XAT 2018 Exam Analysis

XAT 2018 Exam Analysis

You can watch our video analysis here

The first online XAT neither shocked nor disappointed the takers! With no major departures from the previous years, the only major change turned out to be the online format of the exam.

The admission process was a smooth one with nothing that overwhelmed the student. Kind smiles and directions being given politely could be seen. A quick frisking, followed by a rather long wait in queues for the admit card and identity card verification. A couple of centers had the support staff being confused over the details of the process. A few centers had technical glitches with the systems hanging in between. A major server issue seemed to have affected most centers during Part B of the test requiring candidates to log in again. The interface was largely user-friendly with just a few avoidable hiccups-like the non-functional save button in Part B and the drop down of Part A being visible in Part B (though not functional).

XAT 2018 in its first online attempt mostly kept its pattern similar to last year. There were 2 parts in the paper: Part A and Part B. Part A had 26 questions of Verbal ability and logical reasoning, 21 questions of Decision Making and 27 questions of Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation. The time allotted for this part was 170 minutes (with no sectional time limit). Part B had 25 questions of General awareness and an essay topic. The time allotted for this part was 40 minutes. There was a 10 minutes break provided between both the parts.

An easier than expected Quant + DI and a moderate Decision-Making section, a slightly tougher than the expected verbal section and close options throughout all sections were the highlights of the paper.

Part A:

Quantitative Ability+ Data Interpretation (27 Questions)

The section consisted of 6 questions of Data Interpretation, 2 questions of Data sufficiency and 19 questions on Quantitative Ability.

Data Interpretation was spread in two sets of 3 questions each. While one was standard DI set consisting of a bar and line graph; another one was a football tournament based set. Both of them were easy and can be solved by a well-trained student.

Quant part of the section was dominated by Arithmetic with 3 questions from numbers, 1 from percentage, 2 from Ratios, 2 from Time and Distance and 1 from Time and work. Algebra had its share of 2 questions – 1 on quadratic equation and other on inequality. Geometry had 4 questions – 1 on circle, 1 on 3-dimensional Height and Distance and 2 on mensuration. There were 2 questions on application of Maths, 1 question on probability and 1 question on application of Fibonacci series.

Overall this section can be called easy to moderate considering options were close in 3 to 4 questions and some 4 to 5 questions were tough.

Allocating 60 mins to this section, 20+ can be termed as Good Attempts and 15+ can be a good score.

Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning (26 Questions)

Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning section had 26 questions with 3 Vocabulary Sentence Completion, 1 Grammar Sentence Correction, 5 RCs with 15 questions which included a poem of 2 questions, and 5 Critical Reasoning questions. Sentence Completion was moderate with one tricky question using words like phillipic and ennui, and another, an interesting relief for the fans of Game of Thrones with the Lannisters, Tyrells, Jon and Daenerys thrown in! The lone Grammar question tested the correct use of conjunction and double negative.

3 of the 5 RCs were abstract with dense language making reading difficult. They were abstract discussions of belief and doubt, science and consciousness, and labour and capital. The RC on lessons of history was easy to read but had difficult questions and confusing options. Most RCs were about 400 to 450 and one RC of about 600 words. The poem on the theme of love with 2 questions was 12-14 lines long. The other RCs had 3 questions each and 1 RC with 4 questions. There were a number of most likely/least likely questions, a couple of inferences, one vocab-based question, two essence of the passage questions and the others detail-based. Critical Reasoning had a definitely interpreted, least likely, inference, most likely explanation and an unusual ‘Which assumption would make the argument redundant?’ questions.

A student could allocate about 55 mins to this section and attempt 20+ questions with 11+ correct.

Decision Making (21 Questions)

Decision Making had 7 caselets with 4 carrying 3 questions each and 3 carrying 2 questions each making for a total of 18 DM questions. Five of these caselets were business cases with 1 involving ethics and humanitarian decisions. One caselet was an interesting set of kingdoms and the decisions that the Queens and Kings of these kingdoms would need to take with regard to the security and sovereignty of their kingdom and another to do with economic justice. Though all caselets were around 150 to 350 words and easy to understand, the most likely not/least likely not nature of the questions and the close options made them challenging.

This section had only one set of data-related decision making with three questions with the data provided in a tabular form.

With 55 minutes allocated to this section, good attempts would be 18+ with 10+ correct.

PART B: General Awareness and Essay-Writing:

Part B had 25 questions of GK followed by an essay on the topic: Ethical Practices and Sustainability: Can they co-exist? GK was a good mix of static and current affairs topics and had questions about countries and their capitals, territories and prime ministers, space agencies and spaceships, Indian music festivals, cryptocurrency, video sharing platforms, product and companies, and dogfooding and showrooming.

Finding the essay topic easy to understand unlike last year’s must have come as a relief to test takers.  Ethical practice and sustainability being oft-discussed terms these days, there are businesses and business practices that ensure an enduring and balanced approach to economic activity, environmental responsibility and societal benefit ensuring that future generations are able to enjoy the same kind of lifestyles that people enjoy today. This naturally involves taking a long-term perspective on balancing the economic, environmental and social impact of business.

Sectional Synopsis:

Section Difficulty Ideal Time Good Attempts Good Score
QA + DI Easy to Moderate 60 Minutes 20+ 15+
VA + LR Moderate to Tough 55 Minutes 20+ 11+
DM Moderate to Tough 55 Minutes 18+ 10+
Overall Moderate to Tough 170 Minutes 59+ 37+

Predicted Scores for different percentiles:

Section Score @ 97%ile (Appx.) Score @ 90%ile (Appx.) Score @ 80%ile (Appx.)
Score @ 70%ile (Appx.)
Quant 15+ 10+ 8+ 6+
VA+LR 11+ 7+ 6+ 5+
DM 10+ 6+ 5+ 4+
Overall 37+ 25+ 20+ 16+

Predicted Cut-offs:

Quant 70%ile (6) 90%ile (10) 75%ile (7) 70%ile (6)
VA+LR 80%ile (6) 80%ile (6) 75%ile (5.5) 70%ile (5)
DM 75%ile (4.5) 80%ile (5) 75%ile (4.5) 70%ile (4)
Overall 93%ile (30+) 96%ile (35+) 90%ile (25+) 90%ile (25+)


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