XAT, the entrance exam conducted by Xavier Labour Research Institute for admission into its full-time post-graduate diploma courses is a one-of-a-kind examination and is attempted by approximately 1 lakh students, out of whom around 500 make the cut finally.
The exam is common for PGDHRM (Human Resources Management), PGDM (BM) (General Management) and PGDM (GM) (General Management Program- for experienced candidates) and is held in January across all major cities in the country, and a few international centres.
What sets XAT apart from other examinations is the approach given to assessment of candidates. The paper itself is divided into two sections: Section 1 consists of the sub-sections -Verbal Ability, Decision Making and Quantitative Ability; and Section 2 consists of General Awareness and Essay.
While in Section 1, verbal ability and quantitative ability are two areas which are common throughout in all major tests, the difference here is the standard and the concept requirement. The questions are designed in such a matter that only someone who is thorough in the basic concepts and applications would be able to attempt and score in the majority of the questions- guess work and rote learning would fail in these cases. Extremely conceptual, and bordering on tricky, the pattern is such that it would help differentiate the ones with the best understanding of the subjects, and this becomes all the more relevant in the current time where we are moving towards a much more formulaic education than ever before.
The game-changer in this section is the Decision Making part, which is the core differentiator in the paper. Small caselets, or individual questions, based on simulated situations are designed to primarily test the examinees’ critical thinking and problem solving abilities. XAT is the only major exam where this is tested, and is very important in the context of management education because it tests the candidates’ ability to react and take the best decision in the face of several lucrative options.
The second part consists of General Awareness and Essay. Both the sections are designed to test knowledge of the basic and current know-how of the international society and economies. The essay tests various qualities apart from basic command over language and presentation. The approach towards a concept, the flow of thoughts, and the ability to think from different perspectives- these are what set a good essay apart from the rest. Another unique factor about the GK and Essay section is that it is used only for the second round of selections, not the first round. Thus it is not counted in percentile comparisons, rather becomes a ground for assessment during the profile evaluation stage.
All these factors, taken together, make the examination comprehensive and holistic in its approach towards testing candidates for their potential managerial skills, and in a manner that will be relevant in the actual work environment. Absence of sectional time limits facilitates candidates’ option of playing by their strengths but only well-rounded knowledge and application of all faculties would ensure success. Thus, XAT is differentiated by its very nature of design, and stands far apart in quality because of the standard it demands.
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