XAT stands for Xaviers' Aptitude Test. It is a national level entrance examination conducted by XLRI every year for selecting the most appropriate students for management education. Additionally, more than 100 other institutes for admission to their management programs use the XAT score. It is a paper-based test conducted on the first Sunday of the year, in which the program commences. XAT 2018 will be conducted on the first Sunday of the year in an online format.
XAT Preparation Strategy
The paper can be split into three parts: concept driven, practice intensive and environment sensitive. Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and select areas of Verbal & Logical Ability are concept driven; Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning is a purely practice intensive section while General Knowledge is environment sensitive.
The exam is markedly different from the other MBA entrance exams as it features a section on Decision Making. This is an area that checks your management aptitude by presenting different situations and cases, and asks you to identify the correct recourse in these situations.
XAT Verbal & Logical Ability
- Critical Reasoning & Reading Comprehension areas have historically dominated this section.
- Thrust is on reasoning skills. Purely vocabulary-based questions are rarely asked.
- This section requires a very fine balance between quick reading and comprehension skills.
- Practicing across Mock Tests is essential for superior performance.
XAT Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning
- This forms the most unique part of the XAT exam.
- Consisting of various business and everyday situations, you are meant to establish what the various stakeholders should do in the situation given.
- In general, the situations given in these questions set up interesting dilemmas for the parties involved, and most of the choices involve an analysis of the possible gains and losses with each course of action adopted.
- Different types of questions probed in these areas include: ethical dilemmas, financial issues involving sales, revenues etc. of a company, employee management issues and general management scenarios.
- As far as what kind of decisions you should make, ensure that the decision taken is unbiased and does not favor one particular party, ethical, balanced and from the perspective of all stakeholders involved. Do not lose your objectivity in the entire process and do not let your own biases cloud your judgment.
XAT Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation
- Majority of the questions featured in this area have come from Geometry, Number Systems, Functions, P&C, Probability and Data Interpretation.
- Strong conceptual base in the above topics, with a good application orientation is the key to doing well.
- Thrust areas are Geometry, Number Systems, P&C, Probability and Functions.
XAT General Knowledge
- As far as XAT is concerned, general knowledge made its first appearance in the exam in 2013. Out of the 30 questions in XAT 2013, 12 were on current affairs and 18 on static GK.
- Put greater emphasis on economics and business related facts.
- Preparing current events for the last 6 months is essential.
- In static GK part, focus on awards, books & authors and geography.
XAT Essay Writing
- Going by the past trends, XAT essay topics have had stronger abstract dimensions.
- The topic is based on either a common phrase or an idiom with a philosophical hint implied within.
- The examiner is not only looking for language skills here, but is also evaluating coherence of thoughts, ability to provide logical arguments and your knowledge level.
- Reading the editorial page of national newspapers may be of great help in this section.
- It is recommended that you write sample essays and get them assessed on content and style.
Overall, you have to brace up to handle reasoning based questions requiring strong analytical application. Preparing the decision making section and the essay writing task should enable the XAT test taker to handle the test challenges more confidently. Concept strengthening should be followed by consolidation of application orientation and thereafter by an adequate number of practice tests. While attempting the paper, keep in mind the basics of time management, prioritization and striking a right balance between speed and accuracy!