This is a lightly edited post of an interview conducted by Team Clatshree with Rhishika Srivastava, who secured AIR 841 in CLAT. In the interview she discussed her strategies in tackling the papers, how she spend her time, who supported her in her preparation and her future expectations as well as advice for aspirants.
Q: Did you expect to do so well in your CLAT examination?
Ans: Well, though I expected a better result, I could not give my best in the exam. Anyways, the outcome was decent and contrary to the lost hopes. I guess this became possible only because the Clatshree team made me so prepared that even when I made gross silly errors, I still managed to sail through the difficult questions and score this much.
Q: Who played the biggest role in helping you make your way to success?
Ans: Already being in the first year of my Law School, preparing for clat yet again was a bit difficult and tiresome. But all thanks to my Mom, Dad, Best Friend and specially mentors at Clatshree who always motivated me to excel. Clatshree Team was there even at the odd hours to help me out with any doubt whatsoever I had.
Q: What was your preparation strategy for CLAT 2018?
Ans: Experiencing a poorly managed paper of 2017, I first made myself prepared for every such hassle. Apart from that I worked almost regularly with Current G.K. and gave last 3 months for Static G.K. Maths, Legal and Reasoning were not difficult for me. However I had a tough time mastering the tricks of English. Surprisingly I scored Highest in English this time.
I devoted as many has 4-6 hours a day out of which 2 were fixed for G.K. and the remaining 4 were given to other four subjects on an alternate basis.
Q: What was your preparation strategy in CLAT/AILET 2017 and what lessons did you learn from your previous attempt?
Ans: The biggest mistake I made in CLAT 17 was losing confidence and panicking on the D-Day. I was with the habit of sticking to the questions until done. So the biggest lesson I learnt was leaving the questions if they seem to be non-doable prima facie.
Q: How many hours did you put in for preparation? Can you specify the subject wise strategy you used?
Ans: As mentioned, being already in Law School, I could manage to devote only 6 hours a day. Out of them 2 were fixed for G.K. on a daily basis and 2-2 hours for other subjects on alternate day basis.
Although devoting number of hours is largely a function of personal abilities as well, however anything between 3-6 consistent hours is considered decent.
Q: How did you tackle your weaknesses while preparing for the exams?
Ans: As already mentioned, I used to find difficulties in some set of questions in English. However Clatshree mentors helped me regularly in attacking those questions and suggested methods of improvement.
I started solving 1 sectional test of English daily after February and this helped me alot. On the D-Day, despite of Legal being my strongest point, I scored highest in English. Hence it is rightly said consistent work pays you at the end.
Q: Did you change your strategy when tackling AILET?
Ans: I was already in a reputed Law School owing to CLAT 17 and hence my only aim was the Top 3 NLUs. Therefore I only wrote CLAT.
Q: What was your strategy with respect to mock tests? When did you attempt your first mock and how did you schedule your time for them?
Ans: Well, Mocks were pretty unpredictable. However I started scoring decent after December. I used to attempt mocks once a week at first and gave my first mock in September 2017. As time passed, and from March on wards I started attempting one mock daily. With respect to strategy, I experimented with the sections to attempt first, but fixed the sequence after March. I used to attempt the mocks in the sequence of Legal-English-G.K.-Logic-Legal.
The main strategy included skipping the question, if it remains unsolved within first 10 seconds of attempt.
Q: The preparation can get really hectic. So what did you do to manage your stress?
Ans: Agreed! Preparing for CLAT along with College was hectic, wherein I couldnt have much time for myself or for college activities. At times when it used to get really hassled, I went for walks or for movies with my Best Friend.
Q: How did you manage between Board exams and preparing for the entrance examinations?
Ans: I did not precisely have the problem of Board Exams, but the Semesters, mid-sems and assignments compensated the same. I used to give morning hours to CLAT and evening to college assignments and work. I however kept semesters aside and studied them only before the exams 😛
Q: How did you manage time between college examinations and preparation for the entrance examinations?
Ans: Well, I had to keep CLAT Preparations at a pause when there came the seasons of Semesters. Apart from that, I majorly gave time to CLAT and did not focus much on college.
Q: What did you focus on when preparing – accuracy or speed? Which one do you think a candidate must put more effort on?
Ans: I was fine when it came to speed. I guess this was so because I had prepared for CLAT 17 as well. My major focus included the improvisation of my Accuracy. However for a first time CLAT taker, both are equally important factors. Also its a factor of personal aptitude as to how fast a person can think and solve. But aiming at a good accuracy is in one’s hands and so he should first focu on improving the same. This would give him an edge over others.
Q: How important do you think is having friends/seniors in law schools assist you in your preparation for the entrance examination?
Ans: It is pivotal. As I told my best friend is a senior from GNLU and my Clatshree mentor is from NLSIU Bangalore. They helped a great deal in suggesting the dos and donts to me. This is indeed effective because they have successfully sailed over previous CLATs and have aced them. So coming from them as to what should and should not be done on the D-Day becomes akin to magical doses which most of the times, do work.
Q: What did you do on the day before the CLAT/AILET exams? How did you manage stress?
Ans: I stopped studying before 24 hours of the Exam. I would suggest this to everyone as well. When we have given months of dedication and hardwork, there should not be any sense of self doubt until and unless one was not honest to himself. How you perform on the Day might be a completely different story owing to many factors, out of which one of the biggest is Stress Management. One should think in the line that he is again going to give a mock and all he has to do is utilize the coming 120 minutes in solving those 200 questions. Nothing more, nothing less.
Q: How did you handle the pressure and excitement when taking the examination? *
Ans: I was calm during the exams. This was because CLAT 17 struck me due to the pressure and excitement factors. Although the exam center did not even have fans and water, I was of the view that all I had to do was to solve the questions and go back to my Home-city. Taking pressure during the exams only harms the candidates.
Q: What was the strategy you adopted when attempting the CLAT paper?
Ans: I sat for the exams in an attacking mode. I was of the strategy to either do or not do the questions and not to be struck on any of them. I solved the easy slitter ones first and then went for others. Also I divided my time in 2 halves of 1-1 hour. I did English, Legal and G.K in the first hour, hence completing 70% of the paper in 50% time. I then solved reasoning ant maths in the next 50 minutes with 10 minutes in hand to revise the non- doable ones.
Q: In retrospect is there anything you would have done differently in CLAT/AILET either at the stage of preparation or when attempting the exam which you believe would have helped increase your marks?
Ans: YES!! And I still regret that. I made some blunders (4-6) of them which if had been correct, would have taken me to exponentially upward rank club. I dont know why I committed errors in questions like 42nd amendment, chairman, commonwealth and oscars. I direly regret that because I knew the answers and still got them wrong.
Q: What made you choose law as a career option?
Ans: I come from a Family of Engineers and am an Engineering droput as well. I always wanted to pursue Law. This was because of a childhood incident wherein I realised that people are not aware of the Legal Provisions that are enacted for them. I want to spread Legal awareness even if it doesnt fill in my pockets.
Q: What are your hobbies? What activities did you engage in while preparing for the exams?
Ans: I love to write. I am Content writer for various fora, so along with college, and CLAT preparations, I had numerous writing tasks to perform and submit by the deadlines. Apart from writing I paint and sing. These were the activities into which I engaged myself while preparing for exams.
Q: How do you plan to spend the month before joining the college?
Ans: I will be enjoying with my Family and Friends before getting in to college again. I have planned to learn instruments as well.
Q: What are your future plans? What are your expectations about the first week of law school?
Ans: I aspire to go into Judicial Services in Future. Coming to the Expectations, I might not be expecting much changes because of the prior experience I already had in the Law School Last year 😛
Q: What advice and strategies do you have for future test takers?
Ans: Well, I would only suggest you guys to Relax first of all! Introspect, what are your strengths and weaknesses. Give time for the subjects you find hard along with simultaneous G.K. revision. Make notes of Current affairs and read Newspapers. Yes Newspapers are important for both G.K. and English. Attempt one mock a week and analyse it very properly. You have long time to go and can devote ample time to revision.
At the end, I would say dont take stress during exam. Keep yourself motivated and you will sail through. 🙂