The XAT Exam
XAT Paper of Xavier Aptitude Test is one of the most grueling management exams in the country. Despite the fact that the number of students taking XAT is only half of CAT, the exam has been able to carve out a niche of its own.
Many critics and academicians regard XAT as tougher than CAT. Had the competition for this exam been on the same lines as CAT, we would have gladly agreed to this comment. We would like to mention that the XAT paper is indeed harder but the relative competition makes it a notch lighter than CAT.
The XAT paper happens to be one of the most unpredictable papers of all the MBA entrance exams. It is broadly divided into three sections but the content of these sections changes in structure every year. Apart from that, unlike the online Cat exam, the XAT paper does not have a fixed number of questions.
Further, there is differential marking in the paper which is also not fixed. For e.g. the first 5 wrong answers carry .20 negative marks but if you get the 6th question wrong, 0.25 marks will be deducted. This is a rough sketch of the marking pattern that was followed in the year 2010 which was different than the pattern that was used in the previous year.
These subtle changes in the XAT paper make it unpredictable in character thus adding to the overall difficulty level of the exam.
Though there is little difference in the sections of XAT exam, the content of these sections varies to some extent as compared to CAT.
There are three sections in the XAT paper
1) LR/Case study – The LR section mostly consists of data questions just like Cat where you have to find the unknown data from the given set of known data. The unique character of this section stems from the Case study section. This section is unique to XAT as per our knowledge. In this section a case is given in form of a passage and questions are asked based on the data given in the paragraph. These questions judge the ethical, moral and common sense of an individual.
2) Quantitative Aptitude – This section deals with what we call as Mathematics. This is very similar to CAT except for the fact that some higher mathematics questions are thrown in, into this section. However, there are enough questions of the Cat pattern in this section to choose from and one can easily clear the cut off even after leaving these higher mathematics questions.
3) English/VA – This is the third and last section of the XAT paper. Its standard is at par with CAT but the types of questions keep varying. Sometimes figures of speech and other such direct language based questions are asked in this exam.
Though these are the broad three sections of this paper, please note that this setup is not definite and may change entirely on the final day. This has always been a specialty of the XAT paper and students should not go with a prejudice.
The last part of the XAT paper is an Essay. After the written exam is over, a short break is given of around 5-10 min. Then, students are required to write an essay on a topic that is disclosed at that very moment. Please note that there is no option provided to the student and there is just one topic to write on. Though this essay does not play a role in the interview call, it may or may not play a role in the final selection of the candidate.
One of the biggest USPs of the XAT paper is that it does not keep the cap of 50% on individuals and hence students who have not done well in their graduation can also apply for the same.