‘Do Not Become Emotional And Stick To One Question’- Jay Hulani, 99.73%ile In XAT
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 fulfill their dream of studying at this prestigious institute.
What was your XAT 2018 overall and sectional percentile? Apart from XAT, which other entrances you appeared for and what were your percentiles?
XAT – Overall – 99.73, Quantitative ability -98.93, Verbal Ability – 92.20, Decision making – 99.68
CAT – 96.8
SNAP – 93.05
What was your preparation strategy? Please share section-wise strategy in detail.
XAT is very different with respect to other entrance exams. It evaluates you on almost every managerial aspect. When it comes to preparation for XAT one should have a clear plan at hand.
QA – In Quantitative Aptitude, it boils to 3 things – Concepts, practice and mocks (practice under pressure). I use to clear the concepts of a particular chapter and practice it first on the same day. Next day I would take a mock, evaluate the mistakes and revisit the concepts. The chapters would be cumulatively added during the preparation so that the old concepts are not drained away from your mind.
VA – To crack the verbal ability, it is very important to develop reading skills and vocabulary. It is easier for a voracious reader but for a beginner, it seems a bit difficult. I myself use to struggle with the VA section. In order to build vocabulary, I used to read the newspaper daily, especially the editorials. I used to jot down 5 new words you find daily and revise them in the morning everyday. For newspapers, I would suggest The Hindu as it has the quality articles along with good language. Also I used to carry Norman Lewis book with me and whenever I got time I used to read it. To develop reading skills I used to solve 3 reading comprehensions daily within the time limit. This would help in developing various skills as skimming and also help in deciding the approach to solve the RC.
Decision Making – This section is of utmost importance when it come down to differentiate your score. There are no specific resources available for this, but there are previous years questions available to get an idea. Here the only thing is to practice and have more & more exposure to the types of questions and approaches to solve them, because every question has a different approach. It would be a huge time-saver in the exam if you know the right approach just by looking at the question.
GK – Keep reading the newspapers and magazines. I used to keep TOI news app and at the end of every month look for the GK videos on the YouTube, it would give a summary to all the events happened in the month.
How did you prepare – Self-study or Coaching? Please explain which one do you think is better?
This is perhaps the first question every aspirant faces when he/she starts to prepare for MBA entrance exams. However, this is subjective and depends on the learning style of the person. I didn’t join any institute for the preparation as such but I joined online test series of CL, Time and Endeavor.
If you are a student who has very clear basics on all the sections of the exam mentioned above and needs only practice to improve upon them, then preparing by yourself is not that difficult. This requires a lot of dedication and sincerity as there would not be anyone looking at your performance and practices and you yourself are the evaluator and planner. But this gives you the freedom to balance your studies or work.
However, joining a coaching has its own benefits. You get your concepts cleared easily and there is someone available to clear your doubts. Joining a good coaching gives you an edge as they have study material and the structure of the preparation ready and you have to just follow it. However, one need to check the quality of the faculties in the centre. While the amount of dedication required doesn’t change, an assistance is always beneficial.
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.
The preparation is no separate than CAT, however, the difficulty level of the XAT is higher than all other exams. Call it a boon or a bane, XAT is conducted in January when most of the students have either stopped practising and are overconfident or disheartened. I started my preparation around June. GK and Decision Making is practised constantly all through these phases.
Six Months – This is the phase where you clear all the concepts in both QA and VA. I use to look for different methods to solve a particular question, this is the phase to develop the tools and skill set. Reading skills and vocabulary take time to improve and hence I started preparing and reading newspaper well in advance. Do not put time constraint while solving problems here, instead look at the approach taken to solve it.
Three Months – Having taken all the concepts, I began to find my stronger and weaker areas both in QA and VA. This I did by giving extensive chapter-wise tests and analysing the scores and methods to solve under time constraint and pressure. Having noted down the weaker areas, I use to go back to concepts of the same and look for some ground rule or specific type of questions being followed. I made sure that I do not miss out a very easy question from a weaker area.
One Month – As said before, XAT is conducted far late in January when most of the students have either stopped practising and are overconfident or disheartened. One needs to understand that your previous performance – good or bad – is not going to affect your XAT score. In this phase, one needs to prepare the strategy in order to attempt the question paper. I gave a huge number of mocks that helped me decide which section to attempt first, how to move ahead in the question paper, prioritize among stronger and weaker areas. This is the phase where one becomes mentally prepared
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 had a clear goal, but I continuously set small milestones of improvement and looked at smaller targets to achieve during the preparation. The most important thing to follow is to analyse your paper or exam after getting the result. Analysing once strengths and weakness should be the inseparable part of the preparation. The only motto I followed was – Be the best amongst all at your strengths and do not be the worst at your weakness.
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?
There are no best study materials as such. If you have joined some coaching classes stick to their material because every coaching has a huge amount of material. If you have not joined any classes, the please select one institute and purchase their material. The sectional books by Arun Sharma is very helpful outside the coaching material, it has every concept explained in detail with previous years question paper included. In newspapers, I suggest The Hindu, because of the quality of the articles and the language. For GK and current affairs along with the newspaper, a lot of videos compiling the data of each month is uploaded on YouTube.
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 started taking mocks before 4 months of the exam, with a gap of 2 weeks. Eventually, I reduced the gap slowly and at the end a mock test every day. I maintained an excel sheet with the name of all the chapters, where after giving the test I would enter the number of question appeared from a particular section in the paper, number of questions I attempted and number of question I got correct. This gave 2 parameters, my overall speed to attempt the paper and accuracy. Then I would look at the question I got incorrect and mark whether it was because of lack of concept or an underpressure mistake. At last, I would look at the attempted questions and try to solve them.
How one with non-English background should prepare him/herself for the exam as the mode of the exam is only English?
Since non-English background people find difficulties in the exam, they should start the preparations early. In QA it is easy to get hold of the language because of the mathematics involved, but extra efforts need to be put in VA and DM sections. For VA and DM, one should start with basic grammar and read small story books or novel. Develop a habit of reading newspapers though understanding would be tough in the beginning, but this will improve your understanding of language and increase the reading speed. It would be best if one could find a group of friends who are from English background to converse with them only in English and taking their feedback or one can always approach some coaching centre to take advice.
What was your exam day strategy in terms of question selection, time management, accuracy and sectional attempts/cutoffs?
My strategy was to play on my strengths and carry my weakness along. Your strength is going to fetch you marks. Decision Making and QA was my strength, so I allocated them 1 hour each and remaining 50 minutes to VA. When you are attempting your strength section, look for the easiest questions in the first round and mark the question which would require some time to solve it. Go for those questions in the second round. Do not become emotional and stick to one question, it is quite possible that the first few questions would be difficult you would not be able to answer them but do not lose confidence. While attempting your weaker section, there is no requirement the of second round, read the question thoroughly and try to mark only if you feel confident enough. Accuracy will play a huge role in the weaker section as the number of attempts would be lesser.
Preparing for XAT is a long and tiring process. How do you suggest one should keep his/her calm and confidence?
XAT preparation is a long, tiring and wide process. But one thing to understand is that it tests you mentally, one needs to be mentally prepared for this process. For that one needs to believe that yes he/she can do it, because its all about practice and strategies. The only thing the process would demand is the consistency in the practicing and preparation schedule to be followed strictly. Most of the students starts the preparation with full enthusiasm and then stops all at once after a week. This would never help, instead I kept myself motivated to study with dedication everyday.
What is your message for XAT 2019 aspirants?
Plan and start preparing right now, time and tide wait for none. Keep a positive mind-set and believe in yourself that you can do it. Do not forget to analyse yourself at each point. Keep your confidence high just like Harvey Specter – “It’s going to happen, because I am going to make it happen.”
You may also like to read –
XAT Decision Making Practice Series – How good are you at decision making? Test yourself here!