XAT 2017: 5 point Test Taking Guide to crack XAT with 99 percentile; follow the toppers' & expert advice in next 3 days

| 05 Jan 2017 0158 IST

Significant aspirant friendly changes have been announced by XLRI in XAT 2017 paper leading it on slightly softer side and giving the opportunity to score high
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3˝ hours to solve fewer and not so difficult questions can make you score 99 percentile by maximising your attempts with judicious time management

XAT 2017 is proposed to be on softer side as significant aspirant friendly changes have been announced by XLRI before the exam. Not only number of questions in XAT 2017 have been further reduced from 78 to 72 to determine your percentile score but they also are not going to be so difficult as sued to be in earlier XAT papers. So better to practice more questions and aim to score high in the exam. Take XAT 2017 Mock to assess your preparation in revised XAT 2017 exam pattern with reduced number of questions.

XAT 2017 on January 8, 2017 will be paper pen based test and you need to practice the exam using dummy OMR sheets to improve your speed. Next 3 days to XAT 2017 could be crucial and testing for you to get ready for the exam.

In view of Prof S K Agarwal, expert on Verbal Ability and mentor on XAT 2017 preparation the significant aspirant friendly changes brought about in XAT 2017 giving 3½ hours to solve fewer and not so difficult questions can make you score 99 percentile by maximising your attempts with judicious time management.

According to Prof S K Agarwal to achieve the goal of securing high percentile to get into XLRI, SPJIMR, IMT, XIMB or other top B-school, you need to strategically approach the paper-pen based test in order to maximise your scores.

Diarise the key changes for D-day

  • Please remember you should not skip more than 12 questions leaving them unattempted. There will be a penalty of 0.05 mark per question if you leave more than 12 questions unattempted.
  • XAT 2017 test paper will be divided in 2 parts: Part I with A,B,C sections and Part II with GK and Essay writing sections.
  • All questions in sections A, B, C with 24, 21 and 27 MCQs respectively will carry uniform marking pattern with maximum 1 mark awarded for each correct answer
  • Score in Part I will be accounted for determining the merit position and shortlisting for PI round 
  • Part I will have 3 sections A, B and C in Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) format
  • Section A on Verbal Ability & Logical reasoning proposes to have 24 questions
  • Section B on Decision Making would consist of 21 questions
  • Section C on Quantitative Ability proposes to have 27 questions
  • Total number of questions in part-I will be 72.
  • Time allowed to attempt part-1 in XAT 2017 with 3 sections is 170 minutes (2 hours 50 minutes)
  • A break of 5 minutes as turnaround time between Part 1 and Part 2 will be available
  • Part-II will have 25 MCQs on General Knowledge and a descriptive writing essay topic
  • A total time of 35 minutes will be allowed to attempt GK and Essay writing sections
  • XAT 2017 test takers are expected to attempt GK questions in 10 minutes and rest 25 minutes are supposed to be devoted to Essay Writing section.
  • Marks scored in General  Knowledge section would only be used at the time of final selection and not for shortlisting candidates for interview/GD
  •  1/4 (0.25) of a mark will be deducted for each incorrect answer

How to score high in revised pattern
Since not more than 50% questions were attempted in past XAT exams, XLRI has decided to reduce the level of difficulty in XAT 2017 to attract candidates to attempt more number of questions. Accordingly, in order to enable students to attempt as many questions as possible and encourage them to demonstrate all-round skills, the difficulty level of the questions has been brought down.  Attempt previous XAT test papers

The main objective to introduce this change according to XLRI is that the examination would avoid 2 possible errors:  low range of scores and excellent students not getting enough opportunities to showcase their ability because of too easy a question paper.

Now XAT 2017 in its revised pattern and reduced difficulty level offers more opportunities to score higher than ever before. XAT 2017 aspirants are advised to use the opportunity to score high in the exam.

Ensure correct answering on OMR sheet
Candidates will have to use separate OMR answer sheet to answer the questions except for essay writing test which will require descriptive writing.

  • Each question will have 5 alternatives.
  • Answer each question by darkening the appropriate bubble against the question number on the OMR answer sheet. For example, if your answer to question number 1 is ‘B’, fully darken the bubble ‘B’ against the question.
  •  All answers are to be marked only on the (OMR) answer sheet and not on the test booklet. Attempt previous XAT test papers
  •  Use the margin in the test booklet for rough work. No other piece of paper will be permitted or provided for rough work. 
  •  Use only blue or black ball-point pen for marking answers on the OMR answer sheet. Do not use gel pens or ink pens.

Quickly revisit Key topics 
In next 3 days, revise whatever you have learnt and follow the tips to solve the questions based on various topics instead of going for something new. The need is to pay attention on the analysis of practice exercises that you have solved.  Follow the expert tips given in analysis as they are meant to guide you in sorting the problem out.

What to focus on Verbal Ability…
Syllabus for Verbal Ability in XAT 2017 is vast and extensive. You might have covered a lot but have you covered all the relevant topics to score a high percentile? Learn from Prof. S.K. Agarwal, Verbal Ability expert, what else you could do to improve your percentile by quickly revisiting a few important topics and questions on Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension in next 4 days.

Reading Comprehension
Half of Verbal Ability section consists of questions on this part of English language. Concentrate on Reading Comprehension. Three or four passages in XAT 2017 are expected to be shorter say about 500-700 words than appeared in CAT 2016 although they have rich and literary language.

Questions are more direct and are based on information available in the passages. When you go on reading a passage, make it mandatory to write down the core sentences and difficult words on a piece of paper, their contextual usage should be understood. By the time you finish reading the passage you will have understood the greater part of it and this will save your time on answering the questions.

Jumbled sentences
You may find 3 questions in XAT 2017 on Jumbled paragraphs which are not very long but are little tricky. Tips to solve them are to find out the connectors to sentences e.g. conjunctions, personal or relative pronouns (He/ she/ it /they /their /who / whose/that/which etc.) as they indicate that they must have been used in place of some nouns. So find the link between the sentences and practice more.

Vocabulary MCQs
It is high time that you understood and practiced the Vocabulary words in right context. An aspirant may have good stock of vocabulary words but their correct synonyms, antonyms with understanding of contextual use are very much required. All the mugging will be irrelevant if correct usage are not known or the confusion still persists where to place the said word

Figures of speech and phrases
These are highly probable topics for XAT 2017. There is very high probability that you may have 3-4 questions to identify various figures of speech in Verbal Ability. It is suggested to go through at least a few important ones like Simile, metaphor, Personification, Hyperbole, Oxymoron, apostrophe, euphemism, alliteration. Practice a little to understand the difference among them.

Error corrections
Expected questions of this type in Verbal Ability section may be 3 to 5. Articles, prepositions, subject verb agreement and conditionals are a few core topics which need quick revision.  Please remember there are sentences with four-five blanks in each question. You are supposed to have a good knowledge on usage of the same.

Decision Making: Sharpen your skill
The 21 questions in Decision making would be in sets. A passage with certain information is followed by a set of 3-4 questions. Each of the questions is again followed by 4-5 close decision making answer options. The questions may be on what should be the decision in the given situation, how it should be taken, why it should be taken-factors influencing the decision or who should take it.

Important do’s 
It is never suggested that you should immediately jump to solve the different types of problems. Study the situation, learn to analyse all the pros and cons and then arrive at most appropriate decision. The 4 step strategy to score more in Decision making section should be-

  • Read and understand the given data, facts, information in the passage. It is advised to go through the information with an open mind and read it attentively.
  • Now read the questions one by one. Try to get to the core of question as what is being asked for.
  • Then move to get the available information, whether you have all of that or the requirement is more than the availability.
  • Now comes the time to analyse the information in right perspective and fit it into a problem solving structure.  Once the data given is classified, arriving at the answer will be easier.

27 MCQs on Quant & DI: Check your preparation
This section needs your attention in accordance with your strengths. There are short MCQs on Quant and questions on DI problems could be in sets as well as individual ones. You need to practice a bit and should further strengthen your strong areas in this section.

XAT 2017 does not propose to throw very difficult questions in this section, but they will not be a cake-walk either. Therefore, you need to practice a little more on this section. The questions need calculation and application of formula. Hence a little more time may be required to solve 29 questions in this section. Favourite areas on Quant in XAT are Percentage, Time speed & distance, Algebra, Probability, Geometry, Mensuration, Number system, PnC among others.

Data Interpretation questions in XAT are usually placed in 2 sets but they are a bit more difficult  and time consuming. The  section was more difficult compared to earlier years. More time was required to solve the 33 questions comprising Quant and DI topics.

You will need better time management for this section as it needs more time to solve but devoting too much time only on it can deprive you from scoring a high percentile in other sections. Make sure that you keep balance among the sections.

Part-II: GK & Essay Writing
Part-2 in XAT 2017 will have 2 sections – General Knowledge and Essay Writing. There will be 25 MCQs on GK and an essay will have to be written on the given topic. Both these sections will have to be completed in 35 minutes.

This part is one of the neglected but most important at least for those who wish to get admission in XLRI and other top B-schools.  Although evaluation of GK and essay writing is not accounted for in calculation of percentile immediately after written examination, questions on your writing piece will be asked in the personal interview round which is the final selection round. And if you do not qualify the GK section, you may not be considered for admission by XLRI.

Accordingly, whatever GK you have gone through needs to be revisited to refresh your memory. But you do not need to go for something new as the test paper has already been prepared.

You are supposed to write a well worded, coherent, meaningful essay in 25 minutes. There is no word limit but 350 to 300 words will be sufficient to express your ideas on a given topic. It is better to be brief but clear.  Your points should not criss-cross the ideas stated for the topic, this is a very important thing to remember.

Take 2 Mocks in next 3 days
There is no need to go for mocks every day but to brush up your practice, preparation level, judgement on time to be devoted to each section, nothing could be better but to take 2 Mock tests as per the revised pattern of XAT 2017. Get the outcome analysed and whatever errors you find, avoid their recurrence. Take XAT 2017 Mock to assess your preparation in revised XAT 2017 exam pattern with reduced number of questions. 

It is advisable not to attempt the confusing or any such question from the unknown topic even in Mock test as it may flummox you and unnecessarily bring in the unwarranted feeling of anxiety.

XAT toppers of last year also suggest to best utilize the XAT Mocks and past papers to crack XAT 2017 with high score. Read what toppers advise on How to extract most from Mocks   

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