I never thought I'll be posting comments here as a 'veteran' but here I go :)
I had taken XAT last year and got a 99.92 percentile. Got a call for PMIR but couldn't convert my waitlist. My father insisted I take it again this year and I went in with Zero prep thinking it would be a good experience for next year when I do intend to take all these papers seriously.
So my thoughts:
1. The paper was definitely much tougher than last year. I thought maybe I had lost practice and thus found it that way. But when I cam out and saw that I had attempted almost 57 answers and people were complaining about lesser attempts, my initial thoughts of the paper being tough were confirmed.
2. The cutoffs should be about the same as last year (in terms of percentile) as the number of people taking XAT this year is almost the same as last year. I don't know if CF has the right numerics corresponding to percentiles, but whatever this was last year will pretty much remain the same.
3. In my opinion there are 3 institutes that give the best keys for exams
(in order of preference)EduCorp
- A well known venture in Chandigarh. These guys are just too good and they were the only ones whose verbal key matched the CAT official key when it was released (those who took CAT last year would know what I mean). I am not a propagandist but I genuinely feel these guys have the best insights. (EduCorp - Education for your Corporate Career
- Everyone knows why!
(T.I.M.E., Best coaching institute for online CAT, MBA entrance , IITJEE, IIT Foundation, AIEEE, GRE, TOEFL and GMAT.
- Their keys are also normally really good
(Career Launcher, Online CAT, CAT Online, MBA Coaching, CAT Preparation, IIM-CAT, MBA Entrance, CAT IIM, CAT Papers, CAT Coaching
4. For institutes that are releasing/already released their keys, I feel TestFunda
had a lot of problems last year in terms of answers. However, this time round it seems that they have improved upon this. Although there are still some doubts regarding a couple of answers (eg: in AR -> the set on the puppies, the answer for the second one MUST BE TRUE should be Gabino shares a pen with Blakely whereas TestFunda marks this as D which doesn't NEED to be true always)
5. I believe speculation is good, more so this year as CAT was online and extremely disappointing in terms of quality of questions, conduct and everything else actually.
6. All the best. Hope you guys clear this with flying colours.
My current score according to TF is 33.75 with 7.25 in ARDM, 17.5 in VA and 9 in QA (I believe the ARDM should be 8.5 and OA would thus be 35)
FYI - XLRI interviews, especially for PMIR, are the bomb - excellent people!