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By Sneha Dasgupta

XAT Exam Preparation: Question pattern, XAT preparation strategy, XAT preparation at home & important topics

5th October, 2021

XAT is undoubtedly one of the toughest management entrance exams in India. It is common knowledge that the difficulty level of the XAT exam is between moderate to difficult. In order to crack the exam with a good score, you need a proper XAT preparation strategy along with hard work and determination. 

The sections that follow discuss in greater detail how you can create and execute a six-month or three-month XAT preparation plan. Important last-minute tips have also been included. We have also discussed how to prepare for XAT at home and the best books to follow.   

 XAT Preparation

The preparation strategy must be customised according to your individual needs. However, any preparation strategy for XAT 2022 will have three basic elements. We have listed them below.

  1. Clarity about exam pattern
  2. Practising questions
  3. Revision
  4. Taking regular mock tests
  5. Time management

A XAT exam preparation strategy that leads to success is about executing each of the points properly. Some students may need more time while others may do it sooner. For instance, if you are already preparing for CAT, then you can prepare for XAT in a very short time.  

XAT Exam Pattern

Being familiar with the XAT exam pattern is the first step in preparing for the XAT 2022 exam. XAT exam has 4 sections and a total of 100 questions that must be solved within 3 hours. The number of questions in each section will vary and the final score will be calculated on the basis of only the first three sections. 

There is no sectional time limit for the first three sections but the fourth section has to be completed within the last 15 minutes. 

XAT exam pattern summary

Date of ExamJanuary 3 2021
Exam modeComputer-Based Test (CBT)
Total time of exam3 hours
Number of questions100
Question TypeMCQs
Number of options per question
Number of sections
Sectional time limitNO

XAT Question Paper Pattern

We have surmised the question pattern of the XAT 2022 exam in the table below.

Section 1Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension & Logical Reasoning26 questions
Section 2Decision Making21 questions
Section 3Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation28 questions
Section 4General Knowledge25 questions

XAT Marking Scheme

All the details regarding the XAT 2022 marking scheme have been summarised below.

SectionsCorrect AnswerWrong AnswerTime-limit
Section 1+1-0.25N/A
Section 2+1-0.25N/A
Section 3+1-0.25N/A
Section 4+1N/A15 minutes
Note: 0.10 marks will be deducted for more than 8 unattempted questions.

Six Months Preparation Strategy for XAT

A six-month plan for XAT preparation is ideal to score a good percentile. With six months in hand, you can adequately practise each of the sections and take many mock tests. Here we have outlined a six months XAT preparation strategy that you can follow to ace the exam.

First 4 months of XAT Preparation

In the first 4 months, the main task is to understand the type of questions that are asked and the concepts used to solve them. You need to cover the topics and practice questions to effectively do that. You can follow the points below to effectively the important topics in 4 months. 

  • Make a schedule with both daily and weekly targets of study hours as it allows flexibility
  • If you miss the daily target then you can easily do extra on another day and meet the weekly target
  • Join a XAT coaching class online or at a reputed institute near you
  • It is better to study the topics in lecture mode as it makes learning quicker and more effective
  • A lot of resources is freely available on the internet and should be used to boost preparation
  • There are a lot of apps that help with XAT preparation which can be downloaded on any smartphone
  • Soft copies of several books are also available online which can be downloaded  for free 

 Last 2 months of XAT Preparation

After covering the topics in detail, the next step is to revise, solve questions and take mock tests. The preparation in this stage must be done keeping the exam day scenario in mind. We have outlined the important pointers to be followed in the last 2 months of XAT preparation.

  • Time management is the most crucial aspect of preparation at this stage and should be in focus at all times
  • Practise solving previous years XAT question papers, strictly maintaining the time limit
  • Practise the quant section daily as it is the most difficult of all and requires regular practice
  • Revise the concepts regularly to ensure that you can easily recall them on the exam day
  • Focus solely on revision and taking mock tests in the last month to make yourself fully exam-ready  

Three Months Preparation Strategy for XAT

With some prior experience in preparing for management entrance exams, you can easily ace XAT preparation within three months. There will not be much time to prepare each section in great detail within a three-month strategy for XAT. We have listed below the important points you should remember while preparing for XAT in three months.

  • There is not enough time to cover all the topics in the syllabus so you need to bank on previous experience
  • The focus should be on solving XAT previous years questions and taking mock tests regularly
  • Pay special attention to the Quant and Decision Making  section as that requires regular practice of techniques to improve accuracy
  • Focus on your strong areas and try to make them even sharper to make sure that your confidence levels are high before the exam
  • With three months, the objective is to be exam ready as soon as possible, so practice time management right from the start

XAT Preparation at Home

It is possible to prepare for the XAT exam at home and ace it with a good score. However, relying entirely on self-study to pull off the entire preparation strategy will require a high degree of self-discipline. 

It can be difficult because you have to ensure that you stick firmly to the schedule that you make for yourself without any external guide or motivation. On the positive side, self-study based preparation allows flexibility, as you can choose your own time and pace to study. 

But if you are unable to keep up with preparation by self-study, it could be a good idea to join coaching classes. You can get expert guidance from experienced teachers and compete with other students to get a good estimate of how good your preparation is before the exam. 

These are the steps you can follow to do XAT preparation at home. 

  1. Make a daily time-table and stick to it
  2. Gather information about the exam pattern, marking scheme, etc.
  3. Research on the best books for XAT preparation and get hold of them
  4. Practise solving questions by strictly maintaining the time limit
  5. Take regular mock tests  

Last-Minute Preparation Tips for XAT

If you can properly organise the last-minute preparation, there is a good chance that you can add up to 30 percentile to your overall XAT score. At the last minute, you need to primarily focus on the practical elements in the exam. 

Irrespective of how you feel about your preparation, the main objective at the last minute is execution. We have compiled a list of tips that can help add that extra edge to your XAT score in the last seven days. 

  • Focus on the areas in which you are strong, instead of being too concerned about the weaknesses 
  • The intensity of Quant and Decision-making practice should not drop in the last week
  • The most important thing in the last week of XAT preparation is to stay relaxed and calm
  • Make sure to quickly revise the syllabus so that you can easily recall the concepts during the exam 

XAT Exam Day Tips

XAT exam 2022 will be held on 3 January 2022 across 72 test cities. On the exam day, candidates have to execute their XAT preparation in the best possible way. In order to be able to put your best foot forward, you need to make sure that there are no unforeseen issues on the exam day. 

By following the tips given below, you can execute your preparation in the best possible way. 

  1. You need to carry the XAT admit card and photo ID for verification 
  2. Reach the exam hall ahead of the reporting time and compose yourself before sitting in the exam hall
  3. Instead of doing revision on the exam day, focus more on staying composed and relaxing
  4. Carefully read the instructions on the XAT admit card and follow them diligently at all times

Best Books for Preparation

Many books for XAT preparation are available in the market and it can be difficult to choose the right ones. Often, it also leads to a waste of time and energy, especially when it is spent on studying and gathering materials that you don’t actually need. It is best to act smart and follow the books that successful candidates recommend. 

In the tables that follow, we have listed the section-wise best books for XAT 2022 preparation. 

Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension & Logical Reasoning

TitleAuthorPublisher
A Modern Approach to Verbal and Non-Verbal ReasoningR.S. AggarwalS. Chand
Word Power Made EasyNorman LewisGoyal 
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reasoning Comprehension for CATMeenakshi Upadhyay Tata McGraw Hills WE series
Analytical Reasoning M. K. PandeyBSC Publishing Co. 

Decision Making

TitleAuthorPublisher
Analytical and Logical Reasoning for CAT and other management entrance testPeeyush BharadwajArihant 
Jabbing the XAT (Solved Paper and Mock Tests 2021)R.K JhaArihant

Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation

TitleAuthorPublisher
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive ExaminationR.S. Aggarwal S. Chand
How to prepare for Data InterpretationArun SharmaMcGraw Hill Education
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for CATNishit K. SinhaPearson

General Knowledge

For General Knowledge, you don’t need to read any book in particular. It is important to follow business news in newspapers and magazines and to be aware of the happenings in the business. Some of the publications that you can read to prepare for this section have been listed below. 

  1. Financial Times
  2. Financial Express
  3. LiveMint
  4. The Indian Express
  5. The Hindu
  6. Manorama Yearbook 2021

FAQs related to XAT preparation

Can I prepare for XAT in 2 months?

It is difficult but not impossible to complete 2022 XAT preparation in 2 months. You need to have some experience of preparing for other management entrance exams, such as CAT. You can quickly complete revising the syllabus in less than a month and use the rest of the time to solve previous years questions, practice time management and take regular mock tests.  

Is XAT tough to crack?

The difficulty level of the XAT exam is between moderate to difficult and it is tough to crack. Many students aspire to qualify for the exam but only a few manage to do it because of its highly competitive nature.

Is 1 month enough for XAT preparation?

1 month is not enough if you are planning to start from the beginning and complete the whole syllabus. It can be done only if you are highly skilled at answer answering aptitude-based questions.

Is 70 percentile good in XAT?

70 percentile is not a bad score even though it will not get you a seat at XLRI, Jamshedpur. However, you can take admission into several other top management institutes with a 70 percentile score in XAT.

By Sneha Dasgupta

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