Strategy for XATAnisha Mukhija
XAT or the Xavier Aptitude Test is organized by XLRI (Jamshedpur), every year. XAT scores are applicable to the admission processes of around 100+ colleges.
In terms of difficulty levels, XAT is considered to be the toughest of all MBA Entrance exams. Thus one needs a proper strategy to crack it.
XAT vs CAT
Students, who have studied for CAT, might find XAT to be along similar lines. Like CAT, you need not be a mathematical wizard, or an expert in English, to crack XAT.
One major difference is that XAT contains one complete subjective question, which is Essay Writing. The second difference would be a slight increase in difficulty levels in some of the questions. The third difference is the section on Decision Making. The final difference would be General Knowledge.
So, you have to follow a strategy that incorporates all these differences into your exam preparation. The following points will help you in building a strategy to ace XAT.
1) Know your exam: No entrance exam gives you a definite list of topics that appear in its papers. Thus, syllabus for these exams isn’t defined. However, by analyzing previous papers, you will get a good idea about the what and the how of the questions asked. So the first step would be to go through previous years’ papers of XAT and get a brief idea about what is asked.
Also, don’t just scan the papers. Attempt them regularly and evaluate your performance in every attempt. Use this evaluation to build and modify your preparation strategy.
2) Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation: This section will test you on Algebra, Algebraic expressions, Calendars, Co-ordinate Geometry, Functions, Geometry, Linear equations, Mensuration, Numbers, Permutation & Combinations, Probability, Profit & Loss, Progressions, Sets, SI-CI, Surds, Indices and others.
Data Interpretation can be covered by practising questions on Charts, Graphs and Tables.
Keep revising tables, squares, cubes, percentage values, etc. for an increased calculation speed. Start learning shortcuts for the topics that you have a good grip on.
Keep revising all the basics of each topic. Focus on making your concepts strong. Keep improving accuracy.
3) Verbal & Logical Ability: Your focus should be on mastering Reading Comprehension (RC) & Critical Reasoning. While practising Critical Reasoning, be aware of your reasoning ability. The better you are at reasoning out the correct option w.r.t. the matter is given, the faster you will get at solving Critical Reasoning questions. Inference-based questions are to be given first priority while practising.
For acing reading comprehension, try to make your comprehension speed as fast as your reading speed. Which means that reading a passage once, should be enough for you to get a complete idea about what is given. Reading and scanning it again would take up valuable time.
Practice Fill in the blanks, Sentence Correction, Verbal Analogies and Vocabulary usage-based questions as well.
Regular Reading will take care of your vocabulary, English usage and reading/comprehension speed. Passages asked in RCs are usually of an advanced level. Therefore, make sure that your reading practice incorporates a similarly challenging level.
Keep revising grammar rules. Focus on making your concepts strong. While reading, learn and understand all the new words that you come across.
4) Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning: This is the most unique section in XAT. The best source material to practice for this section is the previous years’ XAT papers. Questions range from Employee Management problems, Ethical dilemmas, and Finance/Sales problems to General management and revenue problems.
The more you practice decision-making questions, the quicker you will get at solving them.
Practice, practice, practice.
5) General Knowledge: The marks obtained in this section will not be used for selections in the first round of admissions. It will be considered in the PI rounds and during final admissions.
This section tests the student on Current Affairs and Static GK. Make sure that on the day of the exam, you are well-versed with the current affairs of the previous 6 months.
Focus more on Business & Economics. Also, do not forget to go through different Awards and their recipients, Famous personalities, Geography, Indian Government, Political events and Science.
Keep yourself updated with the daily news. Regularly read magazines and books.
6) Essay Writing: Topics in this section are usually abstract. No straightforward topics. They usually involve phrases/idioms or issues that are directly connected to sociology/recent events.
Along with your language, this section will evaluate your thought consistency, logical thinking ability and knowledge.
In the exam, you only get 20 mins to write the essay. Therefore, practice writing some essays in your spare time. This will help you to increase the speed with which you express your thoughts and ideas on paper. (Ask someone to evaluate your essays and give feedback on it. This will tell you where to improve upon.)
Keep reading newspaper editorials.
7) Mock Tests: Take as many mocks as you can. Analyze these mocks, right down to each and every detail. If the time spent analyzing the mocks is more than the time spent giving the mock, then you are on the right track.
Keep giving mock tests regularly, to get used to the actual XAT paper pattern. Learn from them and keep improving your strong and weak areas.
8) Plan well: Plan out a schedule and stick to it. When preparing for XAT, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the different sections, the difficulty levels and the vast syllabus. Going as per a schedule will make sure that you cover everything. At the same time, it will balance your preparation. For example, without a schedule, you might spend hours and hours on one single topic/subject. You might then get disillusioned with the topic, and be too fatigued for another section. Having a proper schedule will help you to devote a selected time span to each section. This will help you in finishing every section on time.
Remember to devote enough time to weak areas.
In the end, remember that XAT has been designed to test your presence of mind, logical thinking and common sense. Following the above guidelines will help you to develop these skills.
All the Best!!