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User-unfriendly CLAT 2018 exam interface lands shortly before this weekend’s exam, candidates baffled

Leave CLAT fate to god’s own country
Leave CLAT fate to god’s own country

The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2018 is off to a rocky start after candidates have complained that the new online test interface for the exam is not user friendly (see screenshots below), and is an unfair burden on them since it was announced less than one month before the 13 May exam.

CLAT 2018 convenor Nuals Kochi released the demo test for CLAT 2018 on 26 April. The demo test was modified from the format of CLAT’s earlier editions in the following ways, according to CLAT coach Career Launcher:

The only certain thing about CLAT has been its uncertainty. True to the saying, CLAT 2018 has thrown another surprise to the candidates writing the exam on 13th May. CLAT has introduced a new interface for the students, which surely is going to make things complicated for them. The candidates were used to the earlier format which was as per TCS platform. [...]

The new interface and challenges thereon

The new interface as shown in the CLAT Admit Card login page, while attempting the demo test, shows the following important changes, which will be introduced this year:

1. New buttons replace old tabs to move from one question to another.

2. “Marked for Review” button gets replaced by “Tag” and “De-tag”.

3. There are no sectional tabs, which mean there would be no easy navigation among the sections. Students would be required to remember the question number to figure out the start and end of each section.

4. One of the instructions discourages the candidates to use “Next Question” tab multiple times as the same will lead to page freezing and restart of the test.

5. Text size can be increased or decreased with the “Text Size” tab given on the left hand corner.

6. The instructions given by CLAT mention: “The candidate has the option to choose the sections from which the candidate wishes to answer the questions”, but no section tab was given in the demo test.

According to the coaching service, not only did the demo test spring an unexpected surprise on students preparing for the CLAT 2018 but the convenor this time also released the admit card six days after the due date of 26 April. There was no notice from the convenor about these developments.

The CLAT is an expensive competitive exam, with negative marking and a track record of question paper lapses and answer key errors every successive year, which is why such potential last minute changes to its answering format have left candidates baffled.

The problem, in part as pointed out in a writ petition filed by academic Shamnad Basheer and others, is that every year another NLU has to practically reinvent the CLAT wheel in coming up with question papers and in appointing new technology companies to recreate the CLAT portal. Mistakes happen often.

Nuals has awarded the tender to conduct the CLAT 2018 to Sify Technologies, according to sources. Sify has been previously known to conduct exams for the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), according to its website.

Nuals vice chancellor Prof Rose Varghese and registrar Mahadev MG were not reachable for comment since yesterday.

CLAT 2017 was challenged in the Patna high court for allegedly awarding the tender for the conduct of the exam, in a dubious manner to an under-qualified awardee Lore India Foundation.

CLAT online test reinvented
CLAT online test reinvented

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