General Knowledge – Why Being Crazy is Necessary


In 2009-10, when I was writing my CLAT, there was no “only current affairs”, we were expected to everything, everything.

So, I did. Not so much because of CLAT as much as I really enjoyed it – perks of being a Humanities student in a State Board, if you’d want to justify it – I had a lot of time in my hand. And, so, my curiosity took me places – I started reading The Guardian, the New York Times and The Hindu, apart from that, I did a lot of random blog reading, followed a lot of foreign and Indian magazines, and basically, I went overboard. Overwhelmed for an 18 year old who had so much information coming from everywhere.

I ended up not giving so much time to my weaker sections: Math, Reasoning and my reading speed. And my CLAT result reflected that.

Do I regret that? Well:150614-memecenter-whenIstudy

In 2009, the outcry over the delay in arriving at the Naroda Patiya judgment reached a new pitch, I’d followed everything that had anything to do with Gujarat 2002, this went on to become my Legal Methods project, and because my “research” in this was done at the basic level, I could manage better in proceeding to argue better in my legal arguments; I knew why it was taking so long for Kasab to be executed, more than a tedious procedure or the government’s “minority votebank (whatever that means, BJP) politics”, it was the fact that India is a rule of law country and we necessarily have to treat all accused in the same manner – on a presumption of innocence, following a procedure established by law; Pakistani Hindus, an oppressed class within Pakistan first began to air their concerns about staying back in the country where they were being persecuted for worshipping idols or not following the cultural practices of the majority – this, ‘persecution’, is it enough under International Law to be treated as them being ‘refugees’ for India to grant them Asylum? Is what I’m working on at my internship at the MEA; I’ve done another research paper on Johnny Cash’s Music and the Law for a Law and Literature course – which I happen to do very well in.

If you’d look at the passage above, you’d know that the only pattern that exists there is that previous knowledge of what I was doing has helped me a lot in Law School – and anyone, anyone, who has been half-way through Law School would agree that a previous, rather, general idea about everything that’s happening in the world, goes a long, long way in figuring out how you’d manage the rest of your precious five years.

General Knowledge in CLAT has been rather arbitrary – with no set patterns on what is asked and what isn’t – does that mean that you read everything? Nope. If you read the previous set of articles that are in this section – you’ll understand that sticking out the basics of your GK prep (Newspaper, compendia, magazines, revision) take care of almost everything.

It means that you don’t have to stick to it obediently and religiously – variations are important, extreme variations are necessary. 

What does this mean?

It means that you must necessarily go crazy with GK prep – everything that you read in the newspaper isn’t supposed to be dispassionately memorized – it is supposed to be processed, you are supposed to get curious over every tiny bit of information and then look up everything on the internet, read further, follow up a story, read its backgrounder – be the authority on it.

This of course, is a time-bound exercise, you can’t go crazy all the time. Keep in mind what else you have to do, and limit your craziness to that reasonability – I know, a little contradictory – but not so much in practice.

Anyone who has no commercial  motivation to advice you, will advice you to purchase more. We have no such motivation (the test preps don’t count, really), our advice is motivated by you doing well, nothing else. So, do not go overboard buying material this season, go free and practical this season!

I am in the middle of nowhere, can I manage?

You are always my favourites. The ones who did whatever the duck they wanted to for the last few months, and then suddenly realized that High School isn’t forever.

You are in murky waters, and in the sea of uncertainty – there is nothing you know, and you think there’s SO MUCH to know. Lies, deception.

There is nothing you know, we can agree on that (at least to have a working relationship, please?) – there isn’t SO MUCH to know. November is still an okay time.

So, what and where do you start? You start at reading the effing newspaper! EVERYDAY. No, the compendiums are not enough, Pratiyogita Darpans are not enough and NO, there is no simple way to manage it.

First, organize.

Second, take stock, bullet point everything that you have to do. You might be good at this, because you probably were only making lists of well, other things in the past few months (Dolly’s birthday cake types? Rakesh’s second pre-marriage, first rehearsal of the third engagement party ke dresses and accessories? ‘things’ you have to ‘do’ this weekend?).

Third, Yes, there’s probably “a lot” that you have to do, but please DON’T panic.

Fourth, Anything else that you were doing, is not important any more.

Fifth, Everything that you do, develop an OCD for CLAT prep, read the paper with breakfast, do current affairs questions during your ride to school, hangout with the ‘geeky’ kids and discuss random current affairs, if there’s a monument or a building on the way about which you don’t know – go back and read about it.

Sixth, Okay, panic a little.

Seventh, Please for the love of God and everything that is sweet and wonderful in this world, just start reading the paper, it is NOT boring.

Eighth, When in doubt, email us.

Ninth, Remember, there’s GK in everything you do, so develop an interest in whatever the duck there is and isn’t.

Tenth, Well, I just wanted to make it ten. But go through the past GK articles, and our compendia from time to time, it’ll keep you revised and all that jazz.

Eleventh, Because I wanted it to be an odd number. Also, because I just remembered, practice as many questions as you can, google the options as well as the topic on the questions you don’t know stuff about. You’ll realize that you can make out patterns around which you can develop your guessing better.


Thirteenth, go do the CG compendiums here!



  1. This is like the craziest post i have read in past 6 months over CLATGYAN… but this is the post that makes more sense than lecture of our parents and teachers…Being a quizzer I totally agree that we can’t memorize things and GK should be done as if we are curious about everything…
    Only if the CLAT can come out with a definite syllabus on the GK/CA section.. It will be a helping hand.

  2. I loved this article. I somehow now, am able to sum up what I wanted to ask somebody for so long!
    I spend a lot of time reading articles, specially the editorial ones from the Hindu, sometimes TOI, that way  I come across a lot of things which were important  in the past, or things which are in controversy at the moment, I search up, dig more stuff on them, and at the end of the day, I feel I did nothing except gk.. I also read the fronline mag, basically general knowledge is way too vast to cover everything.  So, do you think I should just you know, reduce the time I put on this and start with improving other areas, like I need to buck up my speed in maths and logical reasoning?

    P.S- I am giving CLAT 2013. So a little help needed!

  3. thank you for this very interesting and crazy post!
    i will be giving CLAT 13 and i am very tensed since i have barely started. also i am not very confident about GK…but the tips are useful if i can really put into use….
    how do i manage between my boards and CLAT? i am weak in GK and maths. also my reading is not very fast….please reply, i need help!

    • Read what you enjoy.Like newspaper,start reading the part of newspaper which u find intresting,like sports,national,classifields haha etc

  4. the craziest and best motivating i have ever read..makes complete sense!!.. thank you for this..and yes..i guess i also do come in the category of “don’t know anything till now” but exactly not..its like i am a bit bad with always scared me..though i was in the toppers list in maths but still it scares me..any tips for that?
    and could you people please upload a list of some frequently used foreign words as well..i am too weak in that section and loose marks because of that..:|
    i sincerely hate reading newspapers..and i sometimes skip those..(big stupid i know)
    but from now onwards..i won’t do that..:)
    thank you very much soumya..:)

  5. i m unable to understand whatz going on in dis palestine , gaza & israel… can you please brief me about the same ? thanks a lot..

  6. whoever wrote this “dude , i wud kill to be in ur shoes! i suck at gk nd always loved math nd reasoning, nd both r not thaaat imp!”

  7. Hahah. XD
    Sorry but that^ was necessary here.
    This is THE craziest article I’ve read here, And informative too. 😀
    Yes. I shall take your advice and start reading the ‘Effing’ paper.
    I want to but I simply don’t know WHAT to read in it?
    There’s SO much.
    And What do you suggest for bad memory? Please don’t say yoga. 😛
    Anyway, Thanks a lot. 🙂

  8. Sir, as a student of 12th i cant manage my time in doing all stuff but i regularly and particularly cant read The Hindu but i refer monthly magzines like pratiyogita darpan and competition success review,etc….Is this ok for current gk preparation….
    And sir how to increase the reading speed and vocabulary…..

  9. This was great! I love it when someone tones down on the cuss words and the new words sound so cute! Actually, I also appreciate the abundance of gyan in this post. How funny that we all know what we have to do but don’t and when a stranger goes ahead and phrases ‘you have to’ as ‘it has to be done by you’ it all makes much more sense!
    Thank you!

Post a comment or at least a 'thank you!' It's okay if you're ungrateful. :P