XAT: Enjoy the journey
An XLRI alumnus suggests some dos and don’ts
XAT has a different pattern, and a simple Googling will reveal that. Conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur and applicable for admissions to a set of other institutes as well, the national-level XAT remains a classical paper-pencil based test.
It is important to realise a few things: 1) Be aware of your strong areas to play on: There will be questions which will possibly be ‘derailers’ — shed the ego and perceived subject-areaproximity and focus on a benefit-analysis of what brings maximum scores. For example, you may not have been a philosophy person ever, but it may be that apparently very difficult comprehension passage on a school of philosophy that actually may have the easiest questions! 2) Brush up on fundamentals: The candidates that get through usually have their fundamentals right, and apply it tactically. For example, application of transitive verbs, infinitives, gerunds and participles, elementary maths, ratio and proportions, work-problems, clocks and calendars, etc. 3) Be effective: Time solving the model papers and scan back and forth for areas of strength (this comes at the cost of wasting time, but do not forget that ‘derailers’ may be placed right at the front). 4) Do not get overwhelmed: Enjoy the experience. Beyond a point, it does not matter what number of candidates appeared, how many friends scored a neat 40 out of 50 on most sections, etc. At the end of the day, XAT is both a marathon run and a sprint — you need to switch between multiple different competencies for cracking this test. 5) Practise, but do not ‘lose it’: Keep a steady practice/pace on specific areas on a timed basis. But do not over-do it. 6) Look back: Engage in deep analysis of failure points (from practice tests), rather than do more of them. 7) Make sure your test paper on the day of the exam has correct data, correct markings, etc - sounds silly, but a substantial number of students make mistakes there.
Though difficult to ascertain what is it that is looked for in XAT’s essaybased section, some fundamentals are checked, for sure – consistency of thoughts, presentation of perspectives, uniqueness of ideas, usage of vocabulary, application of different subject/knowledge areas (politics, science, recent events, etc) grammar, punctuations and indentations, etc.
Wish you all the best.