XAT Demystified – Part II

In this post, I will cover the Verbal & Logical Ability Section and Decision Making Section of XAT.

2.  Verbal & Logical Ability

Traditionally, the Verbal section in XAT has known to mainly comprise Reading comprehension questions – with a majority being inferential in nature. Do not be surprised if you encounter some really long passages and sometimes very heavy passages in this section.
In 2013, for example, there were passages that could be considered to be esoteric for a plain graduate. The remaining questions in this section are based on grammar, vocabulary and verbal reasoning.
xSome of the Verbal reasoning questions (like the Definition-based and Statement Relations) have known to be tricky or confusing – and therefore, difficult to solve. You need to be a good reader with sound reasoning skills to ace this section. Lastly do not get confused by the name of this section – it does not include “logical reasoning” questions (as referred to in the CAT terminology).

Find below the breakup of the XAT Verbal Ability section in the last 3 years:

XAT Verbal

How to prepare?

Brush up your Grammar and Verbal Reasoning concepts (the CAT reference material should be good enough for the same). If you do not have a sound vocabulary, here is your chance to scan the wordlists and make most of the next one month. For Verbal Reasoning, you may need some additional practice for question types like “Definition-based questions”(eg. FIJs) as you may not have solved too many of them whilst preparing for CAT. Attempt a couple of Reading Comprehension passages on a daily basis – time yourself and check your accuracy. Again, the CAT RCs (especially the difficult ones) should be sufficient to prep you for the XAT.  If you need additional practice across all the areas, dig into the section tests, CAT 500 and CAT mock tests. Before you start taking the XAT mock tests, solve the Verbal sections of past XAT papers to get a flavor of questions asked in the XAT.  As in the case of QA, after every test analyse your performance in the same and work on one or two areas of weakness.

3.  Decision Making

As an MBA, you will be involved in “Decision-making” on an almost daily basis.  Decision-making is a process of selecting the best possible course of action from two or more possibilities.  Decisions need to be taken based on objective or subjective criteria depending on the situation that you face. So, for example, in an ethical dilemma the decision you take is highly subjective and is dependent on the set of needs, preferences or values that you have or seek as an individual. In a case that involves financial implications, you may take decisions objectively based on expected values of one more parameters in different scenarios.

XAT is one of the only B-School Entrance Exams to test this ability – other institutes evaluate it, if at all, during the second stage of the selection Process. The Decision-making Section in XAT comprises business and everyday situations wherein you need to decide what the various stakeholders should do in given situations.  The different types of cases that you may encounter in this section can be classified as (1) Cases needing application of Maths & Stats;  (2) Cases based on ethics; (3) Cases based on evaluation of qualitative information. Answers to some of these questions sometimes border on the subjective – with more than 1 option appearing to be equally correct).

Additionally, standard Logical Reasoning and Critical reasoning questions have also appeared in this section over the years. Multi-source reasoning questions (typical of GMAT Integrated Reasoning section) have also appeared in the XAT 2014 paper. In this type, you need to analyse different sources of information (in this case, there were 3 newspaper reports) to answer the questions that follow. Find below the breakup of the XAT Decision Making section in the last 6 years:



How to prepare?

As this is entirely a new section, ensure that you solve caselets and questions that have appeared in past XAT papers – to understand the nature of questions as well as the concepts (like Probability, expected value etc) that may be required to solve them. Ensure that you practice with critical reasoning questions (refer CAT and/or GMAT study material for the same) and Logical Reasoning sets (refer CAT material for expected question types). For Ethics and General Management based caselets – practice with the Case Studies that are generally used at the Group Discussion stage of the B-School selection process. IMS has launched a book with 100+ practice questions for Decision Making. You could buy this book (Click Here) for additional practice with questions that are closely based on past papers. Finally, have a crack at comprehensive mock tests – and focus on selecting the right sets in each of the tests – so that you meet the sectional cut-offs (which are pretty low each year – last year solving 12-15 questions with 80-85% accuracy would have comfortably got you through in this section).

In the next post, I will elaborate on the GK and Essay Writing section of XAT.


9 thoughts on “XAT Demystified – Part II

    • Hi Shivam.. The changes are welcome and should be favourable to students who have a sound conceptual base. The increase in time duration coupled with decrease in number of questions as well as the level of difficulty of the questions will push up the number of attempts – and thereby the achievable scores. So, if you attempt fewer questions it will be due to lack of conceptual knowledge rather than shortage of time. Upto 13 questions can be skipped, beyond which every skipped question will attract a penalty – so you cannot tend to be over-cautious in this test. You need to attempt at least 65 questions out of 78. To sum up, work on your conceptual clarity across areas, and you should be able to do well in this test.


  1. Sir, will there also be negative marking for wrong answers? Or is it just when more than 13 questions are skipped?

    What would be an estimated score for 90 percentile?


    • The negative marking for incorrect responses remains as it is – 0.25 marks for every incorrect attempt. There is no negative marking for the GK section.


  2. Pingback: XAT 2016: A Prep Plan - Part II - IMS Chennai

  3. Sir, is there any sectional cutoff for XAT?
    Also, what is the marking scheme for XAT (how many marks per correct answer)? Does it follow differential marking?


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