The CLAT paper consists of five major sections
Let us begin with legal reasoning. Legal reasoning tests your ability to apply a set of rules to a given fact situation. It may take some time initially to process the given situation and try to remove all the principles of law that you think are relevant to the question. It is necessary to stick to the given principle irrespective of whether it actually exists or not, and more so if it is contrary to the actual rules laid down by the Legislature. By the time you have a week to go for CLAT, you should ideally be able to do each question under this section within a minute.
For legal reasoning, it is advisable to pick up any book that you believe comprehensively deals with all the concepts and practice as many questions as you can. Do not get bogged down by the fact that the answers to the same question or, a very similar question are different in different examinations. In such questions, make it a point to note down the answers given in previous CLAT answer keys. The questions themselves do not change materially. The principles may be changed so read them more carefully because if you manage to be certain about your answers in the first attempt, you will not have to go through your answers later. This section does, at times, become a source of frustration at the fag end of the exam when doubts may creep in between two options, especially in cases where you think that you need to choose the least incorrect option. So it is advisable to be certain of your answers in the first attempt itself.
Logical reasoning is generally the easiest section and it should not take a lot of time in case you are used to solving puzzles, such as reflections and translations. There might be a couple of questions that could get you bewildered, but the rest would be in essence straightforward if you have practiced similar questions before.
The English section is divided into two sub-sections. The first part is based on comprehension, and the second on grammar. The complexity of this section is completely dependent upon the University drafting the CLAT paper, which differs annually. For 2016, it was RGNUL. The English section was fairly easy. It is generally enough to extract facts and specific words from the given paragraph and place them within the options given in the questions. The only issue which may emerge is vocabulary and the speed with which you read. In case you do not have a good command over English, I would suggest that you pick up a dictionary or some application to enhance your vocabulary, and start reading newspapers regularly, which would serve the dual purpose of being updated with current affairs and enhance your reading speed.
For English, you could pick up a book for comprehensions and grammar. The level of English depends almost completely on the institution that conducts the exam. Thus, in case it is NLSIU or NALSAR or NUJS, please be slightly careful about the source used for vocabulary. Given the rate at which NLUs are being set up, it is unlikely that the English section would be difficult for another decade. So it is not mandatory to memorize large sections of the dictionary for this section.
With regard to Math, this section is easy and quite contrary to what you expect in this much-feared subject. Most of the questions are simple. There may be one or two difficult questions which can be solved if you are well versed with previous years’ papers, as these questions are based on a fixed format and do not undergo drastic changes irrespective of the institution which conducts the exam. Math questions can generally be solved in half a minute depending on their complexity and then, provided you have time remaining after comprehensions and grammar, you should go through your answers once again to reduce the chances of any blunders.
In case you are not quick with calculations and usually take a while to apply concepts for any given question, you could go through past years’ papers, as Math is another subject where questions are of the same pattern as such even though the names and values will likely be different. There may be specific ways to solve two or three types of questions in the least time possible. Make it a habit to note down such questions and the method used for each.
For General Knowledge, please keep in mind that you will likely be tested on the work done by the current dispensation at the Centre. The questions usually pertain to the three months before the exam and given that the paper is set very close to the actual date of examination, do make it a point to go through the current happenings till the penultimate day. Keep in mind that there is negative marking and mark your answers accordingly. Set yourself a target so that you attempt only a certain number for questions whose answers you are unsure of.
It is sufficient to go through any one trusted source of current affairs for this section, be it compilations or compendiums online or newspapers as such. It is easier to go through the compilations made upto six months before the exam, and then go through the newspapers for the last one week before the exam itself. The task could be made easier if you make your own notes for this section after going through the compilations thoroughly.
In case you have a good command over Math and English, you could go in for one book that covers everything except general knowledge. General knowledge is majorly restricted to current affairs. If you believe that you have time remaining after all of the above, you could skim through static general knowledge. While giving the paper, make it a point to note down question numbers that you are unsure of, and try to answer as many questions as possible on the first attempt in a manner such that you would not have to look at your answers any further.
All the Best!
AIR 30, CLAT 2016
This article is part of the Bust CLAT series. The Bust CLAT series is a series of articles written by students who aced CLAT’16 to get into NLSIU. You can have a look at the other articles here, here and here and here too . To fine tune your CLAT’17 prep so as to increase your chances of getting into NLSIU, click here.