How to score well in the CLAT Legal Aptitude

The CLAT Legal Aptitude section checks your legal acumen to the highest level possible and this is exactly why I must break the myth that you can crack this section in a month’s preparation. This article highlights what CLAT legal aptitude is and why regular preparation is pertinent to obtain a good score in the CLAT exam. .

Usually the students are not well-aware of what does legal aptitude comprise of. Are you?

Legal Aptitude section can be further segregated into:

  1. Legal Reasoning based on factual situations and legal principles, which is the most important part.
  2. Assertion- Reasoning
  3. Legal Knowledge
  4. Legal GK including Legal History
  5. Legal Maxims
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Is CLAT testing your Legal Reasoning or Legal Knowledge?
Going by the pattern which has been followed in the previous year papers, most of the questions are based on the application of different legal principles to hypothetical factual situations. This is to judge a student’s interpretational skills.
Before you answer such questions, read the principle thoroughly and ask yourself as to how would you deal with this if you were an advocate or a judge.
It is common for students to use their assumptions in such questions. But avoid doing that here. Stick strictly to the facts and don’t assume anything extra on your end.
For example.
If the factual situation consists of a sentence stating that
“X commits house trespass in the property of y”
Don’t start assuming whether it is at night or day, whether it is house breaking or just plain house trespass, did X use any force to enter, etc.
Apart from this, what else should you be aware about when it comes to legal reasoning?
Friends, always remember that through these questions, CLAT is purely checking your legal reasoning and not legal knowledge.
Let’s understand this better by way of an example.
Principle: Assault is causing bodily injury to another person by use of physical force.
Facts: Rustum while entering into compartment of a train raised his fist in anger towards a person Sheetal, just in front of him in the row, to get way to enter into the train first, but did not hit him. Rustum has:
  1. Insulted Sheetal
  2. Not committed an assault on Sheetal
  3. Committed an assault on Sheetal
  4. Rightly showed his anger
Correct Answer: (2)
In the given question if you were to apply legal knowledge, you will choose Option (3). The definition of assault in the Indian Penal Code specifies that, assault does not include an application or use of physical force. However, a strict application of the given legal principle will lead you to the correct answer. So, DO NOT APPLY your legal knowledge in the legal reasoning questions.
A blind application of legal knowledge in such questions will mislead you to an incorrect option. Just apply the principle mechanically. Do not let your sense of right or wrong guide your attempt. Its simple- Just apply the principle to the factual situation.
The best approach to such a question is that you read the facts first, then the principle and then you see which option resonates best with the principle.
Moving ahead, another type of questions which you should be well-versed is the one based on Assertion-reasoning. Such questions are designed to check if you can identify whether the reason given to an assertion or statement is correct or not.
For example
Assertion (A): In India, people elect their own representatives.
Reason (R): India is a democracy.
So, here first you check whether the assertion and reason given are true or false and if both the statements are true, then is the reason apt for the assertion given. Students, trust me when I say that legal reasoning is the EASIEST part in CLAT and it can be developed with time and constant practice.
Students fall in love with legal reasoning because it’s interesting and addictive. Once you have figured out what makes this section so easy, it will make a huge difference to your CLAT score.
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So, is Legal Knowledge Useless in Legal Reasoning Questions?
Familiarity with legal principles can go a long way in boosting your speed. When you know a legal principle beforehand, you won’t waste time in trying to figure out or understand the given principle. Of course, your comprehension skills will also play the role of a catalyst in improving your accuracy. You gain this familiarity by practicing lots of previous year papers and mocks. Since a lot of questions get repeated, this exercise will prove very beneficial.
Furthermore, it will also help you in case a legal knowledge based question comes up in the exam.
Coming to the last point which deals with legal maxims, it is just like building a vocabulary. Learning a few legal terms and maxims every day will prove to be the fruitful every day.
So remember:
Practice is the key!
Go through as many previous year papers as you can get your hands on. Make a list of the principles that the students have been tested on in the past. Read all of them and then skim out a set of principles that have been repeated time and again. It goes without saying that there will be completely new set of principles every year.  Be prepared to handle the unexpected.
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