With CAT results round the corner it is natural to be anxious. But I suggest it would be better to focus on the upcoming XAT exam.

To begin with, let us first look at the differences between CAT and XAT.  

  1. Level of difficulty: XAT has always been much more difficult than CAT.  With DM and Verbal Ability forming nearly two- third of the main exam, and essay forming an integral part of the first round, XAT is slightly more inclined towards Language and Verbal Skills.
  2. Level of transparency: XAT will be much  more categorical in disclosing the result date and  the cut-offs  and also in confessing the mistake, if anything goes wrong (2 years back many students who cleared the cut–off didn’t get call initially, but when this was brought to the notice of XAT authorities they confessed the mistake and gave calls to all the students who cleared the cut-off)
  3. And of course Decision Making and General Knowledge sections: (More on this later)

Now let us move us move to the paper solving strategy but before that few things that I keep in mind while attempting the paper.

Things that I keep in Mind for XAT:

  • To me XAT is test of one’s knowledge more than the speed.  In this exam, I read each and every question.  The difficulty level of the paper permits me to see all the questions at least once and leave the difficult questions.  I believe one has to be good at “judge & pick”
  •  I go with the mindset that if I am finding it difficult majority of others would also be finding it difficult.
  •  My objective is to clear the cut off in Quant and score heavily either in DM or Verbal or in both.
  • Length of the DM cases and RCs do not bother me, even if lengthy, I do read them.

Now coming to the sections in the order of my attempt.

Section 1 Decision Making: Someone having slightest of the common sense and the comprehension skill will not only find this section interesting but also easy to attempt.  I usually give 45-50 minutes to this section and try to maximise my attempts.  In a typical DM question the case has one or few objectives to be met and there are few constraints on the way to objectives.  So, the first thing I do is to identify the constraints and the objectives to be met. While attempting I tick the option which fulfils the objective and not the options which may sound ideal/best. Also, DM the cases can be quite long, last year there were two page long cases.  I am sure those who read the case would have found it easy.

This section may also have Decision Making Caselets requiring Mathematical Interpretation.  Last year there were two such caselets (One easy and one difficult) with 7 questions in total.  There was a simple question in which the correct answer was not in the option. Deliberately done? No one knows that. But certainly this section is the test of one’s ability to think clearly.

Tip:  Do not be intimidated, irrespective of the length or the complexity of the question, read it once.  Do not mark the ideal answer choice; keep in mind the objectives and the constraints; look for the option which compromises on none.  If things are going right (if you feel so), then make a kill by giving extra 5-7 minutes.

Section 2 Verbal Ability: Hate it or like it, one has to attempt CR and RC in XAT. Fortunately, I like them.  I give 50-55 minutes to this section. While attempting RCs and CRs I have to read most passages twice.  It is important to understand what is being asked in a question. Many a times, I commit the mistake of ticking the option which is given in the passage but has not been asked for in the question. This will surely happen in XAT too but then I am prepared for it.  PJs are perhaps the easiest part of this section.  The grammar questions require good understanding of the language and are not easy to attempt.

Tip:  Go with the mindset of attempting RCs, if not all, then at least two. Many students feel that it is a waste of time, but I think it has more to do with the mental make-up. If you are not attempting RCs, you will not score in this section.  Solve PJs, fill ups and grammar first, then RC passages and then CR questions.   Good thing with the Verbal ability is that you always feel that you have marked the right option 🙂

Section 3 Quant & DI: I keep 40-45 minutes for this section with the belief and idea that I have to solve only 9-10 questions accurately. I search for DI caselets and attempt them first. I always prefer a calculation intensive DI over a logical DI because I know that through tedious manual work I can get to the right answer and that is my only objective here, Accuracy! No smartness.  While attempting maths questions I search for Arithmetic questions and attempt them first followed by Algebra and Number systems. I rarely attempt Geometry and never if diagram is not given.  I have a belief that if I pick my strength questions here then I will easily clear the cut off.

Tip: Unlike verbal where everybody believes that he knows something about it, if one does not know maths, one does not know it!!  So be selective here. Solve DI first (last year DI were simple) and then pick the questions from your area of strength.

Section 4 GK:   As far as GK is concerned we all are in the same boat.  I think a score of 5-6 is sufficient, provided you do get a call for second round from XLRI. I don’t think anybody requires more than 10 minutes for this section.  And for the preparation part of GK, at this stage I will try to be abreast with the happenings of past 3 months.

Part B Essay:  It is all about analysing a topic. All I can say is that I never shy away from stating my opinions. XLRI people for sure like opinions more than facts.

Note: Please remember to have Plan B ready.  What I have suggested is my Plan A.  Go with a clear mind and a broad approach.  Stick to the time allotment which you have planned for yourself. There would be very few candidates who can afford to give say 1 hour or more to Quant (because it is toughest of all the sections) and get a call from XLRI. Play to your strengths but do not be left behind in those parts were most of the call getters will score i.e DM.

Considering the last year’s test level, my suggestion on the scores for XLRI call is:

Sectional Score
Course DM VA QA Good Overall Score
BM 9-10 marks 9-10 marks 8 – 9 marks 35+
HR 9-10 marks 10-11 marks 6 – 7 marks 32+

*** Last year, above mentioned marks would have fetched a call with good percentile, the cut off was much lower. However, to have a realistic chance of converting the call one must score 32+.

All the best!!
Siddharth Mehta
Career Launcher, Bhilai

Siddharth is an avid reader and a fitness freak.  From running Mumbai Marathon to writing blogs, Siddharth is someone keen to explore his new talents. His passion for teaching can be felt in his positively charged classes and his informal interactions with his students to whom he is a mentor and a motivator.  

Siddharth is an XLRI alumnus.