She looked around. It was 12.30 am. She could clearly hear the wind rustle beside the window.
She could sense that apparitional, eerie figure standing behind that large red curtain, waiting for the right time to pounce on her.
Her parents had deserted her for the night. She knew that she had to deal with this situation, this nightmare, on her own.
She had constantly been assuring them that she would be ready to take the challenge head-on. She was nervous now. Alone, like a Lone Ranger.
She looked at the clock and wondered if she will be able to handle the job formidably. Will she be able to manage and tackle the enemy’s might on her own and wade successfully through, she wondered.
She had no other choice, though, but to go ahead with this and finish her job.
She had already spent a good three minutes wondering about things she had no control over. She cursed herself and resolved not to waste even a single more minute thinking about things she cannot afford to think of at this stage.
She looked back at her computer screen.
She had already finished 17 questions from her GK/Current Affairs section.
It was time for her to accelerate her speed and approach. She managed to finish the entire GK section in 17 minutes. She had 103 more minutes to go. She had to let go of 8 questions from the GK section because she had no clue, not even the slightest of inkling, about them.
Of the remaining four citadels, she decided to penetrate Legal Reasoning now, which was fortified in the heaviest manner among all five.
And understandably so. She must siege this fort completely in order to fulfill her dream of winning the war to pursue her LLB from a premier National Law School. Legal Reasoning and CLAT are inseparable, she had heard that umpteen number of times.
She plunges in. And, surprisingly, it was not very difficult for her to take command, complete control of the fort, the biggest one among all.
She was glad and could hear all her comrades applauding her achievement.
And she deserved all the adulation. She had worked very hard to understand the basic nuances involved in handling this aspect of the war.
Of the fifty questions from the Legal Reasoning section, she had attempted 45 and was sure about most of them. She decided to proceed further, victorious.
She was feeling tired, mentally. But this was a race, she believed, a war that she cannot afford to not win. Whosoever is the first person to compel all five forts to surrender scores the highest, she knew.
Also, she must be accurate with the route she is taking. She must put each step correctly and not falter.
She knew she needs to be fast and accurate.
She discovered that she is 55 minutes into the exam already. She needs to be faster. And the best way to be faster than her current pursuit was to ambush the easiest fort.
Without wasting even a single more second, she barges into English, her bastion, her strong-hold! She had been an avid newspaper reader all her life. She had done her homework well. She already had subdued the nitty-gritties of this subject before. She confidently finishes it in 25 minutes.
She had 40 minutes left to topple the paper and two important hurdles to cross.
She makes her way into Logical Reasoning first, since she was always Maths-Phobic, a characteristic feature of almost every CLAT aspirant. She fumbles a bit there and finishes the section in a little over 30 minutes. In trying to be quick, she lost her focus and spent more time than she would otherwise do to finish this section.
Her nervousness ensued, adding to her list of foes, thereby making her lose her composure.
She now had to finish the Mathematics section in less than ten minutes, something she has always dreaded. She managed to pick 6 question, questions she felt through her glance that might be able to solve.
She, eventually, could finish five.
A gust of wind blows and the curtain unveils that eerie figure she was so horrified of. He rushes to her with a war-cry, asking her to stop.
‘Let me fulfill my duty of invigilation!’ was what he exactly said.*
She finds out her score to be 130. She had expected more.
Dissatisfied, she jots down her shortcomings. She promises to herself that she would improve in the next one by plugging the loopholes. She swore that she would never be over-confident, something that could be disastrous for her.
She had decided to settle on a plan of action. 15, 20, 30, 35 and 20 minutes for GK, English, Logical Reasoning, Legal Reasoning and Maths respectively. She also resolved to stay focused and not let anything come between her and her composure.
She also realises that time is the essence of the CLAT paper.
Rather than looking at those two hours as one whole, she should focus on the specific time assigned for each subject while she solves the paper.
For instance, when she starts solving the paper with GK, she must always keep in mind that she only has ten minutes to finish the section. And, then, when she jump to the next one, i.e English, she must assume that this section does not permit her to work on it for more than twenty minutes.
She discovered that, like her, most CLAT aspirants, generally, behave very complacently in their first hour and tend to accelerate in the second one. This approach slows down their aggregate speed considerably and is the reason why most well-prepared aspirants do not do well. Allocation of a specific number of minutes to each section is meant to curb that tendency.
She decides to make this a habit in the subsequent mocks.
*The ghost standing behind the curtain is a metaphor for the finishing point of the exam. He was standing there throughout, waiting for his turn to stop her.