XAT Tips: How to Prepare for Decision Making Section
Sreetama Datta, 18 Nov 2016, #XAT
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In this special column on XAT preparation, MBA Exam trainer Ravi Handa explains high importance of Decision making section of XAT and guides on preparation approach and strategy for the same.

Questions on Decision Making have been asked in XAT for quite a few years. However, their importance has gone up drastically since 2012. Prior to that, you could expect 8 to 10 questions on Decision Making in the Analytical Reasoning section. In 2012, Decision Making became a section of its own and if you were to look at it purely from a scoring perspective – it makes the most important topic for a student who is planning to write the XAT. It so happened because Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning and Verbal Ability – none of them had a full section on their own. They had to share the limelight, so to say, with some other related topic. In 2012, there were 25 questions in the Decision Making section. It even had some questions which were of 1.5 marks instead of the standard 1. The XAT paper in 2016 had 23 questions, although all questions were of 1 mark each. This year XAT is expected to have 20-25 questions in the Decision Making section again.  There is no doubt that this would be more than the number of questions on Quant, DI, LR or VA.


While we have established the importance of Decision Making from the perspective of XAT, a lot of aspirants are not even aware of what exactly Decision Making questions are based on. In Decision Making, a situation (like a case study) is presented to a student and broadly two types of questions are asked on it:

a) What would be the ideal course of action to take in such a situation?

b) What lead to such a situation?

These kinds of questions require a logical approach and a clear understanding of the situation. It often requires going through large amounts of text and then logically interpreting the information presented. To put it in conventional terms, it is a combination of Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning and traditionally students who are good in these two areas tend to do well in the Decision Making section as well.


A very common mistake that a lot of students make is that they neglect this section. They believe, which is often not supported by data, that Decision Making is something that they would do on the spot. They write four to five mock XATs and that is the end of their preparation for the Decision Making section. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Like any other topic, Decision Making also requires effort if you wish to excel in it. Especially in an exam like XAT, which is a low scoring exam, one set of questions can make a difference between a 98 percentile and an 89 percentile.


A good way to prepare for Decision Making would be to look at previous year papers. You can have a look at questions from XAT 2008 to XAT 2016 which would give you approximately 100 questions to practice from. These 100 questions will not only tell you your current level of understanding of the topic but if you analyze them properly, it can really make a difference to your final score. You can also look at the Decision Making section of the mock XATs that you are writing and analyze the questions given in them in detail. But the biggest tip that I can give you to prepare for the Decision Making section is this:  Do not neglect Decision Making.


Most probably, you would have prepared for CAT and other management entrance exams for more than 6 months. Most of your time during preparation would have been spent on preparing for Quant, LR, DI or VA. But from now on, you should spend at least half of your time preparing for Decision Making whereas the other half should be used in preparing for the other sections.


Ravi Handa, an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, has been training students for CAT, XAT and other management entrance exams for the past 7 years at IMS, TIME & other coaching institutes. He has also authored a book on GK/quizzing – Biz World. (Official website - www.handakafunda.com)


Stay tuned to bschool.careers360.com for more news and updates on XAT.  


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Is EWS category included in XAT 2020 entrance exam?

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 14th Oct, 2019

XAT examination has no reservation system for admission to its programme. All Candidates irrespective of their Category should score a minimum aggregate of 50% in their Bachleor's degree to be eligible for XAT. So, just to answer your question, EWS Category is not included in XAT examinaiton.


does a canditate for mba after giving cat/mat/xat exam have to go for GD and PI to every private institute or do each private institute conduct GD and PI in some states?

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 8th Oct, 2019
In short, yes. Each and every college has a different selection process and it is independant of each college. So, if you apply to say 10 colleges, you have to apply for each college Group discussion and personal intervuew process. The shortlisting process abd final merit list is separate for each College.

I want to do MBA in finance so should I give XAT and IIFT apart from CAT

Aptron Gurgaon 10th Oct, 2019

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what is expected cutoff of cat and xat ?

Ruchika Chauhan Expert 7th Oct, 2019


Cutoff is the minimum percentile a  candidate must obtain in order to qualify for the next round of selection process.

Cutoff depends on various factors such as:

  • Difficulty level of the exam
  • Total number of candidates appearing for the exam
  • Total number of seats, etc.

Also, the cutoff varies from college to college. So, it would be difficult to predict the exact cutoff. However, you can go through the link below and check the previous year CAT and XAT cutoff for reference-


Good Luck!


Will XAT be accepted by any of the IIMs around? If yes, then where can I expect a call from? And what would be the cut-off for the IIMs?

Papeya Dubey Student Expert 1st Oct, 2019


No, IIMs conduct their admission solely on the basis of CAT scores, no other exam are taken into consideration regarding this process.

You can get to know the colleges which accept admission on XAT score by visiting the following link-


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