Constant Pratice key to success: V. Sreedharan (CLAT 2019: AIR 17)

I started preparing for CLAT 2019 by taking a year off. I knew that dropping a year to attempt CLAT would only improve my results, as I had hardly prepared for CLAT 2018. However, the decision to repeat a year (instead of joining a second-tier private law college) wasn’t obvious and I had to go through considerable deliberation.

Once I had taken the decision to take a year off, I began my preparation by enrolling myself in a classroom program and subscribing to an online test series. Although people have cracked CLAT without formal coaching, I think a coaching center provides a trajectory to one’s preparation and helps students understand where they stand, since mock scores are not by themselves indicative of how well they have prepared. I think online test series like Clataholic’s are important as well since the amount of material from any one coaching center is just not sufficient. Preparing for CLAT can be simply put down as “the more questions you solve and then analyse, the better your chances of cracking CLAT”. Therefore, it’s crucial that questions from other test series are attempted.

I attempted regular weekly mocks which helped me familiarize myself with the format of the exam. Within a few mocks, I was aware of the amount of time I should keep for each section. I feel this strategy is crucial. Within five months, I had covered most of the portions (barring General Knowledge).

English and Logical Reasoning were two sections I did not find much trouble in. As for Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning, I solved questions from the American LSAT, which asks those types of questions.

This year the Legal section was easier, compared to previous years. By solving almost a thousand questions from various guides I got used to the different types of questions that could appear in this section. It is essential that one solves questions outside of the coaching material and past year papers. Questions that test your Legal General Knowledge also tend to be repetitive, so solving many questions helps. It is also important to keep abreast of the recent legal happenings.

I focused on Maths mostly by solving past year papers only. I felt that a majority of study material across coaching institutions overestimate the difficulty of the questions in the Mathematics section of CLAT. Hence, while I did attempt harder questions in preparation for AILET, I stuck to only questions based on previous year papers, for CLAT.

The GK Section was probably the section that I found the hardest. This section also rewards students that spent time on preparation for the exam, since it takes longer to score good marks in this section.

Another trend I observed looking at previous CLAT papers, was that the number of GK questions based on Static GK was decreasing (from 25 questions to 10 or fewer questions). I went through a few GK compendiums, but preparation is usually futile when it comes to Static GK since the portion can be too broad.

My coaching center had a good set of monthly modules extensively prepared. For Current Affairs from April 2018 to December 2018, I only referred to those modules. However, from January to May 2019, I additionally looked at websites like I also followed a YouTube channel called Study IQ Education, which has hour-long videos for each month. The video format helps in easy memorisation. I think Current Affairs from April to December carry fewer marks. Even students who have neglected their current affairs so far, shouldn’t have too much difficulty, as these previous months don’t matter as much as the coming six months. A month-wise module should be enough. From February onwards I had stopped learning any new portion and only did mocks while revising GK daily.

The importance of mocks cannot be overstated. As I mentioned earlier, the marks themselves aren’t helpful (since mock tests are sometimes too easy or too hard), but it is only through mocks that one can realise what sections have to be revised and sharpened. In the last few months, preferably time should only be spent on giving mocks and analysing them. Especially in sections like Legal Reasoning and Critical Reasoning, it is important to correct the flaw in one’s reasoning. This is so much important for an exam like CLAT which heavily tests one’s reasoning skills.

CLAT as an exam doesn’t require extensive study, and all the portions can be covered in a few months. However, attempting regular mocks and improving one’s score is imperative so that one doesn’t become complacent. Having a hobby helps in keeping one focused throughout the year. For me, I used to play a game of chess, or watch a movie whenever I felt studying was getting monotonous.

Throughout the year, I must have done about eighty mocks, with varying difficulty. That definitely helped when CLAT was easier this year, since I realised while taking the exam that the cut-off would be high and hence attempted almost all the questions.

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