XAT Goes Online! An XLer’s Take On The Pros And Cons

XAT has gone online! The test to be conducted on 7th January, 2018 will now be conducted online and this may change the game for some of you out there. Most of the students who are preparing for CAT right now would be accustomed to taking tests online. However, there would still be a few aspirants who are more comfortable with the paper pencil based test. Below is my personal opinion on the change in the format and a few suggestions to ace the exam.

Personally, I was always comfortable taking the paper pencil based test. I could look at around ten questions at a time without having to turn the page. This would help me identify the easier questions and I would solve them first. In a computer based test, you may only be able to see one question at a time and you may decide to solve it or leave it. However, if you encounter a trick question, it may give you the feeling that it could be solved easily, but it actually is much more difficult and may take more than two-three minutes to solve. It is here that you need to use your judgment wisely.

A test like XAT, which is touted as one of the most difficult management entrance exams to crack in the country, may test you on your ability to identify the right questions. It is not the questions you chose to answer that determine your chances of cracking the test, but the questions you chose to let go. The only way one can improve this judgment to choose a question is through practice. The more mock tests you take, the better your chances of identifying the right questions to solve.

Having said that, only a high score can get you a call from the institute and that will require you to attempt a majority of the questions. The key is to be accurate. I do not know as of now if going online will lead to a change in the level of difficulty or the pattern of the question paper, but you need to be ready for anything. While most of you will be preparing for CAT at the moment, that should be sufficient at this point of time. Once CAT is over, you need to work exclusively on XAT. Solving previous year’s question papers should be your utmost priority as it will give you an idea of what you are being tested on. Once you are able to identify it, you should be able to crack the XAT on any given day. It is the strategy that you adopt that will determine if you make or lose the cut.

A quick glance through the question paper might be a good strategy that can help you identify questions which you think are easy. Over the past two years there has been a penalty of 0.05 marks for leaving more than 12/13 questions unattempted. It becomes important in such a scenario to play to your strengths. I was good at verbal ability and decision making and I left only one or two questions in these sections combined. Most of the questions I left were in the quant section as I thought it was my weak zone. However, there will be sectional cut-offs for you to cross and this makes it even more challenging. Keep a tab on the number of questions you have left in such a scenario. An online format may make it easier for you to keep count and save you some precious seconds.

So, if you are someone who is not comfortable with the online format, its high time that you invest substantial amount of time, improving your test taking skills. Rest of the institutes may soon follow suite and move online as well. You never know!

Aroon Koshy

Aroon Koshy is a Human Resource Management student at XLRI from the batch of 2017-19. He enjoys writing and is a sports enthusiast. The views expressed in this story are personal.