It’s surprising that XAT 2016 continues to remain a paper-pencil exam when other academic examinations globally have gone online. It is far easier to conduct an online exam than a conventional pencil-paper one.
XLRI’s Dr. Munish Thakur, in charge of XAT 2016, admitted to PaGaLGuY that it would have been far more convenient and easier to hold an online version of the exam, but after much debate the older version triumphed. “We thought for long, but ultimately the debate boiled down to choosing between giving accurate scores and convenience. Given the two, we decided in the favor of the first choice,” Dr. Thakur said.
XLRI officials reasoned that if the more favoured version of pencil-paper is held on to, accuracy of the scores could be counted on. The CAT entrance exam brings with it a host of problems annually – primary among them being normalization, a term least understood. “XAT is the most fair MBA entrance exam to check a candidate’s ability on a particular day. When there are so many test takers (like in India), it is critical to assess them as fairly as possible. We do not see any major advantage of online testing,” Dr. Thakur added.
The XAT in-charge further quipped: “XAT is like the Wimbledon of MBA entrance examinations.”
Of course, there will be changes in XAT 2016, but those are for other reasons. The aptitude test has increased in duration by a half hour. “That is being done to help students attempt more questions. Once students attempt more questions, it improves our confidence in differentiating an excellent candidate from a good candidate,” informed Dr Thakur. Also, the number of questions may decrease by 5-8. Another change expected this year is introducing negative marking for unattempted questions.
While XLRI is expecting registrations of 85,000 to 100,000 test takers, the final number is it is yet to be seen, considering the decline in interest in MBA globally.