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HindustanTimes Mon,28 Jul 2014
Make law, not war
Gauri Kohli, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 30, 2014
First Published: 09:50 IST(30/4/2014)
Last Updated: 10:15 IST(30/4/2014)

Qualifying the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) and other national-level law entrance tests is quite challenging given the tough competition. The CLAT is an all-India entrance test conducted on rotation by 14 National Law Universities for admissions to their undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes (LLB and LLM). The seventh edition of CLAT will be conducted by the Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar, on May 11, 2014.

CLAT and law entrance tests have five sections – legal awareness/legal reasoning, general awareness, English language, mathematical ability and logical ability.

“As far as legal awareness is concerned, it is entirely new to all the candidates from humanities, commerce and science backgrounds. The test is meant to check the candidates’ basic legal acumen and they have to answer questions on legal terms and maxims, PIL, civil law, criminal law, constitutional law and law of torts.

Constitutional law is the most important section because without a sound grounding in constitutional law, one cannot master the other laws. The legal terms part is the backbone of legal awareness because if you are not aware of minor differences between accused, guilty or convict, cognizable or non-cognizable offences etc, you cannot understand the problems of law and solve them. In civil and criminal laws, you must be aware of the basics and need not go into the finer details,” says Atul P Bhardwaj, CLAT coach and author of several books on law entrance tests.

The test of English language demands clarity on fundamentals of English grammar and composition and vocabulary. Vocabulary building consists of ten verticals: words and their meanings, their usage, synonyms, antonyms, idioms and phrases, one word substitution, word formation, specific words, spelling of words and their MCQs.

The grammar part again consists of some verticals: parts of speech (number/gender form of noun, degrees of comparison (adjective), prepositions, conjunctions and other cases). “Without the understanding of tenses, voice, narration, one cannot be comfortable with composition. The right understanding of modals, determiners, non-finites is quite indispensable. Knowledge of common errors is necessary to qualify a competitive exam. Once one gets acquainted with these two aspects then reading comprehension, sentence completion, sentence correction and other ancillary verticals can be of no problem for the candidates,” says Bhardwaj.

Mathematical and logical ability are meant to check your basic IQ level and speed. It requires mastery over matric level mathematical formulas, their applications, tricks and short cuts to solve the problems within the stipulated time limit. General awareness has a vast range but the focus should be on history, politics, geography, science, economy, and current affairs.

Besides having a thorough knowledge of all subjects,candidates should clarify any point that confuses them. “If you don’t have any, that’s great. However, if you do have a few, do not get disheartened. After all, mistakes and doubts only help you identify your weak areas and this helps you streamline your preparation better. Make a list and flag them under various headings,” says Amandeep Rajgotra who anchors law test preparation at Career Launcher LST.

Legal stalwarts

Instrumental in fighting some landmark cases, these lawyers are among the most high profile and experienced jurists in the country with formidable acumen and complete mastery over  court craft

Fali S Nariman
A noted ­constitutional expert, known for ­subjects ­related to global arbitration

Ram Jethmalani
Served as union law minister, has taken up controversial and high profile cases

Harish Salve
Well-versed in constitutional, ­commercial and tax laws

Soli Sorabjee
His fight for freedom of expression earned him the Padma Vibhushan

Gopal ­Subramanium
Youngest lawyer to be designated a senior advocate suo motu by the SC in 1993

Mukul Rohatgi
A top-notch lawyer whose legal acumen won many political and coporate cases


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