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English For CLAT | Pattern, Syllabus, Preparation

English

The CLAT exam, among others things, also tests the English proficiency of the aspirants. English section in CLAT holds 40 marks out of a total of 200. In AILET, the English section accounts for 35 out of a total of 150 questions. Other law entrance exams also give considerable weightage to English. Hence, obtaining a good score in English section can go a long way in increasing the overall score.

The English section of CLAT and other law entrance exams are broadly divided into three major sections:

  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary
  • Reading Comprehension

GRAMMAR

Grammar is a collection of rules governing the composition of sentences, clauses, phrases, words, etc. of a particular language. It essentially includes the study and application of these rules. Therefore, grammar is essentially the prescribed way in which words are to be put together to form proper sentences.

For an aspirant to ace the grammar section in law school entrance examinations, it is essential for him or her to have a basic understanding of the English language in general. The pattern of questions in given in the exams are generally based on:

  • Correction of incorrect grammatical sentences which include understanding of rules governing “subject verb agreement”, punctuation, class and usage of the words.
  • Filling of blanks in sentences with appropriate words which include an in-depth knowledge of the rules involved in “parts of speech”, “parallelism”, “modifiers” etc.

READING COMPREHENSION

Reading comprehension is nothing but the ability to read and understand a text and comprehend its meaning constructively for regular interpretation. For this, the aspirant must accurately process the meaning of words and sentences, grasp the essence of the content and extrapolate his analysis onto answering the questions that follow therefrom.

Basic skills required for efficient reading and comprehension include:

  • The ability to understand the meaning of words.
  • The ability to understand the meaning of a word in the relevant context.
  • The ability to follow the coherence and organization of the ideas in the passage and to identify antecedents and references in it.
  • Ability to draw inferences from a passage and with respect to its contents.
  • Ability to identify the essence of pivotal idea of the passage.
  • Ability to determine the author’s purpose, intent, point of view, etc. and to draw inferences about the author.
  • The ability to answer the questions by applying inferences drawn from the passage.

In the questions based on reading comprehension, candidates will be tested on their ability to understand the passage and its central theme, meanings of words used therein and draw logical inferences.

VOCABULARY

Vocabulary in general is a sum or stock of words employed in a language by a group, individual, in daily communication, field of work or in a field of knowledge. Vocabulary may refer to the collection of words known by an individual or by a large group of people but in practical terms, it is primarily associated with the number of words that a person knows. Thus, one either has a large or a small vocabulary.

Law entrance exams do check the vocabulary of the aspirants where in they need to know the correct spelling, various different contextual meanings of a particular word, their synonyms, antonyms, homonyms etc. In order to cultivate such a latent ability which comes in handy in pertinent situations, one shall try and read extensively. The aspirants must make it point to read the morning newspaper in good detail everyday, especially the editorial content.

How to score well in English

Here are a few tips to keep in mind, both during preparation and while taking the exam, for scoring well in the English section.

For Grammar
  • Clear your basics: It is advisable to start from the very start and brushing up all the basic concepts and rules of the English grammar one has been taught or learned since the school times.
  • Take special care to internalise and memorise the complex and tricky technical concepts one topic after the other.
  • Practice the corrections, fill in the blanks etc. thoroughly related to each topic.
  • Don’t always rely blindly on the intuition or the gut feeling while answering the questions related to grammar.
  • One can use various apps available for the smartphones to revise and practice the rules conveniently.
For Reading Comprehension
  • The aspirant should regularly read the newspaper, books, articles, journals, etc. to enrich his vocabulary and language skills.
  • They should make it a point to keep abreast with current issues in the society which will expose them to more phenomena and occurrence coupled with particular and corresponding nomenclature.
  • Along with maintaining a reading habit, the candidate should keep up with his reading speed so as to be able to tackle this section within a limited frame of time in the examination..
  • The candidate make it a point to underline/highlight the important details in the passage and make a mental note of them accordingly so as to conserve time by avoiding to flip pages back and forth to scout the details while answering questions.
  • One of the best techniques to approach a reading comprehension exercise is to have a bird’s eye view over the questions at the end before beginning to read the passage so that the brain is tenuously inclined to locate the relevant details as asked in the questions.
  • It is also advised that while starting out with one’s preparation in reading comprehension, one must begin with smaller passages and then delve into larger and more complex passages in due course of time.
  • The aspirant should incorporate passages of wide variety and diversity during preparation so as to be adept in tackling with wide-ranging issues with regard to interpretation.
  • A regular practice and revision in grammar is vital to strengthen the candidate’s acumen in this field.
For Vocabulary
  • The candidates must make it a point to clarify the meanings of words and phrases they come across in everyday life at the earliest opportunity they find to do so.
  • One must also make a conscious effort to learn new words and their meanings.
  • As is often repeated, reading the daily newspapers everyday, with a special focus on the editorial content goes a long way to inculcate better knowledge of words and vocabulary in the candidate over time.
  • In case one finds it difficult to retain the words and phrases they have learnt over a period of time, they must maintain a list of those words with their meanings for easy reference and revision.
  • The aspirant should revise the list of words and phrases he learnt regularly.
  • Along with the words and phrases, the aspirant should also learn the synonym, antonym, homonyms, etc. of the words
  • One should also make it a point to read extensively so as to understand the usage of words in different contexts.
  • One can also employ the ‘root method’ to increase their vocabulary. The root method essentially involves learning the meanings of words that have emerged from the same word or ‘root’. Eg. the word action comes from the Latin root ‘actio’ and the Greek root ‘actus’ which means ‘to do’. Thus by contextualizing the meaning it also becomes easy to remember the meaning of the word.

Excelling in the English section doesn’t require one to be a literary genius. However, it does require diligent effort and smart study. One mustn’t have any reservations regarding their ability to score well in this section simply because they didn’t have an English-medium education or because they feel they aren’t adequately versed in the language. Employing the right strategies and keeping in touch with the reading materials regularly, one can obtain fulfilling results without a shadow of doubt.

Table 1 – CLAT – English Section – Categories and Weightage

Sections Topics 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Spellings 10 5 5 5
Synonyms 3 4 5 5 5
Vocabulary Antonyms 3 5 5
Idioms and Phrases 6 3
One Word Substitution 5 3
Total marks 14 10 9 14 15 15
Comprehension 14 10 10 10 10 10
Test of usage 6 10 10 11 10 10
Errors 3 5
Ordering of sentences 3
Grammar Preposition 10 4 3
Pronouns 2
Articles 2 5 5
Total marks 12 20 21 16 15 15
Total marks 40 40 40 40 40 40

Table 2 – AILET – English Section – Categories and Weightage

Sections Topics 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Synonyms 2 4 4
Vocabulary Antonyms 4 4
Idioms and Phrases 5 3 3 5 2 2
One Word Substitution 5 4
Figure of speech 6
Total marks 14 10 9 14 15 15
Comprehension 9 6 7 6
Test of usage 16 9 13 10 5 11
Errors 8 4 5
Ordering of sentences 3 5 4 3
Grammar Filling the passage 11 5 9
Total marks 24 27 18 15 18 19
Total marks 35 32 35 31 35 35

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