Exactly two months from today most of you would be appearing for CLAT competing with approximately sixty thousand students to make it to a national law university. I’m sure CLAT must be the least of your concerns considering most of you must be taking your board exams as I write this article. But, does that mean you put your preparation for an exam that will play a major role in shaping your career on the back burner?
I’d made the mistake (or not) of concentrating on my board exams in the month of March. I remember telling my mother, “If I don’t graduate out of school, would it matter if I crack CLAT or not?” I wasn’t entirely wrong, but then I believe I could have spent that one month strategizing for CLAT, if nothing else. On the flip side, to be honest, my board marks were what made me get through to a good law school, leaving me with no reason to regret.
However, unfortunately for your batch, admissions to GLC Mumbai and ILS Pune no longer take place on the basis of your 12th Board aggregate (unlike seven years ago, when I needed admission). You need to take the Maharashtra Common Entrance Test (CET) to secure admissions to these law schools – this is presuming you do not make it to the law school of your choice under CLAT.
So, are you willing to take a few hours off from your board preparation and dedicate it to strategizing on what you must do to crack CLAT this year?
On a general google search with the keywords “how to prepare for CLAT” every other article either talks about strategies, tips and tricks to score well in the exam or give you details about CLAT that you might (or might not) be aware of. Here are a few recent articles I found useful:
- All You Need To Know About CLAT 2018
- How To Prepare For CLAT 2018?
- How To Start Your Preparation For CLAT
What’s to be kept in mind while preparing for CLAT is that it is a competitive exam, the equivalent to Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) that’s taken by aspiring engineers to make it to the IITs. That’s what CLAT is for you – the JEE to make it to the National Law Universities (NLUs).
In order to prepare for such an exam, would it be appropriate to strategise only on how you are going to prepare for CLAT? Wouldn’t you want to strategise for what you must do in those 2 hours while attempting those 200 questions? What is it that will bring the maximum results?
In my last article titled, How To Prepare For CLAT 2018, I had written about why I did not make it to a national law school and how you could learn from what I’d done wrong. In this article, let us talk about what other articles don’t tell you – external factors that may drastically affect your performance while attempting CLAT.
Here is how you can overcome unwelcome situations while attempting CLAT on 13th May this year:
1. Stay Calm and Focused – No Matter What
Have you ever wondered what might have separated those who made it to the top national law schools in 2011, from who didn’t? If you’ve already gone through the CLAT paper, prepared by NUJS that year, you must have realised that it was tough. Not only did they change the pattern of the paper, but also made it lengthy to the extent that majority of the students taking the exam could not complete it.
What did the 55 students who made it to NLS Bangalore that year do right? Was it all luck or were they prepared to face such a situation? What happens when the CLAT Committee throws such surprises at you?
In 2012, when NLU Jodhpur made the question paper for CLAT, there were four questions in the Legal Reasoning section that didn’t have the right answers as option in the multiple choices given. Imagine the plight of the students who attempted that question paper. Did those four questions make them doubt themselves? Worse – it made them lose out on time while attempting the paper.
Students freak out if the first few questions they attempt do not go well. Students go about answering super-slow because they want to be careful about not making silly mistakes. This is never good. Sometimes students get stuck. That’s the worst.
What can you do to avoid this? You need to begin with believing in yourself. You need to consciously stop second guessing yourself. This is a mistake a lot of CLAT takers make. Time-bound attempt is necessary. While practicing, sit with the clock right in front of you and time yourself. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. For instance, my strength was English. So ideally, in all mock papers I attempted English first. The best way to build and retain confidence would be to attempt the section that you think is your strong point.
I’d suggest you attempt mock papers every day and time yourself section wise. You will be able to derive a strategy after you’ve analysed your own strengths and weaknesses. For mock papers on legal reasoning you can always take this course by LawSikho, an initiative of India’s most reputed online education company – iPleaders.
You may read more about the missing link in CLAT preparation here. The article very elaborately covers how you must be mentally prepared to face unforeseen situations by facing your biggest fears.
2. Time Strategy For 13th May – Practice & Speed Reading
Once your fundamentals are clear, you must sit down and take mock tests. Like I mentioned above, a time bound attempt is mandatory for your success. Why do I say this? Imagine. You are sitting in the exam hall confidently attempting the questions and marking the answer to the MCQs. At half-time the electricity starts fluctuating and eventually the AC in the exam hall stops working. Would this distract you? Of course it will. What if you are mentally prepared for it? Will you able to concentrate despite the heat and the chaos around you?
To avoid any such stress, the best way to attempt the paper is to have a time-bound strategy that is fail proof. The trick is to practice as many papers as possible. The more papers you attempt, the faster you become. This practice will condition your brain to finish the paper before time.
Let’s take an example. You have 200 questions to attempt in 120 minutes. Presuming you have attempted one mock paper every day for the last thirty days before the second Sunday of May, you would have attempted at least 30 papers. By now, you know your time-bound strategy so you time your paper in such a way that you are left with 10 minutes in hand. These 10 minutes can be your fall back option in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
Combine your hard work with a technique called speedreading. What if you could read twice as faster than your contemporaries? Would that save you time? And what if someone taught you how to speed-read? Yes, you’ve heard me right. You do not need to go through the books of Tony Buzan and Norman Lewis to figure out the art of speedreading. The faculty of LawSikho’s course on CLAT Preparation teaches you how to speed read!
Is it impossible to finish the paper before time? Haven’t your teachers at school given you the very same advice for the Board Exams? I remember very clearly, I was the only person in the examination hall whiling away time because I had managed to finish the 100 mark English paper in one and a half hours. No, I’m not bluffing, practice blended with the correct strategy works wonders.
However, there is one point to be always kept in mind – what decides your rank is Legal Reasoning. You must understand that they do not expect you to know the law, they expect you to be able to understand the principle and apply it to the facts. In case you are running short of time, wouldn’t you want to learn the trick of determining the right answer when you don’t have the time to read lengthy facts? There is a course that can teach you the trick! You can see the course modules here.
3. Reserve 3 PM to 5 PM Every Day
One positive aspect about the timing of the CLAT exam is that by the time you take this paper, you have already given a bunch of other law entrances like Maharashtra CET, Symbiosis Entrance Test, AILET (for NLU Delhi). If you are smart, you will ensure that you do not repeat the same mistakes that you may have made in those papers.
However, apart from AILET, the timings of the other entrance exams are in the morning and not afternoon. You need to condition your brain to work at its best while taking the most crucial law entrance test. In order to do this, you must ensure that you practice papers every day specifically between 3 pm to 5 pm – this is when CLAT will be taking place on 13th May.
You may have to cultivate this habit if you aren’t already attempting mock tests in the afternoon. The easiest way to follow this is to give papers online. You may be lazy in the beginning, that is natural. This online CLAT Prep course gives you access to mock papers on your Android or iOS phones. All you need to do is login and attempt the papers.
If you’d like to experiment, while attempting the mock tests between 3 pm to 5 pm, go one up – switch off the AC and the fan for the entire duration and give the paper. Or some day deliberately leave the door of your room wide open and let your family or friends enter while you are attempting the paper.
You might be thinking, what a waste of time. You probably will be very distracted the first day you do this, but if you repeat this over and over again, by the fourth or fifth day, you will be conditioned to it. It’s psychology. If you don’t believe me, you can go ahead and read about Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning.
Please remember, any one of these three techniques cannot be implemented alone while taking CLAT. You have to implement them together – staying calm and focused, strategize the use of time and practice between 3 pm to 5 pm – for maximum results.
If you’re looking to read similar articles on CLAT preparation, here are a few more I found on iPleaders Blog:
- How To Use Newspaper If You Want To Crack CLAT – an article by Dhruv Singhal. You can read it here.
- Is It Hard To Clear CLAT If You Are A Science Student – an article by Gazal Kaur from RGNUL, Patiala. You can read it here.
- How To Prepare Yourself To Be Effective During CLAT Exam – an article by Ramanuj Mukherjee, an alumni of NUJS Kolkata. You can read it here.
I hope this article turns out to be helpful for all of you taking CLAT this year, and the next. In case you have any doubts, feel free to drop in a comment and I shall respond.
All the best!