their competition. Lastly, no 2021 aspirant must get worried about the unusually high CLAT cut-offs this year. Such a scenario, need not repeat each year.