XAT Preparation Strategy by Satvik Bajpai
My Journey toward a Business School began when I started my undergraduation in Bachelor of Commerce in 2018. I was always interested in an MBA and had started searching on how to get into an MBA Business School post my undergraduation. I joined the iQuanta group and the first post I came across was The Business School Ranking by Indrajeet Sir. I have been an active part of the group ever since then.
I began my CAT and XAT coaching in 2019, a year ahead of the exam, and had taken the usual Mocks and Guidance books as part of my preparation strategy. The preparation was very hard, and I could not crack the 90-percentile barrier (forgetting the 99 required at ABC). I was firm in Verbal Ability as I have always been an avid reader of Books and Articles, but I struggled with the Quantitative part of the Preparation. I tried my level best to improve but somehow could never hit the 30 marks barrier I set for myself in Quants.
Meanwhile, in March 2020, the country underwent a lockdown, and my studies were also affected like everyone else’s. I decided to postpone my Entrance Exam dream by a year and attempt CAT 2021 and XAT 2022. I continued my preparation by solving books on Quantitative Techniques and Logical Reasoning, but my Mock scores always lagged. (The only mock I did well was the free mock offered by iQuanta, and I scored something in 60ish out of 198)
I had lost hope by now in my CAT and XAT Preparation journey. I had started applying abroad and had received an offer from top Universities Abroad. I had registered for my CAT 2021 Exam and, thus, I decided to attempt it anyway, without any burden or any expectation; the thing that I knew was that I had a strategy; my strategy was to take the best risk possible and try to score as much as I can. I was allotted the Evening slot; we had the more accessible VARC paper (my strength) and the most challenging Quant paper (my Weakness).
When the Answer key was released almost a week later, I was shocked to see I was scoring more than 70 marks, pushing me around the 95 percentiles (94.49 is what I finally got). I was thrilled as this meant I had a shot with some top Business Schools in India. I had also registered for XAT and decided to prepare a little harder for XAT. I decided to mainly focus on the Decision Making and GK part of XAT. The Decision Making turned out to be a bigger disaster during preparation, and I had decided to stop solving any questions and not to demotivate myself before the exam.
My XAT exam turned out to be better than my CAT exam. The Verbal was brutal (as expected), The Quant was easier (still messed it a little), and the Decision making tricky. I was expecting a good score. When the Answer key was out, I realized I had scored 32.75. Three weeks later, I received an interview shortlist from XLRI’s Prestigious Flagship PGPHRM program.
Section-Wise XAT Preparation Tips
1. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
Reading Books and Articles of all kinds to enhance reading speed, attempting maximum questions as this was my strength and I used to eliminate non coherent options (for example if option D is not deemed suitable for an answer, then I eliminate it immediately)
2. Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation (LRDI)
Solving sudoku puzzles, practicing different sets of Data Interpretation, not solving all the questions of one set (if deemed difficult), and most importantly- choosing the right set.
3. Decision Making (DM)
Using the logic of the question not my own interpretation, Solving Decision Making questions through the lens of Law, Practicing lots of questions from the past year papers.
4. Quantitative ability (QA)
My weakest section, solving as many questions as I can, taking intelligent guesses, Practicing known concepts more than the unknown, Understanding the art of leaving questions.
5. General Knowledge (GK)
Absolutely Random questions were asked and nothing can prepare you for this but one can make intelligent guesses (Example- A Bengali movie was given and the Director’s name was asked, Good chance that the director would be Bengali too so choose the Option you believe is a Bengali)
Suggestion To The XAT Aspirants
- Do not take Mock test results by heart, as they count for nothing during your exam. Always be positive as the real test is more accessible than the simulation test you answer for preparation
- Business School Exams like XAT are testing your risk-taking abilities. As Managers, you have to make decisions involving various risk factors; hence, that part should be reflective even when answering the XAT paper. Find a middle ground between playing safe and making reckless decisions during your exams.
- You always have a chance if you mess up one of your tests. Many of my Friends at XLRI had messed up their CAT Exam, and yet that amounts to nothing today.
- Answer Decision-Making questions by the logic of the question and not by your virtue. It may seem amoral to you, but the DM section expects you to make decisions based on the facts of the question.
- Your exam preparation helps during your first semester of MBA. We have Statistics, Case studies (30 pages long), Decision making based questions, etc. Learn the concepts (not just for the Exam) as it will help in the First term.
- Always have an exam day strategy– choose one that suits you the best.
- Strike a balance between mocks and question solving– but as I said earlier, do not take them to your heart.
- Read books and articles; they help a lot for VARC.
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