CAT 2017 Exam Analysis
XAT 2017 model paper   Official Solutions XAT 2016   Official Solutions XAT 2015  

XAT Story

Edmyt wishes a fab 2017 to you and your family!

The season of management entrance exams will soon be back after a break of 3 weeks! XAT, the second biggest exam in its category, is on January 8. 

How prepared are you for XAT 2017? How different is this exam from others? What is new this year? 

First of all, please realize that you have been practising tons of questions in Quantitative Ability (QA) and Verbal Ability (VA) sections as they appear in many other exams as well. I am confident that a well-prepared test taker must have attempted at least 1000 questions each of QA and VA, but how many questions have you done on Decision Making (DM)?

Keep in mind that there is an entire section devoted to DM in XAT, making this a unique exam. Most aspirants tend to spend a disproportionate amount of time on QA and VA of XAT as they are not very familiar with DM. In my opinion, one must spend at least 40-50 minutes of the allotted 170 minutes on DM.  You must practise the DM questions from previous XAT papers. DM questions,along with the official solutions, from XAT 2015 and 2016 are available on our site for your reference and you must do at least the DM sections of these two XAT papers in the last 6 days before the exam.

Please refer to these tables:

XAT cut-offs

2014 2015 2016
Score at 99%ile 34/83 32/84 36/78
Cutoff (XLRI-BM) 28 (94%ile) 26 (94%ile) 31.5 (96%ile)
(XLRI-HRM) 25 (88%ile) 24.5 (90%ile) 30 (94.4%ile)

The XAT 2016 cut-offs for XLRI programs along with sectional cut-offs are mentioned below:
(as published on XAT 2016 website)

  VA & LR DM QA & DI Overall
XLRI-BM 77.47 78.042 88.60 96
XLRI-HRM 69.128 68.978 69.00 94.4
XLRI-GMP - - - 69

XAT 2016 Score vs. Percentile

Score Percentile
40 99.75
36.75 99.28
35.5 98.9
33.5 97.9
31.75 96.8
23.5 82.58

What strikes you most in these tables? Low cut-offs? Even lower sectional cut-offs?

  • in last 3 years, the cut-off for the BM program of XLRI has been in the range 28-31.5
  • cut-off for the XLRI - HRM program has been in a lower range of 25-30
  • all the sectional cut-offs for the HRM program of XLRI were around 70 percentile!
  • even for the BM program of XLRI, the sectional cut-offs for VA, DM and QA sections of XAT 2016 were around 80, 80 and 90 percentile respectively

Why are the cut-offs these low? Well, a couple of things come to my mind. One, XAT has maintained a reasonable difficulty level across the sections almost every year. Two, in a departure from most MBA exams XAT questions have 5 options each. Going by the fact that the number of questions has been reduced from 78 to72 in XAT 2016, XAT 2017 should not be an exception. Assessing the trend of the last few XAT papers and the information available on XAT 2017 on its site, there should be 24 questions on VA, 21 on DM and 27 on QA in XAT 2017.

Please bear in mind that your Personal Interview (PI) call for XLRI is agnostic to your academic performance and hence your XAT score becomes all the more important. Not only this, on certain occasions the weight on XAT score in the final selection has been as high as 65%!

When it comes to cut-offs, please do not get deceived by what you see on records as XLRI has only 180 seats for each of BM and HRM programs while the examination is taken by around 90,000 people. Let's look at the highest overall percentile cut-off of XLRI's BM program in the last 3 years: it was 96 percentile in 2016.

Even if I assume that approximately half of the top 4% (on the basis of overall score) population that takes XAT does NOT clear the sectional cut-off in at least one of the sections, more than 1500 students still get shortlisted for the PI for the 180 seats. So, you should not target just the cut-off in this examination.

Now that we have some idea about the importance of XAT score now, but how to score high on it? What should be the strategy?

I reiterate that one must practise DM in whatever time that is left now. I would not prescribe a strategy as by this time you must have set one for yourself, but you must attempt all the three sections of the examination in the first 130-140 minutes and ensure you meet  cut-offs in at least two of the three sections (barring the section you are most comfortable with). Next, if you are confident of having scored the cut-offs in two sections, just go ahead and maximize your score in the section of your choice. if you are not confident of clearing the cut-off on any particular section, you must invest a good part of the last 30-40 minutes on that section before you go ballistic in the section of your choice.

I believe (take this belief with a pinch of salt) that scores of 9, 9 and 11 should be enough to clear the cut-offs in VA, DM and QA sections respectively of XAT 2017 for the BM program of XLRI, and for XLRI's HRM program the cut-offs can drop to 8, 8 and 9 for the VA, DM and QA sections.

You would be extremely busy starting January 7 as you have TISSNET and XAT back to back. SNAP results should be out on Jan 9 and CAT results can come any time in the 2nd week of Jan (again).

A quick note: you have to shade the ovals of the OMR sheet of XAT 2017 with a blue or black ball point pen (as you do in SNAP).

All the very best!