XAT – test pattern and how to prepare

Dear readers,

With CAT 2015 now over, many of you must be looking at other MBA entrance tests in order to increase

your chances of getting selected to a top b-school. XAT, which is used by around 100 + reputed institutes

including top b-schools like XLRI, SPJIMR, etc., is certainly one of the important tests that many students

consider. In this article, let us quickly look at the XAT pattern and let us understand the unique aspects

of preparation for this test. Do note that XAT 2016 is being held on 3rd January, 2016. The last date for

registration for XAT has been extended to 10th December.

First of all, unlike CAT, NMAT, etc., XAT is a paper-pen based test. Students are required to mark their

answers on an OMR sheet.

XAT consists of 2 papers – paper one with three sections, namely Verbal Ability, Decision making and

Analytical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation and paper two with two sections,

namely general knowledge and essay writing. The total duration of the exam is 3 hrs and 30 mins, with 3

hrs for the first paper and 30 mins for the second paper. Note that the exact number of questions in

each section of XAT has not been declared so far. Last year, Verbal Ability had 28 questions, Decision

making and Analytical Reasoning had 23, Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation had 33 and GK had

30 questions. Each question carried one mark for a correct answer and 0.25 marks for incorrect answers.

Now that you know the XAT pattern, you can identify the key areas that your preparation for this test

should focus on.

First of all, you must attempt some paper-pen mock tests so that you are familiar with marking answers

on an OMR sheet. Secondly, start working on the Decision Making portion. For this, you should ideally

start by attempting past years’ XAT decision making questions. This would help you understand the

exact nature of these questions. Along with this, also start working on General Knowledge and do

practise some essay writing. You should try writing some essays on social issues, especially issues that

are in the news these days. For GK, it would be useful to cover at least the last six months’ news items.

Also go through important historical information. (Do note that in previous years XAT has indicated that

“This section (with reference to the General Knowledge portion) will not be used for determining cut off

for interview and percentile but will be included for the final selection of XLRI admission. Other

Associate Institutes may also decide to use it at the time of interview and final selection.”)

You should also go through the sample questions given in the official XAT bulletin at the earliest

possible. This would help you quickly and accurately identify the level of difficulty, etc. that XAT has.

All the Best!

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