With the 2017 edition of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) taking place tomorrow, CLAT mentor Rajneesh Singh gives applicants a few pointers as to how to approach the paper.
- Do not stress a lot on 13th May
Watching a movie may be a good idea for many. Revising GK or some short cuts of maths can be done. Revising some chapters like calendar or clock is advisable. I will advise not to study for more than 6 hours.
- Do not study after 9 pm on 13th May
CLAT is usually very heavy because of qualitative, logical, analytical and legal reasoning. When you keep revising GK, formulae, concepts etc. till the last minute like a school exam, then you end up getting shivers and forgetting everything. This may be disastrous as this can make your mind very tired and shaky. A good sleep on 13th May holds lots of importance.
- Reach the CLAT exam centre by 1.15 pm
Reporting time is 1.30 pm and you cannot enter after 2.30 pm.
- Check the computer well once allocated
If you find any problem with the computer, get it replaced. Ask the invigilator about the procedure in case the computer does not function properly during the exam. Note down the time and get this noted by the invigilator in case the computer is replaced during the exam. Note – This happens rarely.
- Sheets for rough work
Make sure you have enough sheets with you in the beginning itself.
- Go through the paper once before you begin solving
Once the clock starts ticking almost all are very nervous. The reason for the anxiety is mainly to know how the paper is. Very few know that there is a tab where you can access the pdf of the complete paper in one go. In computer-based tests (CBT) one can view only one question at a time while solving. Having a quick look for a minute or two is a brilliant idea. It gives you a fair idea of the paper, and consequently, your time management is better. Those who went through the AILET 2017 paper once were able to manage the time allocation in a better way.
- Do not focus on “finishing” the paper
This is not a school exam where you have a burden of scoring very high marks (almost all correct), and therefore have to attempt all questions. In fact, in CLAT, you have to necessarily reject many questions without attempt. You can either reject a question after you start trying to solve it or after taking one look at it without solving. In a standard paper, the rejection of the correct set of questions becomes the key of success. In a lengthy/tough paper one has to fully/partially leave some questions unattempted. Remember, the cut-off will be quite low when the paper is tough. 113 marks was the cut off of NLSIU in 2015. In 2016 it was 161 marks.
- Have a vague plan about managing the paper but do not be rigid
Often I see many keeping a target of total marks to be achieved. They even reach the height of stupidity to have sectional target of marks. The optimal target can be highly fluctuating. It depends upon the difficulty level of the paper and one’s relative abilities. The time allocation on each section is relatively dependent on each other. One must always have a vague time allocation plan but must be ready to make changes in the plan if required. In a very easy paper time is not a factor, but time management does play a crucial role in most of the paper.
- Begin with what you usually begin with
There is no need to alter the sequence unnecessarily. Those extremely nervous during the exams can start with GK. It gives you time to settle down and usually it gives you quick score to boost your confidence (Caution – If GK is tough then do not freak out, it is tough for everyone). For those who are dead cool, beginning with more intensive things like LA/LR is good.
- Keep the pen intact in hand along with the mouse
Do not leave the pen and keep picking it up again and again while doing the rough work. This may kill lots of time that you will not even realise. You may have to do this for 500 times and 500 seconds (more than 8 min) may get wasted only for this.
- In case you see a wrong question:
In this situation do not start complaining to the invigilator. This is not a school exam where your teacher is the invigilator. The person cannot help you by confirming the mistake and by this time, you have already wasted your precious time and concentration. You may mark the answer in case you are able to comprehend the mistake and later challenge to CLAT if required. But, do not waste time in confirming the mistake.
- CBT exams have good navigation system
Navigation from one question to another is easier. The coloured buttons are extremely helpful if properly utilized. When you mark and save an answer, the question button will turn green. In case visited and not marked, it will show red. But if you do not mark a question but surely want to come back to it, then mark it for review and it will turn purple. Sometimes you may want to keep it in review but with a tick. In case you do not get time to review later, the system takes the opted answer.
- Managing the unattempted questions
This holds extreme importance. While attempting a question these situations may arise:
- You comfortably & confidently mark the answer
- You are not sure about the answer and would like to surely review in case you have time (mark purple)
- You are almost sure about the answer but may review if you get time. Mark purple with a tick.
- If a question is extremely lengthy and difficult, you can make out in one look or may be after investing a few seconds. Reject these immediately and make a note in the rough sheet. You can have a code for those questions which you are not going to see again. (The computer will show red).
- If it is lengthy but easy or doable in some time, leave that for the time being but mark it in the rough sheet. It will be noted as a set of question which you are most likely to solve.
- If it is tricky and you are not able to solve at that time (may be a number series), it is a good question to be marked purple.
- Time optimization is the key to success
This will decide the winners in case of a standard or difficult paper. Do not get stuck in questions which are likely to take time. Keep that for the next phase. There are three phases. In the first phase attempt only those which seem to be easy and less time consuming from each section. This may take 40 to 80 minutes depending on the level of the paper.
At the end of phase one, you already have a good idea about the level of the paper and this way the allocation of time to the sections will be optimized. In phase two, you begin with questions which you feel are doable but will take time. A lengthy but easy to average puzzle is a good example. By the end of the 2nd phase you have almost exhausted the time but you have not made the mistake of leaving any easy question and you have optimized the time very well.
For the third phase, you may have 2 to 15 minutes left. Cracking a puzzle or a meaningful RC will be a bad idea now. Maths, number series, Critical reasoning can be a good choice in this phase. The purple marked questions must be attempted in this phase.
- Do not hesitate to switch from one section to another
In an easy or a non-lengthy paper, switching does not happen often. But, in a tough or average paper one may have to leave the LR/LA section in 12 minutes after solving the quick ones and then come back to it in phase two.
- Keep a constant watch on the clock on the screen
Keep a watch, not to increase pressure and panic, but to keep the time management under control.
- Ensure that the paper has been submitted
It happens automatically after the time is up.
Wishing you good luck for CLAT 2017.
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