By Siddharth Narsipur
Being its Logical Reasoning faculty, when I was asked by CLATapult to write an article on one’s approach towards the subject for CLAT, I was very apprehensive since firstly, I don’t consider myself to be any authority or an expert in this field.
And secondly, I really had no idea what to write about.
Hence, I must clearly state this article is only my personal opinion formed through personal experience and in no way should be considered the ideal approach to logical reasoning.
This article will merely highlight the need, importance and applicability of logical reasoning as understood by a 3rd year law student.
After getting into NUJS, I hardly thought about CLAT and my performance in it. This was because I was just done with a competitive exam in which I had a lot of pressure on me.
Please note that this pressure was induced by parents, relatives and peers because CLAT was the only exam I gave. I never had an inclination to any particular profession and I stumbled into law simply because CLAT seemed like the least technical paper and didn’t seem like too much effort.
And I was not entirely wrong. I still maintain that the CLAT paper is very easy, but the competition is so fierce, preparation had to be near perfect to ensure a seat in one of the top law schools.
So my first advice to students appearing for CLAT – just chill! There is no way your preparation can be ‘near perfect’ if you think about the competition. Don’t better others, better yourself.
You have to be confident and convinced with the fact that you can do it. If you are not convinced yourself, no way a two hour objective test will convince you and others that you are fit to be in a law school.
After all, as a lawyer one important thing I have learnt is that you yourself have to believe in any argument you present before convincing other people.
With respect to logical reasoning, I maintain that it is one of the easiest parts of the paper. It is also, unlike many other sections in the CLAT paper, quite important and there is a need for any CLAT aspirant to be tested in this field.
The scope of technical knowledge in logical reasoning is very limited. So what are the other factors of logical reasoning that can give a person the edge?
When I first started teaching at CLATapult, I tried to make the students identify the different aspects of answering a logical reasoning question rather than focus on the knowledge required in the field which, as I pointed out earlier, is very limited.
Firstly, the time you take to answer the logical reasoning questions is very important. With only forty questions, one should be able to finish the whole section in less than 25 mins.
In the CLAT paper, Logical reasoning should be a section where you know you can gain time. Students nowadays take a lot more time than needed since logical reasoning questions tend to be ambiguous if not read carefully and also students are very apprehensive of an unsure answer due to negative marking.
But I’m guessing that is the purpose of the negative marking system. The student has to learn to focus and answer quickly while keeping his calm and composure.
Students might look at the time plus the negative marking aspect as a disadvantage, but if you work around it, then it is an advantage for that student over the rest of the CLAT aspirants. Hence, speed is something all students should be conscience of.
The second important aspect of answering logical reasoning questions, which needs to be identified by students, is technique.
Nowadays, students go through so many books, attend multiple courses, crash courses, etc. but they still have not found a technique they are comfortable using to solve a particular type of question.
There are many ways one can solve a logical reasoning question but every student should identify one fixed technique for one kind of questions and perfect this technique.
The technique may not even involve solving the question completely but if it is efficient and the student is comfortable with it, he should perfect this technique with lots of practice.
For example, Para-jumbles in Logical reasoning can be solved by finding mandatory pairs based on key words and then re-arranging these mandatory pairs in a logical sequence to get a sure answer.
But sometimes, all you need to do is to identify what the first statement is going to be in the sequence, and then look at your options and eliminate as many as possible.
With the remaining options, a trial and error method can be used to check which given sequence in the option makes more sense.
Thus it is not necessary for the student to follow the technique taught to him. The student himself should find a technique he is comfortable with and then perfect it so that he can make this technique as time efficient as possible.
Finally, and probably most importantly, the aspect that is needed the most – Confidence.
This aspect is needed as it is a link to the efficiency of your technique and your speed of answering.
Only if you are confident in your technique will you be able to solve a question quicker and move on to the next one.
I have observed that students are very hesitant before answering a question and are still in doubt after answering it which makes them check their answer again.
I do understand the amount of pressure negative marking might have on a student but you cannot waste time in verifying.
You have to approach each question with confidence in your instincts and ability to solve the question. Trust me, this will make it so much easier to finish all the questions on time.
Just to clarify this aspect of confidence I’m talking about is only limited to while writing the paper. While preparing you have to gain confidence only by putting enough effort.
You can in no way be overconfident when it comes to preparation because you will end up making a lot of careless mistakes. And have the belief that no effort of yours will be unproductive. Don’t be overconfident.
However clichéd this advice may be, but the one way to ensure success is practice.
And when you sincerely practice, you need not worry about results. The system in no way the ideal way to get the best future law graduates.
A lot of luck is also involved. But these are factors that are not in your hands. Please keep your worries limited to the things that you can do something about.
I hope more than anything else this article has helped you identify a few things which you need to remember while preparing and while writing the exam, especially with respect to logical reasoning.
A final tip – when practicing for logical reasoning, don’t practice a lot of similar kind of questions at one go. Mix and match from different topics and prepare yourself a mock test.
Siddharth Narsipur is a 3rd year law student at NUJS.