XAT 2017: Need to prepare with CAT 2016; close gap not suffice to prepare separately

| 14 September 2016 1038 IST

XAT 2017 on January 8, 2017 after CAT 2016, is the second largest national level MBA/PGDM entrance test offering admission opportunity in 2017 to XLRI and other more than 140 highly ranked B-schools
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Synchronised preparation for both the exams will come handy to maximise your attempts in XAT 2017 also thereby helping you to improve your percentile

XAT 2017 on January 8, 2017 after CAT 2016, is the second largest national level MBA/PGDM entrance test offering admission opportunity in 2017 to XLRI and other more than 140 highly ranked B-schools. XAT 2017 will only be a month away from CAT 2016 and in view of Prof S K Agarwal, expert on Verbal Ability in CAT & XAT, due to the close gap between both the exams, you have to synchronise your preparation for CAT 2016 as well as for XAT 2017 especially when there are more common topics to prepare in both the exams.

Going by the registrations, while CAT 2016 may get around 1.75 lakh applications followed by XAT 2017 with around 1 lakh candidates registered for the exam. CAT 2016 will be held on December 4, 2016 in 2 sessions as computer based test whereas XAT 2017 will be conducted in the single session on January 8, 2017 in paper-pen mode.

XAT 2017 has much more to offer as against CAT 2016. In terms of availability time to attempt the exam, XAT 2017 will be of 3½ hours duration and will have fewer questions to solve as against CAT 2016 which will be of 3 hours duration with more number questions responsible to determine the percentile score. XAT 2017 has introduced more aspirant friendly changes in the paper pen based test and its exam content is proposed to be brought to easier pattern. Besides there are more number of B-schools accepting XAT 2017 scores than the number of B-schools accepting CAT 2016 scores in academic session commencing 2017.

Thousands of CAT 2016 test takers are preparing for XAT 2017 also as there are many top rated B-schools like SPJIMR, IMT, XIMB, BIMTECH who accept scores of both the exams. Accordingly, the candidates who are preparing for CAT 2016 are also preparing for XAT 2017 so that they do not miss the chance to get high score in either of the 2 exams.

CAT 2016 preparation same for XAT 2017 on many topics
The fear of not getting a good B-school is unfounded as you forget that the experience of preparing for CAT 2016 will help you a lot while preparing for XAT 2017. The synchronised preparation for both the exam will come handy to maximise your attempts in XAT 2017 also thereby helping you to improve your percentile, is the view of Prof S K Agarwal, expert on Verbal Ability and mentor on CAT 2016 and XAT 2017 preparation.

The fact of the case is that most of the candidates who are going to appear in CAT 2016 have also registered or going to register for XAT 2017. It appears that their well planned preparation strategy to take XAT 2017 will get a boost if they synchronise it with CAT 2016.

According to the expert, if you analyse your expected performance in CAT 2016 and go for the mocks on XAT 2017, you will be in for a pleasant surprise as you will find that you are scoring equally well in sample tests for XAT 2017.

The need is to judicially utilize the opportunity and synchronise your stock of preparation and level of performance to get best out of XAT 2017. Prof S K Agarwal shares how you can utilise best your preparation for CAT 2016 to increase your score in various sections in XAT 2017.

Common topics
On a scale of 100 if you think you will perform at level of 70 in CAT 2016, you have all the opportunity to perform at 100 in XAT 2017 in the changed pattern  and on the basis of your well prepared stock of topics on Quant, Verbal, Data Interpretation and logical reasoning which are common to both the exams, you can score a high percentile in both the exams.

With the introduction of Non-MCQs in CAT, now you need to solve the questions to get the right answer. This will further help you to score high in XAT 2017.

The additional section that needs your attention is Decision Making which stands alone in XAT 2017 but has no role in CAT 2016.

A bit more practice on Decision making can help you ace this section which is expected to be easier in XAT 2017 with 23 questions as against the earlier XAT exams after announcement of significant changes by XLRI in the exam format of XAT.

Smooth passage in XAT, if combined with CAT preparation
XAT 2017, the paper pen based test, will have 3 core sections namely verbal and Logical Ability with 26 questions; Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning with 23 questions; Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation with 29 questions, making a total of 78 questions to be solved in 170 minutes without any sectional time limit that will account for calculation of sectional as well as overall percentile scores.

The scores in these sections will be used to prepare the merit list for shortlisting the candidates at XLRI, SPJIMR, XIMB, IMT, TAPMI, XIME, Great Lakes, LIBA among other highly ranked B-schools. All the questions in these sections will be in MCQ format.

The similarity of question pattern in all the 3 sections in XAT 2017 to that of CAT 2016 will give an edge to the candidates who are preparing meticulously for CAT 2016.

Quant & DI in XAT on similar lines of CAT
XAT 2017 has good news for the test takers. The section on Quantitative Ability will have questions on Data Interpretation (DI) clubbed to it. Usually DI questions are considered more time consuming and in CAT 2016 the questions on DI will be clubbed to Logical Reasoning. The test takers will need to practice on more of them to attempt more DI questions.

It will also be a win-win situation for XAT 2017 takers. You can devote time to Quant as well as to DI questions as per your convenience. If you can attempt more of Quant questions and almost negligible DI questions, it may not have any adverse affect on your sectional cut offs. Besides, there is no time constraint to toggle among the sections. It will offer opportunity to  maximise your attempts to the preferred section and increase your score in XAT 2017. You may attempt more in Quant or more in DI. The sectional percentile will based on overall sectional score and not on individual score in Quant or DI.

Quant section proposes to have total 29 questions in XAT 2017 as against 34 questions in CAT 2015. All the questions in Quant section in XAT 2017 will be in MCQ form as compared to CAT 2015 which had 24 MCQs and 10 non-MCQs that required you to write the answers on computer screen.

Logical Ability in XAT 2017
The 26 questions in Verbal Ability section in XAT 2017 are expected to consist of few questions on Logical Ability also. Again, unlike CAT 2015 which had 16 MCQs and Non-MCQs only on Logical Reasoning and were more time consuming, XAT 2017 is expected to have around 5-6 questions on Logical Ability. Instead of long question sets, XAT prefers to ask short questions on Logical Ability. Most of the questions are based on Statements and you can find easy direct links to answer options.

Your preparation on Logical Reasoning for CAT 2016 will be a great tool to crack questions on Logical Ability in XAT 2017. The best part is that you are not bound by time constraint to attempt the section nor your sectional percentile will adversely be affected if you choose to attempt  more questions from Verbal Ability than from Logical Ability or vice versa.

However, please remember CAT 2015 did not have questions on sentence correction, grammar usage, vocabulary, idioms, phrases, figures of speech, errors in usage among others, but XAT 2017 will have all such questions with 1 or 2 questions of each type. Although you have prepared them also, you will need a few hours practice to brush up and update your preparation level.

Practice more on Decision Making
23 MCQs in Decision Making section need your more time in the testing hall.  Scores in Decision Making Section in XAT 2017 can be a turning point in getting shortlisted for XLRI admission batch 2017-19.

Question in Decision Making section are in sets. A passage with certain information is followed by a set of 4-5 questions. Each of the questions is again followed by 4-5 close decision making answer options. The best way to prepare is to develop the analysing skills by practicing more and more questions of different type.

If you prepare well for this section and are able to crack maximum questions with accuracy in this section in XAT 2017, you can reap multiple benefits like you will be able to ace the PI round of top B-schools who put you to solve caselets, ask you to take decision in a piquant situation and the like. Out of 23 questions in this section, if you are able to crack 10-12 questions with accuracy, you could be the winner.

GK & Essay Writing
These 2 sections in XAT 2017 will be of qualifying nature and the top B-schools like XLRI will use the score of these sections while preparing final merit list before making final admission offers to the candidates.

General Knowledge (GK) section in XAT 2017 proposes to have 25 questions in MCQ format which are supposed to be solved in 10 minutes. Rest 25 minutes in view of the expert should be utilized to write a well worded essay of around 300 words on the given topic. Please make sure whatever you write in your essay, you should be able to clarify and explain the points in it, as questions may be asked on them in XLRI or other top B-schools PI round.

In fact, most of the top rated B schools, except IIMs and a few others, will also use XAT 2017 scores along with CAT 2016 scores to short list candidates for admission in MBA/PGDM batch 2017-19. The list of member and associated B schools to XAT 2017 has more than 140 management institutes and you will not be able to avail this opportunity after January 8, 2017 the date of XAT 2017 exam. Registration for XAT 2017 is open till November 30 without late fee and till December 11, 2016 with late fee.

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Stay tuned to MBAUniverse.com for more updates and tips on XAT 2017

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