Time Management I : The Before

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This is probably the time when everyone who is due to attempt CLAT in a few months is probably beginning to feel as if they are in Interstellar. Not that they should have chosen an alternate career path, an astronaut perhaps, but as if they are on that watery planet where time is so severely dilated due to some fancy science that every hour equals seven years. It is even worse if you are to appear for your board exams this year as well. So here are a few tips and tricks on how to manage your time in these crucial weeks to follow, along with a few bonus pieces of gyan.

Make a time table

Yes, I know, making a time table is seemingly a waste of time and effort, no one can manage to even remotely follow them, yada yada yada. But having a timetable can actually be incredibly useful, especially to those who are attempting multiple exams, such as the boards and law entrances. A timetable doesn’t necessarily mean chalking out what every minute of your day is to be utilised for. It is more of a broad outline to ensure that specific tasks are accomplished. For instance, devote a set number of hours to your boards preparation and a set number of hours to CLAT preparation. This way, neither gets neglected, in a sudden flurry of enthusiasm, denial, procrastination or exclamations of “J’en ai marre!”. It also ensures that too much attention isn’t paid to just one thing, which can in itself be detrimental. Too much CLAT preparation may just drive you to the brink of madness, where the abyss mimics a warm blanket.

For those who are just focussing on CLAT or other law entrances, a timetable can include rough guidelines for each section to be studied. For instance, make time in a day for a mock, analysing it, perfecting the mistakes, as well as time put aside for a couple of sections, one wants to either make progress in or something that one wants to merely maintain skill levels in.

For those who are appearing for boards and CLAT can also divide their CLAT preparation time in the above fashion (think timetable Inception).

Do not try to do too much

Here is another reason a timetable is a boon. It keeps you from going crazy and trying to do too much. For instance, trying to attempt six mocks in one day is just torture and will not help unless you are a vampire who doesn’t require sleep or food and has an endless brain capacity. Be sensible, and have a targeted approach. Pin point your strengths and weaknesses and try to identify where you could maximise your score and what kinds of questions to avoid. In doing this, you will automatically be able to narrow down on sections and topics to focus on, and will not spend time on things that will not add to your eventual score. For instance, solving one section merely because you like it and neglecting the others or neglecting sections you are good at and merely focussing on weaknesses are equally detrimental to the cause. Work intelligently and do the needful, that is it.

Time yourself strictly

Your phone’s timer is your best friend. The time has passed where you could afford to go on a journey, to discover yourself while giving a mock test. Now is the time to become the epitome of knowledge, skills, accuracy and speed. So time yourself and don’t succumb to boredom that may attack you in the middle of a particularly sleep inducing mock test (English passages- I am looking at you). Discipline yourself.

The key here is to work smart and not hard. Do just enough and do the right things. Do not slog without an aim. If three hours of pointed studying is enough for you, then that is all you need to do. Working for 16 hours needlessly will not get you anywhere, but could instead lead to burn out.

Take breaks

Cannot. Stress. This. Enough. Take short breaks several times through the day. Ensure that you do not reach saturation point. This can be deadly. This however in no way means that you should decide to take a week long family holiday, or go backpacking across Europe unless of course you aren’t a mere mortal like us (In which case, why are you reading this?). Save this for the post CLAT soul searching. And it is okay to take a big break and to go watch a movie or even to take a day off entirely. Just as long as this isn’t an everyday affair.afpez

Time management means something different to every individual at the level of nuances. However, the basic idea is to have a plan and stick to it. It all boils down to being disciplined, to the ridiculous, saccharine sweet and seemingly unrealistic essays we would spout on Anushasan ka Mahatva. Try making ‘To do’ lists and sticking to them. Though it may seem that there is no time left, and it is too late to achieve anything and you might as well give up, DON’T. There is plenty of time if you work smart and the one month before CLAT will prove to be instrumental, especially to those who would have just appeared for the boards. Do not neglect anything, especially your boards, nothing is certain and why not give every ounce of yourself to all your endeavours? If failure then happens to hit, it truly wasn’t in your hands and the universe just has greater plans for you.

P.S. Please fill the forms, accurately, people. All your hard work will be in vain if you are unable to even attempt the paper due to missing the deadline or had some glitches in the paperwork.

Aishwarya Birla

Class of 2020

NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad.

28 COMMENTS

    • Hi! So this was my response to another very similar question, do forgive the plagiarism.

      This is a list of material I used along with what others have recommended to me.  I strongly recommend consulting your teachers as well as others who have attempted CLAT previously.

      G.K.- The Hindu,  CLATGyan Compendiums, Pratiyogita Darpan, Current Affairs Digest, Pearson, Manorama Year Book and a lot of googling.

      English- Past years papers’, Word Power Made Easy, Wren & Martin, coaching modules and a lot of eclectic reading (newspaper reading also helps here).

      Math- Past years’ papers, coaching modules, and various math reference books for CBSE and ICSE (Class X level).

      Logical Reasoning- Past years’ papers, coaching material and random questions I found online.

      Legal Aptitude- Past years’ papers, coaching material, AP Bhardwaj (beware, solutions are often incorrect).

      Besides this, do go through the website, I am sure you will find it to be an invaluable resource.

    • Again, it really does depend on the mock. Level of difficulty and rankings must be taken into consideration. That being said, it certainly isn’t a bad score, and is quite good. Do, however, aim to get better.

  1. Thank u! for guiding…..i really needed this help:)
    but i have completed solving reasoning books but still while answering mocks i get nervous and make mistakes and waste time. All this results in a lot of rush for other sections and hence i score 71/200 in CLAT mock….which is very depressing at this point of time. pl guide  
    also in maths section i score very poorly….it is not that i will not be able to solve them but i take a lot of time…which is not there in clat and so i just skip them….my legal aptitude section is also troubling me a lot…such questions….i have never heard of them…the cases and different legal knowledge thing… make your blood run cold…pl help as time is running by…. 

    • First things first, calm down. Your getting flustered will not help and you have realised this yourself. Just have a targeted approach to all sections. Use the questions and material on this website and from any coaching you might be taking. Solve more mocks to get more accustomed to the sensation of giving mocks. It is fine to be a little nervous and not know and attempt all questions, just ensure you don’t end up skipping entire sections. 
      I am inserting a list of books and material, in no way exhaustive, but a good starting point.

      G.K.- The Hindu,  CLATGyan Compendiums, Pratiyogita Darpan, Current Affairs Digest, Pearson, Manorama Year Book and a lot of googling.

      English- Past years papers’, Word Power Made Easy, Wren & Martin, coaching modules and a lot of eclectic reading (newspaper reading also helps here).

      Math- Past years’ papers, coaching modules, and various math reference books for CBSE and ICSE (Class X level).

      Logical Reasoning- Past years’ papers, coaching material and random questions I found online.

      Legal Aptitude- Past years’ papers, coaching material, AP Bhardwaj (beware, solutions are often incorrect).

      Solve mocks, and sign up for more mock test series. The CLATGyan Test Series, 2016 would be a great tool.

      Above all, stay calm, do not lose hope, and attempt questions with a level head, without giving in to your fears and emotions.

        • can u please guide me how to speed up my puzzle solving. I am facing poor marks in logical reasoning which once used to be my strength. 

          • First of all priyanka calm down. Panicking yourself especially at this stage is not going to help u at all. It is only going to make things worse. Logic section can be divided into verbal and analytical reasoning which can be further divided into blood relations, directions, number series, critical reasoning – strong weak arguments,etc. If u are taking too much time in solving LR , it’s probably because u r stressing urself a lot or perhaps not being able to concentrate properly while taking the mock. If u r saying that logical reasoning was once ur strength, it was because u were nt solving it under mental pressure or time constraints. U will have to more specific abt ur problem if I am to help u further.

            • With strength i meant that earlier i could ace all the questions and it is strange to hear that i have completed RS Aggarwal and to some extend MK Pandey also but since DECEMBER when i have started giving mocks i realise that i take a lot of time to solve them correctly and because of that other sections of the mock suffer badly esp. GK as i often know most of them and solve them in the few minutes left at the last and in a hurry or in a state of panic i tend to make silly mistakes in that section, the legal section also suffer if i solve it after reasoning section, so i do it the other way round and end with gk.

              • And yes one more thing since it is Feb and my prep…according to me is almost over so can u guide me how often should i take mocks i.e in a week or in a four day span.
                 

  2. Hii ..
    I wanted to know … How to prepare for LR .. I have practised it from many materials.. But still..some time consuming questions come in mock..and it takes time der.. Specially of arrangement grouping questions.. And another is my CR part,which is also weak and 3rd problem is idioms and maxims..so kindly tell me d solutions for these problems..

    • Logic can be time consuming and can come as a frustration if u r nt able to solve it correctly even after spending quite some time. The strategy for LR requires that a person should be very attentive as well as relaxed while solving the question as this is a an area where one can easily make silly mistakes if the facts are overlooked. It is an area testing ur aptitude for application of common sense. As far as time is concerned u can only increase ur speed if u do maximum number of questions as practice makes perfect. For solving LR make sure that u write the facts immediately and legible enough when u deduce them. Then solve each fact one step at a time and at the end combine all the facts together to get a clear picture of what the question is asking. U will get the answer easily. Solving Logic is very much like a jigsaw puzzle.

  3. Hii this is Pooja…
    I’m in 11th grade and I’ve joined a coaching class for clat and other law entrance exams. I wrote my first mock last month and scored 99.50. I would like to ask u the following…
    1) From when shud I strt learning current affairs for clat 2017. Is it frm 12months b4 or earlier?
    2) How can I improve my reading speed?
    3) Will the real exam B 100% more difficult than the mock?
    4) Can u suggest me a good exercise book for logic with lots of relevent practice questions..
    5) Can I skip math section? It earns me only negative markings
    6) Is legal knowledge needed for the legal aptitude section?

    • Well here are the answers to your queries, pointwise.
      1) For current affairs the relevant time period would be from April 2016 to March 2017 as such. 
      2) Well that is something that comes naturally with time and practice. Read as much as u can from newspapers to magazines, novels to the internet,etc. whatever u like to read. This will not only increase your reading speed but will also enhance your vocabulary and word usage at the same time. 
      3) I can’t answer that and I’m quite possibly sure that no one else can except the paper setters. So that is a vague question to ask. No one can predict the future. Since u have more than enough time on your hands, it is not something u shud be worrying abt right now. Prepare yourself in a way that u become capable of answering any kind of question that CLAT throws at u. Analysing the past year papers right from 2008 itself, I think it would be fair to say that CLAT does like to give candidates a kind of heart attack in the form of questions asked completely off pattern or the least expected by a candidate. CLAT is not like any other exam having a definite syllabus and stable difficulty level. It varies from year to year. Moreover apart from just knowledge Clat tests u on a variety of parameters such as speed, accuracy, confidence, risk and pressure taking capacity, how much calm and composed u are,etc. U can be asked anything and everything. Don’t risk being caught off guard on the D-day. Be thoroughly prepared when the time comes and give it your best shot. Trust me CLAT is not a difficult exam to crack if u know what and how to study.
      4) Go for RS Agrawal and MK Pandey.
      5) Absolutely not! That is the worst kind of mistake u can ever think of committing. U should know that a single mark can be so precious so as to break or make someone’s career. Skipping 20 marks will land u in a position where your whole effort of scoring highly in the other sections will be as good as nothing. Maths is perhaps the only  section in CLAT where one can easily score well if u give the love and time it deserves. U r nt going to be asked questions on typical maths of 11th or 12th standard, so chill. Only basic everyday mathematics. So, Keep calm and solve questions. Hundreds,thousands and more given the good amount of time u have. Ur priority should be first on accuracy and later on speed. Solve each question u can lay ur hands on atleast thrice. U will find that maths acts as a good confidence builder for the other confusing and boring sections. Don’t fear if u are weak in maths or haven’t studied it. Most of the people who have cracked CLAT would agree that they were not as good as they are now from the very beginning. Everybody needs to start somewhere, even the best. So, now u have to take ur own step towards it.
      6) It is clearly mentioned in the CLAT website that students will not be tested on legal knowledge just reasoning. But then CLAT committee does have a bad reputation for deviating from the syllabus it prescribes. So to be on the safer side especially when u have around 15 months to prepare what’s the harm in studying for legal knowledge. Even if it’s not asked in Clat the knowledge gained can come handy for other law entrances or something else. Afterall u r aspiring to become a lawyer, so why not learn something about law?

  4. Hi this is Ankita here.
    Firstly thanks for such a motivational message. 
    I gave Clat last year and could not get through. This year I am preparing on my own. I have no idea as to am I prepared or not. I feel all the sections are screwed up. Assuming that I know nothing in any section am ready to work hard . If you could please guide as to how to prepare for all sections. I am facing a hell lot of problem with maths also english coz these are the two sections I haven’t touched . My vocab is not so good so I also face problem with it in logic section. If you could please as to how to prepare in the three months so that I get through this year. Thank you.

    • The best advice I can give you is to start working. There is plenty of material available on this website and otherwise. I am sure if exploited, this will hold you in good stead.

    • I don’t know why I am writing this . You are my competitor . Firstly, forget your past. You have nearly 3 months and this much time is enough to get into NLSIU given you are not an English and Math Nube.
      Vocabulary can be fixed. Now, this is your time. You can not lose one more year. You can ace this exam but you would have to work your a** off. I am serious.
      But you also have an advantage that you don’t have to give boards exams this year. I have to give them this year , thousands of students have to give them this year. So try to think that you are at an advantage. Use this time. DO CLATGyan compendiums from April to January. Start reading the Hindu. Its available online too. Buy Manorma Year Book . Read it. But AP BHARDWAJ CLAT PREP BOOK published by Macgraw Hill. Complete it. RS Aggarwal would be enough for logical and Math, and Bhardwaj for Legal and to some extent GK. Polish your grammar skills, increase your vocabulary , learn new idioms daily. When I say daily I mean daily. Don’t skip a day. You would get through it.
      Reply to me if you need more help. You can do it, Ace this exam but I might not let you do that.

      • Aishwarya and Rajat both of you
        Thanks and I mean seriously thanks a lot.
        The way you’ve motivated is simply awesome. 
        I’ll work on it. 

  5. hello there! I wanted to ask that if I have been regular in mocks throughout the year n with current affairs too . but if I shift my focus from clat to boards in the month of feb n march because I want to score above 92% in 12th then would I be able to cope up in the moneth of april? my que is just this that can a person if really extremely hardworking..can we manage clat in just 1 month? pls help.

    • It’s possible. But, we suggest that you do keep up with the current affairs and some amount of practise even during boards. It’s important that you don’t feel like you’re starting all over when you get back to full-time prep in April.

      • yea..for sure. I am totally in touch with current affairs. and I usually have a score between 110-130 in mocks. I just wanted to know one thing that what minimum score we must maintain to have a surety that we’ll atleast get into nliu Bhopal. because my target is obviously in any of the top 3 universities.. . can you please please help me with this ..I juat wanted to know that till now..what have been the trends..like I understand it depends on the level of difficulty of question paper..but still if you could provide me with a rough idea? .. thank you so much. you guys are doing such a great job..because when we have nowhere to go..we can atleast come to you 🙂

  6. hello! i have been preparing for clat for 2 years. my attemp is of 140-155 questions. I am doing good in legal (38/50) and gk(35/50) section. now the problem is that my correct- incorrect ratio is very poor. My score always remains below 90. i take plenty of time..probably 45 min. .solving logical section and is left with very less with english. And even if i do english section before logical section, my answers always gets wrong.
    Basically i am weak in english and logical. for english i have trying to increase my reading speed and grammer..but there is no overall drastic change.!! and for logical i have solved entire logical section of universal and also following mk pandey side by side.
    I am not able to understand what to do and is totally confused. class 12 board exams bhi paas aa rhe hai.!!
    pls help.. advice me what to do , how to and from where to do.

  7. Hey. The comments,the post is very useful .
    I’m dropping a year. Its already November end. Have don’t almost the syllabus. But see while doing the paper, its very different on the computer and when the paper is under ur hand. Attempting sample papers on computer is very difficult. So as far I’m doing it in written, the score is not very good. Not very bad. But while doing it on the computer its exhausting.
    Some help ?

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