Updated: May 31, 2021 11:05:30 am
– Written by Amit Poddar
“Everyone is a genius but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein
This very famous quote summarises the dilemma that many students face after class 12. At this crucial juncture of their careers where they need to make a choice regarding the career they would like to pursue, they would be inundated with doubts regarding which stream they should pursue, the nature of the jobs it will provide, the best colleges to vie for, the entrance exams, areas of preparation etc.
‘Law’ has emerged as one of the best career options after class XII, considering many opportunities that it offers. The emergence of the National Law Schools, their world-class education and their national and international campus placements each year, bears a testimony to this fact. A graduation in law is much beyond being an advocate at a court of law. Going beyond the courtrooms, now the Law School graduates pursue very exciting career opportunities offered by Indian and International Law Firms, Consulting and Advisory Companies, MNCs and Corporate Legal Departments as well as Legal Process Outsourcing (LPOs), among others.
What is CLAT?
CLAT stands for Common Law Admissions Test. It is an all India entrance examination conducted by the National Law Schools/Universities for admissions to their under-graduate and post graduate degree programmes (LL.B & LL.M). The responsibility of conducting the exam is rotated and given on the basis of seniority in establishment.
Quick Facts on CLAT
The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), is an all India entrance examination, conducted on rotation by 22 National Law Universities (NLUs) for admissions to their under-graduate and post-graduate degree programmes. The 22 participating NLUs in the order of their year of establishment are:
- National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU)
- NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad (NALSAR)
- 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)
- Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow (RMLNLU)
- Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala (RGNUL)
- Chanakya National Law University, Patna (CNLU)
- National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi (NUALS)
- National Law University, Orissa (NLUO)
- National University of Study & Research in Law, Ranchi (NUSRL)
- National Law University & Judicial Academy, Assam (NLUJA)
- Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam (DSNLU)
- The Tamil Nadu National Law School, Tiruchirappalli (TNNLS)
- Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai
- Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur
- Maharashtra National Law University, Aurangabad
- HP National Law University, Shimla
- Dharmashastra National Law University, Jabalpur
- DR.B.R.Ambedkar National Law University, Haryana
Please Note- Apart from these NLUs, a number of other colleges also accept CLAT scores.
Eligibility for the undergraduate programme
As regards to minimum percentage of marks in the qualifying examination (i.e., 10+2), the candidates must have secured:
- Forty five per cent (45%) marks in case of candidates belonging to Unreserved/OBC/Specially Abled Persons (SAP) and other categories, and
- Forty per cent (40%) marks in case of candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) categories.
The result of the qualifying examination (i.e., 10+2) shall be submitted by the candidate at the time of admission failing which the candidate shall be ineligible for admission to the course. In case of equal marks, the break of tie shall be by the following procedure and order of higher marks in the component / section on legal aptitude in the CLAT 2021 exam or higher age.
Pattern of question paper for the UG courses in CLAT-2021:
Maximum Marks – 150
Duration of CLAT 2021 Exam – 120 min
Multiple-Choice Questions – 150 questions of one mark each
Negative Marking – 0.25 Mark for each wrong answer
The English Language section covers 28-32 questions, or roughly 20% of the paper, current affairs, including General Knowledge carries 35-39 questions, or roughly 25% weightage of the paper. Whereas, legal reasoning section covers 35-39 questions, or roughly 25% of the paper and logical reasoning section has 28-32 questions, or roughly 20% of the paper. Quantitative techniques comprise 13-17 questions, or roughly 10% of the paper
Keeping in mind the changes introduced by CLAT in the last two years, some aspirants may misconstrue the reduction of number of questions from 200 to 150 as something totally in their favour. Looking at the trend of last year ,the paper is going to be lengthy with a number of para based questions in almost all the 5 sections. Even GK questions would require the examinee to read a para before reaching an answer. This change may be based on the job profile of the aspirants which they would get after passing a law school. So, this exam demands a good mix of speed and accuracy. Answering 150 questions in 120 minutes with negative marking of 0.25 marks for every wrong answer becomes very challenging. This test is definitely about informed decision making rather than wild guess works. As per the sample paper released by CLAT authorities, the English language section may be full of passages with a lot of critical reasoning based questions. So, one has to practice at least 2-3 passages daily and work a lot on assumptions, inference, conclusion type questions. These are clearly skill based questions and the aspirants need to practice a lot of questions to reach a good accuracy level.
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 keep their interest in this particular area during the preparation. 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. So, be thorough with the last six months current affairs at least and go through some static GK as well.
The quantitative techniques section is relatively easier and getting all the 15-16 questions correct may not be very difficult. It is the legal reasoning and logical reasoning section which requires thorough preparation as these are relatively newer areas for most of the students. Legal Reasoning section is expected to have facts and principles embedded in a passage. Being thorough with the constitutional laws, Legal Maxims, contract, torts, etc. may require some real hard work.
For Logical 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.
As time management is very crucial in the exam, students should take 10-12 mocks to get the feel of the actual exam. Analysing the mock and identifying the strengths and weaknesses should be the next step.
Leaving questions which 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. 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.
For CLAT 2021, the four most important things to be kept in mind in the next few days should be:
The right strategy and careful planning
There are five broad areas in the exam. Hence, an aspirant roughly has 6 days per topic (tentatively the exam is in mid-June). Here, time management becomes the most crucial element. It is important to practise two to three areas daily.
While practicing a mock test, you may be halfway through a passage or a reasoning question not able to understand the head or tail of it. That is when you need to listen to your mind and not your heart. The heart would ask you to spend some more time on it and the brain would ask you to leave the sinking ship. So, be flexible enough to move on and look at the undone questions rather than wasting the precious time and gathering negative marks. Check your improvement in the results of the tests you take and take corrective measures. Learn from the mistakes and keep clearing your doubts.
Manage your expectations!
All the aspirants are in the same boat so one need not be elated if the paper is easy and need not be sad if the paper is tough. Cut-offs are higher if the paper is tough and vice versa. So, another golden rule is to have 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. Keep this in mind while practicing at home.
The silver lining
The quantitative techniques section can prove to be a blessing in disguise as with the basic knowledge of Mathematics, one can easily attempt all the 13-17 questions and get all of them right. This can definitely increase the overall scores and help a candidate clear the overall cut offs even if one fears Maths as an area. So, just revise the basic chapters like speed, time and distance, profit and loss,SICI, percentages, averages, pie chart, histogram, etc. as there may be some data interpretation questions in this section.
This may sound strange but the exam is also about leaving questions. Going through all the questions is of utmost importance and practicing this will definitely mean leaving questions where you are not confident. 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 for detail as 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 practice.
Go, get you dream-All the best!
The author is senior regional head at T.I.M.E.
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