Working on Reading Speed for CLAT 2021 Onwards – Need and Methods
- September 7, 2020
- Posted by: Team CP
- Category: clat preparation
The pattern for CLAT has changed recently. This has put a spanner in the works for many CLAT 2020 aspirants. This piece, however, is for people who are aspiring for CLAT 2021 and onwards. Why? Because the suggestions made in this piece about improving reading speed require long-term strategic preparation that would not yield immediate fruit; the benefits of these suggestions would accrue over time, and improve performance in the long-term. Not only that, these suggestions would make a student’s life in a law school much easier.
Why work on reading speed?
While the number of questions in CLAT has reduced without any change in the duration of the exam, the questions have become lengthier by a large margin. All sections of the exam now carry comprehension-based questions i.e. a lengthy passage followed by a set of 3-6 questions, each. A lot of these questions are also rather long – sometimes spanning 6-8 lines. Even some of the options for each question are rather long – sometimes spanning 2-3 lines.
At the end of day, CLAT is a competitive exam, and all competitive exams are essentially races. Whoever gets the most marks gets a college of her/ his preference. Marks depend on successful attempts. And, obviously, it is important to be able to read through (and understand) all questions and options in order to attempt, let alone do it successfully, a question. Thus, reading speed is now more essential than ever in successfully cracking CLAT.
Methods to increase reading speed
- Building Vocabulary
Countless studies have shown that the most efficient way to increase reading speed is to improve vocabulary. The logic for that is simple: a reader will read slow if s/he does not know the words that are written in front of her/him. However, if a reader is able to understand every word s/he is reading, there will be no stoppages to understand the meaning of some word through context.
Now, a lot of CLAT aspirants who come from certain backgrounds already have a head-start in this regard because of their upbringing and/or their childhood habits. Is it even possible for an ordinary student to catch up with such aspirants? The answer is an emphatic yes.
The method to improve vocabulary, however, is not to pick up a dictionary and start memorizing words. Not only would such memorization be useless (trying to remember unsystematic things in a bunch is not good for memory retention), it would also be too monumental a task to achieve!
There a fantastic book called “Word Power Made Easy” by Norman Lewis. It is divided into lessons which club words etymologically – thereby making it easier for a person to systematically understand roots of English words and remember them. This book can be completed in a month by giving 2-4 hours each day.
Usually, this author is not in favour of using reference books, but this is the one book for which he makes an exception: this is the first step that every serious CLAT aspirant should take. During the course of preparation, a student should periodically keep going back to this book to refresh memory and to ensure that the built vocabulary is not lost.
- Practice makes perfect
While remembering words and their meanings is the first step in increasing reading speed, it, like any other skill, can rust. Thus, it needs constant practice. The ideal place to practice this is by reading editorials of good newspapers – not only would that amount to practice for vocabulary testing, it would also keep a student abreast of current affairs (which are also the focus of CLAT in both GK and Legal Reasoning sections now). That would mean hitting two birds with one stone.
While taking breaks, a student could watch English movies or TV shows (make sure that you are using breaks between study sessions to watch these, not using breaks between watching sessions to study). One could also watch good English news, but that may defeat the purpose of a break. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
[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]