The Truth about the ‘Expected Cut-offs’


1254. You know what number that is? That’s the number of mails we received on one specific day – the CLAT Day. Most of these mails were asking about what we thought the cut offs could be, and a tiny portion of them gave us the score that they were estimating along with queries as to where that score will take them. We didn’t reply to any of those mails. Not because we got frustrated, but because we pitied them. Pity. Because there are thousands of kids who take CLAT with a lot of hope that they will make it through. They put too much of themselves into it and have become insecure and vulnerable. All the hard work, dedication, and the dreams and hopes they built, keep tinkering in their head along with the thoughts of what could happen next.

I must admit that I too was one such kid when I took my CLAT back in 2010. I was so insecure that every confident face at the examination centre scared me. When I reached NALSAR, that was when I realized that I wasn’t the only one. Almost everyone, howsoever calm and composed they looked, had gone through their own phases of insecurity and vulnerability. Yes, those are the key words – insecurity and vulnerability.

These are the keywords because these are the exact two things that the coaching centres exploit. A few years back, The Caravan had written a brilliant piece titled, “Sweet Smell of Success -How Arindam Chaudhuri made a fortune off the aspirations—and insecurities—of India’s middle classes” which elaborated what the title says. (Arindam Chaudhuri is the guy you see everywhere advertising IIPM with the tagline ‘dare to think beyond the IIMs!‘).  No points for guessing what happened next. A hefty law suit was filed against the magazine for defamation. The court quickly ordered that the article be taken down. It was here, and it won’t load anymore. (Here‘s the link to the issue)

Why am I telling you all of this? Because there are these coaching centres for CLAT which work on similar lines. They show you the skulls of their top ranked kids to lure you. They will expect you to pay for their expensive courses. And they will please you by telling you what you want to hear. Yes, this is where the idea of ‘expected’ cut offs comes from. It is by this idea that they exploit your insecurity and vulnerability. What happens then? You turn into a pitiable soul and send a mail to everyone you can asking for their version of cut offs. When we saw our inbox being blasted by such mails, I rushed to the CLATGyan Group to put up a pinned note saying that one can never predict the cut offs, for it depends on the standard of the paper (which no one knows unless they see the paper) and the competition (which no one can possibly know). Did the note help? Why would it? Any person who is insecure and vulnerable will run to those who say what he/she wants to hear.

This post is only to prove, for all future purposes, that the ‘expected’ cut offs released by every other CLAT ‘guru’ (Lol!) are as random, baseless, nonsensical, and arbit as it is for Tamil to be the second language of Haryana. (True story until 2010, check this). Let me throw in some facts to support this already persuasive argument.

Here is one such report on ‘predicted cut-offs’. (We were apprehensive that this post will be taken down. So, if you cannot access it, download it here). This one meticulously puts NLSIU at 139.5, and NALSAR at 136.5. Guess what? Check the CLAT merit list here. A score of 139.5 does not give you NLSIU, it gives you GNLU. (That’s rank 427, and not rank 60 – the general cut off for NLSIU). Further, it predicts that a kid will get through NUJS with a score of 130. Really? Check the merit list. Score of 130 will give you a rank of 872. Considering that there are only 796 general seats in all the fourteen NLUs combined, you get zilch.

Not atrocious enough? Here is another one. (If offline, download it here) This one puts NLSIU at a score of 143.5 and NLIU Bhopal at 130. The real merit list doesn’t even last till the score of 130. As said before, the total number of general category seats is 796, thereby ending the merit list at a score of 131.5. Going by this prediction, a kid with that score should be at NLIU Bhopal, and not at the fag end of the merit list as it actually happened.

Proof enough to prove these ‘expected’ cut offs are crap? But why do they still make them knowing that they aren’t any ‘gurus’ or have any locus to throw random numbers? The answer comes from what one of the branch managers of one of the ‘top’ coaching centres told me just before I was about to start my class. Staring at my untidy hair, he said, “You know. When you come to teach, you should be well dressed. It doesn’t matter how well you teach, because if the kids don’t make it, good for us. They will come again next year to take another try and we will get business. You should start thinking with your business sense.”  Now, wait. Really, boss? Apart from the fact that you haven’t even experienced what it is like to prepare for CLAT, write the exam, and feel the pain when you do not make it through, you have the audacity to stop and lecture me on my untidy hair and lack of business sense? Well, apparently. Because you are in a position of privilege to exploit the insecurity and vulnerability of a few immature and troubled souls who are bothered about their careers.

If there’s one thing I did learn for sure from being involved in CLAT since 2011 as a part of CLATGyan, it is just that you can never be judged by someone better than you can judge yourself. This post is not to pick at those who are running such coaching centres. If there’s a point here, it’s this: don’t be slaves to the money you are getting. Instead of using your business sense, use some courage to tell those kids who cannot make it through that they cannot make it through and they should look for alternatives and stop wasting their time and money at your coaching institute. Guts. That’s all it takes.

CLATGyan has always stood for being upfront. Not only because we don’t play with uncertainty, but because we have helped students to be realistic in their targets; so when we teach with our untidy hair or with our personal emails or with little ‘branding’, we do it with only one motive – that you improve your own performance; because dealing with CLAT’s uncertainty is dealing with your own weaknesses, not the weaknesses of some ‘expected, predicted, performance of others;’ And because we know the pain of not making it through (my CLAT 2009, when I joined Symbiosis with my head down), and the joy of cracking it (my CLAT 2010 when I headed to NALSAR). This is not to boast as much as it is to discern the inhumanity of exploiting feelings. Feelings of those who haven’t seen much life yet. Feelings of those who lovingly nurture dreams and hopes. Feelings of those who will, even if they crack the exam, only realize it later that it was their own hard work and grit that got them through, and not the lies that you sold them by burning their pockets.

With a hope that the dirt will disappear, I wish you all luck, understanding, and sense of direction.



  1. Dear Asad,

    Thank you for writing this post. The cut off’s are mostly only a guidance a milestone to cross on the journey of preparing for CLAT. I agree with your points on relying on one’s own judgement but in a competitive exam it is not really one’s own performance which matters right? My son has a score which tallies with his expectations which last year would have gotten him into NALSAR/NUJS but now he is lucky to get Kochi/Patna.

    There has been a trend more or less – this year seems to have bucked the trend- this is a little unusual. 

    I am just  a parent who is sad and confused with all the confusion that this year CLAT has created. Perhaps these very high scores and superlative performances are the beginning of a new trend.

    I have followed your site carefully am subscribed to it for the past 2 years – have enjoyed the humour, the care which is evident and the professionalism with which you run it. 

    May your tribe increase, keep up the good work and best wishes always – with the best that is in me my blessings. I will continue to follow CLAT GYAN even if only for the brilliant pieces of writing. 

    Warm Regards

  2. 100 % RIGHT. Whenever anyone asks me what role my coaching played , I answer that it’s only MY dream and MY hard work to realize that dream, that got me through.Education has been commercialized  to the detriment of insecure people. Only by believing in ourselves- our passion, our interests ,our aptitude;  can we overturn this monopoly.

  3. Really it is good to listen , read some of the points which a kid go through by these coaching factories. As a parent I appreciate your views which are more from the professional mind and with sicerity to help ( With humanity), It has got so much internallised that every kid believe this is truth and In a way set up a bench mark only to “Cut-Offs” instead of excellence.

  4. Asad, perfectly said. CLAT predictions are just entertaining reads, though this year it has become a joke.
    And trust me on this one: we students at coaching centers don’t care if you come wearing flip flops or Italian loafers – we’re just so happy to see SOMEBODY, anybody, from an NLU instead of another CAT guru who prescribes us CAT books, takes the same lectures for CAT students, and has never even looked at a CLAT mock. (
    You NALSARites and the toppers who give honest interviews are much more helpful than the ghouls at these coaching center receptions.

    Best of luck to you and to the CLATGyan team. 😀
    – A CLAT 2015 aspirant

  5. Brilliant stuff…… Out of the whole article I loved the last para most …..I am too left with the option to get into a pvt Law School but aim to crack it next year …..Just by doing wht I had not done last year and mending my mistakes …….Thanks 

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