XAT Strat
Comments 21

XLRI Cutoffs and taming the XAT beast

 

The XAT is closer now and it seems that it is the VA-RC section of the XAT that is causing the most trouble for test-takers. DM seems to be a beast that is now manageable and QA is fairly manageable as well, it is VA-RC that seems insurmountable.


A different approach for XAT VA-LR

Given that most test-takers preparing for the XAT have also taken the CAT, the approach for most might be the RC-first approach. It might seem like the right way to go since RC has about 15-16 questions and VA has about 10-11 questions.

The catch though is that for most test-takers, the XAT passages seem to come from a different planet. XAT passages begin where CAT passages end (British Colonialism) in terms of density of the reading material and they also roam across a wider expanse of topics — philosophy, art, poetry.

To be very honest I am not sure of the capability to handle such heavy text can be built overnight or even a month. Only those who think in English can truly feel comfortable reading such texts. I solved the 2019 paper and barring the poem found the rest fairly do-able since it is not very different from my regular reading ( Aeon Magazine, The Hedgehog Review, The Point Magazine, The Atlantic, et al). Those who are fairly good on Verbal also found the British colonialism passage on CAT quite a tough read. So it goes without saying that some of those who thought Verbal was their strength throughout their CAT Prep might be finding the XAT VA-RC demotivating.

What does one do in such a situation? I think one of the big keys to success is the ability to recalibrate one’s approach. Can you set modest goals from VA-RC and focus on maximising your chances of clearing the cut-off rather than looking to score above 20? Reading such dense passages would mean a drastic reduction in speed and this is something that is incompatible with high attempts.

I suggest non-RC questions first approach where you solve the 10 VA questions first and aim to score 5-7 marks from there.

The cut-offs for Verbal Ability from the actual data of our students from last year varies from 9 to 11 depending upon Male/Female and BM/HR.

So, this means that with 5 marks from VA, you need another 5 marks from RC, which means choosing the 2 easiest RC passages to read.

You are left with 3 passages and 1 poem from which you can set yourself the goal of wringing out another 5 marks.

So, in total, a score of 15 marks will be a great return from the VALR section.

The reason you might not be achieving this is that you are just attempting all the questions one after the other and not going in with a razor-sharp focus to achieve this. In short, you need to treat this section like the DI-LR section of the CAT, on which selection is everything (you would have banged enough your head over the do-able sets in the DI-LR section once you saw the paper)


DM might be the highest scoring section

From the table of cut-offs from last year, it is clear that DM has offered a better return than VA and even QA. We culled out the data of first calls of all IMS students last year to map them as well.

XLRI – Business Management
GENDER VALRDMQAOverall
MaleXLRI Cut-off Percentile79.46809096
Closest IMS Student Percentile79.85580.10290.01996
PERCENTAGE of Total Marks35.577%41.261%44.444%49%
FemaleXLRI Cut-off Percentile75757595
Closest IMS Student Percentile75.92876.00675.08494.998
Percentage of Total Marks32.843%39.505%31.982%46.622%
XLRI – Human Resource Management
GENDER VALRDMQAOverall
MaleXLRI Cut-off Percentile85757294
Closest IMS Student Percentile8576.00672.13794.047
PERCENTAGE of Total Marks39%39.505%30.245%45.338%
FemaleXLRI Cut-off Percentile80706793
Closest IMS Student Percentile80.0870.3316793.07
Percentage of Total Marks35.728%35.689%27.217%44.324%

An 85 percentile on VA corresponds to a 39% of the marks whereas an 80 percentile on DM corresponds to 41% of the marks. So on average, the scoring sections are DM, QA, and VA in that order (for a paper of last year’s difficulty)

So, it makes a lot of sense not go in with a VA-LR maximisation strategy unless you are a female applying to HRM and even on that the score required is not very high, it is still under 10.

If you are a male BM applicant it makes a lot of sense to maximise QA, DM, and VA in that order.

Use the table above and make your best case strategy depending upon your gender and program, but either way, do not go with an all-out VALR maximisation strategy unless you are really good and are not facing any trouble with the VA-RC section.


What should you practice from now on

Use the past papers of the XAT as a tool to get used to the questions on the XAT. The papers before 2017 will not resemble the current paper in terms of difficulty and structure but they will still serve as a good reference.

Watch the DM, QA, and VA Masterclasses that are in the ADMAT Workshops section of the myPREP Zone on myIMS.

Do not be in practice mode when you take a SimXAT or Past XAT Paper be absolutely clinical in terms of timing, selection, and sequence of attempts within a section.

Given that the XAT usually has more time per question when compared to the CAT, it might seem that there is no need to select or sequence attempts but given the amount of reading and density of the text and the cut-offs, there is a clear case to do the same.

Over and above all of this, if you can sneak in an hour of reading from the sites mentioned above it will be a bonus.

Treat the XAT like a low-scoring, really tight match that will go down to the wire and you will be sorted, treat it like a regular match where you go for your shots and you will find yourself falling short of a par score.

 

21 Comments

  1. Shreyansh says

    General Query:
    Sir, am confused about what to do:
    Scored 315 in GRE (165Q,150V), will try for fall MIS-MEM US admissions (for fall 2022), will have work experience of around 1.5 years by August 2022. So, if I get admission this time (MBA session 2021-2023) in let’s say some Tier 2/3 college like IMT G, IMI D, XIMB (with 95%ile). What should I do?
    I am interested in business consultant type of roles or rather firms which may or may not involve coding and data visualization tools like R, Tableau, Power BI. Currently I have average academic (87%/93%/67%), average LOR’s, SOP, with 1.5 year of gap after B.Tech (recently got my job), good extra curricular.

    Like

    • Hi Shreyansh,

      We are not at all comparing apples with apples when we are comparing MS abroad and MBA in India.

      An MS abroad would mean broadly a career as a techie, though not strictly always involving hardcore tech, more importantly, it means building a life with a much higher quality of life albeit away from family.

      An MBA in India from a Tier-II school would mean a completely non-techie business role with a much lower quality of life overall.

      So the choice is very clear — if you are hell-bent on a non-tech career then MBA in India, else go abroad.

      All the best!

      Like

  2. Hi Sir,

    How does one evaluate his/her performance in XAT IMS mocks? Given that there are no percentiles/cut off benchmarks available.

    Like

    • Since the papers are calibrated to be close to XAT level you can measure yourself by the simple benchmark of having to cross 7.5 per section and 25 overall.

      Above it, you know the scores and cutoffs of XAT, just see if you are hitting that each time.

      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Camilia says

    i end up with ~30 attempted question and which attracts -2.2 marks
    suppose if i guess and mark those 30 questions my eliminating couple of options, i may avoid this -2.2 marks
    since there are 5 options thus taking probability of 0.2, suppose i get 6 out of 30 as correct. I end up at 6-(24*0.25)=0 marks
    zero is better than a -2.2 in XAT !
    Is it a wise thing to do?

    Like

    • Hi Camilia,

      0 is better than -2.2 no just in XAT but in any exam.

      And that is how they decide the negative marking as per the options — if there are 5 options, 1/4 or .25; if there are 4 options, 1/3 or .33 — to ensure that even if someone guesses all questions they will end up with a 0.

      So to reach 0 from -2.2 it is a good strategy.

      All the best!

      Like

  4. Hi Sir,
    I am an ardent reader of your blogs since my graduation days. I appreciate your valuable insights regarding profile building and careers in different domains.

    My profile is 10th-90+,12th-90+,B.E.-9.3 CGPI(2018 batch),11 months work-ex as Software Developer, currently working at a Financial Services Firm as a Risk Analyst(Have a gap of 4 months between 2 jobs). I want to pursue a career in Finance post MBA(IB/Wealth/Treasury/PE/VC,etc).

    Currently have ISB PGP admit (have not attempted CAT). Would IIM Kozhikode PGP Finance be a better option for me (considering they accept GMAT) or should I stick to ISB PGP? Total exp (2.5 years approx till the time I join MBA).

    Like

    • Hi R S,

      I recognise you from your comments over the years (from the space between the R and S).

      Just check with the people currently doing the course if the placements are common to both PGP and PGP-Fin and how they are.

      Wherever you join doing a CFA will be a must to get into the roles that you are looking at. So knowing about the placements at PGP-Fin can help.

      Also, am not sure about Fin firms visiting ISB. Please check with people studying there as well.

      If you can get a decent Fin job (not necessarily your first choice) on campus then with a CFA you can easily get into roles you want off-campus.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!

      Like

  5. Hi,
    Yes, you are right Sir! 🙂 Thanks for your reply.

    Placements are common for PGP and PGP-Fin at IIM K according to current students. Though I am leaning towards ISB more than IIM K ,I was worried because finance recruitment is a bit limited at ISB.

    I agree with your point regarding CFA. Facing a few financial issues, would pursue it as soon as I am to figure out the finances.

    Thanks again!

    Like

  6. Kajol Mittal says

    Thankyou so much for this post sir! I am struggling with VARC in XAT preparations whereas it was my strongest section in CAT.
    Sir my doubt is that during analysis I realize that the questions I was quite sure of I end up getting wrong, but there are at least 3-4 on which I was not a 100% sure on but get them right! So if we end up attempting a very few questions, as opposed to 18-20 questions, how do ensure that we maximize our score? Right now I am just scoring about 4-5 marks in VARC section whereas in the other two sections it is going above 10.
    Again, Thankyou sir, for all the insights.

    Like

  7. ayush says

    hi sir i am able to score around 14 correct in dm and around 5 to 7 in maths but my VA IS weak i can just do 3 to 4 in VA . what should i do to score maimum possible . on what areas should i work the most .

    Like

  8. Pranjali says

    Hi Sir,
    In the XAT mocks here, I normally score above the bar for VA-LR and DM, but I don’t in QA. I left geometry in the syllabus and rely on Arithmetic largely with DI and Data Sufficiency. But as these questions are also tough, I thought that I can study some percentage of geometry syllabus. Only QA ends up demotivating me. I am also a working professional so there are some issues with time. Can you please suggest a way to improve my QA score so that i can at least pass the bar?

    Like

  9. Kartikeya Tandon says

    Hello Sir ! A big thanks to you for all your detailed posts !

    I’m a final year undergraduate student and XAT is my second exam this season after CAT.

    I have been following the process explained by you for the Decision Making and Analytical Reasoning section and it is coming out as my strongest area in the XAT mocks.
    However I’m struggling with the VALR and QA-DI sections and failing to meet the sectional cutoffs.

    I use the 45-45-45 minutes approach as explained by you before, and the remaining 30 minutes depending on the situation during the exam.

    My scores have been around 9 marks in the DM section but only around 5 marks each for VALR and QA-DI

    A score of 11.5 in DM Section Test 1 increased my confidence to make it one of my areas of maximisation.

    For the VALR section, i attempt the VA questions first but struggle considerably with the accuracy in the RCs.

    For QA-DI, my strategy is to solve a DI set first and then proceed to Arithmetic and Modern Math questions ( Geometry being a weak area )

    Can you please throw some light on what I can do in these 3 days to improve my scores ?

    Thanks a ton ! 🙂

    Like

  10. Kartikeya Tandon says

    Hello Sir !

    A big thanks to you for all your detailed posts !
    I’m a final year undergraduate student and XAT is my second exam this season after CAT.

    I have been following the process explained by you for the Decision Making and Analytical Reasoning section and it is coming out as my strongest area in the XAT mocks.
    However I’m struggling with the VALR and QA-DI sections and failing to meet the sectional cutoffs.

    I use the 45-45-45 minutes approach as explained by you before, and the remaining 30 minutes depending on the situation during the exam.

    My scores have been around 9 marks in the DM section but only around 5 marks each for VALR and QA-DI

    A score of 11.5 in DM Section Test 1 increased my confidence to make it one of my areas of maximisation.

    For the VALR section, i attempt the VA questions first but struggle considerably with the accuracy in the RCs.

    For QA-DI, my strategy is to solve a DI set first and then proceed to Arithmetic and Modern Math questions ( Geometry being a weak area )

    Could you please throw some light on what I can do in these 3 days to improve my scores ?

    Thanks a ton ! 🙂

    Like

  11. Hello sir,
    I face most of my issues with the VARC section. Even in CAT 2020 and GMAT, I messed up my exam because of the section. You mentioned a few websites to read from (Aeon Magazine, The Hedgehog Review, The Point Magazine, The Atlantic, etc.) which I do try to follow but after reading those articles how do I self-evaluate my understanding of the articles given their difficulty level?
    During practice/mocks, I get confused between two options always and I believe it is because of my understanding of the passage which is not quite on point.

    Can you please give some suggestions.
    Thank you

    Like

  12. Swastik Singh says

    Hello Sir,
    I have a small query regarding DM questions.
    Having solved XAT mocks and past year questions, I have observed a trend that often a way question is framed gives a clue to the previous answer.
    Say a DM set covering Q4-Q6.
    Q4 goes like this; The question and five options (a,b,c,d,e)
    Q5 goes like this: Having taken this approach( option C of Q4), what is the way forward and then various options are given.
    So, while reading Q5, it seems that option C was the correct answer to the previous question and now there is a temptation to go and modify my answer for Q4.
    So, what is get is sometimes the questions in a set move linearly ahead and maybe they have a clue for the previous question.
    Is this observation right??
    Happy New Year
    Regards

    Like

  13. Akarsha Gopa says

    Hi Sir,
    Just checked my XAT results.
    99.2 percentile in DM, thanks to your video on the IMS portal.
    I followed your process and this was the result.
    Just wanted to say thank you for helping us and explaining so well :). Have a great day!

    Like

    • Hi Akarsha,

      Congratulations on the DM percentile!

      Happy to know that the DM Masterclass helped.

      My job is to show you the path, you have the tougher job — walking it. Well done!

      All the best!

      Like

  14. Hi Sir ,
    didn’t fare too well at XAT this time.
    OA – 96.1xx
    VA-RC – 97.xx , DM – 79.xx , QA – 88.xx , GK – 91.xx ,
    Profile – GEM , 10th- 10 CGPA / 12th – 95% , Graduation from Tier 1 Gov engg .colg – 90.4 % , 7 months work-ex at deloitte India
    Although i did get the call for both BM and HR , i’d like to know realistically , what my chances are ?

    Like

    • Hi,

      This is a question I get asked a lot. I can understand the state of mind that prompts this question but never the utility.

      If I say, yes, does it mean that you do not need to prepare since you will anyway get it, or does it mean that since you will get it you will work harder?

      If I say, no, does it mean that there is no way that you can get it so there is no point preparing?

      A story to put things in perspective:

      I was interviewing a student and somehow I got a feeling that it was not his first attempt, he said, yes, I got a 97 percentile last year, NC-OBC, old IIM calls, everyone said it is a sureshot, I took it lightly and walked in, did not covert a single call.

      To give an interview is a great opportunity to fine-tune your skills and there is no better dress rehearsal than an actual IIM interview even if it is for a baby IIM.

      Your task is simple, prepare as well as you can, get as many marks as you can in the interview.

      CONTROL what you CAN control — your prep, your performance — IGNORE what you DO NOT know or CANNOT control.

      All the best!

      Like

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