Harvard Business School (SPNM), MBA: SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, Master of Information Technology, Virginia Tech.
XAT stands for Xavier’s Aptitude Test. This is a national-level entrance examination which is conducted by XLRI every year and gives an opportunity for a student who is interested in the management area. Additionally, this score can be used for admission in various other 100 institutes for admission to their management programs through the XAT score. It is conducted on the first Sunday of the year when the program starts and is an online format-based exam. The next exam will also be conducted on the first Sunday of 2019. XAT exam consists of four sections Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, Verbal & Logical Ability; XAT Decision Making & General knowledge.
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XAT Exam Pattern
XAT exam pattern is quite different from other MBA exams as it consists of a section called Decision making. This area checks the management aptitude by presenting different situations and cases and asks you to identify the correct decision in these situations by an individual. The candidate gets 165 minutes to solve the paper and the candidate can shift through sections at any time in the paper.
The paper can be divided into three parts: concept-driven, practice intensive and environmentally sensitive. Concept-driven includes Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and some areas of Verbal & Logical Ability; Practice Intensive includes Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning as it can be mastered only when practised nicely and General Knowledge is environment sensitive. In this article, we will discuss the strategy for XAT decision-making section and how to tackle its questions
Here you can get acquainted with the best strategy for XAT
XAT Decision Making
In the past few years, XAT has seen an increase in the number of questions on Decision Making. This makes Decision Making an important factor in clearing percentile cut-offs. Unfortunately, a lot of students don’t know how to prepare for this section and end up with low scores for this section. Lack of Knowledge and a lack of time invested in preparing, are the reasons for low scores in Decision Making.
The following guidelines will help you to build your preparation strategy for Decision Making:
1)Identify the question: Questions asked in Decision Making usually ask you to choose the correct decision. A situation will be given to you that will involve a number of situations and factors. Your job is to evaluate all the situations and factors, and based on this, take the appropriate decision.
Another type of question is where you will have to choose the appropriate reason that led to a particular situation.
XAT decision-making question types
- What led him/her to do this?
- What would you choose if ___ happened?
- Which of the following is the best option?
- What would be the most ethical option?
2)XAT decision-making syllabus: The passages/sets that are asked in this section can be broadly grouped into types.
- Business/Financial situations
- Situations involving strategies
- Situations related to Corporate/Human Resources
- Analytical Reasoning
Most of the sets will belong to any of the above-mentioned types.
3)Approaching the set: Any activity done with the right approach will bear fruits. The same holds true for decision-making questions. You have to follow a logical approach while making a decision for a particular question. DO NOT make EMOTIONAL decisions.
Remember, XAT is an exam that is attempted by students who will eventually go on to become future business leaders. Therefore, like any business leader, you have to make decisions based on logic (and sometimes, ethics) and not on your feelings/emotions.
4)Approaching the options: As mentioned earlier, a lot of questions will have options that are pretty close to each other. A lot of students get confused between two or more options.
Now, here is where, again, the way you approach the answers, comes into play. Instead of trying to find the right answer, focus on eliminating the wrong ones. The quicker you eliminate options, the faster you can zero in on the correct choice.
So, when practising, focus on eliminating the wrong/incorrect options.
5)Past Papers: Practice Makes Perfect. And the best material to practice for Decision Making is the previous years’ papers for XAT. Get your hands on the questions and solutions of previous years’ papers on XAT. Try out the decision-making questions from XAT 2019 question paper. You will get a good idea about how the questions are asked. These question papers have all the XAT solutions required.
Also, the difficulty levels of the set/questions vary. Attempting past papers will give you good exposure to the different levels of complexity in the decision-making section.
6)Practice: The final tip will be practice. Practice all the mock questions and previous years’ questions. The more you solve, the better you’ll get at tackling Decision Making questions.
Do follow the above guidelines while preparing for Decision Making. They will make the preparation for this section, a lot less cumbersome. Many students give up on this section as they fail to take the above-mentioned tips into account while preparing. As a result, they approach this section with pretty low levels of confidence.
How to tackle XAT decision-making questions
Identify the people associated with the event:
Skim the passage given and a quick analysis is required to identify the people who are relevant to you in the context of the given question. Getting to know the scope of the situation will help you in making the right decision. Keep the list of people in mind as you understand the question and move towards solving it.
1. Pick up a holistic approach:
Once people in the scene was known, analyze the situation from the perspective view of all the stakeholders. Look at it from every angle and from the point of view of every person involved in the situation. Neglecting any aspect of the situation might not be very helpful in solving the question.
2. Benefit of most people:
The selected option must benefit the maximum number of stakeholders involved in the scene. After analyzing the different perspective view of the situation, the option that makes the maximum benefit to a large number of people should be given first preference. This might make you select the least risky option out of all, but be assured that is probably the answer that is correct.
Also Read: How XAT is different from CAT:
3. Say “No to self-opinion”:
The option that is correct in the given scenario might be completely the opposite of the candidate’s own personal opinion. This is one place where candidates should keep their value system aside and choose what seems like the most ethical for the given situation. If this means that you have to put yourself in the shoes of God himself, please do. The option that you select must be the most morally correct thing among all the options given there.
4. Belief in the good ethical way:
Every time there is a choice that gives a material advantage but does not seem very ethical, the right thing to do is stay away from that option instead of always going by the ethical way. The Decision-Making section more often does not test personal ethics. Hence, obviously, choose the most ethical answer.
5. Just diagnose why the other options don’t match:
Just go a step ahead and put a diagnostic view to know the reason behind wrong answers as well. This section is so designed that it gives a feeling that all the answers can be correct. Surprise! These options are enticing but they are most likely to be wrong. Analyze why they are wrong. Once you know why not to select the other options, it is easier to select the right one.
6. Ask yourself key questions:
Yes, do not waste too much time on one question, but while you are at it, ask yourself if you have covered all the bases. It is easy to make a wrong decision when you miss out on an important bit of information. Take into account every bit of information that you can and make a sound decision.
Finally analyzing the situation logically and with an ethical approach can be the best way to crack the XAT decision-making section.
XAT decision-making question 1
Mrs Biswas has been a leading business manager in the world of business and has established her credentials in a world dominated by men. She has primarily worked in the industry and has extensive knowledge of the field. She recently started her own cosmetics firm and has decided to make sure that females find adequate representation in her company. In her experiences in the cosmetic industry, she has generally seen that the sales and marketing wings of most companies are dominated by men. Keeping this in mind, she has decided to employ at least 50% females in the sales and marketing department of her company.
Which of the following could be the most serious issue that Mrs Biswas might face with her decision?
- The job might have travel requirements that might pose a challenge for females.
- Females have an intrinsic understanding of the use of cosmetics that men do not have.
- It is not necessary that females wish to take up these roles.
- Men are better at sales than females.
- Both 2 and 4
In the given case, the given prompt behaves like a critical reasoning prompt. The fact is that Mrs Biswas wishes to address the problem of gender equality. Her solution is to have selection criteria on the basis of gender. In this case, she neglects the fact that the given job role might have certain requirements which require males and this is a threat to her plan. Option 2 does not weaken the argument, but rather strengthens it. Option 3 does not provide conclusive evidence against the argument. Option 4 is a prejudiced statement and we avoid such options in decision-making questions.
For reasoning-type questions, evaluate the question as an argument. Isolate the premise and conclusion and attack the assumptions of the argument.
XAT decision-making question 2
You are the HR manager of your organisation. There is a hard-working employee, Sanjeev, in your organisation. In terms of behaviour, effort and diligence, Sanjeev is one of the top employees in the company. The issue is that the company is a call centre for a US-based company and Sanjeev’s communication skills are not up to that level. Even after being given training, Sanjeev has not been able to improve his communication skills.
What should you do in the given scenario?
- Ask Sanjeev to leave.
- Provide another training to Sanjeev.
- Find another job for Sanjeev
- Change the job role of Sanjeev.
- Both 1 and 3
This prompt represents a typical scenario in a company where the performance of an employee is under scrutiny. As you can see, there is a positive and a negative side provided in the question. In the given case, you need to figure out a solution that is beneficial for the company yet takes care of the employee as well. These are the middle path questions, where you select an option that suits all. In this case, that option is 4. It helps both the company as well as the employee. Options 1 and 3 are extreme and illogical. Option 2 is not valid as it represents a solution that has failed already; you should not go against the facts in this case.
XAT decision-making question 3
You are the SDM of your city and you are faced with a peculiar problem. Winters are approaching and at the same time, you are supposed to clear the slum which is situated right at the periphery of the city. City residents who live nearby have complained of the sanitation and cleanliness challenges posed by the slum-dwellers and want them to be evicted. On the other hand, the slum dwellers are requesting that they won’t be able to change homes in the middle of harsh winters and also it will be tough for their children to relocate in the middle of the academic year. They wish to continue to stay in the same location for another 3 months. The residents allege that this is a move by the slum dwellers in order to stay put and not move.
What should you do in the given case?
- Ask the slum dwellers to move.
- Allow the slum dwellers to stay in the winter months.
- Introduce a cleanliness drive in the area and ask those slum dwellers to leave immediately who do not follow the instruction.
- Try partial transfer of slum residents and shift some of the dwellers to permanent low income housing (depending upon availability).
- Both 3 and 4
The situation in the given case represents a typical dilemma. The key constituents in such a case are that both sides of the debate have some valid points and you need to take a call. In such a case, it is advisable to find a solution that does not favour any one side and yet resolves the problem. Remember, in such cases, abrupt solutions favouring extreme action are not recommended. The given solution might not solve the problem completely but it is a step in the right direction. Considering this, we find that options 3 and 4 both solve the problem partially and can combine to provide an effective solution.
The above guidelines give you the right info and approach, which is needed before beginning your preparation. Follow these tips and crack this section.
All the Best!!