Common Mistakes to Avoid While Preparing for CLAT

Common mistakes to avoid while preparing for CLAT. While preparing for entrances as demanding as CLAT or Common Law Entrance test for 22 NLUs, we’re bound to make some mistakes. However, these mistakes could be so subtle that most of us won’t even realize them until we end up paying for them. And the cost? Either the repetition of the CLAT prep cycle for another entire year or a goodbye to the NLU dream! We wouldn’t want either, would we?


In this blog, we’re listing out some common mistakes which you should avoid while preparing for CLAT. As Eleanor Roosevelt has rightly said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

Let’s first take a look into what CLAT as a highly challenging competition at the entrance for UG (undergraduate) level demands.

CLAT: Demands of the Prep Cycle

CLAT – UG or Common Law Admission Test (Undergraduate) is the national level examination conducted by the Consortium of NLUs every year for admissions to 22 NLUs (except NLU Delhi which conducts a separate examination, AILET). The courses offered are – 

  • B.A.LL. B
  • B.B.A.LL. B
  • B.Sc. LL. B
  • B.Com. LL. B

Some NLUs like NALSAR (National Academy of Legal Studies and Research), Hyderabad, also offer 5 years Integrated B.B.A.-cum-M.B.A. The entrance to these courses however does not happen via CLAT (check out IPM for NALSAR Hyderabad).

CLAT is a two-hour (120 minutes) exam consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions worth one mark (1 mark) each. Every incorrect answer results in a deduction of 0.25 mark (-1/4 mark). The question paper is divided into five sections, namely: – 

  • English language
  • Current events, including General Information
  • Legal Argumentation
  • Reasoning logically
  • Quantitative Methodologies

This means that the exam demands a candidate highly skilled at time management. Accuracy and efficiency have to be your bread and butter to win this thing. After all, taking a test of 150 questions to be solved within 120 minutes at the UG level is no joke! Moreover, this exam is highly competitive in nature with approx 77,000 test-takers (as per Wikipedia). Performing under pressure is another demand of the job. The prep cycle lasts for about a year or two if you start after your 10th Board. Hence the demands of the CLAT prep cycle are five-pronged, namely – dedication, determination, focus, endurance and persistence. 

So what are the possible mistakes you could be making that you can avoid from this point on?

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Preparing for CLAT

  1. Unstructured preparation

The first and the worst mistake you can make while preparing for CLAT is having no strategy or structure for your prep cycle. To quote Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” 

How to overcome this mistake? Sit with the syllabus on Day 1 of your prep. Or if you’re coming across this blog now, it isn’t too late! Take a printout of the syllabus from the CLAT Consortium Website. And set your target – 

  • how many mocks and sectional tests you’d need, 
  • which are the sources you’d be referring to for each of the sections (limit to a 1 or 2 per section), 
  • how much time you will devote to this examination per day, 
  • which sections will you prepare first,
  • If you’ll prepare for all sections simultaneously, what will be the time division each day, etc. 

Check out a few blogs about tips and tricks on the internet and plan your strategy. Most importantly, stick to your plan. However, it is also important to remember that no two people or their reading and retention habits are similar. Hence, only take hints and suggestions that suit your need to curate a plan of your own.

  1. Inadequate practice

CLAT is an exam which requires perfection in terms of accuracy, precision and time management. And as the saying goes “Success isn’t something that just happens – success is learned, success is practiced…”. 

Now, if we are to break down the structure of the CLAT paper, the sections on “Logical Reasoning” and “Quantitative Ability” demand a lot of work and application over time. The key to optimum right responses is consistent practice combined with increased precision and efficiency. In fact, the CLAT Consortium Website requires you to “…Improve your speed of answering questions on quantitative procedures by rehearsing with materials such as 10th grade maths textbooks,” 

Further, in sections like Language and GK, you will be more comfortable with any and all sorts of questions that can be asked from any domain within the section if you practise as many questions as possible from as many standard sources as possible.

Top your prep up with Mock tests and you’re good to go!

  1. Not analyzing your Mock test results

Most Aspirants treat mock scores as an indicator of scores they would be obtaining on the d-day. However, that’s not the entire use of them. These test results are – 

  • meant to give you feedback on your CLAT prep level,
  • Tell you what modifications you need to make to your strategy moving forward,
  • help you identify your strong and weak sections, and
  • Give you space to make “mistakes”, so that you don’t end up making them on the CLAT examination day.

Instead, you should ask yourself these questions once you’re done taking a mock – 

  1. For questions left unsolved or unmarked – Was it lack of time or lack of knowledge?
  2. For incorrect responses – Was it a silly mistake or lack of knowledge?
  3. For correct answers – Is it possible to do this in a better and faster way?

The answers will help you unleash your true potential!

4. Multiplicity of Sources

We felt when Bruce Lee said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” The same funda applies to CLAT preparation as well. For each subject or section of the exam, the idea is to stick to just one or a maximum of two sources for each topic. Now we understand that in the 21st Century world, the age of the internet, it is easy to get carried away by the ease of availability of tonnes of resources over a click of a few buttons and presses. However, they are mere distractions in the pathway. 

Remember a small concept called ROI, short for “Return on Investment”. ROI is a popular profitability metric used to evaluate how well an investment has performed. So when you spend time on a number of sources, the ROI or the value addition keeps going down. Always make sure that when you’re investing your time in a new source, the value you take out of it is at least equally worth the investment if not higher. 

5. All work and no play

Hey Kiddo! We understand that the NLU dream is worth everything to you right now. You have high hopes of a bright future upon cracking CLAT and rightly so. Afterall, CLAT is an opportunity to enter one of the premier national institutes of India. Yay! However, remember that CLAT is but an exam, an opportunity, a mere means and not an end in itself. This is just where dreams begin and not at all where the journey ends. Enjoy the process! Enjoy the preparatory phase! Do it because you enjoy doing it. Do it because you want to be a lawyer. Do it because it is a part of who you are. 

A couple words of “advice” here – 

  • Don’t put your life at stake! Enjoy this phase. When you enjoy doing something, you become naturally good at it.
  • Take some time out, maybe just an hour, for your hobbies everyday. 
  • Exercise daily. A good mind resides in a healthy body.
  • Keep yourself hydrated. Hydration is the key to focus and deep work.
  • Talk to people. Don’t isolate yourself. Talk to your parents and turn to your friends. They will help you stay motivated. However, remember to stay away from negative people. They tend to suck your energy. Be wise and selective about your company (Oh and the filter you develop here will also help you succeed in your years as a lawyer).

And We hereby memorize the mantra- “Avoid making mistakes while preparing for CLAT”


Remember the words of Ruben Blade’s Jefe – “The world in which you seek to undo the mistakes that you made is different from the world where the mistakes were made. You are now at the crossing. And you want to choose, but there is no choosing there. There’s only accepting. The choosing was done a long time ago…”. 

Choose the right thing now and avoid the common mistakes while preparing for CLAT. Ciao!


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