Though I didn't have enough time to prepare. My results for UPSC Civil Services Mains was announced on 7th December 2023, and I was totally shattered. It was my valuable support system who took me out of that phase and motivated me to put my heart and soul into a new challenge. Luckily, XAT had pushed its deadline to 11th December 2023. I applied for it and prepared strategically.
I knew the limitation of time and resources and the change of mindset from a subjective approach in the UPSC marathon to an objective approach in the XAT sprint.
I focussed on my weak areas - which was surprisingly quant (I am an engineer and had maths as my optional in UPSC preparation). He religiously prepared formula sheets for quant and solved as many questions as possible. I followed reverse engineering, learning from my weak areas. I had a firm belief in my decision-making skills ( thanks to dedicated ethics case studies preparation) and VARC (again thanks to regular newspaper reading and having a grip over diverse subjects in my UPSC syllabus). I wrote few sectional mocks for quant.
Overall I kept confidence as I had cleared CSAT back to back thrice in upsc prelims.
On the d- day, I reached the exam center early and had a good nap in the car before the exam as the exam is around 3 hrs plus duration. Overall, I credit my preparation strategy to my mother who was the mastermind in mentoring me.
According to you, what is the most important aspect of preparation?
I think the most important subject is your own SWOT analysis. Take cues from the previous year's exams and know yourself. At the end of the day, you don't need to solve all the questions, you have to be ahead of 99% of your peers to get a decent percentile. I followed the same and brought my weak areas to a level playing field and due to scarcity of time, didn't touch VARC and DM section much. But to be very frank, it could have been dangerous. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain and hence went on with this strategy.
Which mock series did you enrol for?
Due to scarcity and the huge volume of syllabus, I didn't have much time to enroll for mocks. I gave two sectional tests from iQuanta which I borrowed from my sister.
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How many mock tests did you take, and how did they help you prepare for XAT 2023?
2. To be honest, questions on d- day are quite different than what you solve in mocks. Be it UPSC or XAT, mocks just highlight the key areas you need to focus on. Rest is your mindset how you take it and perform.
Which section was your Achilles heel? How did you overcome that?
Quant. I had trouble with number systems and geometry because of plenty of formulas. I watched a few online resources and referred to iQuanta material for the same. For the rest of the topics, I relied on logic and didn't try to cram formulas. As this was not my forte.
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What according to you are the DO's and DON'Ts of preparation?
Do's - Have a positive outlook no matter how well you have practiced. It's your Outlook that does wonders on exam day
Don't - Please not take everyone's advice as such. Take constructive inputs which suit your requirement ( if can't learn it as it's highly recommended) and don't follow any suggestions blindly. Also, Don't fall into the habit of doing the same thing from multiple areas. Remember less is more.
Lakshay, XAT 2023 went well for you. You received calls from XLRI. Please tell us how you prepared for the interviews.
Online resources and a few topics from iQuanta material.
Can you describe your institute interview experience?
It mostly revolved around my UPSC experience and learnings. What were my stressors and how did I overcome those in the journey? How these experiences and learnings can be useful in MBA. My optional was mathematics, so professors were interested in the usage of various mathematical concepts in management.
There was a good discussion on government schemes like MGNERA, geopolitics, and history. Overall it was a very smooth interview.