How to Prepare for XAT

In order to crack a competitive exam like XAT, which has a pattern different from others, you must take the extra effort to know each section and prepare accordingly. XAT consists of two papers and both objective and subjective type questions. The XAT exam pattern or structure changes almost every year.

XAT Exam Pattern and Structure

Paper Section Questions Marks Time Negative Marking
Part 1 Decision Making 22 75 170 Min
  • 0.25 marks for any wrong answer
  • 0.05 marks for more than 8 unattempted questions
Verbal and Logical Ability 25
Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation (QA & DI) 28
Part 2 General Knowledge (GK) 25 25 40 Min
  • No Negative Marking
Essay Writing 1 essay 

Part One

Part One of XAT consists of three sections which have multiple choice objective type questions.

1. Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation

Quantitative or Mathematical Ability and DI (QA & DI) section generally carries the highest weightage in the XAT paper. The important topics which you must prepare are Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Number System.

Refer to books or study material for CAT or other entrance exams you are appearing for. Conceptual clarity is the important factor, irrespective of the entrance test. If your weak area is Quantitative Ability, you have to devote more time in this section in comparison to others. Along with making the concepts clear, practice is equally important. 

Preparation for Data Interpretation is comparatively simpler. The questions come in the form of sets. The types of questions include Bar Chart, Pie Chart, Tables, Line Graphs among others. Practice is the only way to brush up the question solving techniques. 

2. Verbal and Logical Ability

The Verbal Ability area is divided into Reading Comprehension and English Usage. The Logical Ability area has questions in the form of caselets. Each case is followed by three to four questions. This section is expected to carry the second highest weightage.

Apart from Reading Comprehension, other areas include Vocabulary based Analogy, Critical Reasoning, Statement and Assumptions, Para Jumbles and Para Completion.

In order to prepare for Verbal Ability, reading and practising are the best methods to follow. If you are weak in this section, make sure that you solve at least one reading comprehension passages every day.

For vocabulary, refer to books like Word Power by Norman Lewis, Barron’s Dictionary. Make it a point to learn at least 5 words every day by using Flash Cards. Also, focus on the word usage which will ultimately help you remember the word along with its meaning.

For Logical Ability, Critical Reasoning constitutes one of the important topics. The questions are mostly in the form of caselets. There is not much theoretical study material you can refer to, it is all about practice.

3. Decision Making

Decision Making is a section which is exclusive in XAT. Developing an analytical bent of mind and regular practice are the best methods to prepare. The questions are asked in the form of Caselet followed by set of questions. The case describes a situation with broadly two types of questions:

  1. What would be the ideal course of action to take in such a situation?
  2. What lead to such a situation? 

These kinds of questions require a logical approach and a clear understanding of the situation. You have to logically interpret the information presented and analyse the outcome of the decision taken.

You have to choose the option which creates a win-win situation for all the stakeholders involved in the case. Aspirants who are good in the Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning areas tend to do well in the Decision Making section as well. 

Part Two

The second part of the exam consists of two sections, General Knowledge and Essay Writing. This is a combination of both objective and subjective questions.

1. General Knowledge 

There are 25 questions in the GK section. The topics are common as that of other MBA entrance exams like IIFT, SNAP or CMAT. Hence, if you are preparing for these exams, you need not prepare separately for the section in XAT.

Apart from current affairs, the topics can include History, Geography, Science & Technology among others. Apart from reading newspapers, you need to have a holistic knowledge on various subjects.

Although there is no negative marking scheme for this exam, nor is the sectional percentile considered for the shortlist process, getting a low score in this section will lower your admission chance for XLRI. 

2. Essay Writing

The best way to prepare for the section is through regular practice and reading. Since you get only 20 minutes to write the essay, you must structure the essay accordingly so as to complete it within time.