This article is written by Gursimran Kaur Bakshi. This article is a step-by-step guide for students who want to prepare for the legal aptitude section in law entrance exams.
Legal aptitude is one of the most pertinent yet complex sections in the law entrance exam. This section is important because no legal entrance exam is complete without it. The legal aptitude section is inculcated in the examination to test the problem-solving ability of the aspirants, that is the ability to think like a lawyer. But what makes it difficult is not the standard of the questions that are asked in the legal aptitude section but the inability of the students to understand and solve the same. Generally, legal aptitude comprises two parts that are subdivided into the legal reasoning section and the general knowledge section based on contemporary legal affairs. This article is meant to help students who want to understand legal aptitude and the approach to prepare the same for upcoming exams.
What is the meaning of legal aptitude?
A lawyer is someone who not only understands the law but also knows how to apply the right legal principles in a given case. The ability to understand and apply legal principles can be learnt through legal aptitude.
Legal aptitude in layman terms means the basic knowledge of the law that a prudent person should know while living in a society. However, the threshold of prudence increases when that person is someone who is a law entrance aspirant. It is because knowing the bare minimum law will not work for someone who wishes to pursue a professional course in law.
As mentioned above, this section is included in the entrance exams to test the ability of the students to solve the questions based on hypothetical facts with the help of a certain set of legal principles. This can be better understood with an example.
For instance, we know that everyone in India has the right to vote. But for a law aspirant, this level of knowledge is insufficient. A law aspirant will have to dig deeper into the pool of knowledge to understand and find out whether the right to vote is a legal right or a fundamental right? If it’s a legal right, can the person whose right to vote has been violated, seek damages?
The legal aptitude section generally comprises the following:
- Legal Reasoning including questions based on a hypothetical set of facts along with legal principles.
- Legal G.K including legal maxims and important landmark cases.
What are the subjects on which the legal aptitude questions are based?
Legal aptitude is usually based on some of the most important legal subjects that are taught in detail in law schools. These are as follows:
- Constitutional Law– This subject cannot be read or understood without referring to the Constitution of India, 1950. In entrance exams, questions are repeatedly asked from Part III of the Constitution which is related to Fundamental Rights. Further, questions are also asked from the Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Duties. But a thorough knowledge of all the Articles of the Constitution is always beneficial for the aspirant.
- Contracts Law– Questions from this subject are frequently asked in all legal entrance exams. The bare reading of the Contracts Act, 1872, is necessary for a basic understanding of this subject.
- Law of Tort– The Law of Tort is not a written law in India. These are a set of principles that are borrowed from the English common law system such as the Tort of Nuisance and Negligence.
- Criminal Law– This is also one such law subject that is often asked in legal exams. Criminal law comprises three important legislations which are the Indian Penal Code, 1860; the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973; and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
What are the different law entrance exams in which legal aptitude is required
Legal aptitude is asked in almost all legal entrance exams. Legal entrance exams are divided into Undergraduate (UG) legal entrance exams and Postgraduate (PG) legal entrance exams.
List of UG entrance exams
|Name of the exam||Eligibility|
|Common Law Admission Test (CLAT).||There is no upper age limit to appear for this exam. The minimum limit is that the student should either be appearing or have appeared in the Higher Secondary School Examination (Class 12th).|
|All India Law Entrance Test (AILET).||There is no age limit mentioned on the website of the university. The candidate must have passed class 12th with a minimum of 50% marks. Usually, in all the entrance exams the minimum limit is either 45% or 50%.|
|Symbiosis Law Admission Test (SLAT).||Same as above.|
|Banaras Hindu University Law Admission Test (BLAT).||Same as above.|
|Maharashtra Common Entrance Test (MH CET).||Same as above.|
|Indraprastha University Common Entrance Exam (IPU CET).||Same as above.Students on the basis of CLAT scores can also take admission.|
|Law School Admission Test for India (LSAT).||A student should have scored an aggregate of 45% marks in class 12th.|
What are the essential things that students should keep in mind while preparing for legal aptitude
Given below are the essentials of preparation for the legal aptitude section.
Students should have a proper knowledge about the syllabus
It is very important that an aspirant should be aware of the exact syllabus for the exams they are preparing for. In usual cases, the syllabus of the legal aptitude section consists of the important legal subjects that have been mentioned above. To reiterate the same, it includes:
- Constitutional Law;
- Contracts Law;
- Law of Tort;
- Criminal Law.
Reading newspaper is essential for legal G. K. preparation
For the purpose of legal GK, reading newspapers is important because often the questions are based on contemporary developments. There are various ways in which the questions based on legal GK are asked in the exams. Some of the common ways are mentioned below:
- Questions entirely based on current legal developments.
- Static GK questions based on current legal development. Some examples of these are the recent appointment of nine judges to the Supreme Court. This is current news related to legal affairs. However, a static question can be asked on this, such as”
- What is the National Judicial Appointment Commission?
- Which Article of the Constitution of India concerns the judicial appointment of judges to the Supreme Court?
- Questions based on landmark cases. An example of this is:
- Which case is attributed to the development of the Supreme Court Collegium?
Students should analyse past year papers
Alongside knowing the syllabus, it is crucial to go through the past year’s question papers. These question papers allow the student to develop a pre-understanding of what they should be focusing on in a given subject. For instance, if a student analyses the past year papers of CLAT, they will understand that questions from contracts law are consistently asked. However, these questions are usually focused on certain areas such as acceptance and consideration to write a few.
What kind of questions are asked in legal aptitude
As mentioned above, legal aptitude generally has two sections and thus the form of questions will definitely differ in both two sections.
For legal GK
Questions are based on current events such as landmark case laws, legal developments, and world affairs which may have a link with the Indian judicial system. These are mostly objective-based questions. In the law entrance exams, legal GK also consists of legal maxims. These are established principles of doctrines originating from different legal jurisdictions. Below given example is based on the legal maxim that has been asked in different legal entrance exams.
Q.1. What do you understand about the term ‘Res Ipsa Loquitur’?
- Let the buyer beware.
- Things speak for itself.
- Listen to the other side.
- Rule of lost opportunity.
Answer- Res Ipsa Loquitur is a rule in the Tort of Negligence which means ‘things speak for itself’.
Q. 2. In which of the following cases did the National Judicial Appointment Commission was held unconstitutional?
- In Re Vinay Chandra Mishra.
- Supreme Court Advocate on Record Association v. UOI.
- Supreme Court Bar Association v. UOI.
- In re: Under Article 143(1).
Answer- The National Judicial Appointment Commission was enacted to replace the Supreme Court Collegium on the appointment of judges through the 99th Constitutional amendment inserting Article 124A in the Constitution of India. It was held unconstitutional in the Supreme Court Advocate on Record Association v. UOI (2015).
For legal reasoning
Recently, CLAT has changed its pattern to include passage-based legal reasoning questions. For instance, a passage will be given on a recent judgment and legal reasoning questions will be based on the information given in the passage. Whereas other entrance exams have principle-fact based questions. In this, a legal principle will be given to the student and on the basis of which the factual situation will need to be solved. The legal principle is nothing but provisions of law. This section is also objective.
Example on legal reasoning in legal entrance exams except for CLAT
Q.1 Principle: The parties to the contract must agree on the same thing in the same sense.
Fact: A has two horses, named Phineas and Ferb respectively. Ferb is a racing horse. A wants to sell his horse and he offers B to buy the same. B is an avid racer and is known to have participated in horse racing. B thinking about buying Ferb accepts A’s offer to buy the horse. A sent his horse named Phineas to B. Now, B is not willing to pay for it.
- There is no contract but the parties were not agreeing on the same thing.
- There is a valid contract.
- A should have specified the horse he is selling.
- It is voidable at option of B because he was not told about the specification of the horse.
Answers: The parties failed to agree on the same thing and hence, there is no contract between the parties. This is known as consensus ad idem in contracts law.
How to prepare legal aptitude
The preparation for a legal aptitude for UG and PG is different and the approach will obviously differ. The approach to this has been mentioned below in the most simplified manner.
Prepare a list of legal maxims for legal GK
As mentioned above, these entrance exams do have questions on important legal maxims principles. To prepare for this, the previous year’s question paper can be used to develop a better understanding. In usual cases, questions on legal maxims are often repeated which are frequently used in legal textbooks and judgments.
Legal maxims are terms known to have originated from various parts of the world such as Rome and England. One example of a legal maxim is ‘Caveat Emptor’ which means ‘let the buyer beware’. This is one of the common legal maxims often used in consumer forum cases.
Focus on the objective of the exam for legal reasoning
Firstly, understanding the objective of the exam is necessary, which is to question the ability of the aspirant to understand the law. A general understanding of the subject is required and not in-depth knowledge. To do this, analyse the syllabus along with the past year papers and filter out those topics that are most frequently asked.
Develop a basic understanding of the important legal subjects
Once all that is done, start with a basic subject. For instance, an aspirant would want to start with the Constitutional Law which is most frequently asked. Now, they must find out the topics that they have filtered out as per the previous year papers. Once this is done, three steps should be followed.
- First, read the background of the subject to understand its context. This step is essential for structured preparation.
- Start reading the most frequently asked topics. For this, a bare reading of the Article of the Constitution on the concerned topic is a must. Often direct questions are asked from it, such as which Article of the Constitution deals with the right to freedom of speech?
- It is also important to keep in mind that questions are often asked based on illustrations in different bare acts. While trying to understand a legal topic, it is suggested that a person reads and understands the examples given with it in the bare acts. For instance, if a student is preparing the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the illustrations which are given in the Code after each Section cannot be missed.
- A list of landmark cases should also be made to get a basic understanding of it. In recent years, a lot of questions have come from landmark case laws. Every subject has a set of landmark judgments that are not just repeated in the exams every year but are also asked in a form of legal GK. Landmark judgments are considered the most important judgments which are often referred to by lower courts.
- Now, it is important to keep in mind that other leftover topics may be equally important for the preparation. But how to find out those topics that may not have been frequently asked, but are still important? This is where the importance of reading newspapers comes into play. If a person is updated with the legal current affairs, they will be able to find out those topics. Hence, reading the newspaper is a must.
Solve past year papers thoroughly
After a basic understanding of the subject has been developed, it is important to solve as many questions as possible before appearing for the exams. But these questions should be relevant to the exams. Question papers of other UG law exams can be referred to for practice. Some of the links to the past year papers are given below:
- CLAT 2021 paper: https://consortiumofnlus.ac.in/clat-2021/.
- AILET 2021 paper with answer keys: https://lawgiri.com/ailet-2021-question-paper-answer-key/.
Appear for all India mock tests to analyse your preparation
Many coaching institutes conduct all India mock exams based on the standard pattern before the actual date of examination of law entrance exams. This happens to be free of cost and students should appear in the case to understand how well they have prepared. At the same time, the scores should not set a parameter to their performance. Given below is the list of some of the all India mock exams based on the standard pattern of examination.
What are the books and materials for legal aptitude
|Level of exam||Books|
|UG||Legal awareness and legal reasoning by A.P Bhardwaj.CLAT solved papers by Universal. This also contains solved papers of various other law entrance exams.|
Platforms providing free classes for the legal aptitude preparation
Nowadays, various online platforms provide free classes on legal aptitude including legal GK and other legal updates. Their youtube channels can be referred to for basic preparation.
What are the pointers to remember for the last-minute preparation for legal aptitude
Basic understanding of the subject cannot be skipped
Those looking for a last-minute preparation strategy should learn some of the important things. First, the basic understanding of the subject cannot be skipped irrespective of the level of the exam a person is appearing in. However, since time is limited, students can refer to the books provided by the coaching institutes or they can buy the summarised version of subject books. These books cover the subject in pointers.
Past year papers cannot be skipped
Second, past year papers are the ultimate weapon in this case. A person who has limited time can start their preparation by filtering out the important parts of the past year papers. If a student has limited time, they can refer to these youtube videos to revise past year legal papers:
Read consolidated legal GK and landmark cases
Many legal websites such as Live Law and Bar & Bench regularly update legal current affairs which are necessary for all levels of exams. Monthly videos can be found on their website for consolidated GK. Some of the youtube channels providing consolidated legal GK are:
The legal aptitude section can be understood easily if the following pointers mentioned in the article are followed by heart. Once these basic pointers are well taken care of, the students can refer to the materials freely available online. However, a caveat here is that the internet has a lot of material for preparation and this can both be a blessing and curse. It is a blessing because the student can refer to the material as and when required. But the curse lies in the fact that too many materials can confuse the student and distract them from a systematic preparation. Thus, students should only refer to the materials on the internet when they are aware of the basic knowledge and the objective of the legal aptitude section.
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