Improvise, Adapt, Overcome, by Siddharth Kothari (Class of 2023 – NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad)


Siddharth Kothari is a first year student of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad.

In a family where nobody knew what CLAT meant, it was hard to break it to them that I wanted to pursue law. I remember that whenever my relatives would ask me what I was preparing for, an awkward silence would follow my reply. To this day, I chuckle every time I recollect their response – “Woh sab toh theek hai lekin padhai kya kar rahe ho?”

As luck would have it, CLAT, for me, was fun.

In this article, I’ll tell you how I approached CLAT by using a two-pronged method. First, I’ll give you a glimpse of my approach towards studies, and second, I’ll tell you how I attempted the mocks and the main examinations (CLAT & AILET) as well.

                    Siddharth Kothari

To begin with, CLAT is a very elementary, general aptitude examination that tests your awareness (General Knowledge and Legal Knowledge), reasoning (Logical Reasoning, Legal Reasoning and Maths) and comprehension faculties (Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension passages and Legal Reasoning, again). There is a limit to the studying you can engage in, to ace these different sections. However, what you can do is maximise your score in such an exam and that is where your prep should revolve around. Do not focus on studying more but instead, dedicate your time to problem solving i.e. attempt mocks!

On a daily basis, I studied every subject. For example, I would attempt 20 questions from the Maths section with the timer on. God, I hated math and don’t worry if you do too. I’d go through newspapers and websites for current affairs and made notes for them as well. Additionally, I would also attempt a minimum of thirty Legal Aptitude questions and a reading comprehension or two.

Find yourself a study buddy.

I found one really early into my preparation and I am really grateful that he was excessively competitive. We bought our first test series together in September and the competition began. We gave mocks every week, engaged in comprehensive studies and compared our progress with each other before sleeping in the night. The assumption of uberrimae fidei existed, at least for me.

The benefit was pretty obvious. The one who did was slightly negligent in preparation for the day felt guilty and would definitely make up for it the next day.

Prepare a comfortable study schedule and work on the time given to every section in the exam.

Try different patterns while solving mocks every time. I found my perfect pattern somewhere around the 10th mock that I attempted. By perfect pattern, I mean that following such a sequence would ensure that I’d score the most. Come up with a pattern you’ll be most comfortable with.

Coming to time management while attempting tests, I gave 8 minutes to the General Knowledge section, so as to score the most marks in the least time and take the burden of facts off your head, because the rest of the paper is based on aptitude or reasoning. Then, I gave 25-27 minutes to Logical reasoning, depending on the number of solving sets. I proceeded to the Legal Aptitude section where I gave it 35 minutes. With 50 minutes remaining, I’d already attempted 140 questions out of 200. I would proceed to the English section where I would spend 20-25 minutes, depending on the number of reading comprehensions. Maths was the last section I attempted always as I was really bad at it. With 25 minutes remaining and just 20 questions to go, I applied all my techniques and the necessary jugaad available to reach the answers.

Reviewing the mock is of utmost importance.

The time duration for a mock i.e. 120 minutes is supposed to be divided in two parts. 115 minutes for problem solving and the remaining 5 minutes must be strictly be reserved for review. Stick to the time constraint you set for every section in your first attempt and then go back to the leftover questions. Just go through the paper once again.  Don’t give up after the last question. Going back to the questions you couldn’t solve in the first attempt would help a lot. Maybe this time you’ll be able to attempt them. Trust me in blind faith! Reviewing helps every single time. It adds up little to your score. It really did the work for me. And that’s why I would highly recommend this method.

And therefore, the clichéd quote delves perfectly – “Don’t work hard, work smart!”

By the time CLAT arrived, I had solved around 100 mocks and my “buddy” was somewhere around 120. In April, our daily schedule included a minimum of one mock (sometimes two) and their analysis and working on the sections we scored less in. We also indulged in predicting the cut-off for the colleges we aimed to reach. (Although, this exercise was bullshit because whoever scored better used to predict NLS’s cut-off one mark less than his). But again, this exercise led to insecurity and envy of the positive kind, which led us to ending up with more studying.

Solving more mocks made me comfortable with the game and I could really play well within those 200 questions. Remember the dialogue from Undisputed-3:Redemption, “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome”. Mocks were the perfect platform I could apply this dialogue to. Therefore, it gave me more confidence as to how I’d react on the D-day with the main questions in front of my eyes. And I did just fine.

We were happy with the result as well. Both of us cracked top-tier colleges – my friend’s at NLSIU, Bangalore and I’m at NALSAR, Hyderabad. Both of us cracked AILET as well.
And we’re pretty content. And so are those infuriating relatives as well, I guess.

Please leave a comment below in case you have further queries; Siddharth will reply to them. In case you are desperately in need of a Personalised Action Plan, please read this.

If you’re looking to enroll to a test series, you might consider subscribing to the CLATGyan Test Series 2019

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