XAT Exam Preparation
XAT exam is conducted late in the year, in fact, just after the new year celebration.
Do you have purpose for doing an MBA? What is story? Do you even have one?
Preparation strategy for XAT:
XAT is considered one of the toughest b-school entrance exam and rightly so. Its syllabus and pattern is unpredictable and it has an essay part which is missing in many other top b-school entrance exams.
XAT Exam Syllabus
XAT exam is one of the most reputed and important exam for getting admission in top B-schools in India, including XLRI, Jamshedpur. As the pattern and difficulty level of this exam is different than from CAT, aspirants should start preparing at an early level to secure better score.
Disclaimer – Arguably, XAT is perhaps the toughest MBA exam to pinpoint the exact syllabus. It’s a highly mutable paper that keeps changing every year and that too substantially. They keep adding myriad of sources to their already diversified array. So this article is just a humble attempt to bring all that serendipity under one roof, but alas, it has its limitations.
About the Exam:
The XAT exam is divided in two parts:
– First part consists of three sections, namely Quantitative ability and Data Interpretation, Decision making and Verbal ability.
– Time allotted for the first part is 140 minutes. (Varies each year)
– Second part consists of multiple choice questions on General awareness and an Essay.
– Time allotted for second part is 40 minutes. (Again, not constant as XAT paper is full of surprises)
Verbal and Logical Ability
- Majority of questions come from Grammar, Sentence Arrangement, Reading Comprehension, Sentence Correction, and Critical Reasoning.
- More emphasis is laid on Reading comprehension passages that can be long and riddled with intricate language and difficult words.
- The vocabulary used in the exam can be pretty cumbersome for occasional readers; therefore one must develop a strong reading habit.
- Logical ability consists of fact Inference, judgment, passage Conclusion, statement Argument etc.
- This is the most obscure and contentious section in the whole paper. The questions test the general decision making capability of a student in various complex situations.
- Most of the decision making questions are derived from corporate scenarios.
- There are also some questions from analytical and logical reasoning. These include questions based on the conditions and grouping test, Complex arrangement and Logical ability.
Quantitative aptitude and Data Interpretation:
- Most questions come from Number system and Arithmetic plus geometry.
- Problems in Arithmetic include Ratio and proportion, trains, clocks, calendars, mixtures, profit and loss etc.
- Questions in geometry mostly include triangles and circles only.
- Algebra is next important section and questions come from surds, indices, polynomial equations and inequalities.
- Data Interpretation consists of complex graphs and tables but the questions are doable if one is keen to invest some time in them.
This section was added to XAT exam in the year 2013 only and therefore we cannot analyze its pattern through any past precedents.
- Started in 2013, most of the questions in this section are based on the current happenings in the business world.
- Apart from that, questions are asked from various other fields too, but they are all based on current affairs.
- The Essay part is comparatively easy and if an aspirant is regular with newspapers and has good writing skills, he can easily crack it.
- What one needs to identify here is the core of the topic, the structure of thoughts, language usage and data to substantiate arguments.
Credit – Laerry
Essay Preparation for XAT and List
XAT is one of the many b-school entrance exams in India. Although the syllabus and the pattern of all these exams are almost same, one thing that differentiates XAT from others is the essay that students have to write.
The essay is evaluated only after a student is able to clear the cut off in the first part of the test which consists of three sections, Verbal ability, Quantitative aptitude and decisions making.
Here is a list of the essay topics that have been given in XAT for past few years:
|Asked at the age of 83, as to which of his project would he choose as his master piece, Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect answered, “The next one”|
|‘More than one billion Indians: A gigantic problem or a sea of opportunities|
|India has one of the largest pool of talented manpower – but few innovations and patented products|
|Economic growth without environmental damage – mirage or reality|
|The consequence of gender imbalance – The Third World War|
|The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of riches; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries|
|Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed|
|“The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals would not only load himself with most unnecessary attention but assume an authority which could safely be trusted to no council and senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of man who have folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.|
|Poverty is a big menace in India. Due to its complexity and magnitude, most of the government initiatives fail.|
|Corruption is the root cause for economic slowdown in India|
As one can notice, the topics can be generally related to current affairs and social problems or they can be abstract ranging from a thought experiment, vague idea or as can be seen in the case of the year 2004, an abstract remark. Students must prepare themselves for any kind of surprises that they may have to face in the main exam.
What is looked for in the essay?
– Subject Knowledge: How much do you know about a certain topic?
– Clarity of thoughts: How clear is your ability to think?
– Facts and Data: Are you able to substantiate your arguments with facts and data?
– Flow of thought: The way you write gives an idea of how you think and arrange your ideas.
– Handwriting, Grammar, Spellings: Vital factors in writing, a simple spelling mistake might reflect your nervousness during the exams; a coherent handwriting can award you brownie points.
Tips for Preparation
- The more you read, the better you will be able to understand how paragraphs should be written and sentences should be made.
- Make a daily habit of reading newspaper editorials and novels.
Break down the essay into three parts – The Introduction, the Main Body and the Conclusion. Since the essay has to be around 200 words, break down the word usage too. Let the introduction be about 50 words, the main body of around 100 words and conclusion of 50 words. Now, at max you can put forward two arguments in the main body to support your points.
Follow this approach – PREP i.e. Present your point, reason your point, give an example and if required – restate your point again. For generating content, try to reflect upon the topic from different angles like political, social, economical, psychological and try to analyze the implications of your points on all these points. Make sure that you follow the points stated above as to what is looked for in the essay.
- Practice writing short essays on various topics and get them evaluated through your friends on social media or MBA forums or your mentors in coaching classes.
- When you are writing, divide your essay in paragraphs and jot down a few points about what you are going to write.
- First paragraph should introduce your readers about what you are going to write in the essay.
- The main body of the essay should contain examples to support your arguments.
- You must conclude your essay with a logical inferential sentence or paragraph that holds in itself the gist of your complete essay.
- You should memorize a few important points of the essay that you have written or even better take a note of what you have written. If you are able to crack the XAT exam then you might be asked questions on your essay in your interview.
Some more points to consider –
- You have to write just 200 words, no more. In these many words, you can give intro of 50 words, main body of 100 words and then conclusion of around 50 words. So the maximum you need to write is just 1 good strong point in the main body. So what you need to do is this – write an intro about how you understand the topic, then go on to support your point with examples and logic, then conclude your point at the end.
- Note that this breakdown will prove very helpful in tackling the essay section.
- Try to see the topic from various perspectives like – political, social, economical and you will see shades of the topic from where you can approach the solution.
- Read, read, read – there is no short cut to this.
- Don’t try to use superfluous language or do spelling mistakes – keep it simple and lucid.
- Don’t contradict yourself or your point of view while writing the essay and make sure that the conclusion is coherent with the points you mention above.
Students should note that the essay does not form part of the GD PI call. You may be asked questions on the same in the Interview though and thus, keeping a note of what you actually wrote in the exam would be helpful.
The XAT essay is not that big an issue is tackled intelligently. You have lots of time, 1 minute to write 20 words !!
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XAT Preparation Plan
XAT consists of five sections divided into two stages. The time duration for first stage is 140 minutes while that of second is 40 minutes.
- Verbal and Logical Ability
- Decision making
- Quantitative aptitude and data interpretation
- General Awareness
- Essay. Learn About Essay Preparation Over Here.
Learn more about the individual sections and important topics here.
Some facts about the Exam
- XAT is a paper and pencil-based test.
- The test is conducted once every year, preferably in the month of December or January.
- The test duration is 180 minutes but may change.
- The exam is divided into two stages with a total five sections.
- Candidates who are in the final year of the Bachelor’s Degree Programs or who have appeared in the final year examination can also appear in the test.
- Candidates need to fill the form of individual colleges separately to be considered for admission in them with XAT score.
Top Colleges Under XAT
Xavier Aptitude Test happens to be one of the most grueling management exams in India. One has to keep his wits about himself to come to terms with such a paper. Based solely on paper content, it is perhaps tougher than CAT. However, the relative competition for CAT is what makes it edge upwards overall. Given the fact that the exam tests students in myriad ways, there are many top colleges which accept XAT scores for admission to their programs.
Officially, when signing up for XAT, you would find thousands of colleges, however, most of these are not at par with the ones that you would ideally be dreaming of. So we present the list of the best colleges under XAT.
The Top 10 College List
Name Of College
Rough Estimate of Percentile Required
|Xavier Labor Research Institute (XLRI)||92%ile cut off overall and sectional cut off needs to be cleared too.|
|SP Jain Institute of Management, Mumbai||85%ile and calls based on the profile of students.|
|Xavier Institute of Management, Bhuwaneshwar||90%ile cut off overall and sectional cut offs.|
|Goa Institute of Management (GIM)||70%ile|
|SDM IMD, Mysore||75%ile.|
Note that scoring the required marks is a prerequisite for the next stage – i.e. interview and group discussion. Also, the cut offs mentioned are tentative and tend to change every year. These are just to give you are general idea and for the latest information, refer to the college website or ask a question on Pagalguy.
The cut off indicated is the minimum you might need to attain in order to get a call from the college. However, the final conversion call for colleges tend to be slightly higher than the minimum cut off, so make sure you target a higher number.
On What Basis Are These Colleges Ranked?
Most of these colleges feature in the Pagalguy B school list in relative order. Just that we filtered them out based on the colleges which accept XAT. There may be some discrepancy and prejudice but we believe that these colleges give a fair idea to students regarding the best colleges to which they can apply under this exam.
It’s very hard to rank colleges, but personally, XLRI and S P Jain are in a league of their own, the next three fall in the 2nd tier and from then on its third tier and beyond.
It’s best that you apply to these colleges based on the score that you get in the Mocks or else you would end up being bankrupt as each college costs a lot in the application fee and it adds up when you are giving multiple exams.
Other Helpful Links for XAT
You can get free updates regarding the XAT and other management exams. You may choose to use any of the following options for this purpose
If you liked our post regarding the XAT exam and the XAT season ahead, please consider sharing this article on Facebook, Google+ using the options on the left.
An Old Article On XAT that we plan to merge with this article in future. Pasting it here for now:
XAT – Xavier Aptitude Test Old Article
Xavier Aptitude Test, prominently known as XAT is a national level aptitude exam conducted by Xavier Institution of Management Institutes (XAMI). The scores of this exam are used to evaluate students on various parameters and are accepted by various reputed colleges in India for admission to their management programs.
XAT is conducted once every year in the first week of January.
About the XAT Test
The exam consists of two parts divided in 180 minutes.
- The first part consists of three sections, namely Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation, Decision making and Verbal ability.
- Time allotted for the first part is 140 minutes.
- The second part consists of multiple choice questions on General awareness and Essay.
- Time allotted for the second part is 40 minutes.
- XAT usually has a differential marking for all the questions. Marks for different questions are printed on their right side of the test paper.
- Negative marking is 1/4th of the marks allotted to each question.
The uniqueness of XAT is that it has the following
– General Awareness section had 30 questions of one mark each.
– An essay had to be written in not more than 200 words. The topic of the essay was, “Corruption is the root cause for the economic slowdown in India”.
Fees for XAT Examination Form
- The fee is Rs. 950 for General category students and Rs. 650 for SC/ST category students.
- The candidate can either opt to make the payment through the online payment gateway, net-banking (for IDBI bank customers), demand draft or through a cash payment in any branch of IDBI Bank.
- If you are an SC/ST student and you are paying through demand draft then you must send a copy of your caste certificate with it.
- XAT is conducted in the following cities of India: Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Berhampur, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Cuttack, Dehradun, Delhi, Goa, Greater Noida, Gurgaon, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jabalpur, Jaipur, Jammu, Jamshedpur, Kanpur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Noida, Patna, Pune, Raipur, Ranchi, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Surat, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum, Vadodara, Varanasi, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam
- XAT is also conducted in two international cities, namely Dubai and Kathmandu.
A Basic understanding of different sections of XAT
1. Verbal and Logical Ability Majority of questions come from Grammar, Sentence Arrangement, Reading Comprehension, Sentence Correction, and Critical Reasoning. More emphasis is laid on Reading comprehension passages that can be long and riddled with intricate language and difficult words.
2. Decision making: This is the most obscure and contentious section in the whole paper. The questions test the general decision making capability of a student in various complex situations. Most of the decision making questions are derived from corporate scenarios. There are also some questions from analytical and logical reasoning.
3. Quantitative aptitude and Data Interpretation: Most questions come from Number system and Arithmetic plus geometry. Algebra is next important section and questions come from surds, indices, polynomial equations, and inequalities. Data Interpretation consists of complex graphs and tables but the questions are doable if one is keen to invest some time in them.
4. General Awareness: This section was added to XAT exam in the year 2013 only and therefore we cannot analyze its pattern through any past precedents. This year, most of the questions were based on the current happenings in the business world. Apart from that, questions are asked from various other fields too, but they are all based on current affairs.
5. Essay: The Essay part is comparatively easy if an aspirant is regular with newspapers and has good writing skills. What one needs here is to identify the core of the topic, structure his thoughts carefully, use proper language and substantiate your arguments with logic and data.
The examiners would check the second part of the test consisting of General awareness and essay only after the aspirant has cleared the cutoff in the first part. It is advised that the student memorize the important points that he has written in his essay because it might be discussed again in the interview.
Preparation Tips for XAT
1. Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning:
- Reading comprehension passages are comparatively difficult in this exam, therefore an aspirant should have a good habit of reading eclectic materials. Candidates should make a daily habit of reading novels and editorials from major newspapers, offline and online.
- One can strengthen his vocabulary by memorizing a few words every day that he stumbles upon in newspaper or novels. One can also make use of word flash cards that can be brought from Career Launcher or he can create his own using online resources.
2. Decision-Making Section For XAT:
- There cannot be any standard method to prepare for this section. While solving this section in the exam, candidates must be non-emotive and must use practicality and logic to answer questions.
- Reading business case studies can be helpful to understand the decision-making problems that are given in this section.
- Tackling this section is one of the trickiest things for students. This is evident by the fact that even though different coaching institutes provide solution keys for this section, they seldom match. The issue is the subjectivity involved in tackling these questions. For starters, students should never choose an answer that is even remotely unethical.
- Read the problems very very carefully and get to know what the exact problem is. The book – 101 ethical dilemmas is also a great book to refer to for practice on this topic. Try to work backward by eliminating the redundant options and normally you will be left with just two options in the end. These strategies would go a long way in helping you tackle the problem of preparing for this section. In the end, the decision making section of XAT is more about common sense than anything else.
3. Quantitative aptitude and Data Interpretation:
- Students must practice a wide range of questions in their preparation before they attempt this section in the exam. R.S Agarwal’s book on Quantitative aptitude is a good start to hone your skills.
- Number system and Algebra are the important part of this section and therefore students must practice a diversity of questions before they attempt the main exam. It is recommended to solve the previous XAT papers and examine your shortcomings and weaknesses through them.
- One key to solving Data interpretation questions quickly is to have the knowledge of various ratios, squares, square roots, cubes, fractions etc. on your fingertips.
4. General Awareness:
- Most of the questions are from current affairs in the business world. Students must make a daily habit of reading a business magazine and the financial section of the newspapers.
- Reputed news magazines like “Wall Street Journal” and “The Financial times” can be accessed through their online websites. Subscribe to the websites and like their pages on Facebook. In this way, you would be better able to get most of the important news in your feed.
- Read Novels, Blogs and the editorial sections of various newspapers to get a hand on the different dimensions of writing.
- Write essays on various topics, abstract and general ones and get them evaluated through your friends or teachers at your coaching classes.
- Keep a tab on the national and international news, read Wikipedia or general awareness books. This will help you in providing facts, data and logical arguments in your Essay.
Mock Test for XAT
- Mock tests are necessary for a student to pitch his skills and knowledge against his competitors and evaluate his overall standing.
- Today, there are numerous mock tests available online and offline.
- If you want to enroll on an offline mock test then you should go for the one offered by Career Launcher or TIME.
- If you want to enroll in an online mock test then you should go for the one offered by TestFunda.
XAT Tips for the final Day
- Do not go with a pre-determined plan for XAT. The exam never fails to surprise students. It has done that every time in the past and there is no reason why it won’t do that in the near future.
- Manage your time intelligently. Remember that you need to do well in all the three sections.
- Do the easy questions first, then move on towards those which are harder for you. Do not get stuck on one question – EVER !! This advice has been given so many times but still, students make the same mistakes.
- Rest well before the final day.
Ahh…this is troublesome !! Applying for XAT. Not only do they keep changing the official website but they cumbersome applying procedure. It’s somewhat disgusting when you have to apply to so many colleges.
Applying to XAT
Anyways, for applying to XAT, you need to follow the following steps
- Sign up for XAT on the website that XLRI provides. Since it changes every year, you will find out about it later in the year only.
- Make the payment via online, Axis Bank (normally it is via Axis bank) only.
- Take a print out of the final payment confirmation and send it to XLRI, Jamshedpur.
The procedure is quite complicated really and really poorly managed since the past 2 years in particular. Also, applying for XAT does not mean that you apply for XLRI by default and you need to shell out money for XL separately.