Analysis of past year questions and tips to approach them
The short essays that appear in XAT can be classified into the following two types: 1. Short essays on contemporary topics related to economy/polity/society of India. It could be a burning international issue as well. E.g. The US Presidential Election provides better entertainment than many Bollywood blockbusters! Or serious ones like the impact of 9/11 on India. The student should not worry much about these, if he/ she has been merely glancing through headlines or even half-heartedly listening to news. He can safely attempt most of these, with reasonable confidence. The most important thing to be kept in mind is that students are not supposed to write research papers on such topics. If they can approximately capture few major correlates of the topic, the job is done for them. Even if they miss few points, it should not bother them much. The only suggestion is that out of the allotted 20 minutes, spend at least 5 minutes to recall, plan and organize what you intend to write. Use remaining 15 minutes to write 150-200 words in a cogent and coherent manner using grammatically correct English. Avoid flowery, bombastic language. To elaborate, the 2002 essay is discussed below
Indian economy in the post WTO era
The answer should elaborate on the following key points (which the student must identify in the first 5 minutes): a. What is WTO? What is its role? (25-30 words) b. First, the student should identify what all should come in Indian economy, and then discuss the impact on each of these one by one. Following sectors/areas are important in this context • • The three sectors viz. manufacturing, agriculture and service sector. Divide the three sectors into industries for example manufacturing into pharmaceutical, automobile, steel, textile etc., service sector into IT, education entertainment, tourism, etc. Now discuss impact on each of these. For example in case of pharmaceutical sector, Indian companies will have to shift to
product patenting from process patenting, under the TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) obligations of WTO c. After impact, also briefly discuss, what is the Indian government and industry doing to adjust to new realities. d. Lastly, conclude with your suggestions what should be done to rise to the challenges and to make best use of emerging opportunities. 2. Abstract topics like those, which appeared in 2003 and 2004 (discussed in detail later). The major problem with them is that students get in awe of the flowery and twisted language used in them, and cannot figure out what should he write in them. Following guidelines may be helpful: a. Once again spend 5-7 minutes to interpret and understand what the author implies? Are there any subtle nuances intended? b. It is very important to understand that there may be more than one interpretation possible for the given topic. But all interpretations are equally valid provided the student rationally explains it, and logically takes it forward. c. Thus the student should clarify how he understands/ interprets the given topic, clearly stating his reasons for doing so, right in the very beginning. The student may also disagree with the given statement. d. Next the student should build his case in support of his interpretation. Use of anecdotes, daily life examples. Fables etc., are very helpful in this regard. e. Lastly, the student should conclude, and end on a definite and concrete note. To elaborate, the 2003 and 2004 topics are discussed below. To give real service, one needs to add something, which cannot be bought or measured like sincerity and integrity. (2003) Following tips may be helpful here: a. You clarify how do you construe real service. Is the author excluding materialistic service? b. You also clarify whether you agree with the author or not. Clearly understand that you can take either stand or even the middle path. Important thing is how you support it. c. Now, proceed by giving reasons and examples to support the stance you have taken. e.g., in case you want to support the argument, give the example of the myth of Ramayana in which Shabri offers berries to Lord Ram. Or elaborate on the life of Mother Teresa. d. Keep on building your answer and conclude with a definite statement.
e. Once again avoid flowery English, and use grammatically correct English with a lucid style. Asked which of his works would he select as his master piece, architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright at the age of 83 remarked, ‘ my next one’ (2004) It is based on a direct quotation and the students are expected to elaborate the idea intended. Following guidelines should be helpful: a. Write something on the creative urge that is unique to mankind. b. If you come from humanities background and are aware of Karl Marx and his works, stress on his concept of creative humanism, that man feels incomplete without the products of his creation and sees his reflection in them, just as a father sees his reflection in his son. c. Also elaborate on the idea that it is the body, which gets older, the mind can remain as young as it wants to, immune to fluctuations in time. d. Also stress on the fact that most creative works in the field of art and architecture have come from people towards the end of their life. e.g. Goethe wrote Faust at the age of 70. e. You can also stress on the desire to ever improve in certain people, which constantly keeps them restless. f. You can also show your disagreement with Frank by, observing that some people never feel contentment, irrespective of their age and remain restive g. Similarly, you can develop new dimensions in the topic and write 150200 words. To practice, few sample abstract topics are suggested below: a. Asked what is the essence of science, French philosopher Auguste Comte replied, ” to know is to predict and to predict is to control” b. If youth knew, if age could! c. I am great; God may be great as well! d. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” Lord Acton. e. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
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