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Before you wear that black robe

Here are tips to help you crack the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) reports Vimal Chander Joshi
By Vimal Chander Joshi | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 05, 2010 09:39 AM IST

If you are appearing for CLAT 2010, it’s time you started revising the syllabi with a vengeance. Try to solve the previous years’ papers and also go through as many model test papers as you can.

So what should you focus on at the moment, when CLAT is just a few days away? How will you crack a test which opens the doors to 11 out of 14 national law universities?

Pay extra attention to the legal aptitude and general knowledge paper, which comprises 90 marks in total. “It would be an objective test of legal aptitude and knowledge. You have to be quite well-versed with the legal terminology for that,” says Alok Kumar Ranjan, director, Law Ambition, a coaching institute.

You have to be knowledgeable about legal matters to crack this 200 marks test. The questions will not only be restricted to the section on legal aptitude but also appear in the general knowledge and English sections. Students are tested on their knowledge of words like ‘prima facie’, ‘inter alia’, ‘alibi’ and ‘alias’. Though students write the test to enter law school, they should have a fair amount of knowledge of law compared to others.

What helps?
“Newspapers. Almost every day, you can find a news report on the verdict of a court case, which introduces the reader to a new set of legal fundamentals. For example, recently I read an article on a court ruling, as per which a woman who is the second wife can move the court under the Domestic Violence Act to claim maintenance from her husband,” adds Ranjan.

“Similarly, as per the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, a parent is not allowed to adopt two children of the same sex, but of late, a film actress was granted permission to do the same under the Juvenile Justice Act.”

Students must also pay special attention to the news – literally. In general knowledge, they are asked about names of places, people who were in the news recently. There could be some questions from the just-concluded IPL (Indian Premier League) series – like who won the trophy of the Man of the Series (Sachin Tendulkar). Questions cover sports, books, cinema and business.

Reading newspapers and listening to news/watching TV news channels is highly recommended. If you need to work on improving your command over the English language the edit page should be read every day. Be thorough with the Nation pages if you want to add to your general awareness. Brush up your legal knowledge by reading crime-centric news reports in the Metro pages. Page one must be given extra attention as it covers all the major news events. Don’t ignore ‘Short Takes’, too, says Ranjan.

How much time does a candidate need to be completely prepared to take the test? “One should spend around six to seven months studying for CLAT. As your preparations are cut short by the Board exams you must start preparing in August the year before you sit for the test,” Ranjan advises.

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