Once you are done with the CAT and IIFT exams, it is time to focus on the other important entrance exams for the exam season. One of the most important exams in this cycle is XAT and considering the unique challenges posed by the exam, it is important for you to develop and use a customised exam strategy.
Before I delve into the specifics of the exam, let's have a look at the exam pattern for the last year:
|Area||Number of Questions|
|Vocabulary Based Questions||2|
|5 Reading Comprehensions||18|
If you have a look at the table above, you can easily see that XAT is one of the most balanced exams that has questions from almost all the areas in Verbal Ability. This also means is that you need to increase the scope of your preparation in order to successfully master the exam and score well in it.
XAT introduces minor variations in the exam pattern year to year and some of the question types might disappear this year and new ones might take their place. This is why it is important that you solve the XAT papers for the previous 5 years.
The pattern above highlights the following:
XAT provides you a total of 170 minutes for the 78 questions that will be asked in part-1 of the exam. Out of these 170 minutes, you should try to spend 55 to 60 on Verbal Ability. Remember, the top institutes in XAT do have sectional cut-offs and you are advised to balance your sectional attempts in case these institutes are your target. In case you are targeting institutes other than the top ones, then you can probably devote extra time to the areas of your strength and try to maximise your overall score in the exam.
The unique thing about the XAT exam is that even with areas such as vocabulary, the exam features some unique questions. Have a look at the following questions:
|I. Cacophonic||II. Cacographic|
|III. Calamitous||IV. Catastrophic|
|V. Contraindicative||VI. Cataclysmic|
|A. IV & VI only|
|B. I, II &V only|
|C. II, V& VI only|
|D. III, IV & VI only|
|E. Ill, IV, V& VI only|
The meanings of the words given in the question are:
Thus, we can see that cataclysmic is similar to catastrophic.
Option (D) is the correct answer here.
In this vocabulary question, we can see that XAT question setters have not directly asked you to identify meanings and have complicated the question. If you maintain your wits, then essentially you only need to know the meanings of the two words that match and this should help you identify the correct answer.
Read the four sentences given below:
i. He is the most ________of the speakers to address us today.
ii. The belief in ______justice is the essence of his talk,
iii. This hall would have been full but for the______ rain.
iv. Many in the audience have achieved ______in their respective fields.
A. i. Eminent, ii. Imminent, iii. Immanent, iv. Eminence
B. i. Immanent, ii. Imminent, iii. Imminence, iv. Eminence
C. i. Eminent, ii. Immanent, iii. Imminent, iv. Eminence
D. i. Eminent, ii. Immanent, iii. Imminent, iv. Imminence
E. i. Immanent, ii. Imminence, iii. Eminent, iv. Eminence
The meanings of the words in the option are:
In this case, option (C) is the perfect fit.
Again, you can see in this question that this is not a straightforward sentence completion question. The blanks in this case are confusing words and you need to know the differences between these words in order to correctly identify the answer.
The important thing here is that the unique nature of questions is not only limited to vocabulary. In fact, RCs also feature questions which are unique in nature and test your ability to think out of the box. Have a look at the following application based questions that featured in the exam last year.
A. The son would always learn more.
B. The father might learn more, if both of them started at the same time.
C. The son would learn more, if both of them started at the same time.
D. If both of them have been learning since the age of 15, the son would learn more.
E. Both of them would always progress equally.
Based on the above information, which of the following statements is definitely correct?
A. It can be concluded that Mr. Evil is a 'dandelion', but nothing can be concluded about Mr. Good.
B. It can be concluded that Mr. Evil is an 'orchid', but nothing can be concluded about Mr. Good.
C. It can be concluded that Mr. Good is a 'dandelion', but nothing can be concluded about Mr. Evil.
D. It can be concluded that both Mr. Good and Mr. Evil are 'orchid'.
E. It is not possible to conclude about 'children typology' of the two batch mates.
These are two questions that featured based on the context provided in two different passages. These questions again highlight the unique nature of questions that feature in the exam.
If you look at the questions above, you can be scared at first and thoughts with regards to the nature of the exam should be swarming in your mind. But this is where you need to relax and understand that at the end of the day, it is all about maintaining your composure and adopting the best approach for the exam.
For starters, the above questions are the outliers in the exam. Other than the questions above, there are quite a few standard question types in the exam:
Considering the above discussion, there a few simple things that you need to keep in mind while you solve the XAT Verbal Ability section:
A. Start with vocabulary, para-jumbles and other non-RC questions. Maximise your attempt in these questions.
B. In the first go, do not attempt question types that are unique or you have not solved before. Maximise your attempt in other areas first.
C. RCs in XAT can be quite challenging at times and therefore, RC selection is extremely important. Make sure you scan through the questions and establish what kind of questions are asked from the passage. If the passage poses a lot of inferential or application questions (like the ones above), avoid it at first. Solve passages that feature main idea, phrase meaning, vocabulary, fact co-relation questions. These are generally easier to solve.
D. Do not get emotionally attached to passages. There are going to be cases in which even after reading the whole passage, you might not be able to answer the questions. Do not worry about that; focus on what else can be solved in the exam.
You can use the following as practice material for the exam:
Hopefully, the above should arm you with enough knowledge and tips in order to successfully prepare for XAT Verbal Ability.