With 40 days to go for the CLAT, you must be trying to study as ‘CLAT like’ as possible. Let’s study past CLAT patterns to get closest to the CLAT. This will help you focus your preparation, so you need not go all over the place in the last 40 days.

Let us have a look at the last three CLAT papers and check which topics attracted more questions than others

CLAT 2013 CLAT 2014 CLAT 2015
Legal Reasoning 80% questions from 4 areas

·   Contracts & Criminal Law

·   Torts and IPR

80% questions from 3 areas

·   Torts, criminal law

·   Contracts

·  Surprise! Just 18 questions from reasoning across Torts, criminal law and contracts

·  Remaining was Legal GK

Legal GK · This section has reduced, reasoning has increased post 2012

· Corporate law, jurisdiction, committees featured

·   Similar to 2013 ·   Surprise! 70% GK section was LGK (Similar to 2012)

·   Well spread across Constitution, corporate law, jurisdiction, commissions/tribunals

GK · Fair mix of static GK & current affairs

· Static GK –  History, geography, arts & literature

· CA – Sports and movies, international news, business & economy

·   Static GK -History, science, personalities, banking, awards related

·   CA – Government & politics, personalities, awards/honours, international news

·   Static GK – Similar to 2014, lesser in number

·   Heavy on CA– Spread across politics, science, economy, international, sports

English ·   50% questions from 2 areas- RC & fill in the blanks

·   Grammar, para jumbles, idioms/phrases were others

·   Verbal has been the most predictable section in previous CLATs. Pattern was same as 2013. ·   Section spread over many question types – Word meanings, word usage/substitution, antonyms/synonyms
Logical Reasoning ·   Critical reasoning missing!

·   Matrix arrangement introduced (2 caselets)

·   Equal representation of family tree, analogies, inference, syllogisms etc

·   Direction based questions introduced

·   Analogies and matrix arrangement dominated

·   Others were almost same as 2013

·   Case based DI introduced (3 caselets, 13 Q)

·   Heavy Coding & arrangement type (12 Q)

·   FIJ questions introduced

·   Critical reasoning Q posed as Data sufficiency Qs

·   Analogies, arrangements, series completion missing

Maths ·   Questions were spread across standard topics like numbers, P&L, averages, ratio/proportion, geometry/mensuration etc ·   Same as 2013 ·   Table based DI introduced

·   New Q types on number applications (Cyclicity, series) & algebraic expressions introduced

·   Advanced questions in TSD , clocks etc

Similar analyses for papers before 2013 revealed a lot of differences. The CLAT pattern showed a major difference beyond 2012. CLAT 2013 and 2014 were similar in many ways, while 2015 threw up a lot of surprises.

Cut-off scores for different NLUs vary on the basis of difficulty level for a particular year. Indicative cut-offs in the recent past (Open category) have been in the following range for key NLUs.

NLU Category NLU Score Range All India Ranks
Top 3 Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata 140+ Top 200
Next 4 Bhopal, Jodhpur, Raipur, Gandhinagar 130-140 200-600
Next 3 Lucknow, Patiala, Patna 125-130 600-800

As you can see,

  • Entry into the middle tier of NLUs is hit-and-miss by a few marks. So, every mark counts!
  • You need to maximise your raw score, so maximise overall attempts and accuracy.

How do CLAT toppers get their act right in the last 40 days?

  • They solve past CLAT papers. You can’t get closer to CLAT than that!
  • They pick up key areas from historical CLAT pattern and master them.
  • They take full length mock tests in unfamiliar environments and continuously monitor their progress.

Based on your mock scores so far, figure out which of the following categories you belong to.

Mock Test Score The way ahead
>140 ·   Well done, you are on the right track. Keep up the good work and don’t get complacent.

·   Check your section-wise scores. Optimise your Legal Aptitude score, since it will become the tie breaker if total scores are equal for two students.

·   Take calculated risks while attempting questions. Eliminate two out of four options with sound reasoning. Your chance of getting the question right then become 50%!

·   Brush up on your GK (Both static GK and current affairs). Don’t restrict your CA preparation to 2015. A quick recap of 2014 events will do. Revise your notes and paper cuttings, if any.

120-140 If Attempts < 80%, Bridge your knowledge gap

·   Analyse mock tests and identify weaker areas.

·   Classify them into high/low importance buckets as per historical CLAT pattern.

·   Spend proportionately more time on your weaker areas of higher importance.

·   Revisit concepts to bridge your knowledge gap.

·   Solve past CLAT papers and workshop questions based on those topics.


If Accuracy < 80%, Bridge your efficiency gap

·   Judge every question on its individual merit and not by your comfort level of topic.

·   Select the right questions to attempt. Spending disproportionate time on ‘questions to be ignored’ eats up quality time to solve simpler questions.

·   Use smart elimination of options as the key to reduce time per question, especially in English or Quant/LR sections.

·   Sections should be attempted in a strictly time-bound manner. A typical split is

1.  Legal & Logical Reasoning – 30-35 Min each

2. English – 20-25 min

3. GK and Maths – 10-15 min each

4. Unattempted questions – Last 5 minutes

Don’t be over-defensive or over-aggressive in the last 5 minutes. The CLAT encourages  intelligent guessing and not wild, random guessing.

<120 Bridge your knowledge gap

·   You need to work smart in the time that’s left. Identify your stronger areas from more popular ones in the CLAT. Solve section tests and past year questions from these areas. These are your best bets to score.

·   You can’t spend disproportionate time to revise all other weak concepts. Build basic expertise of these areas by referring to solved class sheet questions & study material. You may face fewer questions from these areas in the actual test.

·   Start the actual test with your strongest section. That will increase your attempts and accuracy in the initial half an hour. This will boost your confidence.

·   Smartly eliminate questions from your weaker area. In doubtful cases, eliminate two options our of four with a valid reason. But do not overdo this, since low accuracy will directly impact your raw score.

Mock tests

You should have practiced MORE VARIETY of MOCKS, and not necessarily MORE MOCKS.

  1. Analyse every mock test that you take. A mock test reviewed is as good as a new mock test taken. Two hours of test taking should be followed by 3 to 4 hours of analysis, perhaps on the same day or the day after. Spend the remaining time to practise weaker areas.
  2. You should aim for incremental addition of 5 marks per test from now onwards. Don’t expect an exponential increase in performance. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
  3. Develop a habit of using ‘review’ option to filter un-attempted questions. This will help you in the last 5 minutes of screening to take calculated risks.
  4. In case your scores suddenly drop in between, do not panic! You might be trying too hard. Relax and chill out for a day, it’s okay! After that, gather your wits, and get back to your preparation.
  5. Be prepared for surprises. If you were surprised by them, others will be too. It’s just a matter of who handles them better. Your mocks would have prepared you for shocks (IMS does, for sure!).

Time management

  1. Devote reasonable hours per day with complete focus. 4 hours of focused efforts are better than 7 to 8 hours of half hearted effort.
  2. Take small breaks during the day, take a walk, read a newspaper or reliable GK resources like Pratiyogita Darpan or Pearson GK guide, relax and get back to studies.
  3. Create a schedule of taking and analysing balance mock tests.

a. Next few weeks – Do not plan more than 2-3 tests per week.
b. Last week before exam – Do not plan more than 2 tests.
c. 2 days to go for CLAT – Don’t take a single mock test. It won’t have any impact on your final performance.
d. 1 day to go for CLAT – Do anything other than CLAT prep! CLAT is just a part of life and not THE life.

Be CLATegorical in the last 40 days! May the force be with you!

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