A race against time

A race against time

CRACKING CLAT

A race against time

It is all about speed, accuracy, and practice, writes Nishant Priyadarshi. 

 Not even a decade back, law was the last resort for graduates. Thoughts of lawyers in black coats seating in dingy courtrooms would send shivers down any self respecting individual. But, careers in law have taken a turn and definitely for the better. Now lawyers work in swanky corporate offices and work for corporates as varied as media, insurance, banks, FMCG, or become partners/associates in law firms.

So if you have good communication skills, both oral and written, are fond of reading, can convince others easily, have a logical way of thinking so that you are able to look at matters objectively and come to your own conclusions, then this is the career for you. And if you are smart, suave, presentable, and ready to voice your opinion, then this is the career for you.

Setting up of National Law Schools/Universities (NLUs), 5 Years integrated LLB right after 12th, world class education, and admission through Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) have helped the cause. With 14 NLUs and about 1700 seats at LLB level now, CLAT attracts the best students and they are being placed in the best law firms around the world. No wonder the NLUs have provided 100% Placements since inception and today, they compete with Harvard, Oxford, Yale, NUS and the likes. The biggest recruiters are Indian & International Law Firms, Consultancies, Corporates, NGOs, Legal Process Outsourcing companies, Government Organisations, etc. Students passing out from the National Law Schools/Universities get average placements of around 6-10 lacs per annum.

CLAT, which is conducted by Hidyatullah National Law University (NHLU), Raipur has a total of 200 multiple choice questions, each of one mark, and the duration of the exam is two hours. The subject areas covered are English (including comprehension), General Knowledge/ Current Affairs, Elementary Mathematics, Legal Aptitude, and Logical Reasoning.
    [Note: One major change in CLAT pattern this year is the inclusion of 0.25 negative mark for every wrong answer.]
How to maximize your score in CLAT-2013:

The key to getting a good score in CLAT-2013 is having sound subject knowledge and a good strategy to attempt the paper.
I. Build subject knowledge: Upto 10th April

Remember that as the exam is of multiple choice pattern, in depth knowledge is not required and the student has to develop the ability to spot the right answer.

* English: Work on your vocabulary, grammar, and reading skills. Books like ‘Word Power Made Easy’ should be useful for vocabulary. Revise basic rules in grammar and read lots of passages of 500-700 words from books/magazines/newspapers.

* General Knowledge/Currents Affairs: Do brush up on current affairs of the last 1 year (Apr-Mar) with special focus on legality, policy, economy, and constitution-related news.

* Mathematics: Just revise basic arithmetic chapters and do lot of simplification, and BODMAS based questions.

* Legal Aptitude: This section will test candidate’s interest towards study of law, research aptitude and problem solving ability. Basics understanding of legal terminology, constitution, contracts, criminal law, torts, legal general knowledge, etc will be of great help in maximizing scores in this section.

* Logical Reasoning: Work on logical and analytical reasoning question varieties like syllogisms, logical sequences, coding-decoding, analogies, puzzles, etc.

[Do get a good book for Logical Reasoning and Legal Aptitude, as you will need to build knowledge in these areas, since these subjects are not taught till Class XII.]
II. Take 2-3 sectional tests every day:

* 3-4 questions every minute in General Knowledge/Current Affairs

* 3 questions every 2 minutes in Math

* 1 question per minute in Logical Reasoning and Legal Aptitude
III. Write Full Length Tests: 11th April to 11th May

You should target writing at least 12-15 mock tests in the one month period, roughly 1 every 2-3 days. Try different sequences of solving the paper and see what works best for you. Stick to that strategy in the last 3-4 mock tests.

CLAT is a speed test. 200 questions in 120 minutes is no mean task. A student will need around 150 marks to get admission in top NLUs. This may however drop this year to about 135-140 due to negative marking. With an accuracy of 80-90%, you will need to attempt about 160-180 questions to get this score. So you really need to build your speed and allocate time properly between different sections. Remember that all questions carry equal marks and the English and General Knowledge questions are easiest to solve and least time consuming. You should try to solve them in about 15-20 minutes each. Give around 12-15 minutes to Math and you should be left with abut 70 minutes for the remaining two sections. You may give 30 minutes to Logical Reasoning and about 35-40 minutes to Legal Aptitude. Of all the sections, Legal Aptitude may be the most tricky and time consuming but remember that the score in this section will be used as the tie-breaker, if required.

AILET 2013 and other exams

AILET is the exam for admission to NLU Delhi. The exam will be conducted on 28th April and the pattern is identical to CLAT. The paper has 150 questions with 35 questions from each area except math, which has 10 questions. All other Law entrance exams are also very similar. So the same preparation strategy will work for AILET, CET, SET, LSAT as well. The only care to be taken is that a student must understand the syllabus and test areas of each exam properly and write 4-5 mocks of that exam before appearing for the main exam, so that he/she is accustomed to the paper and is able to build his/her strategy.

Dos* Revise all the test areas* Write lot of small (15-30 minutes) sectional tests* Download last 5 years of CLAT papers from CLAT website and practice them* Develop speed

Don’ts* Try to get in-depth knowledge* Compromise on accuracy* Try a new strategy in the exam* Spend time on a question you can’t understand

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