XAT 2014 Analysis: Exam more difficult than last year

(Photo: Muthuraja)


Parasharan Chari

I wouldn’t be totally wrong if I say there is nothing that comes close to Xavier’s Aptitude Test (XAT) in terms of testing the quality, perseverance, time management skills and logic of an aspirant as far as an aptitude test is concerned. Respect is the only word that comes to mind when you see a paper that redefines quality, year after year, relentlessly.

Let us start first with the analysis of the only harmless section in the paper – GK. The questions covered a wide spectrum – starting from countries in the G7 to The Nobel Peace Prize winners to the Governors of the RBI to the number of officially recognised languages according to the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution to the car manufacturers, their country of origin etc. Owing to the variety of the topics covered in the GK section and the fact that it is not going to be considered while rolling out the GD/PI calls, we can safely assume that a score of 12+ will be a really good score.

As far as the essay is concerned, XAT 2014 went back to what it was best known for – an abstract topic which could have triggered a smile on the face of the aspirants and each one of them would have written something as unique as their fingerprints. The topic was “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be touched or seen but are only felt with the heart.” Definition of scope, structure of thought, right usage of language with relevant examples and the closure should play an in important role in the grading of the essay. As the section doesn’t contribute to calls, there won’t be a cut-off per se, but as it plays an important role during the interviews wherein a candidate might be asked to justify his/her thought process and understanding of the topic.

As far as the aptitude is concerned, this year’s XAT was slightly more difficult in comparison to XAT’13. The section-wise analysis is as follows:

Verbal Ability

This section had 15 questions covering Reading Comprehension and 13 questions testing Verbal Ability. The RCs were abstract and dense, and considering the closeness of options, this section was more difficult in comparison to the last year. The parajumbles were relatively easy. The fill in the blanks – the ones that were vocabulary-based or the parts of speech-based – were application-based and a careful look at the options would have helped you fetch the correct answer. An above average aspirant would have been able to cruise through 3 RCs, the 2 parajumbles, the 6 fill in the blanks in 45 mins. Given the scenario where he/she makes around 17 to 18 attempts, a score of around 12+ can be considered a good score.

Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation

Data Interpretation had 3 sets and a “standard” CAT taker would not have been able to solve more than 1 set. As far as quant is concerned, XAT behaved typically – full of concept-based questions which demanded sincere solving time. The “none of the above” option raised its ugly head in a lot of questions which would have otherwise been “Eureka” answers for the aspirants. All in all, the difficulty level in comparison to last year has gone up slightly for this section as well. Careful selection of questions would have given an above average aspirant around 15 attempts and a score of 12+ which can be classified as a good score.

As far as decision making section is concerned, the length of a couple of sets would have turned off the average reader. But then, the remainder of the paper was manageable. There were 2 critical reasoning questions for comfort followed by a reasoning question which was negotiable. Apart from that, some basic calculations would have given the aspirants the much needed attempts as far as the probability-based questions are concerned. The Rao-Reddy set was also manageable. All in all, a relatively easy DM section in comparison to last year and an above average aspirant would have managed good 16-17 attempts in this section and a score of 12+ can be considered a good score.

Going by the calculations we saw last year, a sectional balance was primary and the total score just about fell in place. I feel a sectional score of around 8-9 in verbal, around 8-9 in Decision making & 9-10 in quant will be good enough for a sectional cut-off. However for an aspirant to sit comfortably, he/she would have to sit with a score of around 35+ to reach a score of 96+ percentile so that he can cash in during the final admissions stage.

The author Parasharan Chari is an alumnus of SP Jain and is currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer at Endeavor Careers and is also associated with the design and development of its online testing portal www.CatGurus.com.

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