XAT Preparation Strategy

XAT Preparation

Most of the students who are reading this have already written CAT and are gearing up for XAT. With XAT being the gateway to the prestigious XLRI and a few other good institutes. That is why quite a few students bank on it. The exam pattern is a bit different from CAT but people who have already prepared for CAT and other competitive exams will need to do some minute tweaking in order to ace this.

The XAT Exam Pattern

The XAT exam pattern has been changed again in the XAT 2022 exam. It is now a 3-hour and 10 minutes long exam with two parts. The first part consists of 5 sections with two parts. The first part consists of the Verbal and Logical Ability section, the Decision Making section and the Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation section. And the second part consists of General Knowledge and an essay. With the essay being reintroduced in the XAT 2022. The total number of questions is 101, with 100 MCQ-type and 1 descriptive (essay).

There is no sectional time limit. Moreover, you will be allowed to move from part 1 to part 2 only after completing part 1 of the exam. Only part 1 will be calculated for percentile.

The new type of Numerical Answer Type (NAT) questions have been introduced wherein the candidates would have to use a virtual keypad to enter the numerical answer. NAT-type questions do not have negative markings.

Section NameNo. of QuestionsTotal MarksTime Limit
PART 17575165 minutes
Verbal and Logical Ability2626No sectional time limit
Decision Making2121No sectional time limit
Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation2828No sectional time limit
Part 225 minutes
General Knowledge 2525No sectional time limit
Essay1No sectional time limit

The marking scheme for this exam is also peculiarly different. While there is 1 mark for every correct answer, every wrong answer bears a negative marking of 0.25 marks. Candidates can leave up to 8 questions totally in Part 1 and anything beyond 8 question would attract 0.1 negative marks per question left.

For percentile calculation, only Part 1 would be considered but students are requested to attempt both the parts seriously as every part becomes a judgemental criterion when it comes to GDPI.

Verbal and Logical Ability: – This section is a combination of the VARC and the LR portion of the CAT exam. There will be around 26 total questions. Approximately 4 passages are given in this section, 14-16 questions will be asked on the basis of RCs. The verbal ability questions range from 8-10.

The passages are way smaller than CAT and often the passages constitute of poems. Sometimes, that makes it hard to comprehend. The vocabulary will be put on test in this section through passages and through the other VA questions which include fill in the blanks with the right choice of words, grammar questions, synonyms, antonyms and other vocabulary tests. There would be questions from Paragraph Jumbles, Paragraph Completion, Critical Reasoning, Statements-Assumptions etc. The paper would not consist of difficult sets of LR but the level of Verbal ability would be higher than CAT.

CAT exam

Decision Making: – Decision Making or often called Business Decision Making is a section that would be new for the candidates. This is a section that has scenarios of business problems or HR problems and tells you to choose the best option or order the options from most effective to least effective to solve the problem given in the question. It consists of 7 to 8 passages that have 2-3 questions each. The total number of questions is 21. The preparation for this section is more or less practising the old set of papers as there is no syllabus for this section.

Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation: – This section consists of the Quantitative Ability as well as Data Interpretation Questions. There would be 3-4 DI sets and the rest would be Quants. The total number of questions is 28. The Syllabus for Quants and DI would be similar and of the same level of CAT. This section might not need additional preparation. Just more and more practise will sort it out.

General Knowledge and essay: – This is a section of 25 mins where anything and everything can come. It would be from various kinds of current affairs, news, trivia, history, important past events, business etc. People normally spend the least amount of effort on the preparation of this section but it is important that you have a decent score in this section as the professors interviewing you might judge you on this score. Practising more and more from old papers and mock tests would suffice. The essay has been reintroduced in the XAT 2022 exam.

There is no negative marking in this section. The essay is evaluated only after being shortlisted by the XLRI.

XAT 2021 iQuanta Exam Analysis

XAT 2021 as expected had 100 Questions. 75 in Part 1 and 25 in Part 2.
A few takeaways before we get to the exam analysis
The questions were conceptual but were expected. In fact, many questions were directly from iQuanta classes.
Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning – 26 Questions
A few grammar questions and some tricky RCs. The passages were easy to read but the options were excruciatingly close. It was difficult to eliminate options. Para Jumble questions were comparatively easier.
Difficulty- in the same line as of past XAT 2020.
Good Attempts – 13-15.
Decision Making – 21 Questions.
The Sets were real life but the questions were complicated. Case Studies could be seen in an overwhelming manner. Difficulty – A tad easier than XAT 2020.
Good Attempts – 15-17
QA + DI – Very conceptual QA questions. A few sitters could have been done. DI was very calculative and intensive. Difficult to read the information and could have taken a lot of time.
Overall the DI sets pushed the difficulty of the section high.
Good Attempts – 8 to 12.
Part 2 – No major surprises here. GK had no negative marking as expected. Mostly current affair questions.
Good attempts – 8-12.

XAT 2022 Score vs Percentile

XAT ScorePercentile

The Cut-offs and XAT preparation strategy

One of the key factors of this exam is the sections are not time-bound and you can move across sections during this strategy. Now, people who are strong in a particular section end up spending more time in that section. So, while they meet the overall cut-off of a particular program, they might fall short on the sectional cut-off. A lot of people fall short of the DM cut-off as they pay less importance to the section or they make too many errors. While the section you find easiest should be done the earliest, a substantial amount of time should be given to the other sections as well. It is suggested that aspirants should write as many mocks as they can in order to judge how much time to give to each section in order to clear the cut-offs of each section. The cut-off goes till 96 because a lot of students in that range fail to meet the sectional cut-offs.

The 99 percentile score would be somewhere around 40 out of 75 and the 96 percentile would lie somewhere around 35.

Practice is the Key

While not much time is usually left after CAT to prepare for XAT, it is really important for the students to practise as much as possible. Taking at least 10 mock tests would help the students understand how the pattern is and how he/she can strategize to ace the exam. Once you know how the pattern is and how to work through it, XAT can be aced nicely. Also, people who often falter in the CAT exam find a breather in XAT and many of them end up getting XLRI to shortlist while they could not manage a good score in CAT. So, the key is not to get demoralised if you have had a poor CAT exam. Also, the CAT results are often timed just before the XAT exam. Keep it in mind that XAT is just another test if you aced CAT already or another lifeline if you faltered in CAT. Do not let the CAT result bother you and ruin this opportunity.

CAT exam