Law as a career

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On CLAT.

If you have started reading this article, is safe to assume that you are interested in choosing law as a career. So, congratulations chief, for legal fraternity awaits your arrival! This profession is one of the fastest growing professions in India and it is witnessing more and more competition every year. Less than 2500 seats in National Law Universities (NLUs) and more than 40,000 contenders fighting for them. Well, relax! These are just numbers and we are here to learn about how you can enter into your dream law school.

First thing first – know your law school. Legal education is dominated by top national law universities with 100% placements on day zero. There are also few private universities and traditional universities that are running head to head with the NLUs in terms of quality education and brand value. Most of the (19) NLUs take admissions through a centralised admission test called Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). Others have their own tests such as AILET for NLU Delhi, LSAT for around 50 renowned private institutes, MHCET for admission in Govt. Law Colleges in Maharashtra and so on. In this article, we are going to focus on CLAT and how you can increase your probability of getting admissions in the top most NLUs by following these simple techniques.

CLAT and what’s it all about?

It is like a fellowship of NLUs, assembling together to attract brightest of minds through a common gateway. So basically, it is ‘One exam to get them all, one good rank to join them’

The universities that accept admissions through and only through CLAT are:

  • National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU)
  • National Academy of Legal Study and Research University of Law, Hyderabad (NALSAR)
  • The National Law Institute University, Bhopal(NLIU)
  • The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata (WBNUJS)
  • National Law University, Jodhpur (NLUJ)
  • Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur (HNLU)
  • Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar (GNLU)
  • Dr. Ram ManoharLohiya National Law University, Lucknow (RMLNLU)
  • Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab (RGNUL)
  • Chanakya National Law University, Patna (CNLU)
  • The National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi (NUALS)
  • National Law University Odisha, Cuttack (NLUO)
  • National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi (NUSRL)
  • National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam (NLUJAA)
  • DamodaramSanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam (DSNLU)
  • Tamil Nadu National Law School, Tiruchirappalli (TNNLS)
  • Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai (MNLU)
  • Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur (MNLU-N)
  • National Law University, Shimla (HPNLU)

The selection is based on rank-preference criterion and the better you perform, the higher are the chances to get a seat in the top ranked NLUs. Generally, CLAT is conducted on second Sunday of May every year, by each NLU on a rotation basis. In the year 2017, Chanakya National Law University, Patna will be organizing the CLAT 2017.

Exam Pattern

Time – 2 hours.
Questions – 200 multiple answer type questions.
Marking – +1 for every correct answer and -1/4 for every wrong answer.
Subjects

  1. English including comprehension – 40 marks
  2. General Knowledge and Currents Affairs- 50 marks
  3. Mathematics- 20 marks
  4. Legal Aptitude- 50 marks
  5. Logical Reasoning- 40 marks

Eligibility

You must have passed 10+2 or equivalent examination with the minimum of

  • 45% marks in case of Unreserved or OBC Category and;
  • 40% marks in case of candidates belonging to SC/ST Category

If you are in +2 right now, you can get an admission on the condition that at the time of admission you show your passing certificate.

CLAT has no age limit.

Which means you can be anywhere between –

So, that’s pretty much about it.

What we need to focus on is much more important than forming an idea about what CLAT is. You need to have an idea about how to be a winner at this. How to be that chosen one, the one that survived? Let us break into subjects and focus on what needs to be done for which subject. There shouldn’t be a uniform approach for all the subjects as they are categorized into an individual subject for a reason.

English and Comprehension

Keeping in mind the importance of English language in the legal profession, English has been given a strong weightage of 40 marks. Be it law firms across India and the world or the High Courts and the Supreme Court, English is the mode of communication. You shouldn’t be just good at it as what you draft, how you draft it or what you write as a judgment is going to, directly or indirectly, shape the law of the country directly or indirectly.

Comprehension tests your ability to understand the situation in front of you. Vocabulary tests your ability to express in many interesting ways. Just imagine yourself in a court of law. Now, what you speak, how you speak is the only thing going that shall count and it’s just one field in the legal profession. Hence, language ranks prime in importance.

Start reading newspapers and magazines in English. Start watching English shows and movies with subtitles. It will help you in pronouncing things as they are. Start thinking in English. That’s an age-old technique that never fails as we Indians do not speak English as our first language, therefore, we need to think and then translate into English. This can cause delay and sometimes the wrong usage of words too, so thinking in English is going to pass that stage of delay.

Solve a lot of comprehension passages. A lot!

Mathematics

Just the fundamentals and ability to use them quickly in solving the question is the test here. HCF-LCM, ratio-proportion, fractions, decimals, geometry, calculation, algebra etc. are the basic topics that form the question set. If you are math-phobic, at least cover the above-mentioned topics and keep practicing. Remember, practice maketh man perfect. However small this portion looks like (20 marks), those last minute math abilities to solve questions may help you in getting extra marks in limited time.

Logical Reasoning

This is comprised of a standard set of LR questions that are found in every competitive exam. Referring past years’ questions from all the competitive examination will help you in forming an understanding. Rest is all your instincts to solve such questions. Be relaxed, clear your mind and trust your instincts. For now, start solving the questions from question bank.

Now comes the most important part, half of the CLAT score is covered by these two sections. GK and Current Affairs and Legal Aptitude are the secret to score more, better than the person sitting next to you.

Legal Aptitude

You are writing an examination for law. What else did you expect? Do you think like a legal scholar, do you have what it takes to be in a law school and cope up with the pressure of law subjects for five years? This section will test it all. If you start at the right time, this can be your gold mine. 50 marks for solving LA questions correct.

Law is common sense codified.

Codified means, the sense of what is allowed, what is right, what is prohibited and what is wrong, is captured in written principles. Principles that are common to most of the legal systems of the civilized world. We all know that killing someone is a crime but it takes an expert on law to prove if someone is guilty of that offence or not. Reading principles and applying them in similar looking confusing situations is the secret to solving these questions.

There is only one correct answer but what is that correct answer? The answer lies in the principles. Kanoonkehaathlambehotehain and you can climb up on them and make it to the top most NLU in the country.

GK

Do not take lightly what the hawkers selling a 10 rupee GK book are talking about. That could be in your next GK section. Such is the stretch of this section that it covers everything. Right from what happened today to what happened with the god particle before the universe was created. Well, that doesn’t mean you can rely on the facts provided in that 10 rupee book. No one is good or bad at GK. GK is GK, it is the knowledge that is general. You can be an expert in it if you start now.

This section covers static GK that is the facts that never change and current affairs. Current affairs form a major portion of the news of national and international importance. Remember I told you about reading a newspaper and listening to English news? That is going to come handy. Start preparing section wise notes – sports, politics, science, and others. By doing so, you can keep tabs on every major happening in each field and a quick revision of it will prepare you to mark one correct option out of four. One answer, in all likelihood, is going to be less confusing than the other three if you have prepared enough. Unlike other sections, this is not going to be a confusing one; it is going to be a major scoring one, though. Imagine getting one mark because you knew Usain Bolt won three not two gold medals in Rio Olympics. How did you know it? Because you remember revising it from your notes. That’s simple and that’s all folks!

CLAT has seen many phases over the years and it has evolved into a highly competitive exam but what hasn’t changed is the approach to solving the questions. One year it can be tough, another year it can be easy but whatever it may be, it is going to be same for everyone. So just because an examination was tough doesn’t mean you are not going to get good result because it was tough for everyone. If you want to improve your chance to score best, start at the right time and under proper guidance. Keeping yourself in a competitive environment and solving practice tests will give you courage of Sunny Deol in Damini, confidence of Arshad Warsi in Jolly LLB and sincerity or Rahul Bose in Shaurya and most importantly, realistic legal knowledge that our movies fail to capture. So wear your cape, raise your sword, jump up in the field of law; I repeat, legal fraternity awaits your arrival chief.

Happy CLATing,


K. P. Singh Deora

Business Head – Law

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