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Posted at: Apr 11, 2018, 12:09 AM; last updated: Apr 11, 2018, 2:19 AM (IST)TESTING TIMES: CLAT

Raise your bar of performance

Raise your bar of performance

Amit Poddar

Board exams might be over, but that’s just the beginning of the journey and not the destination. Serious students have not let their guard down. They are in fact preparing for competitive exams. Students and parents are aware of different career opportunities and the kind of efforts required to crack entrance exams to explore these. When it comes to an exam like CLAT, it is imperative to be serious about it. 

Law has always been considered a respectable career across the globe and getting into National Law Universities (NLUs) has been a dream for law aspirants. Here are some tips on how to crack this exam.

Handle the time pressure

There are 200 questions divided into five sections and the time given is 120 minutes, with negative marking for the wrong answers. Thus, there will always be time crunch and the only way out is being selective. It is not about doing all the questions, rather the exam is a lot about leaving the questions that you are not sure about. There has to be an ‘exit time,’ which means, to be out of the question as soon as possible, if the time taken goes beyond your stipulated limit. As time management is crucial in this online exam, students should take 10-12 mock tests to get the feel of the actual test. 

Identify strengths

Knowing the strong points and weaknesses should be the next step. Leaving questions, which are beyond your abilities, can save the much-needed time, which can be used in solving other doable questions. This is very different from the board exams where a student is advised to answer every question. Doing away with this habit may take some time. So, while practicing at home, be conscious of it. Be sure about strategies that you can use in this exam. Rigid mindsets can be very detrimental.

Test your legal aptitude

This section may pose a new challenge to most aspirants. Be thorough with the questions asked in this section. Start looking at the different types of questions, and try to clear the basic concepts as soon as possible. Legal maxims should also be revised as there were 15 questions from this section in CLAT 2017, apart from 35 questions based on facts and principle. 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 2016 CLAT exam.

GK section holds the key

A good number of questions should be attempted in very less time. Deciding to attempt or skip 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 devoted time to reading newspapers and magazines. GK capsules come handy for students. The aspirants should also carefully go through the last one-year current affairs and the static GK portion daily. This section can help students earn a lot of marks without wasting a lot of time. If one knows an answer, ticking a mark doesn’t take more than two seconds.

Know the basics of maths

The section justifies its name, and it will be a big mistake not to attempt the questions in the CLAT exam. With the basic knowledge of mathematics, one can easily attempt all the 20 questions and get all of them right as well. This can increase the overall scores and help a candidate clear the overall cut offs.

Logical reasoning

One should go through questions based on critical reasoning, arrangements, puzzles, blood relations, syllogism, analogies, series, coding-decoding, cause and action, etc. Practice is required to develop the ability to solve such questions.

Flexibility in approach

As all the aspirants are sailing in the same boat, one should not feel very happy if the paper is easy and conversely, one need not be very upset if the paper is tough. Cut-offs go 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. Number of attempts would go down by the whole group if the exam is difficult, thereby reducing the cut offs. This can ease the exam pressure and would result in sensible attempts rather than wild guesses.

Be judicious

This test is definitely about informed decision making, rather than wild guesses. However, intelligent guess-work may sometimes help in English section, where vocabulary and grammar questions can be solved using root methods and common sense. Last year, this section had reading comprehensions and para-jumble. These are clearly skill-based areas and the aspirants need to practice a lot of questions to reach a good accuracy level. At least one hour should be devoted daily to English practice and some time to general reading as well.

The writer is senior regional head, T.I.M.E.

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