This is a lightly edited post of an interview conducted by Team Clatshree with Simran Sabharwal, who secured AIR 707 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 and AILET examinations?
A: Honestly,I never thought I’ll be able to crack an all India examination. So, getting 707 rank was a pleasant surprise.
Q: Who played the biggest role in helping you make your way to success?
A: Coaching institute plays a major role. Constant guidance by your teachers is very important. Apart from coaching institutes, parents and self study plays a vital role. There are times when you feel dull, so motivation is very important. Be it from your parents, teachers or any YouTube video. This really boosts you up.
Q: What was your preparation strategy for CLAT 2018?
A: I got 16 books(coaching material) to prepare from, completed going through them once by October.By December, all the subjects were completed except Maths. Revision and going through your legal notes is very very important.
Q: What was your preparation strategy in CLAT/AILET 2017 and what lessons did you learn from your previous attempt?
A: In 2017, I took boards and after that started preparing for CLAT on my own. Did Gk from Gk Today and other subjects from various online sources. Scored 70.75.
This year preparation was more thorough. Took a drop and devoted myself entirely to CLAT. Learnt that CLAT needs a lot of practice and revision. You need to work really hard as competition is huge.
Q: How many hours did you put in for preparation? Can you specify the subject wise strategy you used?
A: Till December, I studied for 4-5 hours. But in January I started preparing for 6-7 hours and it increased and by May at least for 11 hours. Though no fixed hours, buy you need to do self study apart from attending coaching classes.
As I was not good in Maths, so I took one chapter daily and practiced it entirely. Practice helps a lot in maths. For English you need to read the grammar rules again n again and practice a lot of sheets for grammar. Legal requires revising the chapters regularly. Read Gk daily.
Q: How did you tackle your weaknesses while preparing for the exams?
A: Maths being my weakness, I decided to study a chapter daily and practice sums which were asked previously in exams. Did important chapters and learnt short tricks for that.Though it carries only 20 marks, getting 8-10 was my target. I focused more on making my strong subjects stronger, so I can easily score in that.
Q: Did you change your strategy when tackling AILET?
A: A week prior to AILET, I started focusing only on GK and Legal. English I prepared from various sites and luckily the same words were asked. I didn’t prepare much for Maths.
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?
A: Mocks like everyone says are very important. I took my first mock in August in which I scored 75 which increased to 125-128 by May.
I started by attempting the easier sections and then moved on to difficult ones. Completed Gk in 8-10 mins then Legal in another 25-30 mins. English in 25 mins. And rest of the time for Logical and Maths.
Q: The preparation can get really hectic. So what did you do to manage your stress?
A: When not in the mood to study, I used to watch Youtube videos. I also love reading, so I read novels and books. You need to de-stress yourself because being a dropper it gets hectic and dull too.
Q: How did you manage between Board exams and preparing for the entrance examinations?
A: I took boards in 2017. But ya I appeared for my B.Com. exams.
Q: How did you manage time between college examinations and preparation for the entrance examinations?
A: I appeared for my B.Com. exams in March. I just studied a day before for that. Main focus was CLAT.
Q: What did you focus on when preparing – accuracy or speed? Which one do you think a candidate must put more effort on?
I had a good speed while attempting mocks, so my main focus was improving my accuracy.
I believe one needs to work on one’s accuracy only because if you know the answer you’ll quickly solve this. So, speed increases by time. But accuracy requires a lot of hard work.
Q: How important do you think is having friends/seniors in law schools assist you in your preparation for the entrance examination?
A: VERY important and useful. Team Clatshree motivated till the D-Day and told us lot about Law school life. Having friends or seniors from same field is highly useful as they clear any query related to the field.
Q: What did you do on the day before the CLAT/AILET exams? How did you manage stress?
A: A day before CLAT, I was very calm and cool. Read Gk notes and went through important chapters of Legal. Teachers at my coaching institute told us to stay chill and relax and not to worry whatsoever the paper be. So followed the same.
Q: How did you handle the pressure and excitement when taking the examination?
A: Like I said, I stayed calm. This year Clat created a lot of fuss. Same happened at my centre, luckily not with me. I stayed calm and took the exam with a cool head. 1 hour before CLAT , I was happy because tension never helps.
Q: What was the strategy you adopted when attempting the AILET paper?
A: Just attempted the questions which I knew and then moved on to the lesser known answers. First I attempted Gk. Then went for Legal Gk and after that legal reasoning. For AILET, you need to be really quick and the paper is really lengthy + you don’t have that much time compared to CLAT.
Q: What was the strategy you adopted when attempting the CLAT paper?
A: In CLAT, you have two hours. I was told that either CLAT defeats you or you defeat CLAT. If you are tensed, surely you’ll be defeated. I followed staying calm, even if I didn’t know the answer I stayed calm amd attempted the ones I knew. Followed the same pattern for attempting questions which I followed during mocks.
Don’t attempt more of critical reasoning questions, because they are really tricky. Attempt the ones which you are sure of and slightly sure too. You can mark the questions and attempt them at the last too.
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?
A: Ya I feel I should have worked more on my accuracy. I somewhat focused on my attempt rate. I do feel now that I should have focused on my accuracy because even a 0.25 changes NLU. Though I played safe on CLAT day but ya accuracy is really important and should not focus more on your attempt rate.
Q: What made you choose law as a career option?
A: Law as a career fascinated me since I chose commerce. Gradually, I started to know more about legal stuff and other our rights and duties which allured me and made me choose Law as my career.
Q: What are your hobbies? What activities did you engage in while preparing for the exams?
A: Once or twice a week I used to stroll in the park. I love reading so when not preparing for CLAT, I read articles online or read books by my favourite authors. The Alchemist book is a must read as it motivates you during your lows.
Q: How do you plan to spend the month before joining the college?
A: Honestly, college preps are going on and excited to move to a new city.
Q: What are your future plans? What are your expectations about the first week of law school?
A: I want to move to corporate sector in future. And about the first week, enjoy all the new experiences as they come.
Q: What advice and strategies do you have for future test takers?
A: Stay calm throughout the year. There will be time when you feel low, don’t study that time and do what you like. But ya remember, CLAT requires a lot of hardwork and dedication. Take as many mocks as possible, do proper analysis of them. Work on your weak areas and don’t have a fear of any section in CLAT. Work on your accuracy because that’s really important. Go through Legal notes again n again if you have problem in Legal section because that really helps. Do Legal Gk too. Study General knowledge regularly from online sources or newspapers. Take exams other than CLAT too as if you don’t get selected you’ll not waste an year. Most important-Stay Focused.