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Study Plan to Excel in Quant and DI Sections of XAT

A streamlined approach to fool-proof your preparation for these sections in XAT

In this article, we will discuss the nature of questions generally asked in the XAT Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation section. Also, we will provide you with a sound strategy to sail through this critical section. In previous years, this section has seen around 32 questions of one mark each. Considering the total number of questions have been reduced to 78 this year, you can expect a lower number of questions (around 26) this year.

XAT Quantitative Ability

The major areas from which questions have been asked were from Algebra and Functions, Number System, Probability, Mixtures, Geometry, Co-ordinate Geometry, Arithmetic Sequences, Tables Chart, Multiple Graph, Percentage, Profit and Loss, Interest, Average, Logarithm, etc. Within these, XAT examiners have focused on areas of Geometry, Algebra and Number Systems along with questions from Tables and Multiple graphs.

You should learn and practice the basic concepts of all the major topics of Quant with special focus on the above-mentioned areas. Let us take a look at a couple of questions that appeared in previous year XAT :

Q. 1. What is the sum of the series -64, -66, -68 ........- 100?

As you can see, just having the basic knowledge of Arithmetic Progression (A.P) was sufficient to answer this question.

Tn= a + (n - 1) d
- 100 = - 64 + (n - 1)( - 2)
Solving this we get, n = 19

S 19 = 19/2 [(-64)+(-100)]
19/2 X(-164) = 19 x (-82) = - 1558

Q. 2. A teacher noticed a strange distribution of marks in the exam. There were only three distinct scores: 6, 8 and 20. The mode of the distribution was 8. The sum of the scores of all the students was 504. The number of students in most populated category was equal to the sum of the number of students with lowest score and twice the number of students with the highest score. What was the total number of students in the class?

Now, in order to answer this question, having the basic knowledge of averages is sufficient.

Let students with 6 marks be z, 8 marks be x, 20 marks be y,

So we get the equation as
8x + 6z + 20y = 504....(i)
and x = z + 2y.... (ii)

Putting the value of x from (ii) you get
8z + 16y + 6z + 20y = 504
⇒ 14z + 36y = 504
⇒ 7z + 18y = 252

Only value of y satisfying this is y = 7 ⇒ z = 18 and x = 32.

Therefore, Total = 7 + 18 + 32 = 57

The level of difficulty of the Quant and DI section varies from moderate to tough. Also, in XAT you would find indirect usage of the various mathematical concepts that you have studied while preparing for the exam. In the past, the exam has seen some easy questions based on mathematical logic. But these easy questions or sitters have to be carefully selected, as the language used in questions is sometimes complex and can pose a challenge.

In totality, it can be concluded that the difficulty level of questions is medium to tough, but at the same time do not forget that the total number of questions in this paper is lesser in comparison to other exams. Hence, an optimum use of the available time can make you perform better in this exam.

XAT Data Interpretation

In the previous years, there have been 8 - 10 questions of data interpretation in XAT. In XAT, the perceived level of difficulty of DI questions is on the higher side, as XAT examiners provide data either in statement form or in the form of complex diagrams. While these problems appear tough at first, we suggest that you carefully go through each problem. You will see invariably that the questions are not as tough as they appear.

So, the learning is that do not judge the level of the questions from the complexity of the graph only. Further, in XAT DI, questions are simple but a little calculation-intensive. We suggest that you attempt questions from every set individually i.e. it is not necessary to attempt all the questions of a particular set.


Compared to other exams like MAT, SNAP, CMAT, etc. the overall difficulty level of XAT Quant and DI section is on the higher side. In order to score well in the exam, you need to develop a strategy for the section. A few things you should keep in mind are:

  • Be completely aware of your strong and weak areas. On the basis of this, decide the problem types you will solve first in the exam.
  • Be careful of the amount of time you spend on particular problems. Remember, in order to maximize your scores, you need to manage your time well.
  • Make sure you go through past year XAT exams in order to understand the types of questions asked in the exam.

You will do well to solve maximum possible number of XAT Mock Tests to speed up calculation work as well to learn the art of selecting appropriate questions. Both these factors will be the key to success in XAT 2016.

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