Negative Marking – How to Tackle Your Worst Nightmare
- March 30, 2019
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Tips for Law Entrance Exams
With the CLAT Consortium rescheduling the much-awaited CLAT 2019, your preparation for the same has been boosted with a few additional weeks. Despite the want to be done with the tumultuous journey of attempting mocks and being updated with the current affairs, you must admit that this bonus time works greatly in your favor than you would like to admit. It also gives you a rough two months to figure out how to tackle your weaknesses and those of you who had been swamped with board examinations have an extended breather to work on areas that you might have been putting on the back burner.
This brings us to an uncomfortable topic that CLAT aspirants are most likely to avoid but it haunts you like the awkward silence that follows each time a random relative is acquainted with your career choice. Negative Marking is not a mere elephant in the room (pro-tip: an idiom you must know) but could also turn into one’s worst nightmare, if left unfettered. The number of marks you could lose due to this conditional clause is highly damaging and it could cost you that seat at a top NLU that you have been vying for months.
The ridiculous part about the funda behind negative marking is that it makes you lose marks that you have already scored by attempting questions correctly. One wrong answer attempt, either of the reckless kind or based on half-baked knowledge, costs you 0.25. In other words, four wrong answer attempts cost you one mark. This might seem a miniscule loss to you but trust me, when you add up all the wrong attempts in a 200-question paper, it hurts like the first dent to your car.
Negative marking is the Achilles’ heel to your preparation. It is that tragic flaw in the CLAT paper that you try your best to work around but there is no escaping its clutches. Its presence in the examination makes it a force to reckon with and makes the entire experience of appearing for the exam far more competitive.
With its introduction in CLAT 2013, which was my first attempt, I must admit I was rattled. I was already unsure of where my preparation was headed, with all the board examination pressure and the urge to farewell my way through high school. It came as a rude shock and one that I could bring myself to tackle only during the second attempt. In this article, I will let you in on a few strategies that came handy and I hope they work wonders for you as well:
Attempting the General Knowledge section first
A crowd favourite, most CLAT aspirants opt to finish attempting the GK section right at the beginning of the examination. The obvious reason to do so is that you are through 1/4th of the paper within ten to fifteen minutes. But, how does this actually help in tackling negative marking? Glad you asked. Let us admit that unless you’re a GK wiz, there’s a really low chance that you would score anywhere above a 45 in this section. The CLAT Committee is known to set absurd questions in this particular section: in one of the editions of the controversy-ridden examination, aspirants were asked what the P stands for in P. Chidambaram’s name, I’m not even kidding!
By attempting this section, it gives you an idea of how much risk you can endure in the forthcoming sections. For example, if you aced the section because it was based on everything you knew sure shot, you can afford to take risks in questions related to logical reasoning and reading comprehension. I am taking the examples of those sections because it is very likely that you might be conflicted in picking one option out of two answer choices that are screaming out loud at you that they are the right choice! In the event that the GK section is moderately difficult, you would realize that you would have to tread extremely carefully in the other sections as you cannot afford to mess them up, given that you’ve already lost out on gaining here.
And no matter how tempting it might seem, please do not mark an answer in this section unless you’re 80% positive that it is the right answer.
One section in the CLAT that you can be assured of scoring is the mathematics section. However, to ensure this, you would have to be thorough with the basics and even if you’re not the best with numbers, what works in your favor here is that there are four options that follow the question. If you’re able to work out a particular sum and you arrive at an answer, if that answer is correct, it will reflect in the options given in the paper. That is reason enough for you to aim at maximizing your score in this section. I cannot stress enough on the importance of how this section could sky-rocket your final score and you need these marks to catapult your way to the top 100 in the nation.
Comprehension and Reasoning – The Gamble
Coming to those areas where negative marking is most likely to rear its ugly head, it is highly possible that you might come across quite a few questions in the Legal Aptitude, Logical Reasoning and English sections that have two or more answer choices that seem to be correct and unfortunately, you’ve got to make up your mind as you can’t have best of both worlds.
For Legal Reasoning questions, it would be best to go ahead with that answer option that is closest to the principle i.e. within one of the likely options, there is a reference made to a keyword that exists in the principle. In the event that both the options make a reference to the principle, it would be best to leave the question unattempted. For Legal Knowledge, the same modus operandi that applies to the General Knowledge section must be followed – do not attempt unless you’re almost sure.
In Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning, the key to ensuring that you choose the right answer is by limiting your knowledge on the issue given in the question to simply what is before you in the paper. Most RC and Critical Reasoning passages can be handled well if you properly read them and answer according to what is asked of you. For example, in case of a Reading Comprehension passage, you are asked to identify the meaning of a word in the context. Here, it becomes extremely vital for you to limit your answer to what that word means in the context of the passage. Similarly, in Critical Reasoning, if you are asked to choose an argument that weakens the passage, you are to look for an option that counters the passage. A lot of aspirants also mess up the oft-repeated Statement-Assumption and Statement-Conclusion types of questions by following a faulty line of reasoning or inter-changing it. An example of such a mistake would be if you’re asked to arrive at a conclusion from a set of statements but you end up choosing an option that is making assumptions.
The best part about the CLAT examination is that you can always leave a somewhat difficult question and come back later to attempt it. By abandoning it when you’ve got a substantial chunk left to attempt, you are actually saving up a lot of time by refusing to be frustrated by how impossible it might seem to solve. Reviewing also helps you avoid attempting a question in pressure and when you have considerable leftover time, you can peacefully try working it out and arrive at the correct answer. If you’re still unable to make up your mind, at least be rest assured that you did not mark in haste.
It is Okay to Let Go
This part might seem very emo, but it is true. Like how you must get over most things in life that do you no good, this thought should and must apply to a question that won’t do you any good. If it has the possibility of causing you greater harm than doing you good, let it go. Don’t beat yourself up over it and don’t get overwhelmed by it, especially when you’re taking the exam. And PLEASE, do not waste your time over contemplating whether the attempt is worth a shot.
Lady Luck and CLAT
Somehow, CLAT has always been an examination where luck has played a substantial role in the life of plenty of aspirants. There is not much that you can do about the luck factor and you would really have to wish for your stars to be aligned right on the D-Day. But then again, it all boils down to well-prepared you are to encounter any surprises that the actual paper throws at you. I would just stress on the need to be prepared for anything and always expect anything out of the ordinary.
That is all the gyan that I could come up with for tackling negative marking and alleviating the horrors that accompany it. Just don’t take foolhardy risks, even if it might seem tempting. With quick and reasoned thinking, you can easily turn the tables on negative marking and steal the show, by clinching that seat of your dream law school.