CLAT 2021: Exam Pattern and Sectional Difficult Level Analysis

CLAT 2021 Exam is just around the corner. Before the CLAT 2021 exam, it is very important for aspirants to understand the CLAT exam pattern and the analysis of the difficulty level of the exam.

CLAT 2020: Exam Pattern and Sectional Difficult Level Analysis
CLAT 2020: Exam Pattern and Sectional Difficult Level Analysis

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.

  • National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU)
  • National Academy of Legal Study and Research University of Law, Hyderabad (NALSAR)
  • The National Law Institute University, Bhopal (NLIU)
  • The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata (WBNUJS)
  • National Law University, Jodhpur (NLUJ)
  • Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur (HNLU))
  • Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar (GNLU)
  • Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow (RMLNLU)
  • Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab (RGNUL)
  • Chanakya National Law University, Patna (CNLU)
  • The National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi (NUALS)
  • National Law University Odisha, Cuttack (NLUO)
  • National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi (NUSRL)
  • National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam (NLUJAA)
  • Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam (DSNLU)
  • Tamil Nadu National Law School, Tiruchirappalli (TNNLS)
  • Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai (MNLU)
  • Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur (MNLU)
  • Maharashtra National Law University,Aurangabad(MNLU)
  • Dharmashastra National Law University, Jabalpur (MPDNLU)
  • Himachal Pradesh National Law University (HPNLU)

The opportunities in LAW

  • Judiciary
  • Business Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Health Care Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Patent and Copyright Law
  • Cyber 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 2019 to help the aspirants plan for this year's CLAT.


  • Maximum Marks : 150
  • Total Number of Questions : 150
  • Duration of the test : 120 minutes

Section No


No. of Questions


English including Comprehension

28-32 questions, or roughly 20% of the paper


General Knowledge and Current Affairs

35-39 questions, or roughly 25% of the paper


Quantitative Techniques

13-17 questions, or roughly 10% of the paper


Legal Aptitude

35-39 questions, or roughly 25% of the paper


Logical Reasoning

28-32 questions, or roughly 20% of the paper

Negative marking of 0.25 marks for every wrong answer


Given below is an in-depth analysis of CLAT question paper from the previous year.

English including Comprehension

  • Level : Easy-Moderate
  • No. of recommended questions to be attempted: 30+

Let us have a brief topic-wise distribution of the questions


No of Questions

Reading Comprehension


Sentence correction


Fill in the blank


Vocab based questions


Critical Reasoning


Para Summary


General Knowledge/Current Affairs

  • Level : Moderate-Difficult
  • No. of recommended questions to be attempted: 35+

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.

Logical Reasoning

  • Level : Moderate
  • No. of recommended questions to be attempted: 29+

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)

  • Level : Difficult and lengthy
  • No. of recommended questions to be attempted: 8+

The questions were mainly from the topics like BODMAS,Percentages, Ratio & Proportion, Averages, Time & Work, Time & Distance, Algebra, Numbers, Geometry, Pure Maths, etc.

Legal Reasoning

  • Level : Moderate
  • No. of recommended questions to be attempted: 40+

Like last year, Legal Reasoning section did not throw any surprises this year too. The question paper predominantly had Legal Reasoning questions, with about ten questions on Legal 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 topics like Torts, Contracts, Criminal Law, Constitution, etc.

Overall Analysis

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 Cutoffs:

  • Expected Cut-Off for Tier-1 Law Schools -130-140
  • Expected Cut-Off for Tier-2 Law Schools -125-130
  • Expected Cut-Off for Tier-3 Law Schools -110+.

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 for 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 150 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 that are 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 minds 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 every day 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. Practicing 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 that 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. Most questions are based on facts and principles. 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 needs 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. The 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.

Logical Reasoning

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 that 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!

Shiv Khera
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