Self-Preparation for CLAT – Good Idea or Not? | Oliveboard

Do you recall Major H.P.S. Ahluwalia’s “The Summit Within” from Chapter 5 of “Honeydew,” the CBSE language textbook for Standard 8th? It describes three attributes that a person who wants to climb a mountain must possess: endurance, perseverance, and willpower. A CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) candidate is in the same boat! CLAT is an examination that tests your devotion, determination, attention, endurance, and tenacity on your road to your ideal NLU (National Law University).


However, maintaining an optimal amount of this five-pronged formula at all stages of the preparation cycle is a tall order. Hence it is prudent to take a decision at the very early stage whether you will go for self-preparation for CLAT or not!

But first, let’s begin with understanding what it takes to be someone who aspires to be in an NLU after cracking CLAT!

CLAT: The pathway to a premier law institute, NLU

CLAT – UG or Common Law Admission Test (Under Graduate) is the national level examination conducted by the Consortium of NLUs every year for admissions to courses offered by 22 NLUs (except NLU Delhi which conducts a separate examination, AILET) & other universities and colleges throughout the country. 

Generally, it 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). 

This exam is highly competitive in nature with approx 77,000 test-takers (as per Wikipedia). The exam itself is very demanding in the nature that it warrants accuracy and time management under pressure. After all, taking a test of 150 questions to be solved within 120 minutes at the UG level is no joke! Now let us take a look at the detailed syllabus to have you make an informed decision on whether or not to opt for self-preparation for CLAT.

Syllabus for CLAT

Whether you should depend on self-preparation for CLAT or opt for coaching – offline or online, should be an informed decision taken early in the preparation stage. Hence, take a look at the syllabus attached herewith and highlight what seems to be your forte and what not!

SectionNature of the PassageType of QuestionsApprox. number of questions 
English Language450 words long Passages derived from contemporary or historically significant fiction and non-fiction writing.Read and comprehend the main point discussed in the passage, as well as any arguments and viewpoints discussed or set out in the passage;Draw inferences and conclusions based on the passage;Summarise the passage;Compare and contrast the different arguments or viewpoints set out in the passage, and,Understand the meaning of various words and phrases used in the passage.28-32 questions or roughly 20% of the paper
Current Affairs (including GK)450 words long passages derived from news, journalistic sources and other non-fiction writing.Contemporary events of significance from India and the world;Arts and culture;International affairs; andHistorical events of continuing significance.35-39 questions, or roughly 25% of the paper
Legal Reasoning450 word long passages related to fact situations or scenarios involving legal matters, public policy questions or moral philosophical enquiries.Identify and infer the rules and principles set out in the passage;Apply such rules and principles to various fact situations, andUnderstand how changes to the rules or principles may alter their application to the various fact situations.35-39 questions or roughly 25% of the paper
Logical Reasoning300 word long “short” passages to assess your mental ability.Recognize an argument, its premises and conclusions;Read and identify the arguments set out in the passage;Critically analyse patterns of reasoning, and assess how conclusions may depend on particular premises or evidence;Infer what follows from the passage and apply these inferences to new situations;Draw relationships and analogies, identify contradictions and equivalence, and assess the effectiveness of arguments.28-32 questions, or roughly 20% of the paper
Quantitative Techniques“Short” sets of facts or propositions, graphs, or other textual, pictorial or diagrammatic numerical information representations.Derive, infer, and manipulate numerical information set out in such passages, graphs, or other representations; andApply various 10th standard mathematical operations on such information, including from areas such as ratios and proportions, basic algebra, mensuration and statistical estimation13-17 questions, or roughly 10% of the paper

Pros & Cons of Self-preparation for CLAT

We, at Oliveboard, understand that decisions like this can appear daunting for aspirants. Hence, we have tried to rack our brains over the pros and cons of self-preparation for CLAT. Now do understand that these are general terms and you’ll have to see for yourself what suits you and what is beyond you! The decision should be informed and yours because “A butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazonian jungle, and subsequently a storm ravages half of Europe.” 

Hence, set your mind to the goal of converting the NLU of your dreams as early as you can. Lorenz, by his wonderous insights, namely, the butterfly effect has made it adequately categoric that what you decide today can and will have an impact on what happens tomorrow. 

Cons of self-preparation for CLAT

  1. Repetition of Mistakes, “The wheel goes on” – When you opt for self-preparation for CLAT, chances are that you set yourself up for repeating the mistakes your seniors have made and thereby pushing “the wheel” further. This happens because you are preparing unsupervised and have nobody to tell you what “ought to” have been done. Some of the examples of mistakes could be –
    1. Not getting enough practice via mock tests or sectional tests, or not analysing your scores,
    2. Focussing too much on just one or two areas,
    3. Reading factual content more than improving comprehension, or even
    4. Referring to more than 1-2 sources for each topic in the syllabus.
  2. Unsupervised timetable – You need a strategy that meets both your needs and wants. You need to be good with your language and reasoning abilities, while also having a knack for quants with a hunger for being updated about your surroundings. These are your “needs” for the exams. Next, your “wants” are to enhance your performance and get the edge over others to convert your dream NLU, hence a great rank. Self-preparation for CLAT might not help you strike that balance. It is likely that you might spend more time on things that you’re already good at, and less time on your weaknesses.
  3. Too much dependence on the internet – While it is a good thing that we live in the 21st-century with our continuous access to the internet, it might lead to some over-indulgence with the more than abundant information available online. When you opt for self-preparation for CLAT, you set yourself up for – 
    1. Over-abundance of material and information – You might find it difficult to find the correct source for a topic and might even end up not sticking to a single source. 
    2. Addiction, a waste of time and distraction – Internet addiction is detrimental to not only fitness but also psychological state. Something to take into account when you are preparing for CLAT!
    3. Bullying, trolls, stalkers, and crime.
    4. Demented focus and patience.
  4. The nature of the examination – If you are one of the students who have the advantage of having the basics of English, logic, general knowledge and math being exceptionally clear, you should probably check out the next section. A vast majority of law entrance examinees, however, do not fall in this category. If you’re one of the latter, don’t worry! That’s what coaching institutes are here for! The subjects and sections of CLAT, as mentioned in the syllabus section of the blog, are very diverse in nature and require utmost perfection. You shouldn’t shy away from any help that you might need for wanting to make it to an NLU.

Pros of Self-preparation for CLAT

However, despite all the cons, there could be some upsides to self-preparation for CLAT. Like –

  1. It is an aptitude test!- The fact that CLAT is an aptitude test, does help with deciding in the favour of opting for self-preparation for CLAT! Have a deep look at the syllabus again! If you feel you have the mettle for it, go for self-preparation for CLAT.
  2. Provides a space for owning to your mistakes – Opting for self-preparation for CLAT gives you a wide opening for everything you decide. You get to make your own mistakes and learn at your own pace.
  3. You get to decide the amount of Input for desired output – Have you heard of the Pareto principle? Also known as the 80-20 rule, according to the Pareto principle, for any given event, 80% of outcomes (or outputs) result from 20% of all causes (or inputs). You want to give a mock, you decide! You want to focus on just reading abilities, you decide!

Should you opt for self-preparation for CLAT or not?

Basically, it all boils down to you answering these questions for yourself – 

  1. Whether you are a procrastinator?
  2. Whether you find it difficult to follow a fixed timetable?
  3. Whether you are just starting with your preparation?

If your answer is yes to all or any of these questions, you should NOT opt for self-preparation for CLAT! For more help with your CLAT preparation, tune in to Oliveboard. For tips and tricks on preparing for other law entrances, check this. Ciao!