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XAT DECISION MAKING OVERVIEW OF THE COURSE
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XAT DECISION MAKING OVERVIEW OF THE COURSE
WHAT IS DECISION MAKING?
Decision Making (DM) is a section unique to XAT and consists of a mix of behavioral, managerial and mathematical questions. Decision Making is not really a test of theoretical knowledge but challenges the basic assumptions of your thinking and whether you are able to understand real-world problems that are presented as cases in these questions. Keep in mind that these questions are generally very data-intensive and requiren depth analysis. Make sure that you quickly scan through the problem and only solve them if they appear to be manageable within a decent amount of time. The behavioral and managerial questions in the section are the interesting ones. Generally, you are provided a situation in which multiple courses of action arise or there are multiple fallouts of a particular action, and you are supposed to identify the correct path/ analysis. Majority of the time, the questions pose ethical/ management/ human resource related dilemmas that you are expected to address and solve. Effectively, you can view these questions as a combination of critical reasoning and reading comprehension questions.
TYPES OF QUESTIONS
In terms of how the questions appear in the exam, the following types are seen: Single Question Prompts: These mimic critical reasoning questions, where a single paragraph is followed by one question. Generally, you should go through majority of these questions as these are not time intensive and you can easily gain a foothold in the section using these. The number of such questions has increased in the last couple of years. Multiple Question Prompts: On a number of occasions, long caselets have been provided by XAT, which have been followed by only 2 or 3 questions. Make sure you select the questions you wish to attempt wisely as you do not want to end up wasting too much time for just 2 questions. Sometimes, caselets can be as long as reading comprehensions that are followed by 4 to 5 questions.
Another way of classifying the questions in XAT Decision Making would be on the basis of content. That way, XAT Decision Making questions can be broadly classified in 4 ways: Pure Logic Financial Issues Managerial Issues Ethical Dilemmas
DECISION MAKING IN XAT
Questions on Decision Making have been asked in XAT for quite a few years. However, their importance has gone up drastically since 2012. Before that, you could expect 8 to 10 questions on Decision Making in the Analytical Reasoning section. In 2012, Decision Making became a section of its own and if you were to look at it purely from a scoring perspective - it make the most important topic for a student who is planning to write the XAT. It so happened because Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning and Verbal Ability - none of them had a full section on their own. They had to share the limelight, so to say, with some other related topic. 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. The XAT paper in 2013 also had 25 questions, although all questions were of 1 mark each. The XAT paper in 2014 had 21 questions, and XAT 2015 exam had 24 questions in the Decision Making section. Given below is a detail break up of Decision Making questions over the years.
1. Avoid extreme viewpoints Try to find a balanced solution for a situation and adopt the middle path 2. Perform stakeholder analysis Don't neglect one side of the story. Ensure that your decision maximises benefit for the sum total. 3. Always remember that organisation is bigger than the individual Do not take decisions that damage the company in some way or set a bad precedent for others. 4. Long-term benefits vs. short-term benefits Unless the situation asks you to resolve some short-term issue, your preference should always be long- term solutions for problems. 5. Ethical viewpoints You might have answer options with practical solution to a problem. However, they might cross ethical bounds and are best avoided. Remember, this is textbook decision making and thus unethical answer choices are not acceptable. 6. Use critical reasoning skills for questions with some form of data 7. Filter essential information It is important for you to filter out the salient details and avoid unnecessary information.
Predictions for Decision Making in XAT 2018: There is no doubt that in 2018 also a similar trend would continue this year as well. It would be fair to say that the number of questions on Decision Making would most probably outnumber questions on Quant, DI, LR or VA individually. We can expect the number of questions to be anywhere from 21-25 this year considering the fact that the total number of questions in XAT 2018 is 78. It would be a good idea to spend a good hour on Decision Making in the exam. An important point to note is that traditionally Decision Making is the most scoring section in the XAT exam. It is not because Decision Making is easy, but it is because the other sections tend to be quite hard.