XAT can be intimidating for some people. It might seem more difficult than CAT for there are extra sections and after the hectic toll of CAT preparing for it in a month’s time can seem a draconian task. But XAT is a monster that can easily be tamed if you work smartly. Preparation beforehand will go a long way but if you have just a month just keeping these points in mind can go a long way in helping you ace XAT.
1. Focus on the decision-making section- Decision making is a make-or-break section in the XAT exam. It clearly decides your overall percentile and whether you make the cut or not. The section is unique for XAT and it is specifically designed to check your managerial and ethical skills. There is no syllabus or formulae for the decision making section. You get a scenario and questions are associated with it. The options are very close and sometimes it can get difficult to hit the right answer. Generally, the best option is the one which captures business ethics and common logic together.
Tip to ace the Decision Making section- For honing your Decision Making ability the best way to go about is to practice the previous years’ paper. After you have gone through a few questions you might be able to identify a pattern. It is necessary that you practice all types of caselets. There are generally two kinds of caselets that have appeared in the past- (a) data analysis kind which is similar to the data interpretation section in CAT (b) story based which is given to check your managerial abilities. This section is similar to the reading comprehension and critical reasoning section in CAT.
2. Do not form personal opinions- The key to solving a decision making caselet or a reading comprehension is to throw your personal opinions out of the window. Now, this can be slightly difficult as it’s a human tendency to take things personally but you need to learn to view the situation with a purely professional and logical mindset and answer accordingly. There can be many instances where you can go wrong if your answer is based on real-life scenarios.
3. Work on your reading speed- The XAT paper is a really lengthy one (even more than CAT). The VARC section is considered to be one of the toughest you will ever face. Slow reading speed is definitely going to be extremely harmful for your score. The reading comprehension and decision making part makes a large chunk of the paper so make sure that you improve your reading skills and ability to comprehend months before taking the exam. It generally depends on practice and you can refer to my blog “ “ for tips on improving reading speed.
4. Do not take the GK section for granted- The GK section cannot be overlooked. I repeat, the GK section is of utmost importance in selection to XLRI. The GK section is placed at the end of the paper in a separate section. It has a time limit of 15 minutes to solve 25 questions. Even though the score of the GK section is not considered in the cut off score it is taken into consideration in preparing the final list of shortlisting in the admission procedure.
Tip for tackling the GK section: The GK section consists of both static GK as well as current affairs. The best way to prepare is to keep a tab on everything that is going on for the previous 6 months at least. Keep updated on the latest news and current affairs with the help of newspapers like ‘The Hindu’ and ‘The Economic Times’. For static, you can refer to the MANORMA yearbooks that come very handy at the last minute. However, the best possible strategy would be to maintain a personal journal for GK and current affairs which would come in handy even at the time of your interviews.
5. Time management is the key- Ineffective time management can cost you in XAT. There is no section limit here unlike CAT. You have 2 hours 45 minutes to attempt all the 3 sections so plan your time to suit your strategy. It is important that you attempt questions in all sections because there is an sectional cut-off for shortlisting. Taking mock tests and practising previous year XAT papers will help you in perfecting your strategy. The general perception is to clear the cut off for all section by attempting appropriate number of questions but focus on your strength to maximize your score.
6. Do not over attempt questions - While it’s important to attempt a decent number of questions for a good score please do not go overboard. Each correct answer carries 1 mark and every incorrect answer will cost 0.25 marks. There is also a penalty of -0.10 marks for unattempted questions. 0.25 of a mark might not seem a big sacrifice to make and you also need to keep the unattempted questions at a minimum. However, this results in many people attempting more questions than is required and really losing out on the score. You have to play very smart when it comes to the number of questions you attempt. Please make sure that you are 100% sure about your answer and keep the guesstimates at the minimum possible. Only practising mock tests will help you in this domain.
7. Do not be overconfident- XAT is a different ball game altogether. Many people become a tad overconfident when it comes to the XAT exam after taking the CAT. But remember that performing well in CAT does not guarantee a good performance in XAT as well. If your dream school is XLRI, then you need to gear up after CAT and spend a good amount of time revising the formulae and practising XAT questions. The level of quantitative aptitude questions is also different so you need to be vigilant. Vice versa, if your CAT exam did not go as planned, XAT would be your chance to redeem yourself.
All the best for XAT 2021 folks!
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