The statistics being bandied around - such as only 1 of 250 makes it into XLRI - can rattle a candidate. It is very important not to be intimidated by them. If the number of serious aspirants is taken into account, the number would drastically fall. Understand that the exam is designed to measure your ability to maintain a level head under pressure. So, avoid getting demoralized or disheartened by such statistics. It's not as much an examination of your knowledge base as much as it is of your nerves. Maintain a cool head during the examination.
This does not come overnight. Studying all topics to be covered, practicing DI and quantitative problems is of utmost importance. While this builds up your speed and analytical skills, more importantly, it gives you the much-needed confidence needed to crack the exam. After you have attempted 10 to 15 mock papers, identify your strong and weak areas. You should know which section to start with and which areas to attack first in each section. Set your time limits. Do not spend time on a question from an area you are not comfortable with. That time can be utilized to get you points from a section you know better.
Also, during an exam, if you feel the section is too tough, remember that if it is tough for you, it is tough for everybody else. Never forget this golden rule. Solving a question is not an ego issue. Understand that the marks allotted to that question are not higher than those awarded to others.
There are a few things you should keep in mind when you go into the examination hall. Never try to predict the paper or close your options by forming a strategy for a particular pattern. A paper like XAT will always give you a shock when you see the instructions and, unfortunately, 30 to 35 per cent of candidates lose out then and there.
It is important to keep a cool head, take time to form your strategy and go through the whole paper once before starting with any particular section. Spend the first three minutes scanning through the entire paper, so there are no rude surprises awaiting you. This serves a dual purpose. It gives you a general feel of the difficulty level and, as you write, helps your mind subconsciously condition itself for the paper.
Maintaining an accuracy level of at least 75 to 80 per cent is very important. This also gives you the leeway to, once in a while, mark an option based on chance. Taking a reasonable chance based on a guess is fine but, you should avoid overdoing it. The penalty of negative marking is very high, so use your luck judiciously.