Online CLAT: How to perform at your best

CLAT mentor Rajneesh Singh deconstructs the problems associated with the online conduct of CLAT 2020 and possible solutions for the same.
Rajneesh Singh
Rajneesh Singh

Both the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) and the All India Law Entrance Exam (AILET) will be computer-based tests (CBT) this year.

Right now, you might be wondering whether a paper-based test is better than a CBT.

The answer is,

"Does that really matter?"

Whatever it is, the same applied for all. If you remain in a negative mindset, then it will create a problem for you. This should be taken as an opportunity, because many will panic.

Factors which might bring down the cut-off

  1. Discomfort because of using mainly paper-based tests since childhood.

  2. Not being able to have a look at the entire paper in one glance.

  3. Scrolling will be more within a question (more text) in this new pattern.

  4. Not being able to write the rough work there itself on paper. Lots of rewriting on the rough sheet with the frequent up and down movement of the head.

  5. Multiple and frequent shifts from pen to mouse and mouse to pen in hand.

Factors which might bring the cut-off up

  1. Extremely quick navigation from question to question or section to section.

  2. Extremely quick marking of answers or changing of answers.

The conclusion is that overall, it will either not make a difference to the cut-off, or it may bring down the cut-off (0 to 3 marks).

Again, let me remind you, it is neither good nor bad for anyone.

Possible problems and how to overcome them

1. Why did they change things suddenly, when we were prepared for a paper-based test?

Did COVID-19 appear with a six-month notification? This is more of a psychological problem, and is only natural. I can understand very well because I faced the same problem. While studying MBA, the computer was made our notebook instead of an exercise book. And I had never touched computers. This happens to all of us. We are so much accustomed to a paper-based mode that it is really difficult to imagine a computer test.

The Solution: Read this write up again from the beginning. The solution is to get tortured many times till you feel the comfort. Take lots of tests of the same nature with the same look and feel. Do not forget to use a mouse and a desktop preferably. The mouse has to be a simple USB based and scrolling one. The website has many free exams for CLAT with the same look and feel.

2. I can work on computers, but getting that much speed can be a problem.

There are many ways to overcome this. This is a problem with the majority. Try to understand the exact requirement. You need to be good and quick at mouse movements, clicking and scrolling. That is all.

The Solution: Play your favourite online games where the mouse is used exhaustively. Use an ordinary mouse. Spend 10 to 20 minutes everyday for two weeks.

3. I am good at the mouse. But when I take an online test, I slow down.

You are facing problem number one, which many have. Also, you have not taken enough tests which will give you a comfortable feel in this testing environment.

The Solution: Take lots of free online tests. Buy some paid ones. Around 20 online mock tests are a must, preferably with an all-India ranking. Take lots of section tests too. Do not complain about too much of scrolling. Quickly get out of this psychological problem.

4. Why are they forcing us to solve the paper in the normal sequence? What about changing the answer and what about the rough work? How will I draw the tables and figures?

This is not a problem at all.

The Solution: The sequence of the attempt will be decided by you. You can switch from one question to another (any out of 150) in one click. You can always change the answer as many times as you wish to before the final submission. For the rough work, you will be provided with sheets.

5. I am from a village. I cannot be fast on computer.

This guy is bad at computers and English. Still, he is using the computer and mailing in English. We all can learn from this guy. The spirit to fight and take up challenges will make him the biggest winner.

The Solution: Try to understand that bank entrance exams are taken by 20 to 50 lakh people every time, and these are computer-based tests. I would like to inform you that majority of the takers are from semi-urban areas or villages. Also, getting to a comfort level on computers up to the requirement of CLAT needs 50 hours of practice with the mouse.

Moreover, for CLAT, it is very simple clicking and navigation. Therefore, no need to worry. At law schools, your iPad/laptop/computers at the library will be your notebook/workbook. So anyways that was due to be done. So why not to start right now? Also start working on English, although you do not require to be very good at English for CLAT. But you need to be at least average, otherwise you will be out of the race. Moreover for a lawyer, good English is a must.

The actual problems you may not foresee and the ways to overcome them

1. Quick scanning

Quick scanning of the whole paper in one go will not be possible. Questions will appear one at a time. Test takers often also require scanning a part of the paper to decide on selecting a question to be attempted. This also will be a little difficult and time taking.

The Solution - There is no solution, but why worry? This is same for all.

2. Inability to do the rough work beside the question

This is the biggest problem. This kills lots of time. Many times, you have to look up and then down at your rough sheets. Rough work that you do on the paper, or just beside the figures/data given in the question paper, now has to be done by copying the same in the rough sheet.

The Solution - There is no solution, but why worry? This is same for all. But you can create an advantage by good practice and consequently reducing the time consumption. The discomfort will also diffuse gradually as you practice. Do practice of keeping the pen in between the figures and also use a mouse along with that. This you need to do only during QT and AR questions. The pen will not be required for other questions.

The advantages

1. The question-to-question navigation

This is quicker. You will have buttons for every question on one side mapped properly. This way the switching to another question will be very quick.

2. Going back to an un-attempted question

This is amazingly faster. The question button will change colour as its status changes. Un-attempted, attempted, and attempted ones but desirable for a review or a question that you wanted to attempt later, will have different colours. This is an amazing advantage. You must learn to capitalize on the same.

3. Quick changing of the answer

You can change the answer very quickly and at any time before the final submission.

4. Quick marking of the answer

You do not need to darken the ovals, which is more time-consuming. In a click, you can do that. It also saves you from managing lots of accessories.

Blessing in Disguise – Every problem comes with an opportunity

Yes, get this clear in your mind that a winner will always take this as a big opportunity, because the majority are taking this as a disadvantage or are at a disadvantage.

Remember here you have to compete over others, and it is not about getting good grades. Many are creating an advantage by giving you fear about an online test.

Beware of the same! If you practice well in this environment and do intelligent hard work, you can actually create big advantages.

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