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XAT Section wise Preparation Tips



XAT Section Wise Preparation Strategy 3

How to prepare for Decision Making 13

Essay Writing Tips and Strategy 16

General Awareness for XAT 20

XAT Section wise Preparation Tips


hen you are in a mission to achieve something difficult, the strategy has to be dif-
ferent from others. In order to crack a competitive exam like XAT, which has a
pattern different from others, you must take the extra effort to know each section
and prepare accordingly.

This E-book of Careers360 brings to you the section wise preparation strategy for XAT
suggested by experts and toppers. Being one of the most dynamic MBA entrance exams,
the XAT exam pattern or structure undergoes changes almost every year. However, the
sections remain same every year.

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XAT Section wise Preparation Tips

XAT section wise preparation strategy

from experts and toppers

AT consists of two papers and both objective and subjective type questions. The following table brings to you the
overall structure of XAT 2017.

XAT Exam pattern and Structure

Paper Section Name No. Of Total Total Negative Marking

Questions Marks Time
Decision Making 23 23
Verbal and Logical 26 26 0.25 for any wrong answer, 0.05
Paper 1 Ability 170 Mins for more than 13 unattempted
Quantitative Ability 29 29 questions
and Data Interpretation
General Knowledge 25 25 No Negative Marking
Paper 2 35 Mins
Essay Writing 1 essay No Negative Marking

We will now bring to you section wise details in terms of topics and difficulty level and the preparation strategy.

Part One
Part One of XAT consists of three sections which have multiple choice objective type questions.

XAT Section wise Preparation Tips

Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation

uantitative or Mathematical Ability and DI section XLRI Jamshedpur student who secured 99.90 percentile in
carries the highest weightage in the XAT paper. XAT shares, “For Quantitative Ability, I prepared using the
For XAT 2016, out of 78 questions, 29 questions study material provided during my coaching classes and from
were from the QA & DI section. The sectional difficulty is Class 10 and 12 level books. From my previous years’ experi-
expected to be tough. The important topics which you must ence, I had realised that QA wasn’t about speed as much as
prepare and should not leave out are Arithmetic, Algebra, it was about accuracy, and so instead of trying to cover the
Geometry and Number System. According to Gautam Puri, entire syllabus, I focused on my strong areas which included
Vice Chairman, Career Launcher, areas like Base System arithmetic, algebra and statistics.”
and Mathematical Reasoning, which were a part of the XAT
Quant section, are not common anymore. In comparison to the Quantitative Ability section, prepara-
tion for Data Interpretation will be comparatively simpler.
As far as the preparation strategy is concerned, refer to the The questions will come in the form of sets. The types of
books or study material for CAT or other entrance exams questions you can expect in the paper include Bar Chart, Pie
you are appearing for. Conceptual clarity is the important Chart, Tables, Line Graphs among others. Practice is the only
factor here, irrespective of the entrance test. If your weak way to brush up the question solving techniques. Apart from
area is Quant, you have to devote more time in this section that, regular reading of newspapers and analytical articles
in comparison to others and along with making the concepts will help building your interpretation skills.
clear, practice is equally important. Avishek Chatterjee,

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XAT Section wise Preparation Tips

Verbal and Logical Ability

he Verbal Ability area is divided into Reading Com- Flash Cards. Also, more than just mugging up the words,
prehension and English Usage. The Logical Ability focus on the word usage which will ultimately help you
area will have questions in the form of caselets. Each remember the word along with its meaning. As XLRI stu-
case will be followed by three to four questions. This section dent Tarun Gupta, who had secured 99.66 percentile in XAT
carries the second highest weightage, with 26 questions. shares, “It is a must to be thorough with words. You must read
Apart from Reading Comprehension, the other areas include a lot, mark new words and learn their meanings. Also, solve
Vocabulary based Analogy, Critical Reasoning, Statement this section via mock-tests.”
and Assumptions, Para Jumbles and Para Completion.
As far as Logical Ability area is concerned, Critical Reason-
In order to prepare for Verbal Ability, reading and prac- ing constitutes one of the important topics. The questions are
ticing are the best methods to follow. If you are weak in mostly in the form of caselets. As is true with the Logical Rea-
this section, make sure that you solve at least two Reading soning section for other exams, there is not much theoretical
Comprehension passages every day. Solving from past years’ study material you can refer to, it is all about practice. Maulik
question papers will give you chance to practice the other Gandhi, a XAT topper with 99.74 percentile suggests, “For
topics of English Usage. Logical Reasoning, solve at least five sets a day. Also focus on
taking a lot of online LR tests.”
As far as vocabulary is concerned, refer to books like Word
Power by Norman Lewis, Barron’s Dictionary to name a few.
Make it a point to learn at least 10 words every day by using

XAT Section wise Preparation Tips

Decision Making

ecision Making is a section which is exclusive for have to logically interpret the information presented and
XAT. Developing an analytical bent of mind and analyse the outcome of the decision taken. Ideally you have
regular practice from past years’ XAT question to choose the option which creates a win win situation for
papers are the best methods to prepare. Talking about the all the stakeholders involved in the case. Aspirants who are
importance and preparation methodology for the DM sec- good in the Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning
tion, Gautam Puri states, “Another way to ensure that you do areas tend to do well in the Decision Making section as well.
well in XAT is to lay stress on the Decision Making section, a
section unique to XAT. It carries a sectional cut-off and also
can be useful in improving the overall score. Apart from look- Paper Two
ing up questions in the previous years’ papers, you can go to The second part of the exam consists of two sections, Gen-
the Harvard Business Review website and read sample cases eral Knowledge and Essay Writing. This is a combination of
to enhance your knowledge and also to arch your thinking in both objective and subjective questions.
a way to facilitate better reasoning.”

According to experts, these kinds of questions require a logi-

cal approach and a clear understanding of the situation. You

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XAT Section wise Preparation Tips

General Knowledge

here are 25 questions in the GK section. While the reading newspapers, you need to have a holistic knowledge
topics are common as that of other MBA entrance on various subjects. Refer to year books and prepare sepa-
exams like IIFT, SNAP or CMAT. Hence, if you are rately for each topic.
preparing for these exams, you need not prepare separately
for the section in XAT. Although there is no negative marking scheme for this
exam, nor is the sectional percentile considered for the
Although GK is a recent addition in the paper, the difficulty shortlist process, getting a low score in this section will lower
level is quite high. As per last year’s exam pattern, most of your admission chance for XLRI.
the questions were of single statement. Apart from current
affairs, the topics you can expect include History, Geography,
Science & Technology among others. Hence, apart from

XAT Section wise Preparation Tips

Essay Writing

he best way to prepare for the section is through Make sure that your thoughts carry logic and is not just based
regular practice and reading. Since you get only 20 on your personal choice or bias.
minutes to write the essay, you must structure the
essay accordingly so as to complete it within time. The top- Nishtha, XAT Topper, suggests on preparing for the essay
ics may appear simple to you, for example, “Technology and writing section. She says. “A lot of reading is essential in order
nature are natural enemies”, or “Listening is a dying art. We to write brief and effective essays for the Essay writing sec-
hardly listen to understand, we only listen to refute or reply”. tion, I used to read newspaper daily to stay in touch with the
The content should depict the clarity of your thought on an world. However, just reading doesn't help. I also used to write
issue of current importance, which you have to relate with one essay per day. It helped me get in the flow of writing”.
the essay topic.

You may express your personal opinion in the essay as well.

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XAT Section wise Preparation Tips

How to Prepare for Decision Making Section

n this special column on XAT preparation, MBA Exam some other related topic. In 2012, there were 25 questions
trainer Ravi Handa explains high importance of Deci- in the Decision Making section. It even had some questions
sion making section of XAT and guides on preparation which were of 1.5 marks instead of the standard 1. The XAT
approach and strategy for the same. paper in 2016 had 23 questions, although all questions were
of 1 mark each. This year XAT is expected to have 20-25
Questions on Decision Making have been asked in XAT questions in the Decision Making section again. There is no
for quite a few years. However, their importance has gone doubt that this would be more than the number of questions
up drastically since 2012. Prior to that, you could expect 8 on Quant, DI, LR or VA.
to 10 questions on Decision Making in the Analytical Rea-
soning section. In 2012, Decision Making became a section While we have established the importance of Decision
of its own and if you were to look at it purely from a scoring Making from the perspective of XAT, a lot of aspirants are
perspective – it makes the most important topic for a student not even aware of what exactly Decision Making questions
who is planning to write the XAT. It so happened because are based on. In Decision Making, a situation (like a case
Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation, Logical Rea- study) is presented to a student and broadly two types of
soning and Verbal Ability – none of them had a full section questions are asked on it:
on their own. They had to share the limelight, so to say, with

XAT Section wise Preparation Tips

a) What would be the ideal course of action to take in such A good way to prepare for Decision Making would be to
a situation? look at previous year papers. You can have a look at questions
from XAT 2008 to XAT 2016 which would give you approxi-
b) What lead to such a situation? mately 100 questions to practice from. These 100 questions
will not only tell you your current level of understanding of
These kinds of questions require a logical approach and a the topic but if you analyze them properly, it can really make
clear understanding of the situation. It often requires going a difference to your final score. You can also look at the Deci-
through large amounts of text and then logically interpreting sion Making section of the mock XATs that you are writing
the information presented. To put it in conventional terms, and analyze the questions given in them in detail. But the big-
it is a combination of Reading Comprehension and Logical gest tip that I can give you to prepare for the Decision Making
Reasoning and traditionally students who are good in these section is this: Do not neglect Decision Making.
two areas tend to do well in the Decision Making section as
well. Most probably, you would have prepared for CAT and other
management entrance exams for more than 6 months. Most
A very common mistake that a lot of students make is that of your time during preparation would have been spent on
they neglect this section. They believe, which is often not preparing for Quant, LR, DI or VA. But from now on, you
supported by data, that Decision Making is something that should spend at least half of your time preparing for Decision
they would do on the spot. They write four to five mock XATs Making whereas the other half should be used in preparing
and that is the end of their preparation for the Decision Mak- for the other sections.
ing section. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Like
any other topic, Decision Making also requires effort if you Ravi Handa, an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, has been train-
wish to excel in it. Especially in an exam like XAT, which is a ing students for CAT, XAT and other management entrance
low scoring exam, one set of questions can make a difference exams for the past seven years at IMS, TIME & other coach-
between a 98 percentile and an 89 percentile. ing institutes. He has also authored a book on GK/quizzing
– Biz World.

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XAT Section wise Preparation Tips

Essay Writing Tips and Strategy

ssay Writing forms an integral part of the XAT exam. While apparently the topics may appear to be easy, for writ-
The only subjective part of the test is of 20 minutes ing a standard essay, candidates are often clueless in terms of
duration. This particular part of the exam often presenting their thoughts in 200 words within 20 minutes.
troubles the XAT aspirants. Test takers are often apprehen-
sive about the topics of the essay and how to give their best The following table gives you the XAT essay topics over
shot within 20 minutes, especially due to the unpredictable last 12 years.
nature of the essay topics. This article of Careers360 gives
you the strategies to write the essay.

XAT Section wise Preparation Tips

Year Essay Topic

2016 Technology and nature are natural enemies
2015 Listening is a dying art. We hardly listen to understand. We only
listen to refute or reply.
2014 The most beautiful things in life cannot be seen or touched with
hands; they can only be felt with heart.
2013 Corruption is the root cause of economic slowdown in India.
2012 Statement I - Poverty is the major problem that is plaguing
India. Because of the magnitude and complexity of this problem,
government policies are not successful.
Statement II - Poverty is a
consequence of the government
policies. Instead of trying to address
the problem, the government should
concentrate on the root causes of the
Support one of the statements.
Justify it with examples.
2011 The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what
manner they ought to employ their capitals would not load himself
with the most unnecessary attention but assume an authority which
could safely be trusted to no council or senate whatever, and which
would nowhere be so dangerous in hands of man who had folly and
presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.
2010 Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every
man’s greed
2009 The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of riches; the
inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries
2008 Gender Bias: Cause of Third World War
2007 Economic growth without environmental damage – mirage or reality
2006 India has the largest pool of talented manpower, but very few
innovations and patented products.
2005 More than one billion Indians: A gigantic problem or a sea of

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XAT Section wise Preparation Tips

ow we will share with you the strategies to improve your
essay writing skills.

Gautam Puri of Career Launcher shares, “The evalu- topic. I took 5 minutes to organize my thoughts and then started
ators not only look for language skills, but also for the thought writing,” said Anjul Rajoriya, another XAT topper.
process involved, the spectrum of ideas, and your knowledge
pertaining to the topic at hand. Having a fair knowledge of the
contemporary topics will give you an edge. So reading newspapers, Write a draft before starting the essay
especially the editorial columns, is highly advised.” Prepare the structure and draft essay before starting the actual
essay. Do not take more than five minutes for it. Divide your points
Here we present to you six strategies for acing the essay writing to be included in the introduction, body and conclusion. If you
section of XAT. prepare the draft, it would be much more convenient for you to
pen down the actual essay. You can do the necessary editing and
improve the language of the essay.
Analyse the topic and decide the way you want
to drive it
After getting the topic, decide the direction in which you want Structure your essay properly
to drive your essay into. Since mostly the topics are abstract in Make sure that your essay consists of three parts, introduction,
nature, you can contextualise it to politics, social issue or cur- body and conclusion. The essay should be of around 200 to 300
rent happening. Once you decide the context, your job will get words. You can separate the three parts with paragraphs. You can
much easier. “For essays, since the nature of topics was difficult to also add specific facts and figures through bullet points.
predict, I read newspapers daily, especially the editorial section,”
mentions Maulik Gandhi, XAT topper with 99.74 percentile and
XLRI Jamshedpur student. Keep time in check
The duration of the XAT essay is 20 minutes. Keep track of your
time so that you do not exceed the time limit. Since Essay Writ-
Assemble the points before starting ing would be the last question of the 3 hour XAT paper, save your
The next step is to gather the points. Jot down the points in proper energy and time till the last 20 minutes. Do not spend over five
order which you want to present in your essay. Support your points minutes for drafting the essay and before submitting, revise the
with the help of facts and figures, examples etc. The more you can final copy.
substantiate your points, better it will be for the evaluation pro-
cess. “I wrote the keywords that came to my mind after seeing the

XAT Section wise Preparation Tips

General Awareness for XAT

eneral Awareness is such a dynamic area that you Kudva says, “As General Awareness is a very vast area, it
cannot limit your preparation for a particular time makes sense to follow the top stories as and when they hap-
frame or stop preparing after the end of a particu- pen. Candidates should start enhancing their general aware-
lar exam. It is an area, whose preparation is continuous and ness full-time by reading newspapers and magazines such as
unending. No matter how much you prepare, it seems there Outlook and Outlook Business. While reading up on news
is still lot to be prepared for this particular area. making events, candidates should consider various aspects
and arguments and use their own judgement to decide what
General Awareness is the first section of the Paper 2 of XAT. their stand should be.”
There are 25 questions to be answered in 10 minutes. There
is no negative marking scheme for this section. Keep a close watch on the major political and economic
developments which should also include sports, art, culture,
The General Awareness section was reintroduced in XAT literature, social issues and media. Though you will definitely
in the year 2013. Though the section existed way back in expect area specific and niche questions in case you are tak-
2004, which was the last year to feature the section after ing the entrance exams for IRMA or TISS or MICA, but you
which it was scrapped since XAT 2005 only to make a come- should not rule out the chance to come across such a ques-
back in 2013. The topics on which the questions are asked tion in the other exams like XAT, SNAP etc. too.
include, but not limited to the following:
●● Business Subscribing to one general newspaper and a pink paper
●● Sports would suffice your needs. For in depth subjective analysis,
●● Economy read magazines like Frontline, Outlook, The Week, The
●● Politics Economist to name a few. For static GK, referring to the
●● Trade yearbook or GK encyclopedia of a reputed publication would
●● International bodies be enough.

Preparation Tips for General Awareness Remember, there is no end to the preparation for GK. You
According to Vinayak Kudva, Head- PG India & Mumbai are bound to not know certain aspects, be it static GK or
Region, IMS Learning, preparation for General Awareness current affairs. Give your best shot but don’t cram up your
is not a matter of one or two months but a continuous pro- memory with excess knowledge which you may not bear.
cess. The most tried and tested method to prepare for GK is
to read the newspapers, watch at least 1 standard TV news Make sure you attempt enough questions to not only clear
bulletin. the cutoff but to score maximum marks possible as well.

wishes all XAT aspirants best of luck!
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