How to tackle XAT Decision Making
Decision Making is a section unique to the XAT exam. It is a test designed to examine the behavioral, managerial, and mathematical quotient of the candidates. There is no theory that can help you ace this section. It challenges you to make difficult decisions, keeping your ethics and integrity in mind.
XAT’s emphasis on Decision Making
We are placed in challenging situations many times in our personal and professional lives. As a management professional, you are expected to be level-headed in such circumstances and act in a fair and unbiased manner. XAT Decision Making section attempts to gauge this gauge these qualities in the candidates.
The table represents the XAT Percentile cutoff for XLRI PGDM and HRM courses.
Decision making in XAT 2018
XAT 2018 was the first XAT exam to be conducted online. Before that XAT followed the pen-and-paper pattern. XAT 2018 had 74 questions in total. Here is a table depicting the section-wise percentile and cut off of XAT 2018 for both the courses at XLRI.
Questions on Decision Making have been asked in XAT for quite a few years now. However, its importance has gone up drastically since 2012. Earlier, there were only 8 to 10 questions on Decision Making in the Analytical Reasoning section. But, in 2012, XAT decided to dedicate an entire section to it. In 2012, there were 25 questions in the Decision Making section. It even had some questions that were of 1.5 marks instead of the standard 1. And, as you can figure out from the above table, XAT 2018 had 21 questions on Decision Making that contributed significantly to the overall percentile in XAT.
Types of questions in XAT Decision Making
The questions in this section are asked across logic, financial issues, managerial issues, and ethical dilemma. If we consider the structure of the questions, we will observe that they fall under the following patterns-
1. Single prompt Caselets: These questions do not take a lot of time to solve, and are on the lines of critical reasoning questions. Ideally, you should solve these questions first, as they come with a high accuracy level. XAT has increased the number of questions falling under this category. Hopefully, this trend will continue in XAT 2019 as well. These questions are often quite straightforward, and you don’t generally a lot of time in them. The probability of making an error is also less in these questions.
2. Two prompt Caselets: Usually XAT provides a caselet, followed by two to three questions. You should proceed this questions with caution. If you feel that they are too tricky, it is better to move on, than waste time on just a couple of questions.
3. Multiple prompt Caselets: XAT features long caselets followed by four to five questions. These questions feature multiple viewpoints, and you really need think thoroughly before arriving at any conclusion.
Here is a table showing the number of questions in each sections over the past 3 years.
As you can see, XAT has progressively increased the number of single prompt caselets. While attempting this section, you should focus on them first because they are the easiest and fastest to crack. XAT Decision Making makes up nearly for 30% for the exam. Hence it is one of the most critical sections in the Exam.
Tips to approach Decision Making questions
Since you can observe from the above two examples, the Decision Making section expects you to apply your logic and reasoning skills to come to the best possible solution. In most cases, there are no clear right or wrong answers, but best possible solutions.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while approaching these questions-
1. Analyze the information given to arrive at a conclusion
Every problem comes with an information. You are expected to arrive at the right decision on the basis of logical reasoning on the basis of given information. A careful and close reading of facts would lead to reasonable presumptions.
2. Keep your personal opinions out of it
Do not favor any side in any particular case. It might look tempting but it will cost you marks. You are expected to follow a logical and fair approach, which may or may not align with your value system. Do not bring your personal beliefs into it.
3. Go with the best possible alternative that maximizes benefit and minimizes damage
Again, these problems do not have specific right or wrong answers. You are supposed to go with the option that benefits the majority.
4. Refrain from adopting unethical practices
Options that present unethical approaches of solving the problem should be rejected instantly.
5. Make sure you understand what each stakeholder wants
Every problem comes with its own stakeholders- people for whom the information is relevant. Make sure you have identified them.Furthermore, you need to step into their shoes and analyze the problem from the viewpoint of each of them. It requires some level of empathy too, along with a clear mind, and logical approach.
Things to keep in mind
Many students tend to ignore this section because it does not come with any prescribed syllabus. They think that since it requires logic and critical thinking, they’d be able to solve it on the spot. They couldn’t be farther from the truth. Decision making skills are acquired skills. You need to practice a lot in order to get the knack of solving these questions. Practice previous years’ question papers. Practice a lot of mock tests. Since there is no syllabus attached with this section, the only way to ace this section is to practice a lot. Taking XAT mock tests is an excellent way to prepare well for this section.
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