Meet XAT Topper Abhipsa Panda – 99.88 Percentile In XAT

InsideIIM brings you interviews with XAT Toppers who have aced these entrance exams in the past. As part of this series, we aim to help MBA aspirants understand what it takes to crack this exam on the D – Day.

XAT 2017 was conducted on Sunday 8th January 2017. XLRI conducts XAT on behalf of the XAMI. For more than 60 years XLRI is conducting XAT at all India level to select the most appropriate students for management education. The XAT score is being used by more than 100 institutes for the admission.

Abhipsa Panda scored 99.88 percentile in XAT 2014. Abhipsa did her graduation in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering from NIT Rourkela. She graduated in 2012 and has a 22 months of work experience at Tata Motors. She interned at TAS and is currently studying in the second year at XLRI.

How did you manage your time while studying for XAT, given that you had a full-time job?

Prioritizing and minimizing unproductive time is the key. Besides, adequate measures to maintain concentration and keeping one’s calm are necessary. Getting requisite amount of quality sleep and relaxation is paramount to this end.

Did your engineering background help you during test prep? Did it help you in subsequent rounds (GD-PI)?

Test prep, not much really since it was all basic aptitude and general awareness. May be staying in touch with mathematics during undergrad years helped hone my analytical skills. Besides that, my background was not much of assistance in that front.

What was your strong/weak section and what was your overall test taking strategy?

I was more focused on improving quantitative skills, enhancing language skills was a continuous process from lots of reading. I don’t read many books but am a frequenter at certain blogs and online sites. To make efficient use of the little time you get while working, Smartphone helps!

What was your strategy for individual sections (Quant and Verbal)?

QA: Practicing questions from multiple topics thrice every week, and weekly revisions of harder problems. Doubts should be clarified right away and I maintained a separate register for only the hard questions (of different models) which came handy during revision. For me, understanding the reason why a particular process was the key to solving problems.

Relatively WEAK- DI: Concentration, Patience and Practice: The 3 key words!

Relatively STRONG- VA: Reading standard blogs and sites. Following one business daily and one national daily helps; for me it was The Guardian, The Economist and the Hindu. One should always make sure one reads the things which interest one (I never missed out on the lounge section of Livemint). For improved vocabulary, ‘Arts and Letters daily’ is good. Most importantly, I started to ‘think’ and ‘talk to myself’ in English.

LR: A good night’s sleep and loads of analytical thinking. Trying to develop an analytical thought process to apply in my work helped me automatically redirect my brain to the same mode every single time. And of course, practice is needed.

What was your strategy for the D-Day and what do you think you executed the Best on the D- Day? 

Gave maximum time to QA as it was my weakness and I could not afford to score too low a percentile there. Also, chance for negatives is minimum in QA as you mark the answer only after you solve the question and are sure about it; In other sections the chance to be unsure about an answer is more. I divided my remaining time amongst the rest of the sections equally, choosing the easier questions to minimize risk.

What are your plans after MBA?

I wanted to be a leader. Over the years I have witnessed many transformations in my persona, but this one thing has always remained with me. MBA gives a wholesome and diverse experience in a compact capsule. The knowledge one acquires in an MBA, and more importantly the life experiences one goes through in the 2 years brings out the best in one amidst the worst of circumstances. I want to learn the skills (It’s correct! Leadership can be learnt) and put them to practice through these 2 years to end up being a successful leader.

Which coaching institute did you go to and how did coaching help?

If you have commitment, nothing else is necessary. Coaching is a method only to make sure you adhere to preparation regularly. Commitment ensures that anyway. And with the growing digital media, everything necessary for preparation is just a click away. And all for FREE!

 A word of advice for the MBA aspirants who will take XAT 2016

Have the commitment to eXceL

Work smart and with patience

Relax and Sleep adequately

Leave the rest to ‘The Force’


We would like to thank Abhipsa for sharing her set of suggestions with the aspirants.

See Final Admit – our one stop shop for everything about your MBA Test Prep


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