“Manzil milegi, Bhatak hi sahi, gumrah toh woh hain jo ghar se nikle hi nahin.”
I wouldn’t sugarcoat this article by saying that it is easy. It is not. It was not for me. I took a drop after taking CLAT 2017, where I had got a rank of 3945. I decided to give it another shot, and nobody supported this decision. But still, I went ahead (even though I had lost belief in myself).
I didn’t take any formal coaching but took up test series from three different institutions. I made a plan at the very beginning of my drop year, in which I summarized everything I had to do to crack CLAT, subject-wise. I made that plan after seeing dozens of interviews of toppers online and reading answers by people on Quora and other such places. And fortunately, I adhered to that plan, throughout the year. To make this plan simpler, I woke up everyday and wrote down small goals that I intended to achieve at the end of the day. I wouldn’t go to sleep till all the tasks were done.
I took mocks every week from November. And every day in April. I spent hours and hours analyzing each mock, writing down where I went wrong and spent the next day working on my weak areas. One thing that I did every single day without fail was, writing down current affairs of that particular day. I used to wake up and write down current affairs in my notebook (which I divided into different parts: appointments, sports, deaths, important dates, miscellaneous) from four different sources. I would revise the current affairs at the end of the week and made sure to revise monthly as well by reading the monthly compendiums, took monthly quizzes and current affairs mock tests. I had a lot of free time, i wouldn’t recommend this to people who are appearing for CLAT, along with their boards.
For logical reasoning and legal aptitude, I just practiced a lot. Every day. I kept practicing and there is no shortcut for practice. Legal aptitude questions usually had conflicting answers in different sources and this can be frustrating at times, but I stuck to my instinct and the past year papers. It doesn’t matter if it seems wrong but try sticking to the official answer key.
Logical reasoning has two parts: Analytical and Critical. For analytical, I regularly solved RS Aggarwal and for Critical, I solved 1000 GRE CR questions (you can find them online). I couldn’t solve them all, but I did as much as required for me to be sure that I was finally on the right track. Past year questions from both AILET and CLAT wrapped it up for me.
And for English, I made it a point to make my vocabulary & grammar stronger for which I solved Norman Lewis’ Word Power Made Easy twice and for Grammar, I relied on English is Easy by Chetanand Singh and mock tests/sectional tests. For Maths, I did RS Aggarwal and previous year papers.
Previous year papers were the crux of my preparation. I solved them a lot of times, both AILET & CLAT.
It was difficult – it was a long and lonely road, but I’m glad I can say that it was worth it. All in all, being a dropper, I had plenty of time and I did use it wisely. But there were times when I felt low, when I had doubts about my preparation and about how the paper will turn out to be. I just kept going. I didn’t stop, not even for a day. I kept going. And this is one advice that I can give you : Keep going and don’t let your fears conquer you. Yes, however cliché that may sound!
There were times when I used to be tired, my back used to hurt because I had been sitting in the same position all day. But I just kept going; I knew I couldn’t give up after I had invested so much of my hard work. But I did take breaks; I cheered myself up by reading books, watching TV shows.
Don’t let it eat you, but just make it a point that you’re giving your 100%, even though you don’t know what you’re capable of doing. Push yourself. Push yourself beyond limits. And you’ll be proud of yourself.
And trust me on this, the moment when your parents (on the top of their voice!) call you one morning to make you look at your picture in the newspaper, with tears of happiness in their eyes, it’ll be priceless and it’s worth every inch of effort.
Sudipta Choudhury is a first year student of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad.
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