Valentine’s Day just got over and Holi is right around the corner… While the world around you seems to be perennially drenched in showers of love and consumerism, you really can’t seem to look at it through those proverbial rose-tinted glasses. A voice, sinister and potent, keeps making snide remarks in the back of your mind. Sometimes the voice shouts out adulations; at other times, it calls out doom. CLAT haunts you like that ephemeral but vicious apparition that Shhh…Koi Hai taught you to be wary of, or taunts you like you’re that jilted lover, uncertain yet smitten all the same. You’re firm and resolute on some days and tired and depressed on others. It doesn’t matter if you’re a dropper or fresh out of school, flunking or acing mocks like a pro; you know CLAT is nearing and you’re getting the jitters. But before this article sounds like I’m going to sell you anti-depressants, let me tell you how to battle the Legal Reasoning section and increase your scores by a significant margin.
But before delving straight into the enigma that is the Legal Reasoning section, a few general pointers from someone who’s been there and made those mistakes. Firstly, please do not procrastinate. This is not the right time and even you know it, deep down. So instead of going on those guilt trips later, you might as well start and start now. Secondly, do not try multitasking. Those “good morning” messages you send to your crush and the Candy Crush that you play on your phone can wait but CLAT won’t. Honestly. So, chill with a bit of caution. Thirdly, do not fret. Cut down on the anxiety and use the time to solve a few Legal Reasoning questions instead. Which brings me to the general statement that I’ve been trying to make- the Legal Reasoning section needs time, effort and patience and you cannot afford to while away the time.
First, decide on the amount of time that you wish to devote to the section in the actual test and time yourself accordingly, while you’re preparing. Ideally, you shouldn’t spend more than 30 minutes on the section and since this is an online exam, you can always bookmark a question and come back to it later. So, if you’re stuck with a question, do not spend too much time on it, thereby foiling your own chances.
Secondly, the questions are mostly divided into two parts- legal GK and legal reasoning. To tackle the first part, please brush up on your elementary Civics, constitution and polity and make it a point to revise this on alternate days. I leave you to decide how you wish to do this; but for me, charts and limericks helped in bizarre ways. To solve the second part, there are multiple things that you could do. You could get yourself a copy of any Legal Reasoning book by A.P Bharadwaj, understand the basic concepts and understand them well, observe the question pattern, solve them and see how you fare. I’d suggest, actively engage in this process. So, if you are learning about ‘duty of care’, please take some time out to look up the Donoghue v. Stevenson case and go through it. Going through the abstract should be enough. Though this is time-consuming, yet this ensures that you retain the stuff you learned, longer and better. Secondly, go through the past years’ papers of CLAT, AILET, SET, LSAT and any other paper that tests legal aptitude and practise. This time-and-tested method won’t let you down, if you do it with diligence and care. Take as many mocks as possible, even small mocks devoted to specific sections and analyse them. Also, sometimes wrong answer keys are given for some questions. Thus, understanding the basic concepts is crucial to steer clear of such potholes. Thirdly, do not apply your own knowledge or emotions while answering a legal reasoning question. The CLAT paper tests your application skills and you should stick to the given principle as much as possible.
In a nutshell, practise and patience are the key-words, hackneyed as they might be. Make sure you have good comprehension skills so that you don’t lose time in understanding a legal reasoning question or re-reading a question multiple times. Think critically within the framework of the given principle and apply it well.
All the best! Go make it to your coveted NLU, which I am hoping is NLS!