How to get over the math phobia for CLAT and law entrance exams
- July 28, 2020
- Posted by: Team CP
- Category: clat preparation
A lot of students often complain that they do not feel discomfort with any section of the CLAT paper…except math. The CLAT format recently changed, and it was announced that math would not be a part of the paper; it would be replaced by “data interpretation”. Students rejoiced. And then the CLAT Consortium circulated the now meme-material “bench” model question. Students’ rejoicing suddenly came to a stop. If you are one of those students who face discomfort with math, or are afraid of math, then this piece is for you.
The way to get rid of this fear is not going to be easy, but it sure will be effective. Students are urged to not give up, and to keep trying. These tips will not give immediate result; they require a long-term commitment, and that is why this piece is geared more towards those appearing for CLAT 2021 onwards. Let’s see what all things the students aiming for CLAT and other law entrance exams can do.
- Memorise basic fundas
See, CLAT is not going to ask complicated questions: it is going to ask questions that involve maths that one would have studied till class 8. There are not many major topics to cover, and any reference material that you refer to (this author’s mantra is to minimise the quantity of reference material; so it is advised that you refer to only your coaching’s materials, or to some book that you have been studying) would tell you the topics that CLAT usually covers. Percentages, profit/loss/discount, ratios, distance/time/speed and average etc. cover almost the entirety of the math syllabus.
All these topics have certain kinds of questions that typically appear in CLAT and other law entrance exams. The numbers in those questions keep changing, but the form often remains the same. If one is not instinctively comfortable with math, one can memorise the fundas for each form of question! Of course, that memorisation needs to happen through active recall – a concept that was discussed in this space earlier.
- Memorise basic calculations
Since speed is of the essence in CLAT, and a large part of students’ fear of math comes from their slowness in calculation, there is a need to increase the speed of calculations while solving questions. How to go about it?
Simple answer: memorise basic calculations. What are these basic calculations? Times-tables till at least 20 need to be remembered. Know that 33% means 1/3, 25% means 1/4, 66% means 2/3, 12.5% means 1/8, 150% means 3/2 etc. Know unit-conversions, especially km/hr to m/s (1 m/s is 18/5 km/hr). For memorisation, you need not care about the way in which these were derived (though it’s only good if you do know the derivation), but you do care that you remember it. Again, how does memorisation happen? Active recall.
Active recall would take place only if you practice the above two tips over a large number of questions. With practice, you would see that your speed and accuracy will improve. Spend 30 minutes each day on math with dedication and focus (not idle, aimless practice), and you’ll be golden. Each time you do math, remember your aims: you have to memorise fundas and basic calculations.
- Talk to mentors
If you have mentors teaching you math, keep them in the loop about these steps, and keep asking them about the manner in which you can improve, and other things that you can do. Being math specialists, they may even be able to tell you more tips!
Do not make math a monster under the bed; CLAT is not going to ask you JEE level math. The test will be conceptual and speed-based – can you solve a question in limited time? In other words, can you figure out the funda for a question, and then calculate the solution? If you have followed the tips in this piece, you will be way better equipped to do it.
[The author of the post is a graduate from National Law University, Delhi, and is currently mentoring students here at CLAT Possible. Feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll see how we can help you or your ward in going forward in their pursuit towards law as a career]