A Complete Guide to CLAT

Oct 28, 2015

A flourishing career in law is a hallmark of honor and prestige. It is a profession that perpetuates justice and places the truth above everything else. Law is a vital component of upholding the integrity of any nation. To be able to be a part of it is a privilege.

If you are aspiring to be a part of this elite profession, here's a heads up: there's only one thing standing between you and your aspiration: namely, CLAT.

What is CLAT?

Common Law Admission Test, also known as CLAT, is an annual all-India entrance test conducted by 16 National Law Universities (NLUs), on a rotation basis, for admission to their law courses -- both undergraduate and post-graduate.

The undergraduate programme extends for 5 years and the degree awarded on completion of the course is known as LLB (Bachelor of Law). The post-graduate programme extends for a year and the degree awarded is known as LL.M (Master of Law).

Following is a detailed list of courses offered by the 16 NLUs:

  • B.A. LL.B. (Hons.)
  • B.Sc. LL.B. (Hons.)
  • B.S.W. LL.B. (Hons.)
  • B.Com. LL.B. (Hons.)
  • LL.M.

The participating NLUs are as follow:

  1. National Academy of Legal Study & Research (NALSAR) University of Law, Hyderabad
  2. The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata (WBNUJS)
  3. National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU)
  4. National Law Institute University, Bhopal (NLIU)
  5. Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam (DSNLU)
  6. Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar (GNLU)
  7. National Law University, Jodhpur (NLUJ)
  8. Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala (RGNUL)
  9. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow (RMLNLU)
  10. Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur (HNLU)
  11. National Law University Odisha, Cuttack (NLUO)
  12. National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi (NUALS)
  13. Chanakya National Law University, Patna (CNLU)
  14. National University of Study & Research in Law, Ranchi (NUSRL)
  15. The TamilNadu National Law School, Tiruchirappalli (TNNLS)
  16. National Law University & Judicial Academy, Assam, Guwahati (NLUJAA)

The first CLAT was conducted in 2008. Since then, every year the test is conducted in order of establishment of the 16 NLUs.Here's a quick look at CLAT:

Eligibility Criteria for CLAT The eligibility criteria for undergraduate and postgraduate CLAT exams are mentioned below:For the U.G. (Undergraduate) ProgrammeCandidates applying for CLAT must:

  • be below 20 years of age
  • have completed the (10+2) or its equivalent from a recognized board
  • have scored at least 45% marks at the (10+2) level (40% for ST and SC candidates)

For P.G. (Postgraduate) ProgrammeCandidates appearing for CLAT for admission in the P.G. programme must have completed:

  • LLB
  • the 5-year integrated LLB course or any equivalent course

Candidates must have scored a minimum of 55% in LLB (50% for SC and ST candidates) to be eligible for CLAT. Also, there is no upper age limit for appearing for this exam.CLAT Exam Pattern and SyllabusThe syllabus for the undergraduate and postgraduate levels of the CLAT is mentioned below:For U.G. ProgrammeTotal marks: 200Duration of exam: 2 hoursTotal number of questions: 200Questions are of multiple-choice pattern and each question carries one mark. Following is a list of subjects and the marks they carry:


For every incorrect answer, 0.25 mark will be deducted.The details of this syllabus are mentioned below:

  1. General Knowledge

Candidates will be tested on their static general awareness as well as current affairs. There will be questions from Indian economy, History, Geography and so on.

  1. English

This section contains both, comprehension and grammar. For comprehension, candidates will be assessed on their understanding of the passage and its theme, the words used in it and so on. Apart from comprehension, there will be questions on the following topics:

  • One-word substitution
  • Locating the error
  • Synonyms and antonyms
  • Improvement of sentences
  • Idioms and phrases and so on
  1. Mathematics

Candidates will be assessed on their knowledge of elementary Mathematics (up to Std. 10). Questions will be set from the following topics:

  • Number System
  • Simplification
  • Average
  • Percentage
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Profit and Loss
  • Simple and Compound Interests
  • Equation
  • Work, Time and Speed
  • Probability
  • Taxation
  • Geometry
  1. Logical Reasoning

This section includes a wide variety of logical reasoning questions from the following topics:

  • Syllogism
  • Cause and effect
  • Blood relation
  • Coding and decoding
  • Direction sense
  • Seating arrangement
  • Statement and conclusion
  • Analogy
  • Spotting the odd one and so on


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  1. Legal Aptitude

This section will assess the candidates' research and problem-solving abilities as well as their interest in law. Questions will be designed around legal propositions and facts, some of which may not be valid in the real world. However, candidates will need to assume that the propositions and facts presented in the questions are true and then, answer the questions accordingly. A basic legal knowledge will be helpful to ace this section.For P.G. ProgrammeTotal marks: 200Duration of exam: 2 hoursThe question paper for CLAT LL.M 2016 is supposed to comprise both, multiple choice questions (each containing 1 mark) and short-answer questions. The syllabus for this exam is as follows:

  • Law of Contracts
  • Family Law
  • Law of Torts
  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Legal Theory

Tentative Dates for CLAT 2016


How to Apply for CLAT 2016?As soon as the official notification is out, candidates need to log in to the official website to complete the application procedure. If you are a CLAT aspirant, you can apply for the exam through online mode only. No other application mode is accepted. The application fee is 4000 INR for general candidates and 3500 INR for candidates belonging to the reserved category. The online payment options include the following:

  • Debit card
  • Credit card
  • Net banking

Online counseling will commence from after the results are declared. Applications for the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes will be accepted through the official website.

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How to Prepare for CLAT?With thousands of students embracing law as their career path, the competition has reached unfathomable heights. In addition, the CLAT questions have been getting increasingly tough with every passing year. Therefore, acing CLAT has become synonymous with preparing well for it. Following are a few strategies that you could follow to score well in the exam.


  1. Design a Study Schedule

Unless you have a plan, you will quickly find yourself falling behind in the race to be the best.

  • Make a study schedule for every day. This way, you will be able to keep a track of the topics that you have covered and the ones that are left.
  • Apart from that, set goals on a weekly or monthly basis, whichever suits you the best.

If you can follow the schedule to the T, you will be able to find ample time for revision.

  1. Brush up on Your General Awareness

Read the newspapers every day. For a legal profession, an interest in and a knowledge of current affairs is absolutely important. Your competitors would bring plenty of those to the table. How much would you?In addition to newspapers, you must also follow news articles in the magazines and on the Internet. You can download a news-related app unto your smartphone and keep yourself updated by going through the news bytes that they keep providing throughout the day.Your static general knowledge is as important as a thorough knowledge of current affairs. Brush up on basic History, Geography and Indian Economy.


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  1. Enroll in a Coaching Center

Joining a reputed coaching center has its own benefits. Good coaching centers offer a strong support to help back up your preparation. You would be provided with effective study materials, useful tips and tricks to solve questions quickly and the latest exam notifications. You can also appear for the mock tests conducted in these centers to assess the level of your preparation.You must keep in mind that nothing beats self-study. You must put in your best effort to prepare for the exam. Coaching centers are complementary sources to ensure that you are not missing out on anything.

  1. Solve Sample Papers

Try to get hold of as many CLAT sample papers as you can. The more sample papers you solve, the better you will get at managing time and assessing your level of preparedness. This will help you detect the sections that you are weak in and the ones that need your immediate attention. Once you can spot these, you will be able to devise studying strategies around these to improve your skills.Apart from that, you must design subject-wise preparation strategies to make your CLAT preparation even more fruitful.Good luck!Would you like to add any other strategies to this list? Share those with us in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you.

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