The first MBA entrance exam of the year, XAT 2010, held on Sunday, 3 January 2010, was by far the toughest MBA entrance exam.
“XAT2010 was easily the toughest paper of the management exam season so far this year. This was a very difficult paper with all the ingredients of a Bollywood potboiler; lengthy questions, difficult questions, tricky questions and yes, easy questions too. Students would have come out of the exam hall not knowing how well they fared,” said an official from leading prep institute T.I.M.E.
XAT 2010 maintained the difficulty level of XAT 2009. The number of questions was 101 and each question had 1 mark. The negative marking scheme is progressive. There was 0.20 negative marking for the first five incorrect answers in each section and 0.25 marks for each incorrect answer thereafter.
Like last year, the number of sections was three. They were Data Interpretation & Quantitative Ability, Analytical Reasoning & Decision Making and Verbal & Logical Ability. Each questions had five choices. The essay topic to be written within 20 minutes was ‘Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed’.
“The key to approaching this paper was to keep cool and follow the tested ‘TIME-allocation’ strategy. Those who left the difficult questions and did not target a ‘pre-fixed’ number of questions would have been able to find the easy questions and have a good, balanced performance in all three sections – which is the key to get the coveted call from XLRI,” mentioned T.I.M.E. in its analysis.
Now let us focus on the sections of XAT 2010.
Data Interpretation & Quantitative Ability
This section had 40 questions. According to T.I.M.E., this was the most difficult section in the entire paper. “The DI sets were almost ‘undoable’ and should not have been attempted,” mentioned T.I.M.E. The Quantitative Ability questions were from a variety of areas. Though most of them were difficult and tricky, some of them were simple. “Locating such easy questions and solving them would be the key to scoring well in this section,” said T.I.M.E.
Verbal & Logical Ability
This section had 31 questions. According to IMS Learning, this section was much tougher than what it was in XAT 2009. “While the focus was once again on inferential logic and critical reasoning, a lot of questions contained long paragraphs, which were difficult to interpret in themselves, apart from the fact that the options were very close,” mentioned IMS Learning. This section consisted of four Reading Comprehension passages which were pretty tough to interpret. “Additionally, there were two Jumbled Paragraph questions, and an FIJ one, both of which were taxing to attempt,” added IMS Learning.
Analytical Reasoning & Decision Making
This section had 30 questions. In the Analytical Reasoning section, there were questions on Data Arrangement and Business Judgement. According to PT Education, the Data Arrangement area had 19 questions with five sets. They were of Moderate to Tough difficulty level. The area of Business Judgement had 11 questions and four sets. This topic was of Moderate difficulty level. “The Decision Making sets though ‘easy’ to read always had two close options which made the process of selecting the right answer a very tedious and time consuming one,” T.I.M.E. stated.