How to prepare for CLAT

Author: Rishima Rawat

The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is the entrance exam for various national law universities (NLUs) in the country. If you wish to study law from some of the best universities in India, you have to qualify for this test. Over the years, law as a career has become popular among students. Automatically, the number of applicants for CLAT has drastically increased. In 2019, more than fifty thousand candidates appeared for a select number of seats in the NLUs. So you can imagine how tough the competition is. This is not to say that it is very difficult to ace CLAT. If you have a logical mind and can analyze scenarios, you can score well with a disciplined and dedicated preparation. The changes in the pattern have been introduced to encourage students to focus on applying their minds rather than rote learning. The aim is to make the paper application-based, as the field of law is more about application than memorizing. Since this will be the first time that the new pattern will be tested, every candidate is at the same level. Nobody knows exactly what the paper is going to be like.

As per the official website, the CLAT undergraduate (UG) paper is divided into five sections:

  1. English Language
  2. Current Affairs, including General Knowledge
  3. Legal Reasoning
  4. Logical Reasoning
  5. Quantitative Techniques

While the Consortium is yet to release a model paper, the kind of questions that will be asked has been explained by Prof. Faizan Mustafa, former president of the Consortium, currently a permanent member of the Consortium’s Executive Committee and Vice-chancellor of NALSAR, Hyderabad. He has repeatedly emphasized that the exam will not test a student’s memory and they have no reason to worry

Let’s take each section first. We will follow it up with some general tips and tricks.

  1. English Language

To improve your command over the language, there is no better way than to read as much as you can. Read novels, magazines, the editorial and ideas sections of newspapers and online articles. Read on topics that are out of your comfort zone. For example, if you have not read a non-fiction book yet (maybe because you don’t like the genre), pick up one such book and read it. Understand what it says. Mark the words that you have not read before and find their meaning. This goes for all the reading that you do. It will help you improve your vocabulary. The questions in the exam will be based on the context of the given paragraph. So it will be easier for you to understand the meaning of the words used. If your grammar is weak, practice exercises from Wren & Martin or any other good English language book of your choice.

When reading articles or newspapers, practice reading fast while also understanding the text. As a law student and future lawyer, you will be expected to do tonnes of readings. It is better to get into practice as early as you can. To give you a more proximate cause, all sections of the CLAT paper will have passages that you will have to comprehend and subsequently answer questions. Since you will only have limited time, you cannot spend more than a set number of minutes on a passage. Here is where your practice of swift and effective reading will come into play (provided you have been sincere in your preparation).

  1. Current Affairs including General Knowledge

There will be no questions on static GK in CLAT 2020. It will only test current affairs. For that, you must read newspapers such as the Hindu and Indian Express. There are plenty of online resources that offer daily current updates. Stay aware of all the legal developments taking place. Write down the events daily and revise them before going to bed.

  1. Legal reasoning

The focus of this section will be on a student’s ability to draw inferences from the given paragraph. Your knowledge of legal maxims will not be tested. Like previous editions, there will be questions where you will be given a legal principle and a fact situation. You will have to apply the principle to the given facts and arrive at an answer. These questions can be very confusing at times. Practice these as much as you can. Always remember to stick to the given principle and not apply your external knowledge.

  • Logical reasoning

This section remains unchanged. It will also contain paragraphs and accordingly you will have to answer the questions. Solve logical sections of not just previous CLAT papers but also other exams. LSAT papers can offer some serious preparation for this section. You can try to attempt the reasoning section of CAT papers. But since its level is way beyond CLAT, if you are able to solve even a few questions, you should be happy. Read the paragraphs carefully. Understand its tone and meaning before answering the questions.

  1. Quantitative Techniques

This section has undergone a major change since previous editions of the exam. Earlier, questions were based on topics covered until standard 10th. This time, you will be given a graph, table or pie chart and will have to answer questions based on the data provided therein. The questions will still be based on mathematics up to standard 10th.

Things will become clear once the Consortium releases a model question paper. Till then, keep practicing while keeping the above tips in mind.

Moving on to some general tips. Every candidate has a different way of preparing. What works for someone else might not work for you and vice versa. So figure out your own schedule and strategy and test it while taking mocks.

  • Use the internet wisely. There are numerous resources available for preparation. If you are not going to any coaching center, you can subscribe to online materials.
  • Since the test is offline, download a copy of a standard OMR sheet and always practice on it. Take as many mocks as you can. They are the real indicators of your performance. Analyze your mistakes. See where you went wrong. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses. Give some more time to your weak areas and address the issues.
  • Time yourself. Depending on the number of questions in each section, decide how much time you will spend on that section. Formulate a strategy so that you are able to complete all the questions in time.
  • Having stated the above point, you must be careful of negative marking. Do not go on a guessing spree. It may not always work. A difference of even 0.25 marks can drastically lower your rank (and change your preferred college).
  • Speak to people who have written the exam before you. It helps. Ask them what they did during their prep. Implement it in your prep to see if it works for you. What worked for them may not work for you. So you will have to try a few things before settling on one strategy. Since the pattern is new this time, you may have to formulate your own strategy. Once you have figured it out, stick to it in every mock that you take.
  • Whenever you prepare, focus on the quality of the preparation, not the number of hours. If you put in 3 hours of focussed preparation, it is as good as 6 hours of a distracted and disturbed prep.
  • Study group: If you have a circle of friends who are also preparing, form a group where you can study together for some time. Use that time to address doubts and discuss current events. It helps when everyone is positively competitive and wants everyone to do well. It keeps you disciplined. Try it out and see if it works.

While preparing for the test, do not lose sight of the fact that the Consortium has tried to make it easier for you. Do not take unnecessary stress. It is very important to stay healthy- eat well, sleep well. Do not sacrifice your health in the name of exam preparation. If you are overstressed, no matter how much you have prepared, you will not be able to perform on the final day. And that is what matters- how you perform in those 2 hours. The final two hours are a culmination of the process of your preparation. So trust the work that you have put in the preceding months. Do not leave room for regret where you may feel that you could have done better.


Securing a Job at a Top Law Firm in India

Most law students dream of getting a job at one of the top law firms in the country. These firms pay enviable salaries and justifiably so for any fresher, this is one of the biggest attractions of working in a top firm. Legal education is expensive. People spend lakhs to get a good education. So it is comprehensible when you want to secure a high-paying job at a big firm. They pay you handsomely, allow you to work on million-dollar deals, you attend fancy corporate events and meet the top-notch people from the industry. This post is not about the work at law firms. It is, however, about what you can do to secure a job at one of these top law firms.

When we talk of top law firms in India, some names readily come to mind, viz AZB and Partners, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (the erstwhile Amarchand Mangaldas), L&L Partners, Khaitan and Co., and Trilegal, to name a few. There are other big firms that are highly sought after by students for internships and jobs. These six-seven firms generally visit the top National Law Universities (NLUs) for their campus placements. This day is called Day Zero but not everyone who sits for placements on this day gets an offer. There is a complete process of shortlisting CVs and group discussion. Many candidates get eliminated at this stage. Only the ones with good grades, a well-rounded CV and communication skills manage to qualify for the interview round.

Colleges, other than the top NLUs, have to rely on their internships and networks. Campus placements on Day Zero are one major advantage of the top NLUs. Students from other colleges have to perform well in their internships to have a shot at a job interview. We have covered how you can stand out in your internship in an earlier post. So when you secure an internship at one of the top firms, work towards getting yourself a job interview. This especially applies to students in their fourth year of college. This is your time to get a PPO. What are the things that will help you secure the job? Here, we list the essential qualities that you must develop if you want to land a job with a top-tier law firm.

Effective communication: Having ‘good communication skills’ is a thing of the past. You chose law as a career. You ought to have effective communication skills. You must know how to get your point across precisely and convince the other person. This is not just restricted to verbal communication. You must have strong writing skills too. A lot of work will be related to drafting various documents. Many students ignore drafting and research when these are some of the foundational skills that you must have. To help you develop them early, we offer some unique drafting courses. Our course evaluation includes a project assignment that compels students to research and analyze the given topic.

 Practical knowledge: Most law schools focus on theory. Very little attention is paid to practical industry knowledge. In this aspect, you have to rely on every available resource and opportunity that you get. Gain practical insights by interning as much as you can. It helps if you intern in a bigger city as there are more opportunities. Attend court proceedings, observe the procedure, ask questions when you do not understand something. Attend conferences and symposiums of subjects of interest. Interact with professionals working in those fields to gain practical insights. It is immensely important to prepare yourself for the job that you seek. Our courses are aimed at bridging this gap between theory and practice. They focus not only on the concept but also on the process of a particular transaction. For example, our course on Mergers and Acquisitions talks about the concept as well as the strategy and steps involved in a merger or acquisition. Likewise, there is a dedicated course on legal due diligence to help you get versed in the process and the purpose behind it.

 Long internships are the key: If you think that a month-long internship is enough to get you a job at the firm, you are mistaken. One month is a short time for you to showcase your skills and impress the partners. To tell them that you can add value to the firm, intern for a longer time. If your internship was only slated to last a month, negotiate with your partner and see if they allow you to extend it. You can also ask them if they will be willing to call you back for another internship. If they like your work, they will call you again. This way, you intern with the same team and get to know them and their work better. In turn, they also get to know your work ethic and whether you are a good fit for the team. This increases your chance of landing a job with them.

 Networking: Yes, the work you do during your internship is important. But so is networking. This does not mean that you go around talking to everyone in the office. What it essentially means is that you build a rapport with your team and stay in touch with them even after your internship is over. Interact with your team members. Work well with them. Show them that you are a good team player. Keep in touch with them (and not just for asking for favors). If they come across an opportunity for you, they will let you know. But this will only happen if they know you. You cannot appear suddenly in 2020 and ask a person you interned under in 2018 if there is a vacancy in their team.

Your aim during your internship at these top firms should be to get a PPO. For this, you will first have to intern with them. If they like you and your work, they will call you for another internship. If you perform well there, they may interview you and offer you a PPO. Of course, the road is easy if you have an aunt or uncle who knows the partner and can get you in by making a few calls. But if not, you will have to go through the whole process and work really hard to secure that job. Thankfully, you have our resources to help you develop all the skills that you need. Start working now and you will get your desired job!




CLAT 2020- Everything You Need to Know


The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is the gateway to national law universities (NLUs) in the country. Currently, there are 22 NLUs that will be participating in CLAT 2020. It is conducted by the Consortium of NLUs that was established in 2017. The exam will be held on 10 May, 2020. It will be conducted offline. The official notification will be released in the last week of December. The application process will commence from 1 January, 2020.


 Age limit:

For both undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) levels, there is no upper age limit.

Education Qualifications:

Undergraduate (UG): The qualifying examination is 10+2 or an equivalent examination. A candidate must have secured a minimum of 45% marks or its equivalent grade in case of candidate belonging to General / OBC / PWD / NRI / PIO / OCI categories. In the case of a candidate belonging to SC/ST categories, he/she must have secured 40% marks or its equivalent grade. The result of the qualifying examination (i.e., 10+2) shall be submitted by the candidate at the time of admission failing which the candidate shall be ineligible for admission to the Course.

Those who are appearing in the qualifying examination in March/April, 2020 are also eligible to appear in CLAT 2020 examination. However, they shall be required to produce evidence of their passing the qualifying examination at the time of admission. If they fail to do so, they shall lose their right to be considered for admission.

Postgraduate (PG): PG candidates will require an LLB degree or an equivalent examination. A candidate must have secured a minimum of 55% marks or its equivalent grade in case of candidates belonging to General/OBC/PWD/NRI/PIO/OCI categories. For SC/ST candidates, they must have secured a minimum of 50% marks or its equivalent grade. Those candidates who are appearing in the qualifying exam in April/May, 2020 are also eligible to apply.

Tie-breaker in case of equal marks in UG exam: If students score equal marks, then the break of tie shall be decided as under:

  1. Higher marks in the component/section on legal aptitude in the CLAT 2020 exam;
  2. Higher age;
  3. Computerised draw of lots.


Undergraduate (UG): This time, the pattern has been revised to encourage critical thinking in the students. For the UG level, the number of questions has been reduced to 150 from the earlier 200. This has been done to reduce the stress that students had to bear while answering 200 questions in 2 hours. While the number of questions has reduced, their pattern has been changed to comprehension-based. This means that each answer will require careful thought and analysis. The number of sections remains the same. There will be five sections as follows:

  1. English Language
  2. Current Affairs, including General Knowledge
  3. Legal Reasoning
  4. Logical Reasoning
  5. Quantitative Techniques

In all, there will be 150 multiple choice questions of one mark each to be completed in 2 hours. There will be negative marking of 0.25 marks for each wrong answer.

Postgraduate (PG): For the PG students, the pattern and number of questions remain the same. There will be 150 questions to be completed in 2 hours. There will be 100 multiple choice questions of one mark each. There will be 2 essay-type questions of 25 marks each. These will be based on law and contemporary issues and should be 800 words per essay. The subjects covered under the exam are as follows:

  1. Constitutional Law
  2. Other Law Subjects such as Contract, Torts, Criminal Law, International Law, IPR and Jurisprudence.

A wrong answer will attract a negative marking of 0.25 marks.

This time, a cut-off has been introduced at the PG level. Only those candidates who secure minimum 40% marks (35% in case of SC, ST and PWD categories) in the objective section will qualify to have their answer scripts evaluated for the descriptive section.

APPLICATION FEE: The fees for the application form is Rs. 4000/- for General/OBC/PWD/NRI/PIO/OCI candidates and Rs. 3500/- for SC/ST/BPL category candidates.

Additionally, candidates can get previous years’ question papers for Rs. 500/- (not included in the application fee).

DEADLINE: The last date to submit the completed application form and pay the fees is 31 March, 2020.

All the details can be found on the official website: