Do numbers scare you? Do you have nightmares about freakishly difficult sums? The kind where you have numbers chasing after you while you stand rooted to your spot in terror waiting for them to gobble you up? Is that the case? Do you take a look at the math section of the current mock test you are doing and draw a complete blank? If it so happens that you belong to the class of people who are phobic about math, the miserly 20 marks that CLAT accords to Mathematics might seem to be insurmountable.
So what do you do in such situations? Leave out the entire section? Mark answers randomly? (If you do follow this particular strategy or whatever you call it, please reconsider. This might have worked in the previous years, but with the introduction of negative marking, it’s probably the worst way to approach it!). Or do you sit down in the company of a number of math books everyday trying to figure out the best way of solving that one elusive question you can’t solve no matter how hard you try? What should you do when your phobia about math threatens to undermine your entire preparation?
Pause. Get rid of the big fat books for a minute and think. Look at the past years CLAT papers. Are the math questions given there actually that difficult? Do they actually constitute the stuff that nightmares are made of? No. The kind of math that is needed for CLAT is not rocket science. They do not test your knowledge of difficult formulae or elaborate steps. What they do test is your skill at solving simple sums in the shortest possible time period. Believe it or not, the kind of math that CLAT tests is basic school level math (Yes. Some of it was covered in 7th standard. I checked. *grin*).
Here you might ask me about the numerous questions you couldn’t solve in the last mock you appeared for in your coaching centre. The questions given there were certainly not 7th standard questions, you counter. Well, the time tested method for any preparation is to practice the most difficult questions possible so that the actual questions in the exam seem easy and this is what the coaching institutes try to simulate. However, by now you know that the actual questions are not going to be that difficult. So, relax.
Now, after you have gathered your wits and stemmed the rising panic, the next step is to form a plan of action. So some of you list out the various books that you are going to solve before the D-day. Best course of action, is it? No. Clutter your table and all you will do is confuse yourself. Instead, figure out the broad heads from which you can possibly get questions. For instance, Simple and Compound Interest, Percentage, Profit Loss and Discount, Speed Distance and Time and the like. This is the important part. Once you are done with this, all you need to do is to practice a few sums from these sections every day while timing yourself. The more you practice, the lesser time it will take. Yes, it is as easy as it sounds. As a previous article brilliantly put it, you gotta love the numbers. The more comfortable you are with numbers, the lesser time you will take to solve the questions. For those who share my special distaste for numbers (:P ), try incorporating math in your everyday life. Check the bill amount every time you shop or eat out. It will give you your much needed addition practice. Or try the Car Number Game. (See this) Basically, anything to complete your daily quota of number crunching.
And here, I will insert a word of caution. Do not spend inordinate amount of time practicing math because it fuels your phobia. Do it if you feel it is necessary. While regular practice is absolutely imperative, panicking about it and doing 50 sums a day isn’t. So study hard. But more importantly, study smart!
Batch of 2017 – NLSIU.