Evidently most Management aspirants sought after The Xavier’s Aptitude Test more commonly known as XAT after CAT. The reason being that XAT has the second largest number of institutes accepting its test score for admission (second only to the CAT of the IIM’s) into various management courses. Apart from the regular areas that are tested such as Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation, Verbal and Logical Ability, Analytical Reasoning and Decision Making. The XAT although similar to CAT has 2 additional sections namely The Essay Writing Section and the reintroducing of the General Awareness section in XAT only this year. However what sets the XAT apart from other entrance exams is its Decision Making section which test’s the candidate’s ability to make business decisions.
Moreover, over the years the XAT has formed its own unique identity mainly because of the surprises that come up every year and students dreading them. To address the needs of students here are some tips that can prove helpful in the preparation of XAT.
Tip 1 Verbal: The XAT is usually tough for students who aren’t confident about their command over the English Language therefore it is a challenge for most individuals. Since this is a language, by default grammar is very essential. Apart from these aspects it comprises of questions on analogies, synonyms and antonyms, match the list, idioms, one word for many, fill in the blanks and identifying the various Figures of Speech which is a task for applicants.
a) Grammar: A useful tool to improve your language skills is by referring to Wren & Martin. This book is a perfect guide for improving your grammar, essay writing skills as well as your comprehension skills because it has exercises and examples for each topic. It also comes with a key that you can use to verify if your answers are correct.
b) Reading and Comprehension: you need to grab a copy of the Wren & Martin as soon as possible as it has very good examples for improving your comprehension skills. It has sample passages that contain questions on most of the aspects covered in the English section.
c) Expose yourself to the language: you can start by making use of the various resources available to you such as the internet, newspapers, journals, magazines, television, books etc. Most importantly converse with a friend who is good at the language if possible, it is the most effective way to increase your confidence. It is absolutely essential for students to make a habit of reading as this is one of the best ways to improve your language skills. Reading English newspapers, listening to English news and writing a few sentences in English will definitely help you in the long run. When you read; it not only helps you to improve your grammar but also increases your vocabulary. When you come across a word that you do not understand make it a point to open a dictionary therefore ensure that you have a dictionary nearby whenever you read something.
Tip 2 Logical Ability: when a problem is given don’t just solve it try to analyze it for 20 to 30 minutes by asking your W/H questions such as Why, What, How.
Tip 4. Analytical Reasoning & Decision Making: the reasoning section consists of questions based on logical, analytical and critical reasoning therefore they are framed accordingly. So whenever you read a passage don’t forget to put on your thinking cap and ask your W/ H questions as often as possible. Students need to practice difficult reasoning puzzles from mock papers and books on reasoning. Solving puzzles from popular puzzle books available in bookstores will also help. Focus on lengthy puzzles on distribution involving lots of variables. The section on Decision Making can be best practiced by going through the mock XAT papers.
Tip 5. Data Interpretation: this section mainly consists of questions that use bar graphs, line graphs, case lets (data given in the form of paragraphs requires applicants to extract the information provided to establish a relationship between the data given), tables, pie charts or circle graphs etc. to interpret data. Similarly the questions are based on the data that is interpreted, so break up the question and note down the information that is given to you.
Tip 6. General Knowledge: read newspapers and watch educational channels that will boost your general knowledge. A good start to improve your knowledge of India to crack this section is by visiting www.india.gov.in which has information about the latest happenings in the country. Apart from this you can even read past issues of business magazines (from January 2012) and pay attention to the main events in the corporate world. Having information about organizations /associations like the UN and its associate agencies such as ASEAN, SAARC, NATO, BRICS etc. can help you to clear this section. Apart from this information a good knowledge about the stocks and GK questions like countries, capitals, currencies, inventions and discoveries in science can be very helpful.
Tip 7. Group Discussions: try to be loud and aggressive in an appropriate manner, if you need to get your point across. If unclear about the topic wait for someone else to begin. Try and summarize the points that have been discussed at regular intervals.
Tip 8. Practice: it is essential that students refer to previous years question papers and rely on mock tests, as this will make them familiar with the paper pattern and will give them an idea about the type of questions asked. Thus, students are better prepared for the examination.
Tip 9. Join Coaching classes: this will ensure that students practice regularly and are better prepared because they can resolve the queries that they might have about a particular topic.
Tip 10. Health Matters: it is important to ensure that you get enough rest, eat a balanced diet and most importantly exercise. It is important that you sleep in time, eat properly and exercise, if you wish to perform well in the examinations because both the body and the mind need to rest to function to its maximum potential.
By following these simple tips cracking the XAT will be easier to clear. I leave you with a simple quote, “practice as if you are the worst; perform as if you are the best”.