In the last decade LAW has become a strong, versatile and sought after career option propelled by the success stories of students graduating from world class law schools in India. Alumni of the top law schools have excelled in diverse areas. They walk the corridors of the Supreme court, the various High Courts, the top corporate law firms, agencies of the United Nations and the other stellar organizations.
If one thinks of law as a career, CLAT is the next thing which comes in the mind. In fact,CLAT has become synonymous to law as a programme to pursue. Though there are other entrances to get into law colleges, CLAT stands way apart. It is the ticket to the top 21 National Law Universities of India.
The opportunities in LAW
The D-day is approaching and the anxiety levels are going up , and people like us are busy writing about it. What better sign than this can tell us that ‘Beware CLAT exam is here’. The first lesson is not to just worry about the exam but prepare judiciously because this is the only thing which can reduce the so called exam pressure. So, my dear aspirants, be brave and take the bull by the horn. Prepare well, have a plan, have a backup plan and, more importantly, know the strategies to adopt.
Here's an in-depth analysis of CLAT 2018 to help the aspirants plan for this year's CLAT.
Negative marking of 0.25 marks for every wrong answer
Let us look at each of the areas in detail
English including Comprehension
Let us have a brief topic-wise distribution of the questions
General Knowledge/Current Affairs
Most of the questions were from the current affairs (National/International) with questions from the areas like Science & Technology, Books/Authors, Polity, History, Sports, Awards, Economy and Government Policies, Economics, etc were also there. The questions though majorly from the current affairs, however had a fairly good representation from the static GK as well.
The questions were broadly from the topics like Syllogisms, Critical Reasoning, Puzzles, Arrangement, Blood Relationship, Direction sense, Coding-decoding, Number Series, Letter Series, Alpha-numeric Series, Distribution, Ranking, Comparison, Clock, Odd-one out, etc.
Elementary Mathematics(Numerical Ability)
The questions were mainly from the topics like BODMAS,Percentages, Ratio & Proportion, Averages, Time & Work, Time & Distance, Algebra, Numbers, Geometry, Pure Maths, etc.
Like last year, Legal Reasoning section did not throw any surprises this year too. The question paper predominantely had Legal Reasoning questions, with about ten questions onLegal GK also. The test was heavy on Principle-Fact based questions with a few from Assertion-Reasoning, and Statement-Assumption type questions.
The questions were from the topics like Torts, Contracts, Criminal Law, Constitution, etc.
With the exam being a little difficult than the last year’s and also coupled with technical glitches, the cut-offs are expected to go southwards. The cut-off for the Top 3 schools is expected to be about 130+.
Last year’s approximate Cut offs:
Number of good attempts per section:
English- 32-35, Legal- 38-42, GK- 35-38, Logical- 30-35, Maths- 10-12
The move from the online CLAT to offline mode may be a welcome change for the student community who at this level may not be very comfortable with the online exams. This year the cutoffs are likely to go up as in the paper based exam aspirants are more comfortable than in an online test. The plan should be to prepare on all the 5 areas which come in the exam, viz. English,Numerical ability ,Reasoning,Legal Aptitude and General Knowledge.
So,let me share some tips on how to crack this exam.
The time pressure
There are 200 questions divided into 5 sections and the time given is 120 minutes with negative marking for the wrong answers. So, the time crunch will always be there and the only way out can be the two golden words-‘Be Selective’. It is not about doing all the questions; the exam is a lot about leaving the questions where you are not so sure. There has to be an ‘exit time’ which means, to be out of the question as soon as possible if ,in case, the time taken goes beyond your stipulated time. As time management is very crucial in this exam, students should take 10-12 mocks to get the feel of the actual exam. Analyzing the mock and identifying the strengths and weaknesses should be the next step.
Leaving questions which is beyond the abilities of an aspirant can save the much needed time which can thereby be used in solving other doable questions. This habit is something very different from the board exams where a student is advised to do every question. Doing away with this habit may take some time. So, while practicing at home take care of it. There has to be a clear cut difference which aspirants should keep in their mind about strategies to be used in this exam CLAT. And any rigid mindsets can be very detrimental.
Smart work needed for the English section
For English , reading newspapers everyday and writing down 10 to 20 words can help students boost their vocab,reading comprehension and GK. Apart from this,solving passages,para jumble,critical reasoning questions should be done regularly. Some foreign expressions and idioms are also seen in the paper quite often.The practice should be done regularly in all the areas. Practising English is like taking medicine,you need to take a daily dose to improve your skills.At least one hour should be given to English practice daily and some time should be given to general reading as well.
Be well-versed in Legal Aptitude section
This section may be quite a new section for most of the aspirants. So, be very thorough with the type of questions asked in this section. Start looking at the different types of questions which come in the exams and try to clear the basic concepts as soon as possible. The legal Maxims should also be revised as some questions were seen in the earlier CLAT exams. Mostly questions are based on facts and principle. Being thorough with the constitutional laws, torts, etc. may require some real hard work. Even legal GK questions are expected in this section as was seen in the last two years.
GK section holds the key
A good number of questions can be attempted here in very less time as doing or leaving a GK question may not take more than 10 seconds.
General knowledge and current affairs questions can be dealt with properly, only if a student has given time to daily newspapers and magazines. GK capsules and ppts. on current events really come handy to the students and can keep their interest in this particular area during the preparation. The aspirants from now on should carefully go through the last one year current affairs and also go through the static GK portion daily. So,going through a good compilation of the events of past and present holds the key in this section. Questions come from different areas like History,Geography,Polity,Sports,Science,Economics,awards,etc. This section particularly can help students gather a lot of marks with very less time consumed. If one knows an answer it is just the strain of a muscle required to tick the right answer.
Be flexible in approach
All the aspirants are in the same boat so one need not be very happy if the paper is easy and one need not be very sad if the paper is tough. Cut-offs are higher if the paper is tough and vice versa. So, another golden rule is “no preconceived notions”. Don't think of the number of attempts before actually looking at the paper. Number of attempts would go down by the whole group if the paper is tough thereby reducing the cut offs. This can ease out the exam pressure and would result in sensible attempts rather than wild guesses.
Elementary Maths section can be very doable
As per the name 'Elementary', this section fully justifies this and it will be a big mistake not to attempt this section in the CLAT exam. With the basic knowledge of Mathematics, one can easily attempt a good number of questions and get all of them right as well. This can definitely increase the overall scores and help a candidate clear the overall cut offs.
For Reasoning one should go through questions based on critical reasoning, arrangements, puzzles, Blood relations, syllogism, analogies, Series, Coding-Decoding, cause and action, etc.A lot of practice is required to develop the ability to solve these types of questions.
Informed decision making
This may sound strange but the exam is also about leaving questions. Going through all the questions is of utmost importance and doing that will definitely mean leaving questions where you are not sure of. Do questions where you are sure of and leave questions which are out of your ability. Eliminate options smartly and choose the best among the given options. Have that eye to identify easy, moderate and difficult questions. The questions and the answers are right in front of you. Be smart!The only way to develop this knack is to attempt a lot of mocks before the actual exam.
If you can dream it , you can do it. So, go and get your dreams.
All the best!
About the Expert
Amit Poddar is the current Sr. Regional Head at T.I.M.E. Delhi. He is a graduate from Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi University and an MBA from Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Delhi. Worked for a US based MNC-Primus Telecom for two yrs and then shifted to Education Industry. Headed a Pune based Company-Bull's Eye for 3 and a half yrs and looked after Academics and Marketing. Joined T.I.M.E. in 2006 as a Knowledge expert and have grown to a Senior Regional Head Position. In addition to this, he has also been part of career Counselling/Academic seminars at Various Colleges like Stephen's, Hindu, Hansraj College, NSIT, LSR, Miranda House, DCE, Technia, Trinity, MAIT, IITM, Jesus and Mary, Dayal Singh, etc.