How to Prepare for the Decision Making Section of XAT?
The Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) is an important MBA entrance test leading to MBA admission 2020 in prestigious B-Schools such as XLRI, SPJIMR, IMT, XIMB, TAPMI and XIME. XLRI has recently released the notification for XAT 2020, announcing the exam date for this year’s cycle being announced as 5th January 2020, besides some important changes such “No Essay section”, “GK section having no negative marking and not counting towards percentile calculations” and “Introduction of Numerical Answer Type (NAT) questions”.
These changes underscore two important points:
1. Since the XAT exam will be conducted after CAT and most MBA entrances, a serious aspirant must devote additional efforts to become proficient at the unique Decision Making (DM) section in the XAT.
2. Removal of GK section from percentile section gives the DM section even greater importance to outscore other competing students.
What is the Decision Making Section?
XLRI Jamshedpur is one of the premier institutions in the country to pursue a management program specializing in Human Resources and Industrial Relations. Living up to this reputation, the DM section of the XAT is one that tests the ability of an aspirant to assess an existing business situation and take the right decisions to resolve a professional situation, further an organization’s goals and adhere to ethical and policy frameworks.
Section Format : There are 21 questions in this section and these are in the form of 10-14 sets each of which involves a particular business situation. These involve a broad range of domains that include profitability or revenue issues, employee motivation and stakeholder management, marketing and promotions, handling customer complaints or even professional rivalry. Each set will have 2-3 specific questions with multiple possible responses, and the student is expected to make the best possible choice.
How best to prepare for the DM Section?
1. Familiarize yourself with the basics of operating a business.
Thus, it must be obvious that the primary goal of any business entity is to drive profitability in a sustained manner. Further, the ability to assess a business situation in a comprehensive manner is paramount. While foreknowledge of frameworks (such as SWOT, Porters 5 forces, the 5 Ps of marketing etc.) is not essential these can help a student understand the key levers that drive an organization’s success. Existing professional situations used to explain these frameworks can also expose one to the common business problems.
2. Keep yourself abreast of the latest business developments.
Most professional situations considered borrow from real life, so being well-read and up-to-date with recent policy changes, changing business paradigms and important announcements from both the Public and Private sector is important. In addition, conducting some basic research on key sectors such as FMCG, Manufacturing, IT, Education, Health and Hospitality can be invaluable in giving a slight edge.
3. Practice Case Situations
Since there is very little material available on the DM section, the best alternative is to try solving simple business cases that will train one to identify the main issue, list out possible responses that resolve the issue and evaluate these on the basis of identified criteria. Do note that case preparation material available online and with institutes might be too detailed and hence the candidate must focus on the basics only.
4. Practice aplenty from past XAT papers and mocks
The best way of understanding the DM section and improving one’s aptitude towards the same is to attempt past papers and understand the correct logic and rationale used to arrive at the best choice. Try to categorize the problems into groups which have a similar approach/manner of thinking. Dwell in greater detail on situations or questions where you failed to make the right decision, understand where your thought-process was incorrect and make the necessary course-correction.