How to prepare for the Legal Reasoning section of CLAT?

We hear you’ve been bitten by the NLU bug? And that you’ve been preparing for the battle (just kidding, or are we?) of CLAT 2022 & AILET 2022 religiously? And that you worry about the direction your preparation is heading towards? And does the fact that this exam is highly competitive in nature with approx 77,000 test-takers (as per Wikipedia) gets you anxious? 


Fret not! Remember that the CLAT or the Common Law Admission Test is a five-battle war, namely – the English Language section, the Logical Reasoning section, the quantitative techniques section, the current affairs section and the legal reasoning section. And each of these battles has to be won separately. 

This blog has got every tip you’ll need or want to get you that edge for the legal reasoning section of CLAT. Let’s build the road towards cracking your NLU dream!

Understanding CLAT

The Consortium of National Law Universities administers the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) for cracking admission to India’s twenty-two National Law Universities (NLUs). However, the CLAT results are also accepted by several private colleges like Nirma and NMIMS. 

CLAT is intended to be a test of aptitude and abilities required for legal education, rather than being an assessment of a candidate’s retention and recall power. Continuing the trend this year, as per the Consortium website, the UG-CLAT would assess applicants’ comprehension and reasoning skills. 

The CLAT 2022 (UG) will be a two-hour (120 minutes) exam consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions worth one mark (1 mark) each. Every incorrect answer will result in a deduction of 0.25 mark (-1/4 mark). The break-up of the questions shall be as follows: – 

Subject AreasApprox. number of questions (Weightage)
English Language28-32 questions or roughly 20% of the paper
Current Affairs, including General Knowledge35-39 questions, or roughly 25% of the paper
Legal Reasoning35-39 questions, or roughly 25% of the paper
Logical Reasoning28-32 questions, or roughly 20% of the paper
Quantitative Technique13-17 questions, or roughly 10% of the paper

Legal Reasoning Section of CLAT

In the legal reasoning section of CLAT, you will be expected to read long passages of around 450 words each. As per the syllabus listed on the Consortium website, the passages may relate to fact situations or scenarios involving legal matters, public policy questions or moral philosophical enquiries. 

Note – You will not require any prior knowledge of the law. You will benefit from a general awareness of contemporary legal and moral issues to better apply general principles or propositions to the given fact scenarios. Remember that unlike the previous years (prior to 2020) where the proposition and factual context were clearly presented, this year the focus is on you doing the work to find the facts and applicable rules by yourself in a situation. The purpose is not to test the knowledge of the law but the application of rules to a factual context based on the constraints presented to you.

The Legal Reasoning Section of CLAT 2022 will contain roughly 35-39 questions out of a total of 150, i.e., will constitute 25% of the paper. Each passage asked in this section would be followed by a series of questions that will require you to:

  • Identify and infer the rules and principles set out in the passage;
  • Apply such rules and principles to various fact situations, and
  • Understand how changes to the rules or principles may alter their application to various fact situations.

Resources needed to crack the Legal Reasoning section of CLAT

Scoring at least 33+ in the legal reasoning section of CLAT is essential to reach a decent score and rank overall. And thus we need to find the best set of resources which fit our needs perfectly. First of, unlike the previous year where the proposition and factual context were clearly presented, this year the focus is on you doing the work to find the facts and applicable rules by yourself in a situation. The Consortium of NLUs believes that this practice is closer to real-life practice. 

The purpose of the legal reasoning section of CLAT is not to test the knowledge of the law but the application of rules to a factual context based on the constraints presented to you. Knowing and being able to reason is much more useful than knowing rules. Engaging regularly with legal materials in popular news will give you all the factual context and you need not be reading heavy legal tones.

Hence, you need not rote learn every random section of IPC (Indian Penal Code) or CPC (Civil Procedure Code). A basic understanding of the application of laws and rules, knack for a problem-solving and a keen eye for updates shall do you much good. Keep an eye out for the following sources –

  1. For Legal vocabulary including legal jargon, legal terms, foreign phrases, and maxims – Make your own notes out of the newspaper for any legal jargon that you come across. Google its meaning and usage.
  2. Updates – Even the Consortium website wants you to “…ensure you stay abreast of news and current affairs by regularly reading quality newspapers and periodicals.” Logic? Laws and their relevance are extremely dynamic. To follow the news means to follow the trends and patterns of the ever-changing dynamics of society, and thereby the laws or the need to outlaw them. How do you keep a tab? Simple –
    1. Keep a tab on hot news and important judgments listed on LiveLaw or Bar&Bench
    2. The editorial section of The Hindu and Indian Express Explained can also be particularly helpful.
    3. Sometimes social media can also be helpful in knowing what’s going on around you. Just be picky and invest time according to the ROI (Return on Investment).
  3. For cursory understanding of laws and their application – Any available preparatory material like the “Legal Awareness Legal Reasoning” or “Legal Aptitude for the CLAT and other Law Entrance Examinations” by Bhardwaj.
  4. Mock tests – Taking a mock test in a time-bound manner under a simulated exam-like environment can give you a taste of what it would be like on exam day. It helps you understand the demands of the exam while also giving you feedback on your preparation.

Once done taking the mock, you should ask yourself these questions – 

  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?
  1. Previous Year Papers (at least 5 years) – Because the legal reasoning section of CLAT 2022 is different from past years’ exams, you could believe that practising Legal Reasoning problems from prior years’ papers won’t help, but you’d be wrong. While previous years’ questions may not have required you to extract a principle from a passage and instead provided the principle to you directly, you should still attempt them because they will help you develop the skill of analysing a principle, closely examining a fact situation, and applying one to the other. Hence analysing the trends is incredibly important.

Preparing for legal reasoning section of CLAT

  1. Learn Concepts & Develop an approach – For being able to score well in this section, you need to be very clear with your concepts. Once you’re done learning the concepts, you should have developed an attitude and aptitude for solving the questions appearing in the legal reasoning section of CLAT. The approach could be – 
    1. Since, the principle and facts will not be supplied separately to you as was done in last years (prior to 2020), the first thing you should learn to do is read through the passage carefully, and identify the principles set out in it.
    2. Once you have done this, read through each question carefully to see if it relates to the same facts as are set out in the passage, or a separate set of facts, or, perhaps, the facts set out in the passage with some alterations.
    3. Now that you have both, the principle and the facts identified, try and break down the principle into smaller parts.
  2. Comprehensive approach – The Logical Reasoning, English Language and legal reasoning section of CLAT 2022 (UG) are somewhat related, in the sense that they all require you to read and comprehend a passage well. As such, some of the preparation techniques that apply to the English Language and Logical Reasoning sections of the UG CLAT 2022 may also serve you well for this section. See if you want to schedule your preparation time such that you focus on these three subjects as a group.
  3. Practice – As per Aristotelian Nicomachean Ethics, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” Get as much practice as you can to be able to score decently, at least 33+, in the legal reasoning section of CLAT.

It is only when you start practising that you learn a few inherent concepts, like –

  1. Small changes to the wording of a principle can make a big difference to the outcome of a question. For example, the “Or” and “AND” situations.
  2. Similarly, small tweaks to the facts can also have a big impact on the outcome of a question.

For more help with your CLAT preparation, tune in to Oliveboard. For tips and tricks on preparing for other law entrances, check this. Ciao!


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