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, Aditya Kompella (HRM 2018-20) shares his preparation strategy for the exam:
Q. What was your XAT 2018 overall and sectional percentile? Apart from XAT, which other entrances you appeared for and what were your percentiles?
My XAT 2018 overall percentile was 97.2 with sectional percentiles as follows: QA: 96.1, VA: 90.1, DM: 85.8. Apart from XAT, I had appeared only for CAT in which I had secured a percentile of 98.2.
Q. What was your preparation strategy? Please share section-wise strategy in detail.
I had started preparing for both XAT and CAT quite late at around August, 2017. Hence, I had to cover quite a bit of ground in a very short span of time. I had confidence in my abilities and I had adopted a simple mantra for myself which involved daily practice and incremental growth.
My section-wise strategy for as follows:
Quantitative Ability: I had downloaded an app named Handa Ka Funda which gave me quite a few tips and tricks as well as the relevant formula to solve questions quickly. Since Quantitative Ability was a section in which I had to build my speed of solving, I would give regular timed sectional tests and tried to improve my average time of solving a question each day.
Verbal and Logical Ability: I was quite confident in this section and I resorted to revising the vocabulary I had built using GRE preparation material from Kaplan for the Verbal part. I would try to give 3 sectional tests a week at least to brush up my logical ability skills.
Decision Making: Since this is a section unique to XAT, I used previous year question papers as a reference and solved the last 10 years question papers.
Q. How did you prepare – Self-study or Coaching? Please explain which one do you think is better?
I prepared for XAT and CAT without attending any coaching classes. I believe the choice of either attending Coaching Classes or preparing by Self-Study is a very personal choice to be made by an aspirant since such a decision would be based on the competencies and confidence of the person. Since I was confident enough to practice and solve the questions and learn the concepts on my own, I decided not to join any classes and utilise the time in preparing on my own. Further, with so many apps available now providing content it is not difficult to access content practically anywhere with ease. Although, if someone finds it difficult to plan their preparation and stick to deadlines they could take the help of a coaching class.
Q. 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 in August, 2017. In the first two months, I concentrated on brushing up my basics in quantitative ability and I practised questions on each topic while also giving timed sectional tests. From October, I used to give a sectional test each day for one of the three sections along with weekly mock tests. From November, I had increased the frequency of mock tests trying to give as many as possible in a week.
My last minute strategy was to revise the tricks I had learnt and practised for quantitative ability as well as brushing up my vocabulary from word cards. I tried to stay calm till the day of the exam and never let self-doubt disturb any phase of my preparation.
Q. How did you balance your preparation with studies or job? Please share your timetable.
It was challenging trying to balance work and preparation for XAT. I would usually return from my work at 8 PM in the evening. Every day I would devote at least 3 hours at night for preparation on the weekdays. The bulk of my studying would happen on the weekends wherein I would give 2 mock tests and prepare the various sections as well.
Hence, I would spend 5-6 hours on weekends per day studying. I believe that consistency is the key while balancing a job or studies with preparation since time would be at a premium. It is imperative that the time set apart for studying should be followed religiously with minimal distractions.
Q. 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?
I think one must consistently stick to their personal deadlines while preparing for the examination. Although I myself faced many difficulties sticking to these deadlines, I would try to accomplish my targets of a week by the end of it so that I wouldn’t have an increasing backlog. Hence, the most important aspect of preparation is a personal plan for the preparation and sticking to it. Creating a schedule and to-do sticky notes or charts is helpful. I would create small incentives for myself for finishing the set deadlines such as watching a movie or ordering a pizza, etc. Hence it is important for an aspirant to understand their strengths and plan accordingly at the very start and to stick with the plan until the end.
Q. 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 had used the app Handa ka Funda for tips and tricks to be used in quantitative ability. Apart from that, Quantitative Aptitude by Arun Sharma is a very useful book to prepare the basics. I had used Kaplan’s GRE preparation material which I had for building my strength in Verbal Ability. For Decision Making, I had solved previous year question papers of XAT. I had also ordered Wiley’s Exam Expert for XAT for last minute revision and as a question bank for the sections.
I personally used a mix of both online and offline material for my preparation. I used various apps for preparation during office hours and online mock test series from Bullseye. Apart from that, I had used the offline material as I have mentioned. I believe that an aspirant should make the choice based on accessibility of material whether online or offline.
Q. When did you start taking mock test and what was the frequency? How did you get it analysed and integrate it in your preparation?
I took a Mock Test before I started my preparation. It helped me gauge my strengths and weaknesses and the areas of improvement which I had to work upon. Thereafter I would give weekly mock tests from October, 2017 which increased in frequency from November. I had enrolled in an online test series of Bullseye institute which would give me the complete metrics of my performance in different sections as well as different question types such as the time taken to solve each question compared with a national average.
I believe that it is very important to study the results of each mock test to understand the areas of improvement. I was able to use these metrics to improve in each mock test and build my speed and accuracy of solving questions.
Q. How one with non-English background should prepare him/herself for the exam as the mode of the exam is only English?
Since Verbal Ability is one of the crucial sections to increase the overall percentile, an aspirant should devote extra time in developing their confidence and skill in the section. Word Power made easy by Norman Lewis is a book which could be used to build the basics in English. Reading the newspaper also helps to not only enhance the skills in English but also in the General Knowledge section as well as in the Interviews later on. Apart from this, regular sectional tests should be taken along with the mock tests to increase proficiency.
Q. What was your exam day strategy in terms of question selection, time management, accuracy and sectional attempts/cutoffs?
I had started the exam with Verbal Ability since I feel the most confident in it. I had planned to complete the section in 55 minutes and I was able to stick to the deadline. I moved on to the Decision-making section for which I had allocated 55 minutes as well and I was able to complete it well in time. I had attempted the quantitative ability section last. While attempting the questions in all the sections, I had tried to reduce negative marking by only answering those which I was reasonably sure of.
Q. Preparing for XAT is a long and tiring process. How do you suggest one should keep his/her calm and confidence?
It is very important that an aspirant should have their family or a close friend as a motivating force throughout the preparation phase so that day to day progress could be shared or discussed openly. It is also very important to relax between periods of study and I would use music to soothe myself. I also had a very good group of friends who would act as a support system and help me to relax when I was with them. I believe that an aspirant should never lose sight of the bigger picture and should stick to their plans without getting distracted. Setting small goals and achieving those help.
Q: What is your message for XAT 2019 aspirants?
My message to XAT 2019 aspirants is to never lose hope during your preparation, plan your preparation for the short term as well as the long-term and stick to your schedules. XLRI awaits you at the end of the journey welcoming you with open arms.
All the best!