Ananya HS who clinched Rank 11 in CLAT 2017 made us extremely proud at CLATGyan and we would totally recommend you to take a leaf out of this article written by her.
A goal without a plan is a wish, and all of us start with a wish. It is only the depth of desire that differentiates aspirants from each other.
Any entrance exam is a challenge. If you are looking for a magical way or a shortcut to success, then you can stop reading right away! Because the foundation of success in CLAT is hard work. Ask yourself if your commitment is strong enough for you to sustain this enthusiasm for an year.
Let us assume we have crossed that fjord. My mother helped me in extensively reading up about the pattern in CLAT. It’s not something we can figure out on our own. Which is why I went through some questions and felt comfortable.
It was a difficult choice for me, personally, to make a choice between science and commerce, as I had done well in the former in my boards. After a lot of discussion, a few points emerged. Science would take a toll on my time. It would also distract me in the last few months. The temptations to take engineering or medical entrance exams, especially because both my parents are doctors themselves, would exist and reduce my focus. I was told that commerce subjects would help in tackling a few areas of CLAT. Thus, the decision was made. I truly think this was a big turning point in my journey.
Fast forward to my summer break after 11th. To get into the mood, I attended a month long crash course at Chennai (Sriram Law Academy). This helped point me in the direction I needed to go. I met people who were about to take CLAT in the month following my course. I was under no pressure at that point in time, and I enjoyed as well as learned a lot from these interactions. It gave me a preview of the competition that existed and the number of people who had the same dreams that I did. Scary at first, but also a huge motivator. This made a big difference in setting me up for the vertical climb ahead, sort of like base camp, as I’ve heard.
Coming to your prep, online and offline reading has to happen on a continuous basis. However, it is difficult to formulate or stick to a plan with all the other things that you might have to do in 12th grade. This is where coaching classes help. As the classes progress, you need to keep up with the curriculum as well as your peers. That is extremely important.
Each of us have certain strengths and weaknesses. I knew English was my strength. As I took more and more mocks, I discovered I was good at logical reasoning also. My GK, on the other hand, was pathetic. So I knew what needed more attention. It is very important to be realistic about these issues, and to tackle them as early as possible.
In the process, I did not shut myself off from the world. I stayed off Facebook only in the last quarter. Oh yes, my parents would have preferred otherwise. But, they trusted me enough to let me be. It was a distraction at times. But I needed those distractions to get my mind off the mounting stress and GK and legal GK and more GK.
Dealing with stress is the real challenge. The pressure starts building up from last few months of preparation, and reaches a nearly unbearable crescendo in the exam hall! I still do not know how to remain calm during prep. But a few things can help. It could be an episode of How To Get Away With Murder, or just going crazy and binge watching the whole series. I would strongly advise against the latter, though.
External pressure from well-wishers can be difficult. Which is why it is better to cut off interactions with people who add to it unnecessarily in advance. Make sure your parents are on the same page as you are. My parents pushed me, but also reassured me that they were more interested in my effort than outcome. My mom sat with me for long hours, quizzing me on static GK, getting all excited when she discovered interesting facts and easing the tension just a little bit. My dad would tell me stories of how he dealt with failures and planned for success. The atmosphere was reassuring.
On the day of the exam, it was crazy. I had an early mini lunch. My heart was beating about a million times a minute. The first few questions I saw made that into a billion and I decided that I would be coming back the next year to try my luck again.
Every time the stress increased, I tried to use logic. Except GK, I figured I could handle most questions that could be thrown at me. Multiple mocks (emphasis on the multiple) had made me comfortable with the protocol. I knew I wanted this badly, but I also told myself this was not the end of the world. I used to take mini breaks, listen to songs, watch the occasional YouTube videos, and have hour long conversations with my best friend about anything that would take my mind off the work at hand. When I did reach breaking point, which was quite often I must say, I would let go of my emotions and feel better. Don’t cut off from people totally. You need someone to whom you can open up your fears and anxieties. Someone who will empathise and not irritate. Someone whom you can shout at and will not get upset!
Another thing I feel like I need to add here is the importance of getting and sacrificing sleep. I love sleeping for long hours. But over time I gradually pushed my sleeping time to midnight till it became 3.30 am sometimes, only to wake up at 8.30 am again, to get back to my routine. Surprisingly, I survived! I was thrilled to find out that I can push myself, without the continuous yawns. The slow reduction of sleep time helped me. But I have been more than making up for it in the past few days, so win-win!
Breaking down the exam into its parts, concentrating on your weaknesses and consistently taking mock exams were my hacks. There is also no substitute for orderly preparation over a year. CLAT is not easy, but it is definitely not impossible. Good luck!
AIR 11 – CLAT 2017.