CLAT (Common Law Admission Test)

Background of the CLAT

The Common Law Admission Test acronymed CLAT is the gateway exam to 14 premier law universities, in the country popularly known as National Law Schools or National Law Universities. CLAT is for law what the CAT exam is for management and the JEE is for engineering. It serves as the litmus test to test whether or not you have it in you to become a lawyer, and to that end qualify for and educate yourselves at world class Universities.

National Law Schools began with the premier institution being setup in the late 1980s with the mandate of carrying out bold experiments in legal education. The institution, National Law University of India (NLSIU), Bangalore, grew both in substance and reputation to promote and cater to some of the sub-continent�s best talent in law. The success prompted the concept to grow and other institutions joined the fray most notably Hyderabad, Bhopal and Kolkatta.

Each of these institutions originally had a separate entrance exam much to the annoyance of the aspirant (and to expense of the parent). When the grumbling became an argument, one such aspirant filed a petition at the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court of India mandated a common entrance exam for the then existent National Law Schools, and this judgement found animation in the form of the Common Law Entrance Exam or CLAT. Since then almost all National Law Schools, the notable exception being National Law University Delhi, admit students on their CLAT scores.

The Organizing Committee

The CLAT Committee consists of the Vice Chancellors, Registrars and senior persons from all the law schools covered by CLAT. The inaugural CLAT committee decided that the CLAT would be organized by rotation by the Universities in order of seniority by date of establishment. Accordingly, the Vice Chancellor of the conducting University, organizes the Thus NLSIU being the oldest of the National Law Schools conducted the first exam in 2008; 2009, 2010 and 2011 were organized by NALSAR,NLIU and NUJS respectively. The 2012 CLAT exam was conducted under the auspices of NLU, Jodhpur.


The Common Law Admission Test (the “CLAT”) is the annual slugfest between the top aspirants for the elite National Law Universities (the “NLUs”). Currently, the examination is conducted for direct admissions to 17 NLUs, with only National Law University, Delhi conducting a separate examination of its own i.e. the AILET. For the highly sought after under graduate programs like the BALLB at the NLUs the CLAT scores are directly considered by the following NLUs

Sl. No. NLU Popular Name


(1) National Law School of India University, Bangalore NLSIU


(2) National Academy of Legal Studies and Research, Hyderabad NALSAR


(3) West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata NUJS


(4) National Law University, Jodhpur NLU-J


(5) National Law Institute University, Bhopal NLIU


(6) Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar GNLU


(7) Hidayatullah National Law University HNLU


(8) Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow RMLNLU


(9) Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala RGNUL


(10) Chanakya National Law University, Patna CNLU


(11) National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi NUALS


(12)  National Law University Odisha, Cuttack NLUO


(13) National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi NUSRL


(14) National Law University and Judicial Academy Assam, Guwahati NLUJAA


(15) Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Vishakapatnam DSNLU


(16) Tamil Nadu National Law School, Tiruchirapalli TNNLS


(17) Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai MNLU



  • Candidates should have passed Higher Secondary School/Intermediate Examination (10+2) or its equivalent examination with not less than 45% marks in aggregate (40% in case of SC/ST and persons with Disability). Candidates appearing for the exam are also eligible although candidates with compartment/ supplementary in any subject are not eligible.
  • There has been a lot of controversy around the age limit. However, after multiple rounds of litigation and the Bar Council of India notification, there is currently no age limit for the CLAT examination.

Pattern of the Exam

There are 5 major areas in the examination which comprises 200 objective questions in a sprint marathon lasting 120 minutes! Currently, there is a negative marking on 0.25 for every wrong answer and 1 mark for every correct answer marked. The paper is completely online now.

Sl. No. Subject  



Indicative Inclusions
(1) English 40


·         Reading Comprehensions

·         Grammar

·         Synonyms/ Antonyms

·         Word Meanings


(2) Mathematics 20 ·         Basic 10th standard elementary maths like Profit & Loss, CI & SI, speed-distance-time etc.


(3) Logical Reasoning 40 ·         Deductive Logic

·         Inductive Logic

·         Analytical Reasoning

·         Critical Reasoning


(4) GK 50 ·         Current affairs

·         Static – History, Geography, Polity etc.


(5) Legal Aptitude 50 ·         Constitution

·         Tort

·         Criminal Law

·         Contracts

·         Miscellaneous – IPR, Intl Law, Family Law etc



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