A graduate degree in Law has garnered huge popularity among students. Firstly, Law is a stream neutral option, and this is primarily the reason for its popularity. Secondly, LAW as a profession has a huge scope in terms of career and respect in society. In this era of information flowing across all possible mediums, it’s not hard to face the realities behind career options. Law, as a career, is more than black and white but is now like a rainbow blooming with all possible colors on a canvas. During the global recession, we witnessed companies downsizing and they were adapting retrenchment strategies. It became hard for graduates to find employment, and there was a safe harbor, Doctors and Lawyers. Companies went on using the strategies of amalgamation; Mergers and Acquisitions took place to provide a cushion to businesses, and when the economy started to recover, the legal advisers were there to cater to the Capital market issues and other regulatory procedures.
The CLAT has been very unpredictable, to say the least. It is advisable to see the trends over the years and cut-offs which will help you focus on the sections which are important. If we look at the last five years we will see the following:
CLAT 2015, conducted by the Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University (RMLNLU), brought in a major change. It was the first computer-based CLAT and it came with its own anomalies. First, there were a lot of technical issues faced by the students at their respective centers. Second, the paper wasn’t on familiar lines. A few questions in the Logical Reasoning and the Quantitative Ability sections were shockers, as the questions asked were almost as difficult as those on the CAT. The Legal Aptitude section also had a lot of questions based on Legal Knowledge – prior knowledge of law played a significant role in the score. A few students filed writs before various courts of the country. Calls were made to do away with the present system and instead have a permanent body organize the Common Law Admission Test. The Supreme Court’s final decision is still awaited on this issue.
But all this did not deter RGNLU from conducting an almost ‘seamless’ CLAT in 2016. It was one of the easiest papers in CLAT history, resulting in significantly higher cut-offs. Only the Quantitative Aptitude section had a few tricky questions that required intensive calculations, making the section a bit more time-consuming. It was no surprise that most of the top scorers in CLAT 2016 did well in QA. In other words, the QA section was the make-or-break section for this exam.
CLAT 2017, organized by Chanakya National Law University at Patna, was largely on expected lines. The pattern of the paper was quite similar to that of 2016, however, some changes stood out. It was a bit more difficult and hence, the cut-off saw some decline.
Then came in CLAT 2018, which was a game-changer. The issues in conducting the exam escalated to such a level that Supreme Court had to set-up a CLAT Secretariat at NLSIU.
The major change in 2019 was that the paper was OFFLINE.
On 21st November 2019 there was a notice that was issued by the consortium of National Law Universities. The notice states that CLAT 2020 will undergo major changes in its structure. It left all of us in surprise and in anticipation. The major change in CLAT 2020 is its pattern. According to the press release the exam will have Quantitative Techniques, English, Current Affairs, Deductive Reasoning and Logical Reasoning. It was also resolved to reduce the number of questions from 200 to 120-150. A clear picture will be out once the notification will be out on 31st December 2019.
What remains similar is that the exam will be OFFLINE and the duration will be for two hours. Prof. Mustafa said, “The idea is to get better students to National Law Universities who have competence in reading texts and demonstrate skills in inferential reasoning.”
Students should pay a lot of attention to
- Reading, and
To score high in an exam like CLAT one should be thorough with the basic concepts of topics asked in the paper. It becomes all the more important to brush up the fundamentals
General Awareness – The General Knowledge section in the CLAT exam as per the new notification will primarily have Current Affairs. This section is important as it helps save time and increases the overall score as the questions asked usually, are factual and direct.
Numerical Ability – Candidates must practice a number of quantitative aptitude questions. The questions which cover a varied number of topics including Number systems, Percentages, Time Speed and Distance, Time and Work, Algebra, Co-ordinate Geometry, Trigonometry, Mensuration, and Probability.
Logical Reasoning – It has questions which are based on Coding-Decoding, Family Tree, Arrangements, Syllogisms and Critical Reasoning. Critical Reasoning is the most important part of this section. This topic will be of key importance. As the notification clearly states, emphasis will be given on inferential based reading.
Verbal Ability – This section mostly has questions that test your reading skills. One should practice this a lot as it improves the reading accuracy.
Time Management: An Art
Unless you are exceptionally intelligent and gifted, you will most probably not be able to attempt all the questions on the test. This is perfectly fine. In fact, sometimes the desire to attempt all the questions can land students in trouble because your accuracy level can fall down drastically under timing pressure. The new pattern suggests that the time duration of the paper is the same, but the number of questions will decrease.
What you should do is pick and choose which questions to attempt and which to skip, so that you are in control of the test at all times. It’s absolutely fine if you are not able to solve one question. Move ahead and try to solve other questions in the paper. A smart test taker will leave out all the questions that look time-consuming and lengthy initially and only come back to them at the end if there is time left in the test. This strategy works particularly well on the CLAT because there are no section-specific cut-offs that need to be cleared.