Tips to Solve “Reading Comprehension” in CLAT | Oliveboard

“Reading Comprehension”, commonly abbreviated as “RC” by aspirants of many competitive examinations like CLAT, SBI PO, IBPS, CAT, etc., generally forms a significant part of the question paper. In the case of CLAT, the entire “English Language” section comprises questions derived from passages of about 450 words each. Tips to Solve “Reading Comprehension” in CLAT.

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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 exam, AILET). For CLAT 2022, the application deadline falls on 9th May 2022, whereas the examination will be held on 19th June 2022.

This blog will look into the tips and tricks to solve the passage-based English section in CLAT.

The “English Language” Section of CLAT 2022 – Tips to Solve “Reading Comprehension” in CLAT

As per the Consortium Website, in this section of the UG-CLAT 2022, there will be passages of about 450 words each. These passages will be derived from contemporary or historically significant fiction and non-fiction. The passages may be from various topics, including technical and scientific topics, but you will not need any prior knowledge of any specialised areas to understand or analyse the passages.

Moreover, the website also mentions that the readings would be of a standard that a 12th standard student may be able to read in about 5-7 minutes

The website also gives a bird’s eye view of how these passages could be planned out for answering. Each of these passages will be followed by a series of questions that will require a demonstration of your comprehension and language skills, including your abilities to:

  • 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.

Lastly, according to the UG Question Paper format for CLAT, the “English language” section shall account for 28-32 questions or roughly 20% of the paper. 

Tips to Solve “Reading Comprehension” in CLAT

  1. Read extensively

Make reading your best friend. Remember that reading is not limited to just preparing for this examination. It will benefit you immensely later in your career as a lawyer as well. You’ll have to read and interpret judgments, orders, decrees, statutes, factual matrix and whatnot! 

At this juncture, for preparing for “reading comprehension” for CLAT, keeping track of sources like newspapers and magazines would be very helpful. In particular, read the opinion and editorial sections of newspapers. For national, you can depend on The Hindu, The Mint, Economic Times and IndianExpress. This can be coupled with a reading The Guardian, New York Times, etc. 

Read fictions to develop your speed and retention. Remember that your speed of reading and comprehending abilities should go hand in hand.

TIP – Reading newspaper has an added advantage. It will aid your preparations for the Current Affairs and General Knowledge section of the paper as well.

  1. Practice

Since your reading and comprehension abilities should see each other eye to eye, couple your reading with practising questions. Initially, sectional tests would be splendid to aid your preparation for the English section. Eventually, take the help of mock tests. Remember that only you get to decide where you would want to spend time. Aid this decision-making process by knowing the basics of your strong and weak areas within the section to formulate a full-proof strategy. Solve past year question papers to get the taste and feel of actual CLAT examination.

TIP – Get the hang of the question paper on Consortium Website here under the “Illustration Question Set” tab. This one is as near to the actual question paper as it can get for CLAT 2022.

  1. Build Vocabulary

Building Vocabulary is exceptionally pivotal to scoring good in the “english” section of a CLAT paper. Not only will the question paper contain vocabulary questions, but also a strong knowledge of word meanings will help you comprehend the passages better. To strengthen or build vocabulary – 

  • Make a list of 10 new words every day. You can cull out difficult words from the editorials or opinions you read in the newspaper, fiction, or rich text sources. Use a dictionary to find their meaning. Framing sentences utilising these words will help you retain their purpose better.
  • Alternatively, you can depend on this great book called “Word Power Made Easy” by Norman Lewis. Spending half an hour each day for three months continuously can show you some serious results.

Comprehending a Passage on the D-day of CLAT – Tips to Solve “Reading Comprehension” in CLAT

Before we get into the tips and tricks, let’s understand the procedure for comprehending a passage for CLAT. Remember that the methodology described here has to be employed the first time you read the passage. You might not have the scope to reread a passage. Read more about time management for CLAT here

Step 1. Skim through the Questions first

Before reading a passage of about 450 words which is sure to take some time, skim through the questions appended to the passage. Doing this will ensure that you remain problem-oriented during your first iteration of the passage. For the sake of time management, you must read the passage only one time and gain the maximum possible marks.

Step 2. Cull out the “Main Point” of the Passage

Generally, the 450-word long passages will have a central idea or the main point. The rest of the passage will be built around the arguments and statements that support or counter the central idea of the Passage. Your first step should be to discern the main point and see what arguments or statements are presented in support of, or to counter, the main point. 

Step 3. Follow the structure of the Passage

Pay close attention to the structure of the passage. Usually, a change of paragraph is accompanied by a change in speaker, or a change in the viewpoint being presented. This will help you find differences in viewpoint or counterarguments more easily. Combing for words and phrases like ‘however’, ‘on the other hand’, ‘conversely’, etc will also aid this process.

Step 4. Extract usable Information

After successfully having discerned the “main point” that the passage is trying to put forth, your focus should be on extracting usable information. While iteration of the passage or the reading comprehension, focus on – Who, What, Why, When, and Where

At this point, you do not have to memorise these points. Just keeping them in mind when reading the passage will ensure you have a good grasp of its details in the first iteration itself, thereby reducing the chances of you having to read it again.

Recall the questions from Step 1 and get solving.

Step 5. Start attempting questions

By now, you’ll have solved the major questions based on the central idea, assumptions, inferences, conclusions, summary, etc. Follow the following substeps to get the answers to the remaining –

  • Vocabulary questions are broadly of two types – 
    • the generic meaning of a particular word or phrase;
    • the meaning of a word or phrase ‘in the context of the passage’.

In either case, it is helpful to get the context of the word. The context can be derived by reading one or two lines before and after the line in which the word or phrase being asked about appears. Often, you would be able to determine the meaning of the word or phrase by understanding the context in which it is used and eliminating options that do not make sense. Tips to Solve “Reading Comprehension” in CLAT.

  • Pay very close attention to the wording of each question. While the questions follow a handful of ‘types’, the question-setters will sometimes slightly alter the way they are worded. 

For example, a question which asks ‘Which of the following is the author likely to agree with’ would imply that there is only one option in line with the author’s arguments. In contrast, ‘Which of the following is the author likely to most strongly agree with’ would imply that there exists more than one option that supports the author’s arguments, but one option, in particular, provides the most substantial support to the author’s arguments.

  • Make sure you read all the options in a question before choosing the correct answer. Even if you are confident that you have found the correct answer in the first or second option you read, sometimes there may be subtle differences in wording in the options. Remember that confidence and over-confidence are two different things. 

The key to successfully navigating the “english section” or the most passage heavy section of a CLAT paper is to develop a three-pronged strategy – Reading, Vocabulary Building and Practicing. Invest in all three, and you’re good to go! Remember these tips to Solve “Reading Comprehension” in CLAT to curate your strategy. Keep tuning in to Oliveboard for more Tips and Tricks on CLAT preparation. Ciao!