XAT 2018 scheduled to be held on January 7- Expected Changes in the Exam

XAT 2018 is scheduled to be held on January 7th, 2018. Presently, there are more than 150 B-schools such as XLRI, SPJIMR, BIMTECH, TAPMI and IMT that accept XAT scores for admissions into various MBA or PGDM programs and management courses. Xavier’s Aptitude Test is one of the largest management entrance examination after CAT and MAT.

The exam has undergone a few changes in past three to five years. That include changes in the overall duration of exam, total number of sections and questions, marking pattern for correct and incorrect answers and unattempted questions. Similar to most entrance exams, Xavier Aptitude Test has had new appearances and taken better shapes over the years.

The exam is approaching the biggest change of all in 2018 that is in the mode of the exam. XAT 2018 is going to be held in online mode. Keeping up with present times, online mode do have its benefits of easier evaluation of papers and saving time in this process. Of course, you also benefit from ease of using simple technology to complete your exams in due time. But, don’t let this change increase your apprehension or affect your performance.

There is no other change in the overall exam pattern, or number of sections and that’s same as previous years. Only thing is that the four sections will be in online mode and essay writing in pen and paper mode.

Total Number of Questions and Exam Duration

There have been few increases and decreases in this regard. For instance, it was 113, 114, 103 and 97 total questions for XAT 2014, XAT 2015, XAT 2016 and XAT 2017 respectively. This also means respective changes in MCQ questions of Part 1, in the previous years.

For instance, it was 72 MCQs in Part 1 for XAT 2017, 78 for XAT 2016 and 84 MCQs in Part 1 for XAT 2015. While on this subject, do remember that it is the scores of Part 1, that is first used to compute XAT percentile score, prepare merit lists and shortlist candidates for PI round, whereas the marks scored in Part 2 of, is used in final selections of candidates.

There is possibility of number of MCQs in Part 1, being further reduced from 72 MCQs in the previous year. However, it won’t increase.

Next, the exam duration for XAT exam hasn’t had major changes but remained, more or less, on the same line. A total of 3 hours used to be the time limit, until XAT 2015. After that, it was 3 ½ hours in 2016 and 2017 and it will probably be the same for 2018.
Also, time allotted to finish Part 1 (3 sections) of XAT 2018 is 170 minutes, and it is 35 minutes for Part 2 (GK and Essay writing) of the exam.

Sectional Changes and Section-Wise Questions

There isn’t going to be any change in this line. That means, the four usual sections plus the essay section of XAT exam will remain the same for 2018. Also, remember that there will be sectional cut offs and these are as important as final percentile score cut offs.

Now in previous years, the number of questions per section did vary a bit. In XAT 2017, there were 24 questions under VARC, 21 in DM, 27 in Quant in Part 1 of the paper. This reduced from 26 questions in VARC, 23 in DM and 29 in Quant section, in 2016. Further back in 2015, it was higher up at 28 questions in VARC, 23 in DM and 33 in Quant section.

For XAT 2018, the section wise questions in Part 1 are expected to be same as last year.

For Part 2 of XAT, it was 25 questions for GK in 2017 and 2016. Prior to that, it was 30 questions in the year 2015. The essay topic question has stayed consistent at only 1 question in the past four years. However, for XAT 2018, it is expected to have one or two essay choices but only 1 is to be attempted and 25 questions for GK section.

Marking Pattern

Few changes have been observed under the marking pattern for XAT. For instance, prior to XAT 2013, it used to be 1.5 to 5 marks for every question. This changed in 2013, with 1 mark for every correct question. This pattern has stayed consistent in next few years too. That means, XAT 2018, will have 1 mark for every correct answer as well.

Next, negative marking. Yes, this was present in past years with ¼ negative marking for every incorrect answer, and it continues for XAT 2018. But, the pattern of penalty of 0.05 mark per question if more than 13 questions were left unattended was introduced in XAT 2016. In XAT 2017, it became penalty of 0.05 mark per question if more than 12 questions were left unattended, and this will continue for XAT 2018 as well.

Devise your study plans and strategies to qualify the exam. Regular practice through solved question papers and mock test series is good way to ensure that. You can also check out the difficulty trends of the previous papers from student reviews, exam reviews and analysis.

It was observed that level of XAT was weighed on moderate to difficult scale in 2016 and it was moderate to high difficult level, both in 2016 and 2015. Do your best and understand what suits your needs and strengths, to score your maximum.

Author: Raghav Pandey

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