By Tanuj Kalia
It’s been long since I took the CLAT exam. That was way back in 2008 and it was the first ever CLAT exam.
I did well in the CLAT exam, scoring a rank of 150 out of 12,000+ students and making it to NUJS, Kolkata.
Here’s some advice:
1. Beware of the loudmouths
When I joined my CLAT coaching center in Chandigarh I was mesmerized by how well some students spoke (and how much they spoke). Their accent was amazing, their arguments were amazing and I wondered if I’ll be able to make it.
Guess what? Most of them were just loudmouths. Some of them were intelligent but they well behind in hard work and regularity of preparations.
So, beware of loudmouths. Don’t let their loudness affect you.
2. Know how a Mammoth is eaten
Lets say you have to eat a big elephant. How do you do that? Of course, you cut it into pieces.
All these competitions are a big test of that (of your ability to cut a big piece of meat into pieces and eat it bit by bit, daily, for breakfast, lunch and dinner).
Each day, you eat up a piece. If you don’t eat up a piece each day, it adds up. Imagine you have to eat one full elephant leg in one day. That can’t be done!
So each day is important. There will be days when you are ill, but other than that, you should be regular. Otherwise you’ll be left with an unfinished mammoth.
CLATapult’s modules break the mammoth into pieces pretty well. You can buy our postal courses from this link here.
3. Know the game and the rules well
If you are playing cricket and start hitting the ball with your leg, you’ll surely not win the game.
Know the game exactly. Know the rules precisely. That’s why studying past year question papers with great detail and patience is important. That’s how you’ll make a strategy. That’s how you’ll win the game.
Do NOT just study the past year CLAT papers, but since CNLU is conducting this year’s CLAT, you’ll do well to order the CNLU 2006 and 2007 question paper.
Hint: If the college isn’t giving it, use the RTI option.
4. This is a huge thing AND this is a small thing
This is a huge thing. You are going to invest 365 days (or more) of your youth into it. And a lot of money too. If you do it, your life is set. You’ll be in a great college. Your family will be happy.
This is huge. And you have to give all that you can.
And at the same time, this is a small thing. If you are not successful, what’s the worse thing that can offer? That you’ll join some lesser known law college and (trust me) work hard to be equally placed vis-a-vis your NLU counterparts.
It’s not a big thing. It’s actually a small thing.
Both the views are true. And you’ll have to have both the views in your head and operate from there.
Maybe you can pay heed to Bhagwad Gita and really get that you’ll have to do your job, your duty with utmost sincerity and not give a f*uck about the results.
5. Speed reading and memory techniques
This exam will involve a lot of reading. Even just reading the CLAT question paper is a big task.
The CLAT question paper contains 5000 words and most of you can read it in 20 minutes, considering that the average reading speed is 250 words per minute.
Now, lets say, you can increase that to 500 words per minute (your comprehension ability remains the same). You’ll then be able to read the CLAT question paper in 10 minutes.
That’s a different of 10 minutes. And gaining 10 minutes in the CLAT exam is huge! HUUUGGEEE!
Similarly, imagine that you can memorize faster, easier and stronger.
There are techniques available for this. Read Tony Buzan and Norman Lewis’ book for that. It makes you gain a huge advantage over others. It’s like a cyclist getting his cycle fitted with a motor in a cycling race.
Also, have you heard about the woodcutter who sharpened his axe cut more trees that the woodcutter who worked for longer but forgot about his axe? This is sharpening your axe and I’d strongly advise you to learn these asap and practice them every day.
Buy Norman Lewis’ book on reading better and faster here.
Buy Tony Buzan’s book on memory here.
6. Take help from people
Talk to your faculty at your coaching classes regularly. Not in an irritating way, but whenever you have a doubt.
Talk to a lot of people (at least 10-12 of them) who’ve aced the CLAT exam. At CLATapult our faculty members are themselves people who have aced CLAT and that gives a huge advantage to our students.
7. Plan your work and work your plan
There will be days when you feel lazy, overworked, overwhelmed, depressed, joyous, bloated or what not. If you stick to a plan not matter what you feel, you’ve won.
So plan it out. And stick to it. The plan can change and evolve (maybe 20% of it; say every Sunday when you sit and see where you stand) but it helps to have a plan.
I was in Chandigarh for 2 years when I prepared for CLAT. And during those 2 years I was totally focused on CLAT. I loved playing cricket and I didn’t play any cricket during those 2 years. I did not watch TV. I did not go out, ever.
While balance is important (rest and recreation should be a part of the plan and I think I got it slightly wrong then), it’s really important that you sacrifice a lot of things during your preparation time.
Watch news. Eat healthy. Sleep on time.
Be prepared to sacrifice. Be prepared for a monk like discipline.
9. Do well in mock tests.
They’ll tell you clearly where you stand.
At the same time, there are people who do well in the mock tests, lose steam towards the end and do poorly on the D-day.
And there are people who don’t do that well in the mock tests, press the accelerator towards the end and do well on the D-day.
For serious contenders, however, the ideal strategy is to do well in the mock tests regularly; and keep up the momentum (and your sanity) towards the end.
You can take CLATapult’s mock test series from this link here.
10. Start giving your attention to this.
Attention is all we have. Whatever we give attention to, grows.
It could be attention to our body, to our mind, to our business, family, friends, or whatever.
11. Don’t have too many resources at your disposal
Stick to your coaching’s notes and some good books (maybe one for every subject).
Too many cooks spoil the broth and too many books spoil the competitive exam.
You can subscribe to CLATapult’s postal courses here. We’ve made them after a lot of research and am sure you’ll love them.
That’s it from me.
Work hard and do well.