MBA Entrance Exams / #XAT

June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018 @ 11:04 AM

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Crack Decision Making in XAT


­­ Lovish Soien is a student from XLRI with a DM percentile of 94+ and an overall percentile of 99.49

When I started my preparation for the entrance tests I had only a vague idea of what concepts different exams test. As I researched I was exposed to the vagaries of all the tests, and one thing that really amazed me was the Decision Making (DM) section in Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT). It tests you not on your ability to learn concepts or remember formulas, but on your ability to holistically view a situation and propose a solution to a problem.

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So before I get down to explaining how to crack DM in XAT, let us first understand why XAT has this section. The motto of the college is ‘for the greater good’, and it believes in inspiring world leaders. A leader will be exposed to various challenges and will be required to make decisions, and not only take decisions only for his corporations’ benefit but also for the greater good. As a result, DM also tests you on your ethical standing and asks you to take a decision in a conflicting situation. This allows the college to differentiate leaders from managers and has been an important component in every year’s test.

The DM section can thus be divided into the different types of questions that may be asked:

•    Firstly, where there will be data given and the answer is to be based on analyses of the data,

•    Secondly, a scenario wherein you will be tested on your ethical standing,

•    Thirdly, a mixture of both of the above.

Understanding the motives behind the test will help you align your thinking process with the expectations of the test setter. Thus before answering a question you need to first analyse the situation from the different perspectives, i.e., the economic as well as the social perspective. Now that we understand the scope and purview of the DM section, let’s get down to the techniques that to answer the questions accurately. Again there are two different ways in which this can be done.

The basic necessity is to read, understand and try to gauge the motive behind the question. Once you have done this try to frame the answer within your mind without looking at the options, as sometimes the options can be misleading and lead you to a different outcome. Thus framing the expected solution in your mind is necessary to start with. Once, you have framed the answer, match your answer with the options given. Most often, if you have used proper reasoning, you will be able to match your answer with one of the options and arrive at the correct solution. However, there will be certain questions in which you may be stuck with two options that look similar in almost every regard. The key now is to break down each option and understand the different outcome each option refers this will help you to decide which option is the closest to your answer.

Alternatively, what you can do is to eliminate the incorrect options. The questions in XAT till last year had five options for each question. In each question, not all the five options are relevant. So, after a basic reading of the question you can start eliminating the options and in most cases, you would be able to eliminate at least two options. Once, you have eliminated these two options, the next step is would be to reason why each of the remaining option will be the correct answer, and the option that convinces you the most shall in most cases be the correct answer.

All this may seem to take a lot of time, and it actually will if you do not practice solving these types of questions beforehand. Also, it is important both the techniques of solving the questions to understand which one works better for you.

I would end it with something that my mentor once told me in my job “there is no right or wrong decision, every decision depends on the data that you use. And if you are confused which decision to take always follow your intuition”.

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