7 Common Mistakes to Avoid in XAT Exam

05 December, 2023
parthiva mewawala

With CAT 2023 done and dusted, it is time for you to shift your focus towards the second-most critical management entrance exam – XAT. Over a lakh students register for this exam every year, making it extremely competitive. Add to this the fact that most students consider the quantitative section of XAT tougher than that of CAT, and one can see why students are fretting over this exam. Scoring over 95% in XAT allows students to sit for the GDPI process of XLRI, one of India’s top 10 management institutes. With the median salary well over the Rs. 30,00,000 threshold, XLRI is the dream college for many. But that’s not all. Many other reputed business schools like XIMB, IMI-D, IMT-G, GIM-G, and TAPMI also accept XAT scores for admissions. So how does one maximize their XAT score and subsequent chances of getting calls from the top schools? The best way to do that is to avoid these 7 common mistakes in XAT.

Read more about MBA Applications For 2024 Intake: Maximize Your Chances By Starting Early

What are the 7 common mistakes to avoid in XAT exam?


Not practising enough mock tests

Mock XAT tests are the holy grail to a high XAT score. According to the 2020 XAT 99.7%ile scorer, gearing their preparation strategy towards giving more mocks helped them ace the test. They started with 2 mocks a week and eventually built up to 4 mocks a week.


Mocks don’t just acquaint you with the paper pattern but also allow you to implement different test-taking strategies and make mistakes without suffering untoward consequences. By employing various strategies, you’ll be able to zero in on the one that works for you perfectly. 

Not devoting enough time to analyse each mock

But if you just give the mocks without spending hours analysing them, you’ll be leaving most of the benefits of mock tests on the table. After giving your mock tests and getting your results, pour through them to see what you did right and what you did wrong. Analyse each question to figure out whether your thinking process was correct. The goal of mock tests is not to get more questions correct but to understand why you get questions wrong. Pick up on faulty thinking patterns, causing you to make repetitive, silly mistakes. Document these mistakes and go through them before D-Day.

Not having a concrete exam-day strategy

Many students don’t just take mocks but also analyse them properly and yet fail to leave a mark during the actual exam. This is because they didn’t have a proper exam-day strategy that maximised their marks while wasting as little time and energy as possible. 


Your XAT exam strategy should account for your strengths and weaknesses. It should give you a clear picture of the questions to avoid in the paper, how much time to give to each paper, and which section to attempt first.


The high difficulty level of XAT allows for scores as low as 35 marks to breach 95%ile. And with just 25+, you can get calls from TAPMI and GIM. Depending on your target college, you can alter your target score and attempt questions accordingly. 

Read more about Top MBA Colleges Accepting XAT Scores

Remember, it’s not about attempting the most questions; it’s about attempting the questions you know with high accuracy.

Overlooking decision-making practice

Decision-making is a unique section – it is not found on any other management test across the world. While this section can be termed confusing, proper practice can help you ace it with 10+ marks. Go through YouTube videos that explain how different questions require different approaches in DM. Understand the reasoning behind each answer – both right and wrong. Once you get a hang of what the paper expects from you, you’ll be much better placed to do well. 


Solve many different sets of DM problems in the run-up to XAT 2024 from previous years’ papers. It’s difficult to predict what sort of questions to expect due to the subjectivity of this section, but that shouldn’t deter you. Practice is the key.

Read more about How To Prepare For XAT In 1 Month? – Check Effective XAT Preparation Strategy, Plans & Tips

Panicking after skipping 4-5 questions in a row

For every 8 questions skipped in a row, XAT deducts 0.1 marks. This can become a worry in an exam where even half a mark can push your percentile lower by 2 points. Many students start panicking as soon as they’ve skipped 4-5 questions, forcing themselves to spend undue time and energy on the forthcoming questions. The panic in their minds makes them lose their objectivity. In such moments, students should regain focus, calm down, and attempt questions with an even keel.

Reeling under undue stress

Student reviews after CAT 2023 pointed towards a harder-than-normal quant section. And since the quant section of XAT is usually a notch above CAT, students have started wondering if they should even sit for the paper this year. 


You shouldn’t let your performance in other exams affect your focus and determination. Instead, look at XAT as another opportunity to do well and improve your chances of attending a top college.

Not managing time well


Lastly comes poor time management skills for both your paper and your prep for it. With just over a month left for XAT, you must divide your time between studying, revising, and taking mocks perfectly. Only a balanced itinerary for these 30 days will help you score 35+ in XAT.


Secondly, and this point can’t be stressed enough: learn how to manage your time perfectly during the test. While most of this should be covered in your exam-day strategy, there are other tips you can follow to manage your time better. 


First, fix a time limit for each question during practice. This will put you in the right mindset for exam day. Second, study in sets of 3 hours each to build up the endurance needed to maintain unbridled focus during your paper. Lastly, correct your course every 10 minutes, i.e., check your timing to see if you’re keeping up. If not, pick up our pace.

While not exhaustive, this list includes all the common mistakes to avoid in XAT. It’s all about strategy, dedicated prep, and focused determination. To help you with your XAT prep, check out these YouTube videos – How to Crack XAT 2024 and Live XAT Mock Solving.