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Preparing for the newly introduced General Awareness section in the XAT 2013


What is new about the Xaviers Admission Test 2013? The XAT exam this year will have a General Awareness section, and the paper will have two parts with a total time of 3 hours.

The first part would have to be solved in two hours and 20 minutes and will consist of Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation (DI), Logical Reasoning (LR), Analytical Reasoing (AR), Verbal Ability (VA) and Decision Making (DM).

It is expected that it will have three sections,

Section 1 – QA & DI

Section 2 – VA & LR

Section 3 – AR & DM

You can expect around 85-95 questions in the first part. Let me add that it is quite possible you get a full section on Decision Making, similar to last year.

While most students are comfortable with the first part, they are worried about the second part. It will be of 40 minutes and cover General Awareness & Essay Writing. I would like to help you prepare for the General Awareness section of the XAT 2013.

It is expected that the GK portion will have 20-30 questions. You should not spend more than 15 minutes on it. Believe me, 30 seconds is more than enough time for one GK question.

Questions in general awareness will be from topics such as business, economics and politics related to the business environment. "If you read pink papers such as The Economic Times, Business Standard, Mint, Businessweek, Hindu Business Line, etc, you should be able to answer these questions. You need to have a hold on the current political and economic scenario of the country and the world,” Prof Vishwa Ballabh, admission chairperson, XLRI had said on MBAUniverse.

Taking cue from the above statement, and keeping in mind that little time is left before the exam, here is what I suggest,

If you are planning to go through the entire Manorama Yearbook, don’t even try. It is too herculean a task which would leave you in disarray. Having said that, if you can go through the first few colored pages, that might help.

You should concentrate on the following areas.

1. Current heads of major Global / Indian companies.

2. Information on brands and companies as in ‘Dettol is a brand of Reckitt Benckiser’

3. Taglines of major Global / Indian companies

4. Major books released in 2011-12, business related books and business biographies.

5. Current Business Affairs – Major economic decisions, mergers & takeovers, etc.

6. Terminolgies / Abbreviations – Related to the banking sector, economics & general business.

Here are a few tips that will help,

  • To prepare for these, you can look at some of the lists like Great Places to Work or The Most Trusted Brands. You can then go to the wiki pages of these companies. Do not waste time reading the entire page but just the top i.e. above the index and the sidebar on the right.
  • There are plenty of presentations available for brand taglines on slideshare and you can also check out the Wikipedia page of Advertising Slogans.
  • Go through the bestseller lists on Flipkart & Amazon for recent books of note. You can also search on Google for business books and you will get a sliding window at the top which will help you browse. It is a new feature on Google and is well-timed.
  • Current business affairs is slightly tricky in nature but you can tackle that by searching for major events. One such list which will help you get started is available on Wikipedia – 2012 in India.
  • You can go through this very detailed list of Business & Management terms. It is neither practical nor suggested that you try to mug up this entire list. Do keep in mind that the questions that you will get in the XAT will be objective in nature and you will have to choose an option. What I suggest is that you spend an hour on this page and hopefully that hour will help you eliminate options and fetch a question or two.
  • From the RBI website, you can download a list of abbreviations. Another good list of Finance & Businesss Abbreviations is on Wikipedia.

Some of you might be wondering that ‘Is this enough?’ The answer to that question is – ‘It can never be enough’. General Knowledge as a topic does not have any prescribed syllabus but one can never underestimate the importance of preperation. Also, it is important that your preparation is focused and directed towards a goal.

Imagine that you went fishing in the sea. The fish can be found in any portion of the sea but there will be some areas which would be more densely populated than the others. It would do you good that you fish in those areas. So, from this sea of knowledge, I recommend that you concentrate on the areas that I have listed above because the probability of catching a question in the exam is higher from these areas. I have seen a lot of students make the common mistake of reading too much or reading everything that comes their way at the last minute.

I have created a document aggregating the founding years of top companies. I believe that such timelines will be very helpful in eliminating options. To be honest, I do not think that many people are even capable of remembering the founding years of so many companies. I try to have a rough idea about the founding dates with respect to significant events, like the world wars in case of global companies, and our independence in case of Indian companies. Having a feel of history helps to know which options are impossible as answers.

I hope you found this post helpful and will now be a little more positive about cracking the GK section in XAT 2013.

Author Ravi Handa has taught Quantitative Aptitude at IMS for 4 years. An alumnus of IIT Kharagpur where he studied a dual-degree in computer science, he has also launched an online course for XAT 2013 GK.

  • 93 Comments
  • okk. 27 Aug '13.
  • Sir, What abt topics for essays in xat?. 28 Nov '13.
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