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GK debuts in biz test, time increased

Xavier Admission Test (XAT), 2013, had lots of surprises for examinees — a different question pattern, entry of GK and more writing time.

The prestigious B-school entrance test conducted by XLRI, Jamshedpur, was held at 83 centres in 45 cities of India, Dubai and Kathmandu on Sunday. Around 92,000 candidates took the exam this year as compared to 65,000 in 2012. The examination started at 10.30am with DBMS English School being the only exam centre in Jamshedpur.

In a departure from trend, XLRI introduced general knowledge in the second paper this time while the total time given to candidates was increased to three hours.

The first paper, which had 91 questions on quantitative ability, verbal ability, reasoning and decision-making, was of 140 minutes. After a five-minute break, examinees had to answer a second paper of 30 questions on general knowledge and an essay. The time given for finishing this section was 40 minutes.

As far as negative marking was concerned it was uniform, that is, one-fourth of the total marks that each question carried.

Earlier, everything was merged into one question paper with a separate section of 20 minutes for English.

“There is a reason why we added general knowledge. XLRI is very clear about the fact that it wants to take students who have a clear concept about what’s happening around. We want to get a good mix of students. As it is, most candidates hail from engineering background. The time limit was also increased from two hours 20 minutes to three hours. There has been about 30 per cent increase in the total number of students from last year,” said Vishwa Vallabh, head of admissions, XLRI.

This is the second year that the entrance test was conducted in Dubai and Kathmandu. The overseas test centres were introduced last year. However, there was a drop in candidate count if compared to 2010, when the figure stood at about a lakh.

“XAT is known for its unpredictability and this year’s question paper showed that. It had two different sections with GK questions being added for the first time. The English essay was on corruption. Students should not have faced any problem as it is a burning issue. However, the quantitative ability section was average while the decision-making part was difficult,” said Sandeep Kumar, a faculty member of Career Launcher, a MBA coaching centre in the steel city.

Touted to be the country’s second most prestigious MBA entrance test after CAT conducted by IIMs, the XAT score is used by about 109 B-schools to admit students. Some of them are SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (Mumbai), Alliance Business Academy (Bangalore), Goa Institute of Management (Goa), Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research (Mumbai) and XIM (Bhubaneswar).