This article is written by Yash Kapadia. Through this article, we shall enlist the tips and tricks to prepare for the subjective and objective section of the highly competitive CLAT PG exam which leads to studying LLM and bagging PSU jobs.
Table of Contents
Are you a law graduate who is looking forward to pursuing an LLM in India? Are you someone whose dream job is to work for a giant company run by the Government of India? Well, the answer to these questions is CLAT- Post Graduate examination (CLAT PG).
CLAT PG is a national level entrance test that is organized by the Consortium of National Law Universities which serves as a gateway to law graduates who are interested to pursue LLM programs from top-ranked national law schools in India. CLAT PG also serves as a mode to be recruited at top public sector undertaking companies (whose majority equity is held by the Union Government) like NTPC, ONGC, OIL, BHEL.
With CLAT UG being more in the limelight, CLAT PG has, in the last few years gained significant attention from law graduates in order to serve their future goals. For example, in 2020, there were 632 PG (LLM) seats available for 5475 students who appeared1 and in 2021 the number of test-takers rose to above 8,000 with available seats raising to 1635.2
It is very important to ascertain that the CLAT PG exam is highly competitive and for one to be ahead of the curve in their preparations, they need to come up with a bunch of tips and tricks that make the aspirant be the best version whilst giving this exam.
If you are one of those students who need a checklist or a set of tips and tricks for your preparations to make the entire process of learning and appearing for the exam easier, this article shall serve as a guide to you.
In this article, we shall ascertain how to approach the CLAT PG exam with the correct mindset, tips and tricks involved to prepare and how to perform to the best of one’s ability.
Disclaimer: Considering the changing pattern of the CLAT PG exam, we have, for the benefit of future aspirants included information and tips on how to approach the objective as well as subjective sections.
When should one start preparing for the exam and how many hours does one need to study
The point of starting the preparations is subjective for every person appearing for highly competitive exams. A 4-6 month time for preparations is suggested so that there is a good time frame in order to ascertain the weak ends and the strong ends. However, preparing for 2-3 months rigorously also allows candidates to score ranks if the same is done diligently.
A smart way to approach the ‘how many hours’ question is to first make a practical study plan as per one’s daily schedule. The time you wake up, the time for breakfast, lunch, dinner, nap must be fixed and the interim hours must be devoted to deep work. The answer to excellent preparations lies in the daily schedule of test-takers and not the number of hours they study. Some may study for 7-8 hours while some students study for 4-5 hours. The routine of your preparations for CLAT PG must be consistent for months.
Books one can refer to
The CLAT PG paper consists of comprehension-based questions under the objective section on constitutional law for 40 marks, and other areas like jurisprudence, administrative law, law of contract, torts, family law, criminal law, property law, company law, public international law, tax law, environmental law, and labour & industrial law for 60 marks and 50 marks are allotted for subjective questions.3
Mr. Harshit Sharma who secured a CLAT PG AIR of 15 in 2019 and then AIR 23 in 2020 and qualified the UGC NET exam states that the following are the books recommended for the subjects mentioned above4:
|K. Jain or Salmond
|Family and Property Law
|Avtar Singh and/ or R.K. Bangia
|Public International Law
The aforesaid list is not exhaustive. In fact, it is strongly recommended that every aspirant reads and keeps re-reading the bare acts for all the subjects mentioned above along with acts on arbitration, IBC, labour, tax, IPR, environment.
Extra attention to be given to Constitutional Law
Considering that Constitutional Law has a weightage of 40 marks, every aspirant must make sure that this subject is well-prepared. The fact that such a high weightage is attached to one particular subject must compel every test taker to make sure that a lot of time is spent reading and going through Constitutional Law along with important judgments being delivered by various courts in this domain. They may be in the form of bare acts and then of commentaries once one is well-conversant. Every test taker must start attempting past year questions of constitutional law to understand the type, difficulty and range of questions being asked. The preparations may also include notes wherein all major developments, recent and old landmark judgements have been noted down for last-minute preparations.
A senior legal officer, Navaratna Company of Government of India5 who cleared CLAT PG suggests that for Constitutional Law, one must have a good command over bare act provisions, especially Articles dealing with fundamental rights, directive principles of state policy, fundamental duties, president, parliament, emergency and amendment provisions, schedules, governor, state, centre-state relations, panchayat and municipalities, along with important amendments and case laws including the recent decisions of Supreme Court on constitutional matters.
However, it is pertinent to note that out of 100 marks, 40 are allotted to Constitutional Law and 60 are allotted to other subjects that also include jurisprudence. Test-takers that face problems in remembering different schools of jurisprudence can focus on other areas of laws like IPC, IPR, etc where they can score out of the remaining 60 marks.
The key to answering all questions with the highest level of confidence comes with practicing as many MCQ questions as possible from past year papers or mock tests. This helps the student to wire the brain to answer questions that come in a particular pattern.
How to prepare for objective questions
The following are some of the most effective steps and approaches to take in order to score the best in the objective questions:
- Practice giving mock tests and familiarize yourself with the blueprint of the examination which is to be given.
- Start attempting questions from your most preferred section so that you can confidently answer those questions which will raise your sense of confidence in the course of appearing for the exam.
- Keep reading the most important (preferably marked as important) parts from bare acts as they are the key to understanding the very foundations of the legal concepts.
- Keep timing yourself while giving mock tests to understand how much time is consumed and do not spend more than one minute per answer on the objective part. Divide your time as per your convenience between the objective and subjective part.
- If you are a slow writer and anticipate that you might miss some subjective questions, then first prioritise attempting the objective part first as weightage is more and marks allotted to subjective answers are discretionary.
- If you don’t see your answer or cannot ascertain the answer, rephrase the question and consider it to be a true or false question or else use reasoning to eliminate the wrong answers.
- If you have absolutely no idea about the question then considering the negative marking, you should leave that question and move on to the next one.
How to prepare for subjective questions
The subjective section of the CLAT PG exam can become a deal-breaker or maker for a good rank depending on one’s writing skills clubbed with legal knowledge. The subjective part is 50 marks i.e. one-third of the total exam. Therefore, this part must also be prioritised.
Before understanding how to write answers, one must understand the areas of law in which these questions will be asked and what answers are expected by the authorities i.e. the aspects they are looking for. For this portion, questions may come on legal and contemporary issues. Legal knowledge includes knowledge of all the subjects taught in undergraduate subjects and contemporary issues points to current affairs and burning debatable issues. One must be well equipped with the knowledge of current laws, judicial decisions, and jurisprudential aspects.
What does the examiner expect from you
There are a few important elements that are given in the table below for an easy understanding of how an answer must be written:
|To make it comprehensible for the evaluator
|Knowledge of law
|The nucleus of the answer. Include recent amendments or the passing of new bills.
|Judicial precedents are a valid source of information and provide a wider horizon to the meaning of legal provisions
|Presentation (break down into paragraphs)
|Every paragraph written must be related to the question and must have a correlation with the adjoining paragraphs so it is less confusing to a reader and has more coherence.
|Stick to the question asked and remember to not cross the 800-word limit.
After keeping in mind the above-mentioned elements in writing every answer for the subjective part, one must make every endeavour to use legible handwriting.
What should be the structure of an answer
1. For a detailed answer one must include the following:
Every answer must start with an introduction that relates the question and an overview of what is going to be written ahead. Fill the introduction with information and curiosity relating to the question.
This must contain the main content which may include the following:
- Related laws
- Interpretation of the provision/ statute
- Analysis and critical analysis
- Judicial precedent (preferably Supreme Court cases)
The conclusion must include an inference that has been deduced from the answer written. The conclusion may also include loopholes and suggestions or the way forward for that particular topic.
2. To answer a question based on explaining a legal concept, one must structure the answer in the following manner:
|Meaning of the concept
|Laws relating to the concept
|Supreme Court cases or recent developments
3. To answer a question on explanation or critical analysis of a Supreme Court case, the following structure must be kept in mind:
|Meaning & context of case law
|Details of case law : facts, issues, and judgment including ratio decidendi and obiter dicta
|A critical analysis (CA)
|Case laws or legal provisions supporting CA
|Conclusion (final opinion)
All in all, the entire subjective section displays the true ability of the test-taker to write, structure an answer and analyse legal concepts and provide their point of view on the same. It is only an added version of what every law student learns while attaining their bachelor’s degree.
In order to understand from which areas the questions may come, one must peruse previous year papers.
As per an anonymous student who cracked CLAT and landed a job at a PSU6, the change in the pattern of adding the subjective section again is a win-win for students. The objective section and subjective section helps students to balance their scores and the ones who have good writing skills will also benefit from this pattern as one has enough practice to write essay-type answers in the 3 or 5 years at a law school.
Last-minute tips for preparations
Every student needs a perfect plan for around a month before the exam. This is done through the best possible utilisation of the limited time one has in hand before the exam day. The following are some last moment tips and tricks for the last 15 days:
Prepare a timetable
A student must prepare a timetable or a schedule allotting a specific number of hours a day for every subject. Getting enough sleep in the last few days before the exam is extremely important for productivity to stay at its optimum levels.
Revise notes that are prepared
One must make sure that the notes prepared while preparing for the exam are in the best condition as they are a one-point source to have a flashback of all the necessary pieces of information that need to know at the last minute. One can probably schedule to read at least one subject or topic’s notes every day in order to be well conversant with it.
Practice previous year papers/ mock tests
Due to a change in the pattern of the CLAT PG paper, there may not be too many previous year papers to solve but there are various legal education companies that provide a series of mock tests for their students to excel while giving the exam. Hence, one must practice at least one mock test per day.
Focus on important subjects that have more weightage and refrain from reading new things
Prioritise subjects as per the marking schemes of the previous year’s papers. For example, CLAT PG 2020 exam, the maximum number of questions were asked from constitution law, jurisprudence, public international law, family law, labour law, and criminal law. Focusing on these subjects in the last few days will fetch marks as we can be certain that there will be a lot of questions asked from these subjects. Also, one must refrain from learning or reading new things every day in the last days before the exam unless and until it is absolutely necessary to have knowledge about it.
Practice writing down a rough structure of sample essay type questions from the subjective part
It is imperative to keep in mind that the structure is the very foundation of your subjective answer that carries 25 marks. In order for the flow to be seamless, one must practice writing down in rough the format of the answer which is to be written in detail. Once a layout is prepared, a test-taker shall not have to think about what is to be written ahead and instead focus on the quality of content to be written under each heading of the essay type answer.
Practice speed reading for comprehension based questions
One must read as many comprehension-based questions and be in the habit of speed reading considering a test-taker must take less than a minute to answer each objective question. The catch here is that if one understands the concept of speed reading and practices it over a period of time, finding out the keywords based on the questions becomes a much easier task. Therefore, using the method of speed-reading in order to find keywords that provide answers.
In drawing things to a close, we must understand that the CLAT PG exam is highly competitive and as years pass, more students are enrolling for the same. For a student to excel in this exam, one needs discipline and consistency for long durations. Graduates who are working professionals may not be able to give as much time as law students but they too may enroll for online courses or crash courses so that there is a defined pattern in which they would be able to prepare for the same. With such courses, in all likelihood, one is able to complete their portion and are only focussed on sharpening certain skills they will be applying on exam day. There is no ‘enough’ preparation for such highly competitive exams until one tastes success from the results.
There are certain aspirants who aim to take the CLAT PG exam or be legal officers at huge PSU companies but have a blurry image of this. One can attend Free Bootcamps like the one on how to crack the CLAT-PG exam for LLM and PSU Jobs organised by Lawsikho in order to understand the entire shebang of the CLAT PG exam and also get answers to numerous queries asked by like-minded aspirants.
LawSikho has created a telegram group for exchanging legal knowledge, referrals and various opportunities. You can click on this link and join: