A better common law admission test (CLAT), still to evolve



Over its 14-year history, the Common Law Entrance Test (CLAT) has gone awry on several levels. This is an attempt to give suggestions on some corrective measures that could be taken.


The examination mode in a competition is very relevant, in the case of CLAT it is a roller coaster ride. The CLAT took place in offline mode from 2008 to 2014 (7 years), then in online mode from 2015 to 2018 (4 years) then again in offline mode in 2019 (1 year) then returned to the online mode in 2020 (1 year). Now, the CLAT mode is switched offline again from 2021. Thus the examination mode has been changed 4 times in 14 years.

The examination mode was changed in 2015 after CLAT 2014 for the first time when the authorities who conducted CLAT 2014 introduced the concept of “barcode” in the OMR sheet, which should be mapped to one that is worn by the overseer. The whole concept backfired and a lot of student results were botched. The result was removed after a few days, the issue was resolved after further investigation, and a new result was released a week after the previous result.

The review mode was changed again in 2019 after CLAT 2018, in that year the review was conducted in one of the most disorganized ways, so much so that even the Supreme Court of India l ‘acknowledged in his post-CLAT 2018 judgment. Due to the software glitch that year, thousands of students had more time than the 120 minutes allotted to take the exam and another group of students had less of time. This caused a lot of disparity in the results of the review, forcing the Supreme Court to declare that there was no fairness in the review. This forced the CLAT authorities to change the examination mode for CLAT 2019, which led to the formation of a “consortium” to better conduct CLAT.

Again in 2020 the exam mode changed from offline to online and this time it was done, just two months before the actual exam. The reason given by the authorities was the pandemic. Interestingly, in the same year NEET (which had 15 lakh aspirants versus 60,000 aspirants for CLAT) was conducted offline). The CLAT 2020, which was conducted online, also had problems. The exam instructions were changed at the last minute and many students were unable to follow them. They were allowed to enter the exam room late due to social distancing. The “calculator” option was withdrawn from students at the last moment, just a few days before the exam date. And finally, thousands of students claimed that there was a difference between the answers that were actually marked in the answer key and those that were actually marked by them. The authorities used a defense by taking advantage of the language used in the instructions for the exam, the midshipmen claimed otherwise.

With regard to the “home examination,” the sanctity of the exam is completely compromised. It is extremely easy to cheat on a proctored home exam, even if it is monitored by the AI. Using HDMI cable or VGA cable, one can easily allow to project computer screen to TV, projector, LED screen or any monitor, can cheat. A third party (other than the aspirant) can pose as the student himself or herself sitting right in front of the screen, pretending to take the exam.

Keeping all of the above factors in mind, the safest is the OFFLINE fashion. It ran into issues once in 2014, which were fully resolved by authorities within a week, unlike the issues experienced by the online mode in 2018 and alleged irregularities in 2020, which have not been corrected to date.


On numerous occasions, false corrections have been given, on certain occasions, the CLAT authorities have taken the initiative to correct their errors but this process has only started since the 2014 CLAT, six years after the establishment. of the examination system. The wrong answers before that had gone unnoticed. Many of these wrong answers are not corrected even today. Imagine a 150-point test taken by 60,000 students, one wrong answer can change the fortunes of hundreds of students. It has never been given too much importance. Another problem is wrong questions, which has been part of CLAT admittedly four times in CLAT 2015, CLAT 2017, CLAT 2019 and CLAT 2020. The biggest problem with wrong questions is that in canceling the question, you could cancel the marks obtained by some students, but you can never make up for the time wasted by the student trying this erroneous question.


a) Age factor and number of attempts: There is no age limit or limit on the number of attempts at the CLAT exam, which helps so-called experienced students to take the exam and take the medicore exam. If we put a bar on the number of attempts, a major problem could be solved. Introducing a bar on the age limit is slightly difficult as it was done in accordance with an order of the Allahabad High Court in 2014, which perhaps makes CLAT the only national exam in the country without age bar nor bar on the number of attempts.

b) No set (or namesake) as well as social distancing: The second problem, which aspirants faced recently in CLAT 2019, there were four rounds of quizzes, but there was hardly any difference in the rounds (the difference being in the order of the sections – if Set-A has English as its first section, then Set-B had English as its second section, but unfortunately the order of questions and options was exactly the same). This creates a bigger problem of mass cheating on the exam, as there is virtually no social distancing on the exam. With the only difference in the order of the sections and not in the order of the questions or options, cheating becomes very easy. NEET’s paper has up to 26 sets, while CLAT has only 4, which also have the same name. An ideal exam (like NEET and JEE) has SETs where, the difference is reflected in the order of the sections and also in the order of the questions in each section as well as in the order of the options in each question. In addition, in CLAT 2020 there was only the SET, which was given to each student taking the exam. This has created a huge problem as the chances of mass cheating can be immense.

The attempt of this article is not to create negativity or to make allegations against the Consortium, it is just an attempt to have a fair CLAT.

Opinions are personal. The author can be reached at [email protected]


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