XAT is an exam taken by all serious MBA aspirants. As soon as CAT is over, aspirants willing to get into XLRI Jamshedpur, XIMB, SPJIMR etc. set their eyes on XAT which takes place on 1st Sunday of January every year. XAT also gives the aspirant a chance to redeem oneself after doing silly mistakes in CAT. I was one of those aspirants and gave it all to XAT. What was the result? I ended up with 99+ in XAT along with 98+ in VARC and 99+ in Decision Making. Here are a few of my learnings from my XAT journey.
Is XAT similar to CAT? To be honest, no. XAT’s Decision making and VARC sections bring uniqueness to the exam.
This is a section unique to XAT and checks you on your analytical and decision-making skills as a manager. You will be given real-life situations faced by managers and you will be giving solutions keeping in mind all stakeholders.
The mantra to ace this section is to be ethical and to keep in mind the interests of all stakeholders while maintaining commercial viability for the organization.
Let’ s take an actual XAT question to understand how to go about it-
You are the HR manager of your organisation. There is a hard-working employee, Sanjeev, in your organisation. In terms of behaviour, effort and diligence, Sanjeev is one of the top most employees in the company. The issue is that the company is a call-centre for a US based company and the Sanjeev’s communication skills are not up to the level. Even after being given training, Sanjeev has not been able to improve his communication skills.
What should you do in the given scenario?
1. Ask Sanjeev to leave.
2. Provide another training to Sanjeev.
3. Find another job for Sanjeev
4. Change the job role of Sanjeev.
5. Both 1 and 3
Our approach should be to eliminate wrong options rather than looking for the right one.
1st option can be eliminated as it will lead to loss of a diligent employee.
2nd option can be eliminated as earlier training has not shown any significant changes.
3rd option can be eliminated as that is not the job of an HR.
4th option is correct as it makes sure the best use of Sanjeev’s skills. Both the interests of Sanjeev and the company are served.
Hence, we go with option elimination to get our correct answer.
The best source to practice decision making is XAT old papers. This will help you streamline your thoughts as per the thinking of the checker.
Pro tip-: Refer to official XAT answer key as coaching institutes like IMS or TIME might end up confusing you with contradictory options.
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
XAT VARC is characterized by difficult RCs on topics like psychology and biology. The RCs need to be read thoroughly and sometimes need to be read twice to be understood. The questions are difficult and the best way to go about is to eliminate options after referring to the passage again for that question. Here, the questions are more inference-based (as against CAT which has fact based questions) and require you to use your common sense
A poem has become a regular in XAT RC and generally 1-2 questions are doable.
XAT Verbal ability is relatively on the easier side. Para-Jumbles have options and one can easily achieve 100% accuracy there.
If you have a good vocabulary, it will be a big plus as you will be able to attempt the vocabulary questions along with understanding the RCs easily.
Sentence completion and Critical Reasoning questions can be attempted accurately after in-depth reading and should not be left. Practice as many CR questions as you can. GMAT CR can be a really good source.
Pro-tip: Read articles from the Guardian and the Economic times to gauge the types of articles coming in XAT. Solve at least 4-5 past year XAT papers to gain accuracy. Refer to Norman Lewis for furnishing your vocabulary.
XAT doesn’t give you sectional timing and you can play very well on your strengths Manage your time well giving maximum time to weak areas as strong areas will automatically take less time and ace the exam.
All the best!!