Pratik Sahai clinched Rank 100 in CLAT this year, and made us all extremely proud, at CLATGyan! His tips for probably the most important examination in your life are sure-shot worth a read.
Phew! The wait finally ended after a week full of results right from boards to HPNLU (backups are necessary). ‘Twas an interesting week because I got quite a lot of positive results to witness. But going back in time, the ride was a roller-coaster, to say the least.
Coming to the test preparation: your enemies being complacency, dwelling over mock rankings no matter how good or bad [I’ve got Rank 10, 50, in the 200s and even 500s (out of just 2000)] and weird know-it-all people in coaching classes. Your friends being consistent work, regular mocks and of course, our very own CLATGyan ( be sure to be regular with their GK briefs)
Coming to the books I covered: RS Aggarwal for puzzles, Arun Sharma on Reading Comprehension and Verbal Aptitude, especially for vocabulary (the high medium low frequency word lists are the best resource in vocab) and Wiley’s ExamXpert on Legal Reasoning. Be sure to enroll to the test series of at least two different institutes and if the mock is of two hours, your analysis also has to be of two hours, at the least. “Mock analysis”, the much heard but vague term, comprises going through correct questions to find shortcuts (especially for maths) for time-management, going through mistakes to brush up on those concepts and lastly, reviewing your overall attempting style and changing it, if needed.
According to me, time management, strategy and staying calm are as important (if not more) as your preparation in terms of practice/knowledge. You really can’t compromise on the time management in papers that give you 36 seconds per question. I can’t stress enough on its importance with CLAT 2015 and AILET 2017 proving my point. My division was somewhat like this (section-wise):
- General Knowledge – 8 minutes and at the end, giving 2 minutes to go through the section and making smart guesses, keeping in mind your genuine attempts for that paper.
- Logical and English: 22-25 minutes each,
- Maths:20-22 minutes,
- Legal: 26-30, therefore giving me a 8-12 minute much needed buffer.
These section-wise time allotments may vary from person to person, according to their strengths and weaknesses. Also, I started with the General Knowledge section, moved to Logical Reasoning and Maths in that order, attempted the Reading Comprehension part of the English section, jumped to the Legal Reasoning section and then, back to the English section. People also divide the Legal Aptitude section into Legal Knowledge and Reasoning and attempt them separately. Keep trying variations to find one that suits you.
I’d also like to add for those who hate maths: PLEASE, do not ignore it or for that matter, any section as a whole. There are cases where due to a difference of merely two marks, there is a shift of about 300 ranks. Trust me, you do not want to be in that situation. So, if you are one of those who leaves maths or any particular type of question, please do think it over. Specifically for the math haters – attempt the first 5 questions, then as there are just 20, skim through the remaining 15 to see which ones can be done by you the fastest and if you stick to the time plan, you are bound to have time to come back. Sit with teachers or even spend half an hour on a question if it comes down to it. You surely will see shortcuts and use methods to eliminate a few options very easily.
I gave my 12th boards this year (securing a 95%) and I’m sure people have that question for me – “How did you manage both boards and CLAT?” Well, for starters, my focus from the start was on law entrances while I genuinely started preparing for boards during the pre-board time (around January). Even then, I was constantly in touch with GK, 10-15 minutes a day never killed anyone, right? Be it the CG briefs, various apps or the newspaper itself. I never stopped with the mocks – once a week during the Jan-Feb time. To make this sound simpler, let me tell you that by this time you have to be thorough with your preparation and more importantly, confident! So, attempting an entire mock isn’t completely necessary. Specific sections will also do; after all, mocks are for us right? Not to compare mock scores or ranks. In the April-May period, I was one of the lucky ones who got the entire month of April for CLAT revision (please make to-do lists and thank me later) and incomplete mocks (if you want to call them that) with not more than 1-2 serious mocks a week. I actually did static GK during this time and revised the entire current as well and did a lot of Critical Reasoning (my weak point). Lastly in May.. well, I don’t know how you all work but one day of chilling for me before the exam is a MUST. So, this year 6th and 13th were movie days for me and I strongly advise you to not open the books a day prior (remember the “keeping your cool” advice mentioned above?) to the exam.
Well, there’s only so much one can do. Lady luck has her own very important role. Don’t fret or overthink; if you are confident and have studied the year round, it’s the D-Day that really matters the most. How you tackle surprises in the paper (or the 12ish errors this year), technical errors included, can spoil your preparation. There’s really nothing you can do if your system shuts down for 10 minutes (true story, not to scare you but… true story)
Unpredictability is the examiners’ forte, while maintaining status quo our task. I’ve learnt to expect the unexpected, so yes, it has been a bumpy ride ranging from days when I wanted to listen to Mercy (don’t judge) to Give me Some Sunshine or from Happy to Mercy ( Mendes :p ), whichever way you want it. My point being, don’t be disheartened or complacent any time during this path; keep going, enjoy it and I’m sure I’ll see many of you in Shamirpet, around the same time next year.