Lakshaya Grover is a first year student of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad.
It would be a lie if I say that I haven’t idly fantasized about writing an article for CLATGyan, showering all the nitty-gritties of CLAT preparation on clueless aspirants like myself. But now that I have the opportunity to actually write something about my CLAT journey, every single piece of advice I adhered to has slipped from my mind. I am completely bereft of prejudice regarding any general advice proffered to CLAT aspirants. The one lesson I learned during my CLAT days was that no advice is qualitatively better or worse, it all depends on what might or might not work for you.
Always remember, the biggest takeaway from all the articles you will be reading from the toppers of 2018 should be that the strategies mentioned in each of them are guidelines to give you a fair idea of how to approach things, but in the end, you have to devise a unique strategy based upon your strengths and weaknesses. You have the humongous task of sifting through piles and piles of tips and tricks to cull out the ones that work for you. There is no pre-cooked strategy that will ensure your success once you follow it religiously. I put the greatest emphasis on maintaining your individuality while preparing, do not follow every sermon given at the coaching like a sheep.
To move on to my CLAT journey (or ordeal, but I refuse to refer to my prep days in negative terms, as I enjoyed them immensely), mine was a peculiar case, I had not attempted CLAT in 2017 but still dropped an year to solely prepare for CLAT as I was fixated on pursuing Law. As soon as August arrived, I had subscribed to a reputed test series and bought some material. But that was it, I did not give a single serious thought to the prep until January. This is not something I would recommend, but keep in mind that if you are in such a predicament currently, there is still plenty of hope.
The basic approach that I employed to tackle CLAT was to break it down to the fundamentals. In its essence, CLAT is a language-cum-reasoning-cum-awareness test. You require a strong command over the English language to ace three out of five sections (English, Legal Aptitude, Logical Reasoning), and I read newspapers, novels, articles, research papers etc. i.e. almost everything to polish my language skills. Similarly, I watched out for any fresh knowledge as the General Knowledge section of CLAT is highly variable and unpredictable in the content that it covers. I procrastinated a lot when it came to Quantitative Aptitude and Logical reasoning and trust me, it reflects in the disproportionate distribution of marks in my CLAT score. I would recommend that you assess your performance in different areas and look out for the weaknesses.
Analyse the mocks you give thoroughly, breaking down the sections in terms of your conceptual clarity and the amount of time you take to solve them. And finally I’ll say the most mundane thing to say to a CLAT aspirant, but as it is extremely critical to performing well, I’ll reiterate it anyway – give plenty of mocks and analyse them closely. If you are actually working on improving your test taking strategies, you’ll definitely observe the scores and ranks getting better. By April, I was getting the top one percentile in almost every mock I took. This is not the perfect metric nor a guarantee that you’ll get a good rank, but the point is to improve constantly and remove the failing strategies from your overall test taking approach. That is all about how I prepared for CLAT.
But there is something much more important to keep in mind while preparing for CLAT. It does not matter how many hours you study, or how many mocks you write, or how hard you work. I have seen people working much harder than me and failing to get a top 500 rank. There is no determinant that will ensure your admission to the top NLUs. The world does not owe you anything for the work you do. My experience tells me that it is futile to see your life in terms of your CLAT result. It is a small part of your life, let it remain that, don’t give it unnecessary significance and weigh yourself down.
I worked in a very relaxed setup and it was probably what kept me sane towards the end. The only thing I knew at the time was that I wanted to be at NALSAR. No matter how clichéd it might sound, it is critical to dream and believe in your dreams. I put much more effort to prepare myself mentally for being at NALSAR rather than preparing for the exam. Live a normal life, read books, eat good food, listen to music, keep yourself healthy. This will be much more useful than pulling those extra hours to cram more GK or to solve insane numbers of math questions. Cut yourself some slack every now and then to go out for movies or outings. Let the central message of this piece be that amid all the hysteria surrounding CLAT, you need to relax and just breathe. Believe me, it helps a lot.
Please leave a comment below in case you have further queries; Lakshaya will reply to them. In case you are desperately in need of a Personalised Action Plan, please read this.
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