Sreeja Pal, a 1-Year student in CLATapult for the 2015-16 session, got a score of 170.25 and became a Topper in CLAT 2016, with the All India Rank of 9 and a West Bengal State Rank of 1.
In this interview, she talks about her journey from the declaration of CLAT 2015 result and her decision to drop a year to getting the outstanding news of being a topper in CLAT 2016.
- What prompted you to choose law?
People in social distress look up to the legal fraternity for a way out. There is a dearth of honest professionals in this field. I’ve seen this myself and this prompted me to take up a career which would enable me to touch many lives, hence I chose Law.
- When did you start preparing for the exam? Take us through how you prepared for each subject in CLAT.
I started my preparation for CLAT in Class 11. Initially, I got an overview of all the subjects and took a mock test to evaluate myself. Since CLAT has no fixed syllabus, one has to gauge one’s own strengths and weaknesses. For all the subjects, solving previous years’ question paper is a must. Apart from that I studied from the CLATapult study materials, which are very comprehensive. I had to work upon my reading speed, for which I took mocks. Also, I had to overcome my apathy for maths through practice. For English I used to solve past years’ CAT papers and for vocabulary building in particular, I used Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis. For logical reasoning I practised from MK Pandey and various other online sources. GK took up the greatest chunk of my preparation time. I prepared Static GK from Pearson’s. Since I knew that Static GK was not possible to cover completely, I tried to leave no stone unturned in my Current Affairs preparation. I studied current affairs from compendiums from various online sources such as Jagran Josh, GK Today and Competition in Focus Magazine.
- You had taken a year off before CLAT 2016. How did you go about that year in between?
In CLAT 2015, I did get enrolled at an NLU, but I was determined to appear for CLAT again, this time aiming for the top 3 NLUs only. My family gave me the strength and support when I decided to take a drop and dedicate one year completely to crack CLAT. I joined CLATapult and started my preparation as guided by the teachers at Clatapult.
- Coming to your incredible CLAT score – what was your initial reaction to it?
When I had just seen my score, I was a bit skeptical about what my rank would be. But when I saw my rank, I was overwhelmed with happiness.
- How did CLATapult contribute to this?
CLATapult has been one of the biggest contributors to my success. Anzar Sir encouraged me all throughout my preparation. All the teachers at CLATapult were very motivating. I could approach them with any kind of doubt that I had. They taught us in class with utmost dedication and care. At CLATapult, the teachers were very friendly, which made my learning process fun. They helped me convert my points of weakness to points of strength. I would like to especially thank Aditya Iyer, Siddharth Kaushik , Siddharth Narsipur and Siddharth Dey for the immense support they had extended to me.
- Which skills and abilities do you consider important to do well in CLAT?
The most important ability is to stay dedicated. I have learnt it the hard way that the only key to success is hard work – it’s true, however clichéd it may sound. Being clear about the basics of grammar and maths are the two most important skills required to ace CLAT. Apart from that, one can improve one’s reading speed and reasoning skills through practice.
- Your strengths and weaknesses – how did you deal with them?
GK and Maths were my weaknesses. I started Static GK with Pearson’s GK manual, along with revising class 10 level history and civics. I studied current affairs from various sources and solved daily current affairs quizzes online.
For Maths I started with Class 9 & 10 board books. Then I went on to practise from other books based on competitive exams. The mentors at CLATapult helped me come to terms with my fear and apathy for maths and I could finally take the bull by the horns.
- What do you think might have been the ‘special ingredients’ in your strategy that put your score so high up the scale?
GK, especially Current Affairs and Legal knowledge would top the list of my ‘special Ingredients’.
- Mock tests – useful or over-hyped? Which ones did you take and how did you go about them?
Mock tests- they were one of the most important parts of my CLAT preparation. CLATapult mocks were very balanced and hence helped me to evaluate and track my progress. Analysing mocks might take up more time than giving the test itself, but it is very important to realise one’s mistakes and make sure that they aren’t repeated.
- Any words of advice for the aspirants?
Be determined and you will definitely achieve your goal. DO NOT get depressed- I’ve myself gone through bouts of depression and self- doubt, but at the end of the day I did it- and so will you. Make a proper schedule and follow that J . All the Best!