A well-planned study schedule and a personalised strategy are musts for tackling any entrance exam and the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is no exception.
The all-India entrance test for admission to undergraduate and postgraduate programmes is conducted on rotation by 17 national law universities across the country.
Toppers from previous editions of CLAT have useful advice on how they juggled the preparation for this competitive test, Class 12 Boards, coaching classes and more.
For Rongeet Poddar, all-India rank 3 CLAT 2015, the last one week in the run up to the test was the most crucial.
“Make a time-table that suits you for the last few days after assessing your strengths and weakness in the five sections - general knowledge (current affairs and static GK), math, legal aptitude, English and logical reasoning and make sure you follow it. Revise current affairs from relevant general knowledge websites and focus on current affairs daily updates for the last six months,” says Poddar.
Take two to three mocks every day. “Set yourself a target of 15-18 mocks in the last few days before CLAT. Assess your mock scores and see where you need to improve,” he says.
There is no definite order in which you can attempt the five sections. Stick to the pattern that suits you best. Start with the section where you expect to score well and gradually move to weaker areas.
General knowledge is a vast area and one of the most important components of the test. “Don’t feel bogged down by the volume of static GK and current affairs materials that you feel you still require to study, in the last few days. Take the past years’ papers as guidelines to understand what’s relevant and what’s not, adds Poddar.
If you are unable to answer a question in the test or feel it’s taking too much of your time, move on to the next one. Do not waste time. Remember that you have to do 200 questions in 120 minutes.
“Ensure you do not have too many questions to answer in the last quarter of CLAT. Just keep time for answers you are not too sure of but feel you can handle after going over the questions once more,” adds Poddar.
Sarthak Gupta, all-India rank 4, CLAT 2012, says he did not adhere strictly to a time table while getting ready for CLAT, but he made it a point to read the newspaper every day, especially the editorial section. “Doing so is essential as this helps one in increasing both vocabulary and general knowledge, components that form a major chunk of the paper. I did not compromise daily practice for the test. This included mock tests, practice exercises or past year papers of LSAT and NLSIU, Bangalore. I tried attempting them in a timed manner so as to simulate the examination environment as closely as possible,” says Gupta.
What he, however, did not do was refer to any off -the-shelf book touted as a ready reckoner for cracking CLAT. “You do not need to read such books for cracking this test. There is no substitute for practice,” says Gupta.
First, he attempted the sections where he knew the answers and left out the rest for later. “In a test where each question carries equal weightage, it makes more sense to attempt as many as possible in the limited time that you get,” says Gupta.
Pallavi Panigrahi, all-India rank 2 in CLAT 2012, solved around 50 mock papers in the last two months, which she says made all the difference.“I didn’t have a very rigourous daily timetable given that I had prepared for two years. While in Class 11, I used to work on CLAT components for an hour or two every day in order to keep in touch with GK. It was only in the latter half Class 12th that prep time increased to four to five hours a day and went up to 10 to12 hours a days in March and April after the Boards,” she says.
As she English and math were her strengths, Panigrahi did not have to focus too much on both. “The only manner of doing logical reasoning well was constant practice (guide books, questions available online etc) and that is what I did. GK (both static and current) was a prolonged effort that I built up in two years. The component that required a lot of work was legal aptitude and I was fortunate enough to have a good teacher in the coaching centre that I attended,” she says.
Read more: How to crack CLAT