The legal education landscape in India is highly competitive and diverse, with several entrance examinations determining admission to prestigious law universities.
There are 26 National Law Universities in India, with a little over 3000 seats for all. Every year, close to 80,000 applicants, sit for the same law entrances, pointing to the super competitive nature of CLAT. AILET is the entrance exam only for the National Law University, Delhi.
On the other hand, LSAT-India scores are accepted by some 78 colleges in India, alongside CLAT, AILET, and college-specific exams. All three examinations are significantly different in their patterns, time duration, preparation strategies, and timelines.
Until 2019, CLAT and AILET followed a similar pattern. However, in 2020, the CLAT Consortium implemented major changes in its pattern, reducing the number of questions and making the exam very reading-intensive. Another change this year has only made it clear that such changes are typical of exams like CLAT, and the patterns of all these exams are ever-evolving.
Prior to the exams, it is very important to ascertain which specific entrance examinations are recognized and accepted by the universities you are applying to. Consequently, one should tailor their preparation strategies and efforts to align with the specific entrance exams required for the universities of their choice.
Balancing the preparation for all three tests can be challenging, but it is by no means insurmountable. With the right guidance and CLAT Exam mentorship during the preparation phase, law aspirants can make well-informed decisions regarding which tests to take and effectively prepare for all three examinations.
To enhance the chances of gaining admission to a prestigious law school, law aspirants may consider taking all three entrance exams. However, it is crucial to emphasize the prioritization of CLAT, as its scores are a prerequisite for admission to 25 out of the 26 National Law Universities (NLUs).
AILET is also a highly competitive exam, particularly for those aspiring to secure a spot at NLU Delhi, making it a crucial test to attempt. LSAT India, on the other hand, boasts a respectable success rate and offers admission to multiple law schools.
Law Entrance Exams and Pattern
CLAT (Common Law Admission Test)
CLAT follows a reading-intensive pattern with 120 MCQs (in 2023) to be attempted in 120 minutes. The 2024 exam will have five sections- English Language, Current Affairs and GK, Legal Reasoning, Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Techniques. The weightage of these sections in percent would be 20%, 25%, 25%, 20%, and 10%, respectively. Students should allocate their time to each section accordingly.
Each section would comprise passages in the English language ranging anywhere from 300-500 words. Students must carefully read each passage to effectively attempt the questions that follow in relation to the content of the passage. For General Knowledge and Current Affairs specifically, in-depth awareness is needed of both dynamic and static GK, such as current affairs, newspaper op-ed pieces, legal history, political science, geography, economics, etc. 0.25 marks would be deducted for each incorrect answer.
Thus, attempts should be made mindfully. Proficiency in the English language and a strong reading speed are fundamental skills required for effectively tackling questions in the CLAT exam. CLAT will happen on December 3, 2023.
AILET (All India Law Entrance Test)
AILET 2024 is going to follow a new pattern now. It has reduced the number of sections from 5 to 3, where the legal reasoning section would now be a part of the Logical Reasoning section.
It will contain 150 MCQs in total. The time duration has also increased from 90 to 120 minutes. One mark will be allotted for each correct answer, and 0.25 will be deducted for each incorrect answer.
In the past, AILET was known to be more challenging than CLAT; however, the difficulty levels of both tests keep fluctuating each year, and anyone who is aiming for the top National Law Schools of the country should sit for both tests. AILET will happen on December 10, 2023.
LSAT-India (Law School Admission Test)
LSAT India is a standardized multiple-choice test that assesses critical thinking, logical reasoning, and reading comprehension skills. It is administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) in collaboration with Pearson VUE.
The test typically consists of multiple sections, including Analytical Reasoning, Logical Reasoning (divided into two sections), and Reading Comprehension. LSAT India is a skills-based test, and the scores are scaled to a range of 420 to 480, with a percentile rank provided. Unlike some other standardized tests, there is no pass or fail score.
LSAT India has come to be widely accepted by many private Indian Law Schools, and a lot of them consider LSAT India scores alongside other factors like academic records, letters of recommendation, and personal statements.
LSAT India will be offered twice in 2024 for admissions in the academic year 2024-25. The test will be conducted between 20th-21st January 2024 and again between 16th-19th May 2024.
The table below will help you gain insights into the characteristics of these exams, aiding you in making a thoroughly informed choice about which test to opt for, the reasons behind your choice, and how to best prepare for it:
|Basis for Comparison||CLAT||AILET||LSAT|
|Number of Law Schools||25 NLUs (Direct) and 60+ Private Law Schools||National Law University Delhi||Over 30 Private Law Schools including JGLS, UPES, NMIMS|
|Organising Committee||Consortium of NLUs||NLU Delhi||LSAC Global|
|Number of Sections||5
English Language (22-26 questions);
Current Affairs Including General Knowledge (28-32 questions);
Legal Reasoning (28-32 questions);
Logical Reasoning (22-26 questions);
Quantitative Techniques (10-14 questions)
English Language (50 questions; 50 marks);
Current Affairs & General Knowledge (30 questions; 30 marks);
Logical Reasoning (70 questions; 70 marks).
(23 Qs, 35 minutes);
Logical Reasoning-I (22 Qs, 35 minutes);
(23 Qs, 35 minutes);
(23 Qs, 35 minutes)
|Language (in which test would be conducted)||English||English||English|
|Number of Questions||120 MCQs||150 MCQs||92 MCQs|
|Time Duration||120 Minutes||120 Minutes||140 Minutes|
|Negative Marking||Yes, -0.25 for each incorrect answer||Yes, -0.25 for each incorrect answer||No|
|Dates of the Exam||December 3, 2023||December 10, 2023||January 20-21, 2024; May 16-19, 2024|
|Number of Seats Offered||3361||123||–|
|Number of Applicants (Rough Estimate)*||60,000-80,000||20,000-25,000||5,000-6,000|
|Registration Fee||Rs. 4000 (UR),
Rs. 3500 (SC/ST/BPL)
|Rs. 3500 (UR),
Rs. 1500 (SC/ST/PwD)
|Recommended Timeline for Preparation**||Anywhere from 2 to 24 months||Anywhere from 2 to 24 months||2-6 months|
*: This figure is merely an approximate estimation. Annually, the quantity of students participating in the examination exhibits variability. This estimation derives from data obtained from educational sources that have documented the count of applicants for these examinations; nevertheless, it is imperative to exercise caution in accepting it at face value.
**: The timeline for preparation differs among individual students, and it is by no means a universally applicable approach. Consistency and accuracy in attempting the paper, serve as more reliable indicators of effective preparation, as opposed to the duration of months dedicated to studying for these examinations.
Whether or not you need coaching for these exams?
Ans. Determining the necessity of coaching or mentorship in CLAT preparation, AILET, and others is a matter that varies considerably from individual to individual. Given the evolving nature of these exams and the desire for improved success rates, personalized mentorship emerges as the most efficacious approach. This is attributed to the fact that each person possesses a distinct examination methodology, and tailored guidance facilitates the attainment of goals in a shorter timeframe, resulting in desired outcomes.
While self-study remains an essential component of the preparation process, the inclusion of external support can prove advantageous for tailored study materials, guidance, time management insights, stress management techniques, and customized study strategies.
Nevertheless, it is worth noting that not all coaching programs dedicate equal attention and effort to every student, potentially leading to suboptimal results. Therefore, the choice to opt for mentorship programs instead of coaching classes becomes a viable alternative. In this context, the duration of the preparation can be adjusted to accommodate the student’s inherent abilities, personal and professional commitments, and unique learning approaches.
Should you take a drop?
Ans. Deciding whether to take a gap year is a highly individualized choice. Exams like CLAT and AILET evaluate not just your knowledge but also your test-taking mindset and, to some extent, your luck on that particular day. If your aim is to secure a spot in one of the top 5 law schools and you don’t succeed in your first attempt, taking a gap year to prepare again is an option worth considering.
However, it’s important to note that with the right strategy and personalized mentorship, you can improve your chances of getting into your desired law school without taking a gap year. Success on the test day can be unpredictable, and even mock scores may not accurately reflect your true performance. Furthermore, there are alternative pathways to enter respectable law schools, such as LSAT-India, which provides access to a variety of institutions beyond the National Law Universities (NLUs). Ultimately, the decision should be based on your individual circumstances and goals.