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Preparing for CLAT English

CLAT is considered as one of the most competitive aptitude tests in the country today. This might make it seem like a tough nut to crack, but it really isn’t. All it takes is the right aptitude and attitude; along with some discipline, for you to nail the CLAT preparation.

The two-hour written exam focuses on five core subjects in which your comprehension and reasoning skills will be put to test. Being an MCQ format paper, the test is out of 150. Every right answer adds one mark, and every wrong one makes you short of 0.25 marks. And needless to say, every answer you skip doesn’t add or minus any marks. In this article, we will take a sneak peek at understanding the format of one of the five core subjects, which is English.

The CLAT English format

English accounts for 20% of the CLAT questions, making it an essential part of the competitive exam. The CLAT English format focuses on the reading and comprehension of passages that are about 450 words. The passages are usually as follows:

1) They are mostly contemporary and historically significant

2) They can be either fiction or non-fiction write-ups

3) They are in tune with the reading levels of an average 12th grader

4) They take usually 5-7 minutes to read

5) They can constitute articles, memoirs, scientific and technical writing

Now that there is clarity on the kind of passage that you can expect, let us dive into what kind of questions will follow it.

CLAT English questions

Once you have understood the presentation bit of the passage, you can get a brief outline of what to expect in terms of questions. The questions that follow a passage focus on testing comprehension and language skills of a student. The following are the kinds of CLAT English questions that are common:

  • Direct questions are based on the content given, for which the answers can be directly taken from the text. These can include questions on facts presented in the passage, vocabulary -based questions, or questions testing grammar rules

  • Analytical questions which require you to figure out what the writer of the passage wishes to convey.

  • Analyzing the text structure - whether it is descriptive or a cause and effect structure or a compare and contrast situation or whether the passage is stating an order or sequence of events. Clue words will nudge you into analyzing the structure of the passage

Strategies to help prepare for the English section of CLAT

Here are some simple life-hacks that go a long way in acing the CLAT English section:

  • Put yourself in the shoes of the person who has written the passage. Don't let your opinions influence you in searching for answers.

  • Reading matters most. Newspapers, editorials, opinions, articles - are all helpful. News sites like The Hindu, The Economic Times, The Guardian are excellent guides. It improves your speed, comprehension skills, and raises your general awareness. Some sample reading suggested by CLAT Consortium includes - Poonachi by Perumal Murugan, Ramachandra Guha’s Introduction to Nationalism by Rabindranath Tagore, Bill Bryson’s ‘At Home’, Articles from sources like ‘The Guardian’.

  • Study in a group or classroom setting; join a CLAT coaching center to learn better

  • Go through practice materials and do regular CLAT mock tests that can be reviewed with a mentor. You can do the same here :)


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