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Why should you celebrate a Critical Reasoning Monday? A method to focus and get great results

Focusing is a very important aspect of doing something well. All major time management gurus and hackers in the world who have excelled in many fields themselves, like Tim Feriss, Ramit Sethi or Stever Robbins - vouch for the need of focusing on one activity at one time. Multitending is possible - multitasking is not.

When you are multitasking, you are essentially doing many things is quick successions, one after another. This is not the way to achieve the best results. It is advised that you completely focus on the work at hand, and account for the time that one needs to transition from one kind of task to another.

So have you ever tried this - reading Legal Reasoning for an hour, then moving to English grammar for another hour and then rounding up with some GK - or some similar schedule like this? Did it work? Leave your comment below if it did, but personally, I can tell you that it never worked for me when I tried. It would be so nice if it did, I would feel so good that I covered so many things in one day, but it always slowed me down and I could not learn as much as I would plan.

So I did something else, and I do that till date as far as studying is concerned. I am learning to do it for other tasks also. I focus on one kind of task at one time, and try to achieve a big result with that one task rather than achieving several small bits with several things. It works way better for me. Lets look at my typical study session at the time I was preparing:

Type 1: I will sit down with a book - like pearson/universals/LST modules - and try to finish as much of the book as possible in one seating. I would practice the exercise questions like I am taking an exam - as if someone will snatch away my book if I do not do it really fast.

I never bothered about mugging the information up - just made sure i read everything and understood everything - then moved on. A lot of people tell me “Sir, I am not being able to remember anything!” My first bit of advise to them is stop trying to remember information. Read it, connect it with something you already know, understand the meaning and context, and then stop thinking about it. Focus on the next thing. You will remember it when you see it again. Your brain has immense capacity to remember - don’t stupify it by trying for hours to mug up a few things. That is not the normal function of the brain.

Just try what I am suggesting for a week, and you shall see the difference. I did finish Universal in less than 4 days. The fat GK book of pearson was covered in 7 days. I did only that - and some prep for boards during that period. Complete focus allowed me to do my best. I went through things really quickly - reading and understanding everything. Later I revised.

When I had done this, it worked. But that is not the reason I am asking you to try it. In my law school days, I researched on things like productivity, time management and accelerated learning - because I want to learn a lot, do a lot, I am not easily satisfied. So I had to find out what the best of the best in the world do. I researched, I read, I experimented. And I saw that what I had done intuitively is something experts recommend all the time. They recommend it because it works.

Type 2: Newspapers/magazines: I will read the articles that had some international or national significance - and seemed to be relevant and important to the world. Not things like who is the new IG in Karnataka and who is the military general of France sort of articles. You need to understand the significance of something you are reading - is this going to affect the well being of a lot of people? Is this going to go down into history books? Then it is super-important. Are all the magazines talkign about it? Are their several articles, replies, counter-replies ona matter? Then you need to understand the issues involved in and out. This judgment with respect to information is very important to develop. It also comes from studying the past years papers.

So I shall identify the useful articles, read them and identify the terms, incidents, people i do not know about. Then I will write these down on a register - and look them up later on the internet - trying to understand the context and importance of those people, events or terminology.

Type 3: Practicing test taking. This is really crucial thing. Take pratiyogita kiran/darpan. Pick up a relevant test - and do that portion in a time bound manner, as if you are taking a real test.

Feel the pressure - decide a target (or imaginary cut off) after judging the difficulty level. Then solve it like your life depends on doing it right. Another day, take a past year’s paper of NALSAR or NLUJ and do the same.

A method that can work - Celebrate every day of the week with CLAT: These is an adopted version of a method taught by a productivity guru Stever Robbins in his latest book. Mark each day of a week as a special day. For example, Monday can be Critical Reasoning Day - you will do only critical reasoning that day for all the time that you have on Monday for CLAT prep. However, as you are spending all the time on Critical Reasoning, there would better be some serious progress. Maybe you can do several chapters, practice at least a hundred questions, brush up on basics by referring to module. Then Tuesday can be GK day. All day you can go about finding what all important current affairs you have missed in the last month. Search online news portals, old issues of magazines, read, make a list of topics, then look up things on the internet to understand their context and significance. Wednesday can be Legal Reasoning Day - you can read an entire module that day, if you have not already read it. Maybe you can practice 200 legal reasoning questions from past years papers.

Set these targets, and work hard to fulfill the target. And so on for the rest of the days in the week.

So mark your calender now - what days do you need? For the next one week, identify English Comprehension Days, Vocabulary Days, Magazine Reading Days, Analytical Reasoning Days. You can have even chapter specific days if one chapter bothers you too much - like the “Time and Distance Maths Problem Days”. Let me know if you try it and it works by making comments below. I will be looking forward to the success of the “CLAThackers” :)

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Comment by Manish parmar on January 4, 2011 at 9:52am
Sir,can u send me the link for CLAT 2008 nd 2010 ques paper on CLATHACKER..I cant find it..m waiting
Comment by Aastha Bhansali on December 19, 2010 at 1:24pm

sir, I'll try this... but I'm still worried about gk... and wouldn't studying just one subject the whole day make it monotonous?

Comment by Apurva Shukla on December 17, 2010 at 10:19pm

Stever Robbins is an inspiration. I love his podcasts on itunes... Very insightful

Comment by Ramanuj Mukherjee on December 13, 2010 at 10:48pm

I think spending just one month is way too risky. You can afford to do it only if your logical reasoning is already good, english is up to the mark and doesnt need prep, and math has a good standard too. Then you stand a chance of being able to finish legal reasoning and cover current GK in one month. Otherwise i would suggest you spend at least 2 hours a day on clat. minimum. find at least 4 hours on weekends. learn speed reading, that can help.

Comment by biswabara dash on December 13, 2010 at 10:15pm

thnx a ton sir, for sharing such gr8 ideas...i hope i will apply those..though i am still juggling between my boards and clat..its a bit difficult.... i want to ask one thing...can i prepare during the month of april..just one month? is it enough?

Comment by abhay singh rathore on December 13, 2010 at 9:20pm
sir trying to do the same thing :P

but just for maths... (Saturday)

and the rest subjects are interchanging...

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If you have doubts on logical reasoning or critical reasoning, ask here.

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