It is that period of the year again – wait for an uncertain CAT result, all other second rung exams over, a fatigued mind and the hope resting on the last and perhaps the fairest & the toughest of all the admission exams – XAT.
As compared to previous year XAT has expressed change in the exam pattern. This year GK is included in the PART A (main paper) of the test as the fourth section and another change is the time allotted for the main paper which is 150 minutes (Part B which constitutes essay could be of 20 minutes)
Here I intend to discuss how I would spend those 150 minutes for Part A inside the exam hall. But before doing that I need to let you know my strengths and weaknesses as a student so that you can understand the logic behind my course of action.
- I am not strong at any particular section but neither am I weak at any. Yes, I prefer Decision Making, Logical Reasoning, English, DI and Maths in the decreasing order.
- To me XAT is a paper which tests my knowledge and not speed. I read each and every question and after reading it if I find it unsolvable I don’t attempt it. My objective is to see each question (barring RCs about which I will discuss later). The difficulty level of the paper permits me to leave questions and hence meet my objective. I believe this is my biggest strength “Judgement & ability to pick”
- In exam like XAT, which to me resembles Test Match Cricket I try to minimise negatives.
- I go with the mindset that if I am finding it difficult at least 99% of the crowd would be finding it difficult.
- My objective is to clear cut off in quant and score heavily either in DM or English section or both.
Now coming to the sections in the order of my attempt.
Section 1 Decision Making: Someone having slightest of common sense and comprehension skill will not only find this section interesting but also easy to attempt. I usually give 40-45 minutes to this section and try to attempt all the questions of DM and maximise my attempts in LR. In a typical DM question the case has one or few objectives to be met and constraints to be kept in mind. While attempting I tick the option which fulfils the objective and not the options which may sound ideal/best. So, the first thing I do is to identify the objective to be met. In LR, the caselets contain lot of data and so while reading the data I simultaneously make a table which I keep on referring. Also, questions involve hit and trial and so what I do is pick up the options and validate them against the given data. Yes, a time taking but accurate method. I give at least 50 minutes to this section and if all is going well I give extra 5-7 minutes to make a kill.
Section 2 Verbal and Logical Ability: Hate it or like it one has to attempt CR in XAT. Fortunately, I like it. I give 45- 50 minutes to this section. While attempting CRs I have to read most cases twice. I read the case once and then read the question and then again the read case. In CR it is very important to understand what is being asked. Many a times I commit the mistake of ticking the option which is given in the passage but has not been asked for in the question. This will surely happen in XAT too but then I am prepared for that. PJs are again something which are must attempt. While selecting a RC in XAT I randomly read few lines and if I am able to comprehend it then only I attempt the RC. I never follow this strategy in CAT where I attempt all the RCs. I find RCs of XAT difficult to comprehend and so I attempt it last in the section.
Section 3 Quant & DI: I keep 40-45 minutes for this section with the belief and idea that I have to solve only 10-12 questions accurately. I search for DI caselets and attempt them first. I always prefer a calculation intensive DI over a logical DI because I know that through tedious manual work I can get to the right answer and that is my only objective here, Accuracy! No smartness. While attempting maths questions I search for Arithmetic questions and attempt them first followed by Algebra and Number systems. I rarely attempt Geometry and never if diagram is not given. I have a belief that if I pick my strength questions here then I will easily clear cut off. I do not try to be smart here and I play a conservative game.
Section 4 GK: XLRI has clearly mentioned that GK will not be evaluated while short listing candidates for the first round. I reiterate what I mentioned in IIFT blog – as far as GK is concerned we are all in the same boat. A score of 5-6 is sufficient provided you did get a call for second round. I don’t think anybody requires more than 10 minutes for this section.
Obviously any time left hereafter would be spent in the section which I think could increase my overall score.
Part B essay is about analysing a topic. All I can say is that I never shy away from stating my opinions. XLRI people for sure like opinions more than facts.
Please remember to have Plan B ready. What I have suggested is my Plan A. Go with a clear mind and a broad approach. Stick to the time allotment which you have planned for yourself. There would be very few candidates who can afford to give say 1 hour or more to Quant (because it is toughest of all the sections) and get a call from XLRI. Play to your strengths but do not be left behind in those parts were most of the call getters will score i.e DM.
Considering the last year’s test level, my suggestion on the attempts for XLRI call is:
|Sectional Score||Overall Score|
|BM||8 – 9 marks||10 – 11 marks||8 to 9 marks||35+|
|HR||8 – 9 marks||10 – 11 marks||6 to 7 marks||32+|
All the best!!
Siddharth Mehta (XLRI Alumnus, Class of 2006-08)