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CLAT 2018This is the time of the year when most of CLAT 2017 takers are going through anxious moments.  The first two lists of NLU allotments are already out and there hasn’t been a significant upward shift in NLU allocation. Some of you are of two minds about whether to retake CLAT 2018 or accept the best possible available options this year to begin your Law studies. Here are two schools of thought:

Why should you re-take CLAT 2018 exam?

1. Opt for the BEST law school brands – The law profession is a challenging ballgame and so to start off with, one must opt for the best possible law school, as per one’s potential. Five years of time, money and effort should lead to a law school, which your CV will carry for the rest of your life. This is the reason, if there is a scope to perform better next year, an opportunity window should be kept open. Getting into the top NLUs is prestigious and is a major step in establishing one’s credibility as a highly capable individual. A five-year journey strengthens this credibility further, gives you an immense sense of achievement and unmatched exposure to Indian/global opportunities through internships and final placements. As per a survey, 30% NLU students are repeat takers, which is a significant number

2. Better time management, lesser priority conflict – Most of you must have prepared for CLAT along with Class XII preparation. One could have possibly managed time better and get a firmer grip on the concepts, if there was no pressure of board exams. Well, that phase is over now and one can mostly manage one’s time better now, in spite of pursuing first year of graduation in any stream.
One can devote more time in enhancing concepts and getting exposure to past CLAT/AILET questions to bridge the ‘knowledge gap’. After this, one can spend quality time to learn test-taking techniques. This includes selecting right questions, learning short-cuts to reduce average attempt time, developing an art of intelligent guessing.
All of these will help in bridging the ‘efficiency gap’. One can also get used to a variety of mock tests, to handle surprises better than others during actual exams. Most students who have done exceptionally well by taking CLAT more than once, have attributed their success to these two factors. Some of them did not get any call in the first attempt and made it to the top 3 when they repeated their attempt! Yes, it is possible through focused and well-directed efforts.

3. They won’t care about how many CLAT attempts you have taken – Here, the term ‘they’ means everyone to whom your result will matter in some way or the other in due course of time. In terms of timelines, a delay of a year is too small a factor, if one is likely to reap the potential benefits over the next 25-30 years of active professional career. Haven’t you heard the term, ‘second time lucky’?

4. You actually do not lose a year – If one does not pursue law after Class XII, another option is to pursue a 3-year law programme after graduation. Let us look at this calculation –
Option I – Class XII + 1 yr for CLAT re-take + 5 yrs of integrated programme = Class XII + 6 years
Option II – Class XII + 3 yrs of graduation + 3 yrs of graduation = Class XII + 6 years

In essence, one has not really wasted one year.

5. You won’t sit idle for one year. This is for sure a strict no-no.
a. You would have joined first year of graduation, most likely in the class XII stream. Due to some familiarity with the subjects, workload will be more predictable, hence manageable.
b. You could get admitted to a convenient law school in terms of location expenses. Manage your time well, don’t lose CLAT prep focus and upgrade to the best possible NLU next year. If it does not work out, you are pursuing legal studies anyway.

Before you finalise your decision, how about considering these points as well:

1. You have reached the peak of your potential in CLAT 2017 – Measure your ‘potential’ in terms of CLAT ‘rank’ and not ‘score’. Overall CLAT scores were quite high (2016), unusually low (2015) or moderate (2017). It reflects CLAT difficulty level in a particular year and does not necessarily reflect your CLAT scoring potential. Rank allotment ‘normalises’ or adjusts for difficulty levels. You may have reached the peak of your potential and can’t get a significantly better rank next year. Hence you may decide to accept the best available law school (NLU or non-NLU) and start law school studies.

2. Cost constraints may restrict your law school selection – Most National Law Universities and autonomous universities like Symbiosis Law School cost between Rs. 8 and Rs. 10 lakh fees over a period of five years. Considering accommodation, food and other expenses, the total amount that you have to shell out can be as high as Rs. 12 to Rs. 13 lakh. This can be one of the law school selection factors. If CLAT is one among the many entry points that you can take to enter law school, other institutes may score in terms of overall cost. We have seen a few students selecting law schools on this basis.

3. Getting/ Not Getting into NLUs is not the end of the road – Many successful and reputed law professionals are of this opinion. One builds a remarkable legal career over a period of 20-25 years by taking appropriate decisions of working in right places, positions and roles. One should know how to ride on the opportunities, isn’t it? So, select the best possible option and move on.

Have you made up your mind?

If you have decided to sit for CLAT 2018, take a structured approach towards your preparation. Organise your test prep into three modules –
a. Concept module – Brush up your concepts. If required, join a weekday batch to instil self discipline. This will also build peer pressure, with all like-minded, serious aspirants will start interacting under one roof. There should be a periodic assessment of your learning.
b. Application module – Once concepts are well covered, it is time to ‘apply’ those concepts into practice. These questions should be of easy to moderate difficulty level. Ensure you spend more time on your weaker areas. Don’t get swayed away by mental satisfaction of heavy scoring in areas of comfort. This will only lead to self fulfilling prophecy. To aim for the topmost league of NLUs, leave no stone unturned!!
c. Test module – Solve all past year papers to get used to different variety of questions. If you need to re-visit concepts, do so without fail. Make a time-table to solve CLAT mock tests and most importantly, stick to it.
Review each mock test and solve all unattempted questions. Glance through the explanatory answers of ALL questions, including the ones you got right. Maybe, there can be a smarter way to solve them. Attach yourself to a personal mentor, motivator, guide along the journey who will keep you on toes through a ‘carrot & stick approach’

We know it’s easier said than done, but you need to fight for each incremental mark and make your repeat attempt worth the time and effort spent behind it. All the best for CLAT 2018 re-take!

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