XAT MBA entrance exam has a unique section titled ‘Decision Making’. The XAT Decision Making section is designed to examine the managerial, behavioural and mathematical quotient of the aspirants. Being an exclusive section for XAT Exam, many MBA aspirants who are preparing for other MBA entrance exams find it difficult to crack Decision Making in XAT exam. Aspirants have to make the tough decisions without compromising their ethics and integrity to solve the problem at hand. There is no defined theory that can help you to ace this section which makes preparing for the Decision Making Section even tougher for the aspirants. So, here are a few tips for XAT Decision Making section that will help you to score well in the XAT exam.
XAT Decision Making – Sectional Composition
Before we move to the tips that can help you solve the Decision Making Questions in the XAT exam, it is also important to understand and decode the sectional composition. As per the latest XAT Exam pattern released by the XLRI, the Decision Making Section will consist of short caselets and problems related to decision making. The overall composition will include:
- Total number of questions: 22
- Question Type: MCQs
- Question Format: 7 to 8 problems followed by 2 to 3 questions on each
- Difficulty Level: Moderate to High
Why focus on Decision Making Section in XAT Exam?
Decision Making Section has been part of the XAT entrance exam since a long time. But since 2012, the focus on Decision Making Question as a separate section has been emphasised by XLRI. In the pre-2012 era, there were only 7-8 questions related to decision making in the XAT exam. But in the last 5 years, the section sees around 20+ questions which can prove to be a major deciding factor for selection of candidate to a B-school.
The motive behind having a dedicated decision making section in an MBA entrance test is that, many times in our professional as well as personal lives, we are faced with a challenging situation. As a professional business manager,one is expected to be level-headed in such circumstances and act in a fair and unbiased manner. The XAT Decision Making Section is aimed at testing this quality among the candidates.
Type of Caseletsin XAT exam
Two most critical aspects that one must understand while trying to solve Decision Making Questions in XAT exam are the type and format of questions. When it comes to Decision Making section, candidates will find questions on a diverse array of fields including managerial issues, ethical dilemma questions, financial issues and questions based on logic. But, in general, the questions can be classified under the following key categories / types as per their structure.
Single prompt Caselets
In this format, one caselet is followed with one single question, which makes it relatively easy to answer. Single Prompt Caselets are the most common and easiest to solve Decision Making Questions in the XAT exam. These are developed on similar lines as critical reasoning, are straightforward in nature and therefore do not take a lot of time to solve. These are also non-tricky in nature, so the chances of committing a mistake while solving them is less. Candidates taking XAT should target and solve these questions first as to ensure a high accuracy rate.
Two prompt Caselets
The caselets that are followed by two to three questions can be classified as Two prompt caselets. These are quite tricky in nature and should be answered with caution. Solving such two prompt caselets can take a lot of time; therefore, it is better to move on, than waste time on just two questions.
Multiple prompt Caselets
These are long caselets on which four to five questions are asked in the XAT exam. The questions are designed in a way that they present diverent viewpoints, making it difficult for you to answer the question. Therefore, candidates must be very careful and should think thoroughly before solving them.
Looking at the trend of past three years, the number of single prompt caselets is on the rise in the final exam.
Single Prompt Caselets
Two Prompt Caselets
Multiple Prompt Caselets
On the other hand, the number of Two Prompt Caselets has fallen consistently, whereas the number of multiple prompt caselets has remained constant.
Type of Questions
If one were to divide the Decision Making questions in the XAT exam, they could be classified into
- Mathematical Decision-Making: These are more on the lines of Data Interpretation / Logical Reasoning format. The questions can be easily solved using the techniques, tricks and shortcuts used in these areas. However, candidates must keep in mind that Mathematical Decision Making questions are more data intensive and require attention to detail and in-depth analysis.
- Behavioural / Managerial Questions: These are the native Decision Making Questions which are exclusive to XAT exam. For these questions, candidates will be provided with a situation or a case with multiple solutions or options. With multiple course of actions, there are multiple fall outs and outcomes that the situation can lead up to. In the Decision Making sections, candidates are expected to find and choose the right path through analysis and reasoning. The questions often post a managerial, ethical or human resource related dilemma that candidates have to solve.
Tips to ace Decision Making Section in XAT MBA Exam
In order to ace your Decision Making Questions, keep the following tips in mind:
Know all the Stakeholders
Generally, a Decision Making Caselet will have multiple authorities, stakeholders and parties involved in / affected by the final outcome of your decision. Therefore, the first thing that you must do in order to answer Decision Making Questions is to establish and know all the relevant stakeholders involved in the case. Making a mental list all the parties involved will help you to understand the requirement and stakes of all the parties involved in the case.
Analyse the given problem holistically
Any caselet that you are provided with in the Decision Making Section, you will be required to analyse the problem holistically. This means that you have to understand the viewpoints of each of the different stakeholders. Ignoring or neglecting viewpoint of any parties involved in the case will leave you with incomplete information and will lead to wrong decisions.
Keep Personal Bias / Opinions aside
Often, while solving the Decision Making Questions, candidates tend to get influenced by their personal opinions or biases on the given subject or the case. Generally, test-takers will adopt the approach that they are either familiar with or the one that coincides with their own value system. For instance, if the case in question deals with rights or workers against management of a company, the general tendency is to favour the weaker side i.e. the workers. However, this might not be the right way forward in each case. There might be a few cases in which workers’ demands might not be justified or may case the company significant harm and lead to its closure. Therefore, it is very important for candidates to keep their personal opinions at bay and do not cloud their judgement with their own biases.
Look for options which offer Maximum Benefit & Minimum Damage
The key thing to keep in mind while solving Decision Making Questions is that you have to choose the option that maximize the benefits and minimize the damage. Simply put, while taking any decision or solving any case, the first preference should always be given to the option that doesn’t have any risks involved. This is a sure-shot way of arriving at the right answer option in the decision making questions.
Ethics and Integrity are major factors that value while solving Decision Making Questions. Some questions or cases that are presented before you as part of the Decision Making Section will pose a moral dilemma between choosing the right choice. In such cases, opting for shortcuts or unethical ways of solving a problems will be instantly rejected. So, always keep ethics and integrity as your moral compass while solving the Decision Making questions in XAT exam.
Understand the requirements of each stakeholder
As discussed above, the Decision Making Caselets will often have multiple parties or stakeholders as part of the problem equation. Therefore, the same way you identify and consider information about each of them, candidates must also try and understand the viewpoints of each of the stakeholders. This will help you taking a logical, unbiased and correct decision.
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Reject Unsubstantiated Problems
It is often seen that Decision Making Questions present extreme scenarios as the possible answers. However, such extreme options are cleverly concealed in the form of opinions and are used to arouse emotions or trigger biases during a decision making process. Do not fall in the trap of such options and consider each of the given option on the basis of their merit only.
These were a few simple tips that will help you to handle Decision Making Section in the XAT exam. In addition, the other information like the Exam Pattern, Question Break-up and type and format of questions being asked in the Decision Making Section, will help you prepare a holistic strategy to solve Decision Making Questions. For other informative articles and tips and tricks related to XAT Exam and MBA Entrance tests, please visit www.jagranjosh.com.