By Shruthi Anand

An exam like the CLAT is not a test of knowledge. Yes, I know what you’re thinking- there’s this sea of “knowledge” called Current Affairs. Apart from that, it is a test primarily of aptitude.

It is to test how well you manage under pressure, against a racing clock, and with expectations weighing heavily on your shoulders. Just writing it makes me feel tired and drained, but you can’t afford to do that if you’re preparing for the Godfather of law entrance exams.

The subjects will look very easy individually- doing CLAT Math or Logic for half an hour is a piece of cake. The difficulty arises when you have to do CLAT math, logic, legal, English and Current Affairs in two hours. Head spinning? Yeah, I know.

Your biggest enemy here is time management. For example, I spent close to 20 minutes on my math section and 15 minutes on English, and still finished the paper 10 minutes early!

Whereas I was told time and again NOT to spend more than 12 minutes on maths. My point is, whatever be your preparation strategy, you need to come to the exam room prepared for anything. That’s where mock tests come in.

When I say mock tests, I don’t mean a test in the comfort of your AC room, with a cup of Red Bull to keep you awake and a Kit- Kat break every half an hour. That’s as good as not doing a mock test at all.

While doing a test, try and create an exact simulation of the atmosphere at your real CLAT exam. So no drinks, no AC and definitely no break between sections.

More important than the actual mock test itself is the review that follows. This isn’t a school exam, which can be forgotten about once it is written. There are people who have done hardly any tests, but have done exceptionally well on D-Day, simply because their review of the tests were regular.

Finding out your mistakes is a vital part of the test taking strategy. Without knowing where you went wrong, you will not be able to improve. When I was preparing for CLAT, I used to feel downright lazy to look at the same tests again, especially if I didn’t do well in them.

But don’t worry; reviewing the tests will pay off in the long run. So go through your test once again and see where you’ve gone wrong- you can then focus more on that particular area.

Even when it comes to tests, different tactics work for different people. Some people don’t need to do tests by the dozens, others do. I, for one, felt more confident only when I had done a large number of tests, and so I followed that method. So figure out what works for you and follow that.

The number of tests you take doesn’t really matter, what matters is that you take them the ‘right’ way. Most importantly, don’t underestimate the power of mock tests- they are a huge confidence booster and help you substantially in terms of telling you how good/bad you are in certain areas.

Preparation for CLAT involves a multi pronged strategy. It’s not a one-step process; some toil and labour is required.

Mock tests are an intrinsic part of the strategy, so make sure you take atleast a few before May 2013. Do this, and you’re already halfway there to achieving your law school dreams.

Here is a summary:

1. Take mock tests to chalk-out a bit of time plan for CLAT (where do you go slow, where can you go fast etc)

2. Whenever you take a mock test, recreate the D-day scenario (get an OMR sheet)

3. Review and assess your performance with sincerity

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