History of Decision Making in XAT
Note: MISB Bocconi doest not accept XAT Scores for PGPB applications 2016-17
Questions on Decision Making have been asked in XAT for quite a few years. However, their importance has gone up drastically since 2012. Before that, you could expect 8 to 10 questions on Decision Making in the Analytical Reasoning section. In 2012, Decision Making became a section of its own and if you were to look at it purely from a scoring perspective – it make the most important topic for a student who is planning to write the XAT. It so happened because Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning and Verbal Ability – none of them had a full section on their own. They had to share the limelight, so to say, with some other related topic. In 2012, there were 25 questions in the Decision Making section. It even had some questions that were of 1.5 marks instead of the standard 1. The XAT paper in 2013 also had 25 questions, although all questions were of 1 mark each. The XAT paper in 2014 had 21 questions, and XAT 2015 exam had 24 questions in the Decision Making section. Given below is a detail break up of Decision Making questions over the years.
Predictions for Decision Making in XAT 2016
There is no doubt that in 2016 also a similar trend would continue this year as well. It would be fair to say that the number of questions on Decision Making would most probably outnumber questions on Quant, DI, LR or VA individually. I expect the number of questions to be anywhere from 21-25 this year considering the fact that the total number of questions in XAT 2016 is 78. It would be a good idea to spend a good hour on Decision Making in the exam. An important point to note is that traditionally Decision Making is the most scoring section in the XAT exam. It is not because Decision Making is easy, but it is because the other sections tend to be quite hard.
How to prepare for Decision Making
While we have established the importance of Decision Making from the perspective of XAT, a lot of aspirants are not even aware of what exactly Decision Making questions are based on. In Decision Making, a situation (like a case study) is presented to a student, and broadly two types of questions are asked on it:
a) What would be the ideal course of action to take in such a situation?b) What lead to such a situation?
These kinds of questions require a logical approach and a clear understanding of the situation. It often requires going through large amounts of text and then logically interpreting the information presented. To put it in conventional terms, it is a combination of Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning and traditionally students who are good in these two areas tend to do well in the Decision Making section as well.
Previous Year XAT Decision Making Questions / Answers – Free Download
A good way to prepare for Decision Making would be to look at previous year papers. You can have a look at questions from XAT 2008 to XAT 2015 which would give you approximately 150 questions to practice. These 150 questions will not only tell you your current level of understanding of the topic but if you analyze them properly, it can make a difference to you final score. I have compiled a PDF of previous year XAT Decision Making questions along with their answers. It is available for free download on the link – http://handakafunda.com/previous-year-questions-xat-decision-making-free-pdf-download/
Type of Questions in XAT Decision Making
The classification of XAT Decision Making questions can be done in a variety of ways. One way to classify this would be on the basis of the length of the passage associated with it. These questions can be broadly classified in two ways:
- Single Questions Passage
- Multiple Questions Passage
While it might be difficult to go through all the questions in Decision Making section XAT, I would strongly recommend that you should go through all ‘individual / single questions’. These questions are often quite straightforward and offer a good return on time invested. Yes – it is quite possible that the question is slightly tough and / or has two options that are quite similar to each other, but it would still be a good idea to at least take a shot at it. It will not take too long when compared with other decision-making questions and the chances of making an error are also slightly lesser as you need to retain less information in your head while solving these.
Another way of classifying the questions in XAT Decision Making would be on the basis of content. That way, XAT Decision Making questions can be broadly classified in 4 ways:
- Pure Logic
- Financial Issues
- Managerial Issues
- Ethical Dilemmas
Among these type, pure logic and financial issues questions are the ones that should be attempted first. It is not necessary that you will be able to solve them, but the chances of making a mistake are quite low in these types of questions. Either you will be able to solve it and get the answer, or you will not be able to get to the answer. You will not be left confused and stranded between two options. On the other hand, the questions that are based on ‘Managerial Issues’ and ‘Ethical Dilemmas’ tend to appear easy but the options are often very confusing. The majority of questions in XAT Decision Making would be based on ‘Managerial Issues’, so it is recommended that you practice a whole bunch of them and also understand the logic behind the answers. I guess the chart given below would be able to give you some more pointers about the same.
A very common mistake that a lot of students make is that they neglect this section. They believe, which is often not supported by data, that Decision Making is something that they would do on the spot. They write 4-5 mock XATs, and that is the end of their preparation for the Decision Making section. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Like any other topic, Decision Making also requires effort if you wish to excel in it. Especially in an exam like XAT, which is a low scoring exam, one set of questions can make a difference between a 98%ile and an 89%ile. Most probably, you would have prepared for CAT and other management entrance exams for more than 6 months. Most of your time during preparation would have been spent on preparing for Quant, LR, DI or VA. But from now on, you should spend at least half of your time preparing for Decision Making whereas the other half should be used in preparing for the other sections. I have an online coaching course for XAT Decision Making that can also help you prepare for the same. With that, you also get the option to register for XAT mocks in the new pattern. I hope that this post, the course, and the mocks will help you do well in the XAT 2016 exam.
I will also like to add that this is the last blogpost in the 2015 season that I will be doing with MISB Bocconi. With these series of posts, I sincerely believe that we have been able to add value to at least few students preparing for MBA Entrance exams.
Best of luck for the exams and the results that follow!
Ravi Handa, an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, has been teaching for CAT and various other competitive exams for around a decade. He started online courses on his website Handa Ka Funda in 2013 and 10000+ students have subscribed to them since then.