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Longer test for B-school merit lists

JTo screen the crème de la crème irrespective of academic discipline or gender, the format of Xavier Admission Test (XAT) will see some smart changes from next year.

The admissions committee of XLRI, which conducts XAT for 100 B-schools in the country, has decided to increase both the duration of the examination as well as the cut off percentage for business management and human resource management for what it believes will ensure better distribution of candidates across cradles.

So far, the time duration for XAT was two hours. Head of admissions at XLRI Vishwa Vallabh said they would increase it by 30 minutes from 2013. But, while candidates will get more time to answer, questions may get tougher to maintain the standard of XAT.

“We want to increase cumulative distribution of candidates. Currently, even the best student is able to attempt some 70 per cent questions in two hours. More time will help examinees answer more number of questions in the three disciplines — quantitative analysis, reasoning and English. This will not just benefit XLRI, but every other institute that bases admission on XAT,” Vallabh said.

He pointed out that currently, the top 10 per cent students were creamed off by XLRI, while other cradles had to make do with mediocre candidates. “We wish to end this unequal distribution. Through the new format of XAT, we want to give more students a chance to score better,” he added.

Over the years the cut off has dipped at XLRI. In 2008, it was 98.5 for business management and 97.5 for personnel management and industrial relations. In the second major change in XAT, the cut off percentile at the cradle may increase by a notch or two from 90 for business management and 88 for human resource management.

According to Vallabh, XAT-2013 would be a two-level attempt. First, an earnest endeavour will be made not to make questions unduly favourable for engineering students so that interdisciplinary diversity is maintained. Second, promotion of gender equity in every batch will be prodded.

At present, most B-schools have maximum students from engineering background. At XLRI alone, the figure stands at 80 per cent.

The B-school will also approach colleges offering courses in humanities to promote girls for MBA. The business management batch of 120 has only 18 girls this year, while human resource has 46 girls out of 120. The 2011 batch was worse. It had 19 girls in business management while 28 in human resource management.

“We will approach colleges across the country to promote MBA among girls,” Vallabh added.