How does one prepare for the premier entrance test for law?
Throughout history, law as a profession has always been held in the highest regard in society. This is because it is associated with hard work, dedication and intelligence. It is common knowledge that the study of law is challenging, which justifies the reason for its entrance exam being just as challenging as well as competitive.
CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) is written by almost 25,000 students vying for approximately 1,000 seats. Therefore, to ensure yourself a spot in the top law universities it is necessary to be well-prepared to tackle the entrance examination. But as with any other examination it is vital to be properly informed of all the details of the exam such as application forms, syllabus, pattern of the paper, etc., before beginning preparation. Hence, it would be a good first step to visit the CLAT website for such details.
The second step would be to gain access to the past papers (available from the universities) and analyse the different sections dealt with and the types of questions asked. The general pattern is multiple choice-based questions on English Comprehension (40), General Knowledge (50), Mathematics (20), Legal Aptitude (50) and Logical Reasoning (40) for a total of 200 marks to be written within two hours. It would be a good idea to attempt a paper soon to try and find out which are your strongest or weakest sections keeping in mind that they are all just as important.
On an average, the GK section would be the hardest to prepare for as it requires remembering vast amounts of data in a short period of time. The best way to tackle this section is by reading the newspaper every day and keeping yourself abreast with the happenings around the world. Subscribing to books such as the Competition Success Review which provide you with condensed details of the significant events in the world is also helpful.
Mathematics is tested only at the 10th standard level; therefore its main obstacle is time. Practice and learning shortcuts is a proven method for success in this section.
Legal Aptitude and Logical Reasoning are similar in that it tests your analytical skills more than knowledge. Hence, this requires honing the analytical side of your brain which can be achieved through practising questions, doing puzzles, Sudoku, etc.
Starting with the ten-word a day technique and using a reputed grammar book is an excellent way to begin preparing for the English Comprehension section.
Take mock tests
Signing up for a web-based coaching series that provides you with sample papers plus mock tests is a terrific addition to your preparation. There are also various coaching centres across the country that helps in providing you with the rigorous training necessary to be successful in the exam. They equip you with the required material tailored for CLAT.
Although coaching isn’t compulsory and may not be for everyone, it is never a bad idea.
While CLAT is the foremost law entrance exam, it is far from being the only one. Universities such as NLU Delhi, and Symbiosis Law School, Pune, conduct their own examinations, with the preparation required calling for only a few tweaks regarding aspects like time and number of questions.
It is never too early or too late to start preparing for any entrance exam, though the recommended time is 12-18 months. Even if the phrase ‘practice make perfect’ is clichéd it still holds true and is the foundation for preparing for any exam.
The writer is Partner, Amarchand Mangaldas, Chennai.