CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) is an aptitude test designed to test your mental faculties in relation to time management and analytical abilities simultaneously. The question paper is structured on five different areas, which are: English, General Knowledge, Legal Reasoning, Reasoning (Logical and Analytical) and Mathematics.
Core Components of CLAT
- Legal Aptitude – 50 marks
One should be able to grasp the legal principles and jargons very quickly and apply the same to the given factual situation. The idea in this section is not to understand the law but to know how to apply it to the given facts. As it turns out it’s more of logical reasoning in legal facade. The most important thing to crack this section is to have a good reading speed and quick analyzing capacity.
The English section will test the candidate’s proficiency in English based comprehension passages and grammar. In the comprehension section, candidates will be questioned on their understanding of the passage and its central theme, meanings of words used therein etc. The grammar section requires correction of incorrect grammatical sentences, filling in of blanks in sentences with appropriate words, etc. This section requires practice to enhance the reading pace and grasping power. The candidates are also required to work on their vocabulary, as it is a very basic requirement in such competitive examinations.
The candidates are assessed on their general awareness on current happenings including static general knowledge. Some focus is placed on the legal issues and events as well. It is important to be aware of atleast last one year’s events for which one can refer to magazines containing summaries of all the happenings of the preceding month/fortnight. It is essential for candidates to read newspaper regularly (preferably The Hindu or The Indian Express) for everyday updates.
- Mathematical Ability – 20 marks
This section will test candidates only on “elementary” mathematics. It is pertinent to understand the fundamentals of the various topics of standard X level. To enhance your speed, one needs to attempt more practice exercises from various material. Anyhow, there are a lot of us who have a fear of mathematics since like forever. It is important to know that Mathematics is just 10% of the entire paper, so a few questions can be skipped.
- Logical Ability- 40 marks
This section consists of two parts – i.e. critical and analytical reasoning. Analytical reasoning contains questions ranging from topics such as directions and blood relations to number series and sequences. “Critical reasoning, which is much tougher, contains questions such as strengthening/weakening arguments, determining assumptions implicit in a passage, deriving conclusion, etc.
Since there is negative marking involved, there is no harm in leaving questions of critical reasoning if one is not sure about the answers. However, such questions can be mastered by practicing old question papers. For analytical reasoning, the purpose of the logical reasoning section is to test the student’s ability to identify patterns, logical links and rectify illogical arguments. It will include a wide variety of logical reasoning questions such as syllogisms, logical sequences, analogies, etc.
Important pointers to be kept in mind
One should divide their daily study hours judiciously and as per requirement on newspaper, magazines, paperbacks (only if you read novels), solving model and previous year question papers, solving analytical reasoning and math questions and absorbing knowledge. Do not work on the subject you consider your forte for too long, it’s the subjects you are weak at that need your attention the most. But keep polishing areas wherein you have an expertise.
For attempting CLAT:
Since CLAT consists of 200 questions to be attempted in a mere 120 minutes, every individual needs to chalk out a strategy to tackle the paper. Having an extensive knowledge base or analytical abilities won’t help you if you haven’t planned well ahead.
Before appearing for the actual paper one needs to chalk out the best approach for the paper. One needs to identify their strengths and weaknesses and plan the paper ahead accordingly. Keeping your strong subject at the forefront helps in getting in the flow and can also act as a morale booster. The legal reasoning section should be attempted when you are in the best frame of mind because in case of a tie, your legal reasoning section marks will act as a tie-breaker and hence you should always be careful with it. Ideally the last 5-7 minutes need to be kept for revision. Apart from that solving the general knowledge and current affairs section at the end might prove fruitful since this section has no grey areas i.e. either u know the answer or you don’t. Also, if you are unsure about few questions, then they keep on lingering in your mind throughout the examination, which might hamper your performance. Hence, they should be attempted at the end.
Once you have selected this career path, you need to work hard on your vocabulary, as many sections require understanding the principle and its application. Reading a credible newspaper every day like The Hindu always helps.
- Smart and selective study
One needs to draw a distinction between hard work and smart work. You really don’t need to know everything about everything. One needs to plan out a good strategy and select good reading sources and maintain regularity.
- Solve Previous Years Papers
Solving previous year’s question paper forms the most important part of one’s preparation. It’s almost non-negotiable if someone aims to get into the best law school in India. One must go through the previous year’s question paper as many times as convenient and also one should keep a track of time taken by them to attempt the old papers in order to analyze their performance effectively.
Whatever you consume you need to assimilate and then get it out instantly when you need it. In case of GK, since all the content needs to be crammed up and remembered, preparing brief notes always help in retaining the information.
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