‘CLAT – Take Two’ – by Mrinali Komandur (AIR 24 – CLAT 2015)

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[This excellent post has been written by Mrinali Komandur, who bagged an AIR 24 at the CLAT this year. She has some great tips and some of the best advice to offer. Follow it religiously, and perhaps you’ll make it too!] 


May 11th 2014. The day is long past. But it defined a lot of things for me. I was taking the CLAT exam in the big exam hall at NLSIU. The invigilators handed me my paper, and I began, like everyone else in the hall, to race against time and give the paper my best. Except, I didn’t and I knew I couldn’t give it my best. I ended up with a rank of 800+. Those who wrote the exam with me, irrespective of the result, will agree that it was one of the easiest CLAT papers ever set, and I only thought to myself as I was walking out of the exam hall, if only I had studied for that one month after my boards and hadn’t slacked off like I had, I would have cracked the paper easily.

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Mrinali Komandur

Why is a failed attempt at the CLAT of any importance to anybody? I’m not entirely sure. But failure isn’t always a bad thing. For me, my first attempt at the CLAT taught me what not to do the second time around. Did things turn out differently? Yes they did.

What did I do differently the second time around? At the outset, I studied. As simple as it sounds, CLAT is not 99% luck and 1% hard work as people claim. And hard work always pays. But more importantly, I studied smart. I made sure I understood all the concepts, be it in math, legal or logic instead of simply practicing different types of questions.

By the end of my CLAT preparation, I had solved about 50 mocks. How did this work to my advantage? Those of you who look at the CLAT 2015 paper will realize that it was terribly set, had absurd incomplete questions in several sections, had math and legal questions that weren`t in the syllabus, and GK questions that were subjective and had multiple answers instead of a single answer. A lot of people including me panicked after looking at the paper. But thanks to all the practice I had with mocks, I was able to gauge, to some extent, what questions I should try and attempt and what questions I should simply skip and not waste my time on. Time management for me, was my biggest weakness in CLAT 2014.While I left out the entire 20 mark math section then,  it turned out to be my biggest strength in CLAT 2015 where I was able to complete the paper with time to spare.

How did I prepare for the exam? I was never the brightest of students when it came to math and logic. But I can tell you that these sections can be worked on and improved. One isn’t born with an ability to excel in these sections. When it comes to GK, I never thought writing what I read was important. But none of us have a photographic memory, and I realized that I had forgotten all that I had read through the year. So it is imperative to write down all the GK you read in a note book. I for one would make notes on my laptop, but I realized nothing is as effective as writing by hand.

Also, up until the very last month, I took the English section for granted, never believing that it was something that needed working on. But I find that the English section can be slightly tricky and it is important to learn those rules of grammar and meanings of idioms, apart from building your vocabulary through the next six months, something that I only did at the very end.

For those of you who have not yet begun your preparation yet, I have two things to say. Firstly, don’t believe those friends of yours who claim they haven’t started studying. Even if they haven’t, its not the best precedent to follow. Secondly, and more importantly, it is never too late to begin. This is something people kept telling me through CLAT 2014 but I never believed it. It is also the principal reason as to why, miserably, I gave up even before I began. I made excuses for myself all the time. I told myself that November was too late to begin studying for CLAT and I was never going to make it by starting so late, so I might as well write it again the next year. Funnily enough, I have friends who started in December, February, even April that year who breezed through. While I regret the choice I made to give up, I don’t want anybody else to fall into the same delusion that CLAT requires an entire year of preparation. It doesn’t. Honestly, even the second time around, I didn’t have all the time in the world to study either. I found myself having more work than I did in school – college, college committees and a college afterlife gave me very little time for myself. Yet, I told myself that I had to set at least those two hours a day, even if it meant saying no to a few parties or taking shorter lunch breaks in college.  All of us, at every point of time, will always have multiple things to do, It is important to make the time to stay updated on GK or practice a few math sums even during exams.

Lastly, A few words of free advice I can’t help myself from giving. CLAT is about strategy, speed and your state of mind. It is not an exam that tests intelligence. It is an exam that tests smartness. You need to leave no stone unturned in your preparation, even if CLAT declares that a particular thing is not in the syllabus or if something has not been asked in the past. Don’t rely on any single source, even your coaching centers are a scam and won`t help you crack the exam. Understand and evaluate your mistakes. I found that correcting my own mocks helped me immensely. And most importantly, you need to love the journey. It isn’t even half as difficult as making it to the IITs or the IIMs. You need to want to make it to one of the top law schools for yourself. The first time around, I never saw value in making it to a top law school, I thought I would be satisfied with something mediocre, so I didn’t write the exam wholeheartedly. The second time, I dreamt of the green campus in NALSAR and the kind of exposure I would get in NLS and the friends I would make here and I wanted that for myself. When this thought entered my mind, I was able to focus much more and do much better.

Feel free to get in touch with me for any doubts/queries you may have, even if all you need is some motivation. Use the comments section below. Here’s wishing that each one of you enjoy your CLAT journey as much I did, and the very best in all your pursuits.

Mrinali.

48 COMMENTS

  1. Hiii,it’s a very motivating article, can you think clat can be cracked with college and there’s no need to drop a year. Secondly, what topics in Grammer should I study for English part as I’m not taking any coaching so I don’t know properly.. Thank you 

    • Hi, 
      Ofcourse CLAT can be cracked with a college. I went to college. 
      English can be covered depending on how comfortable you are with the language. I dont have any particular problems with it, so I focused on building my vocabulary from the LST vocabulary list. You can use any vocabulary list. I also learnt the basic grammar rules and I learnt the meanings of Idioms and proverbs which aren`t very common. If you think speed in english is an issue, practice comprehension passages. 

  2. Hey there, 
    Well that was quite a motivational post. I, myself haven’t started my preparation yet and was going to begin from November. So I was hell freaked out perhaps your post does give a ray of hope.

    1.How do I make up entirely for the the GK which I have missed up till now?? How do I prepare?
    I’ll go through compendiums n will start reading the newspaper religiously now but what else?

    2.how do I go about with he legal and logic section? What are the key areas to focus on?

    Thanks and congratulations for bagging an air24.

    • Hi kavitha. 
      For starters, I think compendiums are a very good idea. But try and get hold of some old issues of pratiyogita Darpan ( They are available online) or CSR. Compendiums are concise. You need to know more than just facts for clat  GK. 
      There isnt a single way to do legal and logic. 
      I would focus on trying to get my answers right for logic. I actually referred to the actual cases to check the correct answers. But you don’t have to do that. 
      For logic, try and solve different types of questions. Nothing should be a shock for you in the exam hall. Get a hang of everything. 
      I hope this helps.

      • Thank u for the advice.
        I will subscribe for pratiyogita darpan ASAP and read the Hindu daily 
        Will Pearson concise manual be enough for static GK?

  3. hi, very well said..

    , is it important to write whatever u read in g.k. , revising the static g.k book for two or three times wont work?

  4. Hello Ma’am, this is a very helpful article. I want to know what were the sources from which you took mock tests. Any particular website or something?

  5. it was a very nice article of yours. i have one question what do you feel when your batch-mate cracked it one shot and you couldn’t (no offence) and yours seniors are you friends before. i am asking this because i am also thinking of writing clat again. and when at the time of placement do companies overlook that you dropped a year or your age. i had wrote this in hope of getting a satisfying reply from you. thanks
    all the best.

    • I felt horrible ofcourse when my batchmates cracked it. But I knew I didn’t deserve something I did not study for. I didn’t work for CLAT 2014 at all. If was a last week preparation thing. And I feel like more than feeling demotivated, I was motivated to study looking at them. It doesn’t really matter to me now even if they are my seniors in batch because I don’t ascribe to concepts of seniority. I believe learning is not unidirectional. So too bad if they want to treat me like their junior 🙂 

  6. Hi Mrinali, 
    I think this is very well written and from the heart. You’ve told us your success story in a few words, but the impact is immense. I, for one, was reminded of everything I did in my year to prepare for my second time.
    In my time knowing you prepare for the paper, what I always thought was that you had the right attitude throughout preparation. You were always positive (with a ‘can do’ attitude) which I find is very important. 
    Anyone who’s reading this post – listen to her about hard and smart work. After all, she was AIR 24.

    • Everytime I was frustrated, I would stop completely and take a break. For an entire day. 
      There were times I would take a break for an entire week. Also, I would interchange between sections. I would never study one subject for the whole day. It worked for me. I felt less monotony. 

  7. Hi Mrinali, congratulations on having secured such a fantastic rank at the CLAT! This was a beautiful, inspirational read.

    I was just curious to know, what were the sources you used for Logical Reasoning and Current Affairs?
    Did you use online sources too? This is because a lot of questions in these 2 sections were simply copy pasted from different sources online. (27 questions from GKTODAY). So had you covered this aspect too? Do reply at the earliest. Thank you.

    • Hi anon. Thank you. 
      Unfortunately, I had never seen those questions before. I don’t use GK today or cat papers or UPSC papers for my preparation. I did it the hard way. But I wish I looked at GK today. 

  8. even i don’t ascribe to the theory of seniority. but its just a thing i was worried about. so out spoked it. now when i am again preparing for it. most of time this eats my brain and i couldn’t not focus. and i am not from any English speaking background. what should i do so that i dont get problems in law school? thanks for previous reply. i am relating myself to you 🙂

  9. Hi, congratulations on ur rank. That was quite a motivating post 
    Can u please tell me which book should be referred for Maths? Is the pearson guide good? How about RD Sharma?

  10. Hi, It was quiet a motivational post. I have started my preperation but after giving mocks I do not get how to analyse them moreover how to manage my time since I have coaching most of the time. 

  11. Hi hyder. 
    I have not used rd Sharma. 
    For math I used LST. 
    A word of advice. I doesn’t matter where you solve from as long as you get the concepts right. 

  12. Hello mam my reading habbit is not so good, i read newspaper daily but it’s not much helpful due to this I take too much time in comprehension and legal part  which leads to time management problem mam please give me some suggestion by which I can improve myself 

  13. Hiiii 🙂 
    I m in my final year of graduation ! 
    Though I would be giving the three year entrance for LLB but still want to give CLAT ( provided the age limit is scrapped ) 
    Do you think it’s worth it ? 
    I gave CLAT in 2014 but got 900ish rank 🙁 

    • Hey. How old are you? I dont think its worth giving CLAT again. Especially after already graduating. Its a waste of time and a graduation. You will do just fine in life even if you dont study in NLS or NALSAR 🙂 But this again, is an individual choice. I dont recommend it. 

  14. Hey mrinali di can you please motivate us regarding your present life in college 
    I mean how is it nls or nAlsar whichever you are in mtlb waha ki life kaisi hai mxt hai kya? 

  15. Very motivating article…. I just wanted to ask about the material that you followed for static gk…….books and stuff……any good suggestions…?????

    • I made my own compendiums for static GK from LST, Sriram and CG material. I also used pearsons like my bible, though I dislike the book. 

      • Hi mrinali. Can u plz be a little more specific. WHich is this pearson book that u r referring to?..and where did u get the LST, sriram material?..did u specifically bought it from their website through their correspondence material?…
        Also which test series did u used for clat?

  16. Hi,
    I am in  10th grade n have a dream of becoming a lawyer…..n my dad tells that i have to start preparing for clat from this year …is that necessary?

    • Not at all. I only started a few months before CLAT. But I am the wrong person to help you make this decision. It is an individual choice. Its isnt hard, but I have no idea as to what your strengths and weaknesses are. 

  17. HI,
      I really want your suggestion on legal. I am quiet confused from which source to study. i am working on my maths, logical from rs agarwal and mk pandey. but confused in legal. pls help me.
    and your words are really motivating. thanks.

  18. hi
    I haven’t started the preparation yet . is 4 months are enough for clat preparation .I also want to know how much maths is important in clat as maths seems to be very time consuming and cover very less portion of marks in clat . should I ignore maths portion for latter .

  19. hey Mrinali…
    very well written..
    I got a lot of motivation from your post..
    but I’m facing a problem right now..
    I’ve taken drop.. but yet not started studying for it..
    Yes, I’ve wasted a lot of time by now..
    but I’m afraid too.. Is the time left for CLAT 2016 enough for cracking it with a good score??
    And what should I do now.. And how should I make my studying strategies ?? How much time should I give for studying each section per day ??

    I hope your suggestions would guide me …
    please help !! please !!

    • Make a beginning. I studied properly from Feb. That was about 3months. You have time. Start with your weakest. And solve mocks towards the end. Male sure you have all the basics at your finger tips

  20. Respected mrinali mam
    I am rabia verma. i hav done my class 12 with medical and non medical both and got 65%. Mam i know that i have lot of potential in me in class 10 i got 9.8cgpa. I want my parents to feel proud of me.  they were really depressed after my result.  mam i joined CL institute in chandigarh on 26 november2015 but till now i coukdnt start my preparations.  mam kindly guide me how to cope up.  i am really stressed alot.  if i start to stick to one schedule then, after some days o get a feeling that i cant do it.  this feeling is really bad.  mam for legal reasoning i have universal guide, dd basu constitution of india, ap bhardwaj workbook for reasoning i have rs aggarwal for maths i have TMH and for static gk i have pearson guide and manorama and for current affairs i follow rather try to follow jagranjosh, gktoday, clatgyan and gr8ambitionz websites and have manorama guide also and for english i have english is easy by chetanand and word power made easy by norman lewis. My parents have provided with lot of facilties but i cant make upto it. Dont know why?  plzz help me mam.  guide me how to start preparation of all subjects individually and what should be last month strategy plzzzz mam plzzzz  your help will be of great importance and congratulations for air 24 .  

  21. Nyc article.. Wel i givn my boards dis yr n decided to drop 1 year to prepare clat, as i missd to fill d form dis year.. Can i able to get to nluj,kolkata atleast with 9 months prep ?

    Nyc article di..well i givn my boards dis yr n decided to drop 1 year to prepare clat.. As unfortunately i missd to fill d form dis year.. Can i able to get admit to nluj,kolkata atleast with 9months prep nxt yr?? It wud b my 1st attempt

  22. Hi Mrinali! 
    Thanks for this motivating post. Even I had appeared for CLAT 2015 but ended up with a AIR 1000+ rank. I am reappearing for CLAT this year hoping to fetch a seat in the TOP 3 NLUs. Can you give a rough guideline on how to go about my CLAT prep in the last 2 weeks?…I’m finding it difficult to strike a balance between Mocks, Previous years’papers and Revision of all topics. Some guidance from you would be really helpful.

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