Negative marking. But, why? What exactly could have been the reason? You see. Law schools, for a good reason, prefer to have kids with better knowledge and aptitude rather than those with better luck. Fair enough. Good for them. And good for all of us who’re already here, for we weren’t subject to such sadism and for we (if negative marking is any good) would get juniors who’re better than us.
But then, it doesn’t really seem good to you. Right? I mean, you could draw any shape in the OMR sheet and hope that the dots meet up with the right ones. If they don’t, aah! big deal, there was nothing to lose. Well, now there is. You’re going to lose 0.25 for every such mismatch/mishap. Let’s do some math and see how it’s gonna work.
You’ll have four options to choose from, for each question. There will be, obviously, one right option. So, the probability of you getting a wrong answer is ¾. Assume that you have four questions for which you don’t know the answer. They are mutually independent of each other. So, the probability that you answer all four wrongly is .75 x .75 x .75 x .75 = 0.32 and hence the probability that at least one is correct is 1 – 0.32 = 0.68. Now, if you get all four wrong, you lose one mark. But that’s the worst case scenario. I think, as long as you throw an educated guess, you should comfortably get at least one question right. That leaves you where you started. Nothing lost. In fact, you gain 0.25 for every such right answer in four randomly marked ones (Assuming that the other three were wrong). And if you think you have absolutely no idea what the answer is, you could just leave it empty. Again, nothing to lose.
But wait. We’re all forgetting one thing. You would’ve got these marks rather than using them to compensate your wrong answers, right? There. I don’t really have an answer for that. What is good about this system is that you were made aware of it well before five full months. And you have two options now: either learn/practice well or go try your luck risking 0.25 every single time it ditches you. Clever kids will choose the former and it’s these clever souls that the law schools are looking for. Randomness might be good. Not now. You’d be a nincompoop if you choose to be random. Sad, but well.
It goes without saying that you’re now supposed to put in more effort in reading the question. Much more. You might know the answer to the question, but misunderstanding it and marking a different option will not just make you lose one mark, but subtracts 0.25 from the total. It also goes without saying that you should mark an option only and only if you think or feel that it might be the right answer. Marking something being completely ignorant of it does no good. We had stopped believing in luck, remember? Oh, and this is for everyone who’s taking CLAT. You’re no exception, right?
Lastly, don’t stress yourselves. I remember how I was sweating and shivering when I was given the paper. I could feel the blood flow speed up in my brain and I gulped down one whole bottle of water to calm myself down. Don’t let this happen to you. Those two hours, just those two hours. Promise yourselves that you’ll do all the ‘thinking-and-getting-nervous’ once those two hours are done. They might just change your life. Stay in your senses and believe that your hard work doesn’t deserve to go to waste.
Hope that the paper tests your brain and not luck. I’ve used this quote before and I do it again. “Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies” – Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption.