Legal Aptitude section in CLAT, AILET or for that matter any law entrance exam (like SET, IP UNIVERSITY etc.) is “the” most important section of the paper for two reasons: first, because of its weightage which is almost 25% of the paper and second, as a tie-breaker in CLAT (vital especially for borderline ranks!!). Other than this, it is also important because Legal Aptitude section (hereinafter LA) is the one which is the closest to what law actually is and it gives you a brief sense of what the legal course is going to be like in the law school. So, LA can be the one section that ‘you’ can use for the deciding whether you have the acumen in you or not to be a lawyer. But trust me it’s a skill which can be developed and sharpened, so don’t get disheartened if you are not scoring well in this section but are sure of doing law, it can be managed even now.
LA basically comprises Legal Reasoning and Legal Knowledge. The number of question in this section in CLAT is 50 within which the distribution for the sub-sections varies from year to year. But the trend (past year papers) has been in favor of reasoning based questions of late. But nonetheless, it is wise to prepare for legal knowledge as well just in case! And also because other law entrance exams do give a lot of importance to legal knowledge.
Legal Knowledge is basically that part where direct law based questions are asked, essentially it’s the GK of Law (another reason to prepare for it, it may help you in the GK section a lot!). So what you need to know in Legal Knowledge is legal maxims (also helpful in English section), good knowledge of Constitution (specially preamble, fundamental rights, duties and directive principles etc.), some landmark cases both current as well as old (like Kesavananda Bharathi), certain Acts (particularly the ones which have been in news in recent times), important amendments, some high profile judges and their contribution to the legal field (for example, Justice P.N. Bhagwati for PIL etc.), basic knowledge of hierarchy of Indian Judiciary, jurisdictions of courts etc. Don’t panic if you haven’t done anything or most of what is mentioned above because to be honest it can be covered in merely 8-10 hours at any given day (yes that’s possible)!! Even if takes more than that, it is still fine because by learning these facts you are preparing for both the GK as well as the Legal section (50% of the paper), so in any case it justifies the time and effort spent on it. Also, at the same time don’t try to go overboard and delve deep into a particular topic because the aim here is to solve maximum questions and not all! So, it’s important to select the information and channelize it in the right direction but within the time constraints (CLAT is less than 4 months away).
Now coming to Legal Reasoning, it has questions where you are given a set of facts and a legal principle. You will have to apply the principle to the facts and decide upon the outcome of the situation. This part is actually fun and is one which shows immediate results with a little effort! The best way to go for these questions is imagine yourself to be a judge (I know it’s fascinating!!) who is given a rule of law to apply (with no use of your own knowledge or beliefs) to come out with a decision. These legal principles (even if they are wrong, rely only on what’s written) will be primarily from areas like torts, contracts, criminal law and constitution, so the idea is to know these principles (best source is again past year papers because most of the principles are repeated every year) beforehand and practice them multiple times (Try solving at least 50 questions everyday within a time limit which is less than an hour). The aim here is to become so proficient with these principles that as soon as you look at the principle you know what it is (but still read it once to be sure). Reading these principles again and again and breaking them into parts will improve both your speed as well as accuracy in the paper. Also, in addition to taking regular mock tests and analyzing them, taking sectional tests can be really helpful in strengthening your grip over the section and mapping a strategy. Then it’s equally important to revise those questions regularly, both the ones you got correct and obviously the wrong ones too! Because this will prevent you from repeating the same mistakes and will increase your score substantially.
And here is the last tip for solving this section (Caution: use it only when you are confused between two similar options); always look for the option which is closest to the principle in reasoning as well as wordings. It works!!
Now finally, the last part is time management so, a good strategy (according to me, you can have your own) would be to allocate somewhere between 25-40 minutes for the entire section with; 15-20 seconds for direct questions and 40 – 60 seconds for reasoning questions with aiming for an accuracy of 90% and above to be able to make it to tier-1 law school (but the score as well as the time to a great extent varies with the level of difficulty of the paper too).
I think that’s all that is required for acing this section. Don’t worry it is an exciting section to deal with and with some amount of practice (of the sincere variety) you’ll be able to handle it well. Just keep an eye on the end result that you want to achieve and work smart because remember law is more of due diligence than intelligence.
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