How Toppers prepared for XAT
Aditi Garg, 17 Jul 2018, #XAT
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How Toppers prepared for XAT - With more than 90,000 aspirants chasing the dream of cracking the XAT every year, the exam is bound to grow more challenging. To get an edge over the peers and avoid being at sea, it is advisable to look up to the XAT toppers who suggest smart ways of how to prepare for XAT. Careers360 brings a compilation of the toppers’ success stories as they found their way into top B-schools with consistent efforts deployed in the right direction with how toppers prepared for XAT.

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Xavier Aptitude Test is the gateway to India's premier management institutes like XLRI Jamshedpur, SPJIMR Mumbai, IIFM Bhopal and other top B-schools which accept XAT score. The computer-based examination evaluates skills in English, Mathematics and Logical Reasoning.

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How Toppers prepared for XAT


Let us now check how the toppers prepared for XAT 2019.


Coaching Institutes Vs. Self-Study

This is perhaps the one of the biggest questions in every aspirants’ mind. Ask yourselves – Is coaching worthwhile for XAT preparation or can it be managed with self-tutoring? Let’s know it straight from the horse’s mouth.

Having secured 99.96 percentile in XAT, Anish Narula is of the opinion that taking coaching completely depends on an individual and how confident he/she is. Topper Rajas joined T.I.M.E. coaching classes, albeit need not be necessary for aspirants in any way to bag a top rank. He says, “When you see people around you, you get to know the kind of competition you are getting into. Additionally, there is someone to solve your doubts whenever you need. But, if you are confident about concepts, you can always skip the coaching classes and prepare on your own.”


On the other hand, Lohith Reddy who bagged 99.89 percentile in XAT shares “I didn’t attend any classes from coaching institutes given the time constraints due to work, but I would have loved to. Lohith believes that having a fixed time for coaching classes gives us a dedicated time for practice.


Know the Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The first step towards preparation would be to acquaint yourself with the XAT exam pattern and syllabus. This way aspirants would not waste precious time on topics which are out of XAT syllabus. Conducted in online mode, XAT will last for 3 hours comprising of two parts as given in the table below:


XAT Exam Pattern 2019

Name of Sections

No. of Questions


Verbal and Logical Ability (VA & LR)


180 minutes/ 3 hours


Decision Making (DM)

Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation (QA & DI)

General Knowledge (GK)


Clear concepts then start with section-wise preparation

Shooting arrows in the dark is futile, if you are pertinacious of cracking XAT. Build on your concepts after clearing fundamentals under each topic. Know that each section has a unique way of preparation. The toppers’ way would probably be one of the best ways to go about it.


QA: XAT Topper Kunal Choudhary, who secured 99.97 percentile shares his valuable tips for QA section:

  • Make sure your basics are clear. Make continuous notes in coaching classes.

  • Appear for mocks.

  • Analyse the solution well for the correct attempts and look if there is a better time-saving method.

  • Try to solve the incorrect question and then look into the solution and analyse the gap.

  • For unattempted questions, check whether the concept is missing or you had shortage of time.

  • Learn the new concepts which you find.

Rajas Yeotikar, who secured 99.98 percentile in XAT 2017 kept his focus more on the concepts and the short-cuts for QA. “It’s more about knowing the shortest method possible rather than just trying to find out the answer,” he says.


LR-DI DM: To improvise on this section, Kunal recommends working on mental calculation and ability to juggle with information. Look for information from the data provided. Also learn different tabular/Tick Cross methods.

For Decision-Making section, Rajas proposes that solving past question papers would prove to be of immense help. As for DI, he worked a lot on his calculation speed and math tricks by looking for innovative ways online. This proved to be of great advantage while taking XAT.

One must know that XAT stands out from the other MBA entrance exams because of this particular section on Decision Making. This area checks management aptitude by presenting different situations and cases. The test-taker is asked to identify the correct recourse in these situations.


VA: For the ones whose strongest area is not VA, just like in the case of Kunal, he conquered it by reading newspapers on a regular basis. To build his vocabulary, he read the book ‘Word power Made Easy’ and ‘English Made Easy.’


Study material for XAT 2019

Here are the most recommended books for section-wise preparation recommended by toppers to crack XAT 2019:


Name of the books / study material



Quantitative Ability

  • How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma

  • Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT Common Admission Tests For Admission into IIMs by Sarvesh K Verma

  • Quantitative Aptitude For Competitive Examinations by Abhijit Guha


Data Interpretation:

  • Data Interpretation for the CAT by Arun Sharma

  • Data Interpretation for the CAT by Nishit K. Sinha





Verbal Ability

  • Word Power Made Easy Book by Norman Lewis

  • High School English Grammar & Composition by Wren, Martin

  • The Students' Companion Book by Wilfred D.Best

  • 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary by Wilfred Funk and Norman Lewis.

  • Logical Reasoning for the CAT by Nishit K. Sinha

  • How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the C ATby Arun Sharma

  • Verbal Ability And Logical Reasoning For The CAT by Nishit K. Sinha

  • Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning by R. S. Aggarwal

  • Verbal Ability And Logical Reasoning For The CAT And Other MBA Examinations by T.I.M.E.




Logical Reasoning

  • Logical Reasoning for the CAT by Nishit K. Sinha

  • How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the CAT by Arun Sharma

  • Verbal Ability And Logical Reasoning For The CAT by Nishit K. Sinha

  • Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning by R. S. Aggarwal

  • Verbal Ability And Logical Reasoning For The CAT And Other MBA Examinations by T.I.M.E.

Aspirants can also make use of the online and offline XAT ebooks, video tutorials and timed online mock tests.


Time Management

XAT tests time management skills as much as it tests a candidate’s knowledge.

According to Kunal Choudhary, “The most important factor to remember during the test is not to waste time on a question. One must follow a ‘10 second’ rule which states, give only 10 seconds to a question, mark an answer if you are confident, else move away to another question.”

He allotted 45 minutes for each section and remaining 15 minutes to maximise score. In the initial 45 minutes for each section, he made sure that the number of attempts can push the sectional marks above the past sectional cut-offs. Most importantly, he suggests reading the question quickly and making the decision whether you want to go for it or not.


Mock tests are the pillars of strength

Toppers maintain that mocks are extremely crucial in the preparation process. Here is why:

  • To get habituated with sitting in one place at a stretch: Lohith stresses that mock tests help test-takers to get accustomed to sitting in one place for three to three-and-a-half hours with full concentration. It is a way of conditioning the body without feeling fatigued by the computer screen as well as solving the questions.

  • Measure of performance and level of preparation: Rajas believes that taking mock tests helps you figure out the areas in which you need improvement.

  • The right frequency of giving mock tests: Rajas started taking mocks six months before the actual exam, but at a lesser frequency of about once in two weeks. Once the exams started getting closer, he tried to give mocks at least on alternate days to keep the flow going.

  • Analysis of mocks: Priyadarshi Dasgupta, another XAT 2017 topper who secured 99.72 percentile tells us, “Just taking mocks is not enough. You must also work on the aspects that you assess in these tests. A section-wise preparation strategy and topic-wise break-up is extremely helpful and gives you an idea what to focus on.”

  • Evaluate your preparedness: Taking mock tests will prove beneficial once aspirants have finished their preparation at least once. Lohith believes that, “The effectiveness of mocks is much higher if we are prepared for the tests. This way as we can evaluate ourselves in each test instead of comforting ourselves saying we weren’t prepared so it’s okay.”

How to balance professional life with XAT preparation

Topper Priyadarshi gives us an insight on how to hit the right note when it comes to balancing work with XAT preparation. He says, “There is a need for the practice that requires a certain amount of time to be taken out daily. I kept three hours separate from my schedule for practice only. So, I scheduled all my work around this time to make sure that these three hours weren’t affected. Also, weekends are of extreme importance if you are preparing alongside work. You cannot spend it relaxing and doing chores since you need to spend a lot of time practising each section.”

Interestingly, Rajas reveals that he is not a morning person by any means. He stayed up till three or four AM and divided the subjects in such a way that he kept the interesting sections like Quant and DI to study at night. “My seniors at the workplace were very co-operative and they were fine with me preparing, as long as I did the assigned work on time. During the later stages of my preparation, I took seven days off to focus on the preparation and gave as many mock tests as possible.”


The national-level management aptitude test, Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) 2019, will be conducted in online mode on January 6, 2019, by Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur. Around 90,000 students appear for the exam every year. XAT score is accepted by around 150 B-schools across the country.

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