XAT is an exam known for its formidable Quantitative aptitude and calculative Data Interpretation Sets. As a non-engineer myself, I faced the same situation and to be honest, XAT seemed like the most difficult exam to crack but it’s not that engineers are not intimidated by the exam. Verbal and Decision Making puts them in a difficult situation as well. It’s only the strategy for attempting every section that will create the difference. Here are my 2 cents as to how to approach each section -:
XAT clubs Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation sections under one head. 2 Data Interpretation sets are characteristic to XAT with 3-4 questions in each set.XAT checks you on your concepts with quant questions and not just on the basis of formulae. For a non-engineer- 1 set of DI is generally doable. Going to the set with graphs will be preferable. Your primary focus should be on arithmetic and geometry to clear the cutoff of the section as these 2 form the major chunk of questions. Then comes algebra. Since 2012, XAT has lowered down the difficulty level of this section to accommodate non-engineers. As such, you should read every question and mark the easy laddoo questions and attempt them first. XAT ‘s geometry forces you to visualize the figure and find the answer rather than just applying formulas. Options should be used here as 2 out of 4 options can be eliminated on the basis of logic formed from the question. You can take an educated guess out of the 2 available options but do not make wild guesses as it will lead to negative marking.
For an Engineer- This section is generally the best to score for engineers. The major chunk Is the same but topics like number system and logarithm can create a difference in the score and percentile. Engineers should try to maximize their score.
Pro tip- It is generally less time consuming to put the options and solve the question rather than solving the question completely.
This section generally acts as a make or break in the exam. This section tests you more on your ethics rather than aptitude. Sometimes, an option might look like non-profitable but ethical and vice versa. You should focus on being ethical rather than being profitable. Both engineers and non-engineers are on equal footing in this section. Right strategy and ethics can lead to a great score (14+) in this section itself.
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 topmost 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?
- Ask Sanjeev to leave.
- Provide another training to Sanjeev.
- Find another job for Sanjeev
- Change the job role of Sanjeev.
- 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.IMS Decision making Book can be used for extra practice
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. Reading speed is secondary here. Focus on understanding the RCs.
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. Engineers should focus on these questions to clear the cut-off. Non-engineers can score well in this section as they have an edge over engineers (no offence to engineers ;))
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.
Score in this section will not affect your overall percentile but XLRI considers this section for final selection. Questions range from History to current affairs. Best way to go about this will be to focus on current affairs. 2-3 questions can be found on Independence struggle as well. 9-10 questions can be done on the basis of current affairs and form a fair attempt. Any coaching Institute’s GK compendium would be sufficient to cover this.
Nikita Tayal, XAT 99.139 percentiler and XLRI-HRM convert