A topper’s advice on how to prepare for CLAT
By Abhiroop De
All of you, who are reading this article with the idea of ‘learning’ how to crack CLAT 2013, would be terribly disappointed. CLAT and all the preparations relating to it, is a place where ‘learning’ takes a backseat and ‘applying’ takes the lead.
That is what we all are striving to do, to help you to apply all the knowledge you yourself have. The learning part should have been completed by now, and you should already possess that latent storehouse of knowledge. Now, this is something which no one can teach you. The knowledge you have, must come from your own.
It depends on many things- your knack to know more, the atmosphere you have at home and school, the books you read, the movies you watch, the stuff that you browse on the net etc. etc. What I, or to that matter, anyone can help you with, is the tiny tricks of how to exploit that knowledge house of yours.
As far as my CLAT preparations were concerned, I must say, I was in a much disadvantageous position than any of you are now. All of you, I hope have made law your career choice, and CLAT your aim. But for me, at this time last year, I didn’t even know what CLAT was all about.
It was after my board examinations, in that one month break I had, that I decided to take CLAT seriously. So, I had to cramp all my experimentations, permutations, combinations everything into this time of about 20 odd days.
So, I had to take recourse to a lot of tricks and so called “smart studying” in order to cover everything. Necessity, it is said, is the mother of invention. These small tricks, some of which I collected from my teachers, some from other CLAT aspirants and situations necessitated me to invent and improvise some.
Here I will try and share with you some of them. Needless to say, they may be highly subjective. But they have worked wonderfully for me, and as time is on your side, I would suggest you to try them.
A personal Brahmastra
Well, to start with, as I always say, the whole edifice of CLAT stands upon two pillars- strategy and practice. If you are weak in one, the other will is bound to collapse along with all your hopes.
Therefore, practice as many papers as you can lay your hands upon. Then, analyse and evaluate your performance. Eventually, based on these evaluations, formulate your strategy, which will be your personal “Brahmashtra” to crack CLAT.
The practices are where you formulate your strategy, mocks are where you test it, and CLAT will be where you will apply it. Follow this, and half your job is done!
Now let us discuss two subjects which have traditionally managed to give students the creeps. Yes I am talking about Mathematics, and General Knowledge.
As far as Maths is concerned, it was one of the reasons I ran away from science (and if you happen to be a Bengali, you would understand how difficult it is to run away from Science, once you have swallowed the bait of taking it for your +2).
I do not know why, but Mathematics is something which tends to leave all of us shaking, but it has 20 marks allotted in CLAT, and we cannot leave it to the hands of the gods.
The trick (and this is only for those Math phobics like me) is to concentrate on the sections in Maths which really are easy, and trust me, there indeed are sections where we can easily score marks. Now it will depend on you as to what you find easy.
Personally, I found Ratio and Profit/Loss quite easy, so I capitalized on them. You may find Mensuration more to your liking, or for that matter, anything. My point is, that the general attitude towards the Math section is either we should get a 20/20 or we leave it out altogether. That shouldn’t be the approach.
Even if we can attempt 15 out of 20 questions, and if we can manage even 10 correct answers out of those 15, you will know that you have done a great job, considering that you were contemplating leaving it altogether.
Then there are ofcourse those little tricks in solving math problems, which I believe you are already aware of.
Now for GK, there is much more at stake, and there is no way we can ignore it. This is one section which can effectively make or break your chances in CLAT.
Even if you read all your newspapers, and listen to all your news and mug up all the Pratiyogita Darpans you can lay your hands upon, you will invariably find about 50% of the questions in CLAT which you will have never heard of.
So what to do in these cases? Lick your fingers and choose any option? Of course not. This is where you have to use certain intuition based tricks, which though not cent percent accurate, may pull of the day for you.
For example, if you are dealing with Hydel projects (For some blessed reason that seems to be a favourite of the question makers), it invariably turns out to be one of the hill states, for obvious reasons (Uttarakhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim etc.).
And one sure way to find the state of any project or a scheme is to study the name. A project named after any of the Nehrus or the Gandhis invariably has to be from one of the Congress states. The BJP states tend to prefer Shivaji,Savarkar and Shyama Prasad more.
Please do not go and mark Gujarat, for a certain “Rajiv Gandhi Rojgar Yojna”. That simply can’t be.
Another interesting way, and by far the most effective way to go about researching your GK stuff is to go by “KNOWLEDGE TRAINS”. You will find this interesting and highly effective, not only for your CLAT but also for your quizzing. A very typical example of a static GK train could be:-
THE BEATLES – MARK CHAPMAN – J.D. SALINGER – HINDUISM – RAMAKRISHNA MISSION – MINORITY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION CRISIS, INDIA.
Well, what connects all these seemingly disconnected names? Well let me leave you to find this out.
As you research your way up, you will realise that by the time you have reached the end of the train, you have traversed through time and place, from the early 60s to the late 2000s, from Liverpool, England, to the courtrooms of the Bihar High Court.
You have peeped into the darkest secrets of celebrities, and dug out lesser known trinkets of facts about great men and organizations. Similarly, you can start from anywhere and you will be astonished to see where it will end up taking you.
To sum it up, let me request you to do all this not because you have to do it for your CLAT, but rather because you love to do it. Don’t make CLAT your only aim.
After everything you do, at the end of this race, these months of preparations should leave you not only with the University of your choice, but also a much more knowledgable and rational person. Here is wishing you all the best for the journey ahead.
Tout le meilleure!!
Abhiroop De is a 1st year student at NUJS, Kolkata.
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