Exclusive Interview with Karthik J Lal, CLAT 2021 Topper (AIR 3)

LPT: Congratulations to you for your remarkable feat in CLAT 2021.

Karthik: Thank you so much!

LPT: Have you cracked CLAT along with your 12th boards? What subjects did you have in your 12th? 

Karthik: Yes, I did it along with the boards. I had PCM in high school.

LPT: When did you decide that you want to pursue law as a career option?

Karthik: I decided to pursue law in class 10th. But I started preparing for CLAT in class 11th. 

LPT: Is there anyone in your family from a law background?

Karthik: No, I was intrigued by law and wanted to try this as my career. 

LPT: How did you manage your 12th studies with CLAT preparation?

Karthik: I used to spend 3 hours per day on CLAT preparation. I read the newspapers every day religiously. I also attended the CLAT coaching alongside school classes, but balancing the two wasn’t that tough. And I had a long break after the board exams got canceled, so I had a lot of time to devote to CLAT preparation. 

LPT: What was your weakest section when you started preparing for CLAT, and how did you work on that?

Karthik: One of the weakest sections was GK because it is a vast subject, and nobody can cover it thoroughly. So for that, I read the newspapers regularly, the editorial analysis, and the modules provided to us.

My second-weakest section was Legal. To improve on it, I did a lot of old pattern questions; though it was canceled in the 2021 exam, I focused on old pattern questions to form a base and then moved on to the new pattern questions, which helped me a lot. 

LPT: Did you have an intuition that CLAT is going to focus on old-type questions in CLAT 2021?

Karthik: Old pattern questions are the foundation, so I focused on building my legal concepts first and then moving on to the new pattern questions. Then I started taking mock tests, which balanced my preparation. 

LPT: What are the sources that you referred to for your GK section?

Karthik: The primary source was the Hindu, but the important issues happening worldwide can be searched on different platforms to have detailed information and a better idea on the topic. 

Be curious, as then you’ll want to read more, and if you read more, you’ll gain more knowledge. 

LPT: Were you surprised to see the CLAT paper this time?

Karthik: Yes, definitely. But CLAT is an aptitude test, so one must be ready for the surprises. Be prepared for all eventualities that may arise. 

Reading newspapers will definitely help you. And if a question is tricky for you, it will probably be difficult for other students too, so you don’t have to worry or panic while writing the exam.

LPT: With AIR 3, what was your total score in CLAT? In which section you scored the highest?

Karthik: My total score was 117. I scored highest in logical reasoning, which was around 28.75.

LPT: How important are mock tests in your preparation?

Karthik: I think it’s extremely important because you can know in which sections you are doing well and which section requires more practice. It will also help you build the skill of time management, so you should practice as many mock tests as possible and review them afterward.

LPT: Did you find CLAT 2021 lengthy?

Karthik: It was actually shorter than the CLAT 2020, but many students might find it lengthy. So the only way to improve is to read more books, practice a lot of questions and attempt mocks. You can also improve your reading speed in the 11th standard while you’re studying. 

LPT: How many questions did you attempt in CLAT 2021?

Karthik: I attempted 148 questions. 

LPT: What are your future plans since now you’re going to one of the top law schools in India?

Karthik: I really want to explore the opportunities that will be presented to me. This is a great privilege to be a part of NLS Bangalore, and I would like to utilize the privilege to fulfill my dreams and the public goal of NLS. 

LPT: How long did you prepare for CLAT?

Karthik: I prepared for two years. But in class 11th, I spend most of my time building my skills by reading newspapers and books. I prepared seriously from the 12th and started taking mocks from the last few months of the exam. 

LPT: How much did you score in 12th boards?

Karthik: I scored 99.86 in my 12th boards. 

LPT: Any quick tips you want to give to the students who are preparing for CLAT 2022?


  • One would be to read the newspapers regularly.
  • Read non-fiction books during the preparation. 
  • Read the questions before reading the passage. 
  • Do not stress while writing the exam. 
  • Be curious about the things happening around you. 

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