The oldest B-School of the country, XLRI has been ranked as one of the best B-Schools of India and ranked first among private B-schools. Renowned for offering an education that encompasses business studies along with a holistic development of students through its vibrant committee culture, social initiatives and projects, it is not for no reason that corporate organizations make a beeline for hiring from XLRI.
In the run-up to XAT 2019, current students of XLRI share with you the things that worked for them during their preparation and the tips and tricks that helped them fulfil their dream of studying at this prestigious institute.
As a part of the ongoing series, Yash Beohar (HRM 2018-20) shares his preparation strategy for the exam:
What was your XAT 2018 overall and sectional percentile? Apart from XAT, which other entrances you appeared for and what were your percentiles?
I secured an overall percentile of 97.228 in XAT 2018, with the QA, Verbal and Logical Ability and DM percentiles being 95.85, 83.13 and 95.70 respectively. The other management entrance examinations that I appeared for were CAT 2017, IIFT 2017 and NMAT 2017. My CAT, IIFT and NMAT were percentiles were 97.81, 96.57 and 99 respectively.
What was your preparation strategy? Please share section-wise strategy in detail.
I believe that concept building is the first step towards clearing any competitive examination. Thus, I worked on all the concepts relating to quantitative aptitude and logical reasoning in the first seven months of my preparation, and always had a novel to read in my free or travel time to ensure that my reading and comprehending skills were always improving. Then, in mid-august or so, when I was thoroughly done with all the concepts and reading material that my institute provided, I started with the mock examinations conducted by various national level institutes such as TIME, IMS etc. They played a very pivotal role in my preparation, and gave me the practice and experience I needed to do well when the real exam came about.
Apart from the above-mentioned preparation strategy, I would also advise the prospective test-takers to analyse the mock examinations that they give in great detail. I for one used to give a 3 hour mock one day and then spent the entirety of the next day analysing the same to get to grips with my various strengths and weaknesses, and identify the areas in which I need to improve.
Analysing would also involve noting down the time taken for each solved question, and then thinking of more efficient (less time-consuming) ways to solve the same.
In terms of the individual sectional preparations, I think practice tests, sectional mocks and various test-series’ are the best way to study VLA and DM sections and thus, improve upon the same. For QA, DI and LR, I would suggest, as mentioned above, clearing all the concepts first and then regularly practicing the same through various mocks and question banks to ensure that the efficiency levels keep improving along with the fact that you do not forget the fundamentals.
How did you prepare – Self-study or Coaching? Please explain which one do you think is better?
I took a coaching at AlchemistIndia, a Delhi-based management examination coaching centre.
Coming to what is better, I think there is no objective answer to this, and varies from individual to individual. I for one preferred self-study, but joined the classes to learn the concepts first hand because I felt I was weak in mathematics. So I learned the concepts in my classes, and then revised them at home and solved modules based on those concepts to ensure whether I have had a grip of it or not. However, let this not be a deterrent for one to refrain from self-study and join coaching classes. I have seen many students crack the management examinations without any mentoring or coaching and thus, it has been done and is very possible. The one thing you need to crack these examinations is your dedication and your hard work. One can join the best institute in this country but if he lacks in dedication or practice or hard work, there will not be any success. On the contrary, one can clear all the examinations through sheer grit and determination to succeed even without a coaching institute. So, your call as to which is better!
When did you start preparing for XAT? Please share in detail your month-wise preparation strategy for XAT in terms of 6 months, 3 months, 2 months, 1 month and last minute strategy you followed.
I started preparing for XAT 2018 in January 2017. As mentioned earlier, I worked solely on concepts related to QA, DI and LR from January to August, in which I went through explanatory modules, some question banks related to those modules and the various fundamentals and formulas. After August, I continuously and religiously gave mocks every alternate day, and spent the day in between in analysing the previous mock. In these mocks, I set personal targets for every 15 days to ensure that I was improving on a constant basis. So, suppose I took a CRACKU mock XAT in October and scored 23 out of 72, I would aim to reach a score of at least 28 by mid-November or so.
How did you balance your preparation with studies or job? Please share your timetable. (if relevant)
I was in my undergraduate college when I gave the entrance examinations, and so, had no choice but to multi-task and manage both. From January to August, I was reading concepts and solving questions and thus, college didn’t prove a big hurdle as I got free from college at around 2 or 3 o clock in the afternoon, and thus, had the majority of the day for the entrance examinations. However, once I started giving mock examinations, what I did was I skipped college for those days in which I had scheduled my mocks, which were generally Tuesday and Thursday on the week-days. This allowed me to manage my time efficiently.
What was the one thing that you did consistently during your preparation? Or What do you think one should do consistently during the preparation of XAT? According to you, what is the most important aspect of preparation?
According to me, the most important aspect of preparation is constantly and religiously giving mock examinations. This is because they tell you where you stand, and you can compare it with where you want to stand, and thus, make you realise in how deep waters you really are. They also make you understand the various parameters that you need to improve upon, such as speed(efficiency), time management, conceptual clarity etc. Also, giving mocks is one thing, analysing them is another. And if one is only giving mocks and not analysing them therewith, then they wouldn’t be helping themselves too much.
What are the best study materials for XAT or other exams? Please name some books, or other study materials (even newspaper/magazines) and online materials you had referred to during preparation. In terms of online or offline materials, which one did you prefer and why?
I didn’t refer to any study material per se except for the material provided to me by AlchemistIndia. However, I did go through the Quant and DI books of Arun Sharma, which had really good question banks and solution techniques. In online materials, HandaKaFunda and CRACKU are 2 online portals where you get a lot of content relating to management examinations such as mocks, online classes, preparatory modules etc. which the prospective students can consult.
When did you start taking mock test and what was the frequency? How did you get it analysed and integrate it into your preparation?
As I said earlier, I started taking mock tests in August 2017, and gave one mock test every alternate day, and spent the day in between in analysing the previous mock. In these mocks, I set personal targets for every 15 days to ensure that I was improving on a constant basis. Firstly, I analysed it myself to look for errors and ways to improve. Secondly, if I had any doubt, I would approach my institute mentor for the same, and ask him for areas needing further improvements and how to go about them.
How should one with non-English background prepare him/herself for the exam as the mode of the exam is only English?
If one is from a non-English background, he/she will have to chin up and work extremely hard to get good results. I would advise them to start reading English newspapers and novels with the help of the internet or friends to get into a reading habit and start comprehending English more quickly and efficiently. He/she should focus more on reading comprehensions and verbal reasoning questions as they would better fit their domain. I would further suggest them to start preparing at least a year before the examination so that they can comfortably contribute one or two months just to improve upon their language skills.
What was your exam day strategy in terms of question selection, time management, accuracy and sectional attempts/cut-offs?
I knew that my reading speed was good, and thus, I always tried to devote more time to quant than English. And so, I always started with quants and remained on it for an hour and then moved on to DM or VLC. In terms of question selection, I had certain domains that were my forte and certain areas on which I was pretty weak. Geometry was one such area of weakness and thus, I always kept question relating to geography for the last. In Quant, I went for accuracy and only attempted those questions which I was sure 100%. As a result, I actually got 16 out of 16 correct in XAT 2018 in Quant. English had always been my area of strength, but I managed to mess up my English section in XAT, accuracy in it went for a roll, and I only managed to achieve an 83 percentile in it. This just goes to show that you cannot take anything for granted, and that much of your exam day strategy depends on the kind of paper that you’ve been given.
Preparing for XAT is a long and tiring process. How do you suggest one should keep his/her calm and confidence?
There are times in the preparation phase when you feel like you’re not made for it. In the first few mocks, you’ll achieve amazingly low marks which would be way below your expectations, and that would be the time when you’ll have to ensure that you keep working hard. The first few mocks wouldn’t yield good results, but if your concepts are clear, and you have worked hard in analysing the previous mocks, you’ll yourself see the improvement happening in terms of your ability to score well.
Also, amidst all the preparation and chaos, I suggest you always indulge in something you love to do, such as playing guitar, football, watching movies or anything that brings peace and calm to your heart and mind. If your mind is tired, you’ll not do well irrespective of how hard you’ve worked or how hard you try. Thus, I would suggest every potential test-taker to make time for such activities, sleep well and ensure that the body is fit, both mentally and physically.
What is your message for XAT 2019 aspirants?
I wish all the best to all the XAT 2019 aspirants. Work hard, set your periodic goals and objectives, identify your areas of strengths and weaknesses, and make strategies that suit you and gives you results. There are n numbers of strategy and n number of advisers on online forums and portals where they share their strategies. You need to look for or develop one which suits you the best.
Also, never forget to enjoy too. Don’t get so immersed in the studies that you forget to have fun, or spend time with your loved ones. Enjoy it all, and divide your time so that you work hard too. That’s it from my experience and I hope it helps you. I wish you all good luck and have a fantastic XAT 2019.