Sushmita Som has secured Rank 23 at the CLAT this year, and this is what she has to say about her preparation for the exam. She has some of the best CLAT tips to offer to all you law-school-hopefuls!
It was the summer of 2013 when I first thought of law as a career. I had a nebulous idea of what it really entailed – I saw one breed on TV and read about another in the papers, but that was it. On a lark, I decided to visit NLSIU on my vacation in Bangalore.
I didn’t know what National Law Universities were or what CLAT was, but this sums up what I felt:
I joined the classroom program of a coaching institute back home. I began reading the course materials slowly and irregularly, focusing more on adapting to my new subjects in ISC. I solved at least 15 mocks without analysing them (but thankfully increasing my speed). I scored within a 5 mark range on all of them!
In January 2014, I began CLAT prep in earnest – studying the fundamentals from every book in possession. There were many hiccups athwart my journey, chiefly my dread of mathematics and countless school examinations which blocked out at least 2 weeks of CLAT prep time every month, but a rough schedule ensured enough practice.
For Legal Aptitude, I read the principles, illustrations, landmark cases and practiced as many questions I could. Initially, this section took me over 50 minutes, but over time I was able to finish it in 20-25 minutes.
For English, I solved RC questions to improve my speed. I made use of this section as an excuse to read Wodehouse and watch “language enhancing” TV shows often. Airdates of various shows are clearer in my mind than many facts of GK! I could finish this section in 13-15 minutes (with a maximum of 2 RCs). This was fortunate as I needed the extra time for math.
For Math…..general avoidance? Not recommended! My advice here would be a list of do not’s. Do not skip geometry or permutation and combination. Do not restrict yourself to easy-moderate questions. Do not glaze over while reviewing your errors. Finally, do not use 30 minutes in your CLAT to get just 10 questions right!
For Legal Reasoning, practice of specific topics new to me (critical reasoning, arrangements) improved my accuracy and general practice of familiar topics (blood relations, directions, inter alia) usually in mocks developed my speed. This section took me 25-30 minutes depending on the kinds of questions.
General Knowledge and Current Affairs was the most frustrating part of the exam. I did not know it was possible to get 10 flukes wrong in a row (that’s -2.5/10) but mocks helped me understand when to exercise control and click Next. For current events, I maintained a scrapbook to compile points from various compendiums found online. Piece of advice: No monthly magazine/compendium can replace reading newspapers daily. You never know what TOI/The Hindu article the exam-setters found interesting. I learnt it the hard way. I solved random static GK tests I could find online. It was futile memorizing the locations of over 100 national parks in India months in advance, so I left that bit and the likes of it for the post-boards-CLAT-cramming-sessions.
(Word: Your family may not appreciate the shared joys of such sessions.)
Succeeding in CLAT is simple if you put your mind AND effort into it. There’s no foolproof method. You’ll probably receive enough 2 cents to become the next Param Sharma, but blindly following someone else’s strategy without adjusting it for your own strengths and weaknesses cannot guarantee you anything. That being said, always welcome genuine advice! [CG agrees vehemently!]
It’s never too early to start solving and analysing mocks. Do not wait till you finish the “syllabus” or “get an idea of the kinds of questions” – that is an endless process! Let entrance prep create eustress; enjoy it. The greatest thing about CLAT is that you can never truly be wasting time as long as you’re learning something from it.
Just be sure to put in your best effort; it’s always worth it.
Have fun and wish you the best of luck!
– Sushmita Som.