XAT 2024 Decision Making: 3 step preparation strategy; Know the weightage & type of questions

Add Review

MBAUniverse.com News Desk |
May 23, 2023
Realising its importance throughout the managerial career of a candidate a separate section on Decision making has been formed in XAT exam. Earlier XAT used to have 7-8 questions on Decision Making which were clubbed to other section, now there are 21 questions in the exclusive section on Decision Making in XAT. The low or high score in this section can push your XAT percentile up substantially or can bring it down
XAT Decision Making

Out of total 75 questions divided in three sections in XAT 2024, the exclusive section on Decision Making has 21 questions. This section is known as game changer in XAT exam as the Decision Making section with lowest number of 21 questions can push your percentile substantially up or take it down depending upon your preparation level and volume of versatile practice on variety of questions of relevant types.

Earlier Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) used to have fewer number of questions, say 7-8 clubbed with other sections but realising its importance throughout the managerial career of a candidate, a separate section on Decision making has been formed in XAT since 2012 with 20 to 24 questions. For the last 5 years, Decision Making in XAT consists of 21 questions.

Before we go deep exclusively on Decision Making in XAT and how to prepare and attempt the questions in this section, it is important to know the revised XAT exam pattern  

XAT 2023

  XAT 2024: Mix of Negative Marking and Non-Negative Marking questions
XAT Exam pattern 2024 has been revised. Now the XAT exam consists of five sections instead of earlier four. Number of questions in revised XAT pattern are 101.  Below is shared the key changes in XAT 2024 exam:

  • Test timing changed – 2 PM to 5.10 PM from 9.30AM to 12.40PM
  • Total questions increased to 101 from 99
  • Essay Writing Test Restored
  • 100 questions are of MCQ type and 1 Essay Writing Question is Descriptive
  • GK section not counted for percentile calculation
  • ¼ Negative Marking for wrong answer
  • Visually impaired candidates with scribe are given additional 25 minutes only for Part 1 of XAT exam
  • Marks for every correct answer : 1
  • No Negative marking for General Knowledge and Essay Writing sections in part-2
  • All the MCQ type questions have five options with one correct option

XAT 2024 Exam Pattern: Sectional Composition & Scoring Pattern

Section in XAT 2024 Exam Pattern
Number of questions
Overall Time Duration
75 Total MCQs
165 Minutes
Verbal and Logical Ability
No Sectional Time Limit
Decision Making
No Sectional Time Limit
Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation
No Sectional Time Limit
25 MCQs+ 1 Non MCQ
25 Minutes
General Knowledge
25 MCQs
15 Minutes
Essay Writing Test
 1 Descriptive
10 Minutes
Total questions (Part 1 + Part 2)
190 Minutes
  • XAT Exam Pattern 2024 - Percentile Calculation: Only first 3 sections on Verbal & Logical Ability; Decision Making; Quant & DI are taken into account to calculate the XAT percentile score and XAT merit list for written exam. GK & Essay Writing section score will not be counted for percentile calculation in XAT exam.
  • No Sectional Time Limit: XAT does not have sectional time limit to solve the question paper. Candidate can attempt any question from any of the three sections within the overall time limit. However, candidate will be allowed to go to Part 2 in XAT 2024 after completing the time duration of Part 1

Let’s understand how important is Decision Making in XAT to clear the cut offs in top B-schools

Decision Making: Weightage is high
XAT awards different weightage for different sections and questions. out of 75 questions responsible for calculation of percentile in XAT, the 21 questions in this unique stand alone Decision Making section  play the major role in getting a XAT aspirant shortlisted for the final admission round. 

3 step Prep strategy in Decision Making
Questions in Decision making section are based a passage with some information followed by a set of 4-5 questions The answer options are very close ones to choose from. There could also be paragraphs followed by single questions. While Most of the questions in XAT are in sets a few are individual questions that are not in sets.

XAT aspirants are expected to follow the below given 3 step preparation strategy to score more in Decision making section

  • Step-1: Study the material to build the basics on XAT Decision Making questions
  • Step-2: Clarify all your doubts with an expert of this section
  • Step-3: Practice as many questions of different types as possible

XAT aspirant is expected to develop problem solving skills, prioritizing, organizing, resilience, emotional intelligence, ability to work with people from different fields, how to react as a team leader and arrive at an appropriate decision in a given situation.
Sample questions on Decision Making
Answer question 1 to 6 on the basis of the information given in the following situation:

Teknik Group of industries had businesses in different sectors ranging from manufacturing, construction, fish farming and hotels. These different businesses operated as semi-independent units managed by the unit level managers. Teknik's management had an internal consultancy group called as Business Advisory Group (known internally as BAG). The 15 experts in BAG were hired personally by Mr. Teknikwala, the owner of Teknik, who wanted this core group of experts to help his organization grow fast without facing the typical growth hurdles. Most of them were specialists in fields like law, information technology, human resource management, and operations management. Almost all of them had experience spanning decades in the industry. Whenever any of the units faced any significant problems, the unit level managers would put up a request for help to BAG. The problems ranged from installation of internal MIS systems, to financial advice related to leasing of equipment, to handling of employee grievances.

Over a period of 20 years, Teknik's revenues grew from ` 100 crore ` 10,000 crore with guidance of BAG and due to Mr. Teknikwala's vision. Given its reputation in the industry, many people wanted to start their careers in BAG.

Often young MBAs, fresh out of business schools would apply. However their applications used to be rejected by Mr. Teknikwala, who had a preference for people with extensive industry experience.

Things changed after the unfortunate demise of Mr. Teknikwala.  His daughter Miss. Teknikwali took up the family business. She was an MBA from one of the premier business schools, and was working in a different company when Mr. Teknikwala passed away. She preferred that BAG develop new ideas and therefore inducted freshly graduated MBAs from premier business schools. She personally supervised the recruitment and selection process. Now the entire group constituted of 50 specialists, out of which 35 were the old time members. She also changed the reporting relationships in the BAG group, with some of the older members being made to report to the new members. In IT team, Mr. Shiv, a newly recruited MBA, was made in-charge. For the older members it was a shock. However, as most of them were on the verge of retirement, and it would be challenging to search for new jobs while competing with younger professionals, they decided to play along.

After one month, all business units were caught up in the ERP fever. This was an idea pushed by Ms. Teknikwali who thought there was need to replace the old legacy systems with latest ERP system integrating all the units of Teknik. This was heavily influenced by her experience in the previous where an ERP system was already up and running. Therefore she was not aware of the difference between installing an ERP system and working on an already installed one.

The ERP implementation in Teknik Group required extensive coordination with senior level managers of all units and it represented an extra work for those who were involved. This coordination was required to understand the different work processes and the users' requirements. This coordination activity was being extensively managed by the old timers as they were familiar with internal processes and people in the different units. An external consultant was also hired for customisation and implementation.

After two months, BAG teams had to fortnightly present their progress to Ms. Teknikwali's team. In the last meeting Ms. Teknikwali was dissatisfied. She explained her thinking that since ERP impacted every aspect of the business, the roll out had to be done faster.

She wanted Mr. Shiv to get the implementation completed ahead of  schedule.  In the meeting she asked Mr. Shiv to get the people in IT team to be more productive. Not willing to disagree, Mr. Shiv committed to a roll-out schedule of  complete ERP system in 6 months instead of earlier decided 14 months.

Next day, Mr. Shiv presented the revised project milestone to BAG members. He told them that in order to meet the deadline, the members were expected to work  on week-ends till the completion of the project. Along with that, they were also expected to maintain their earlier standards of delivery time and quality for the normal trouble-shooting and internal advisory work. Mr. Shiv also pointed out that anyone whose performance did not meet the expectations would be subjected to formal disciplinary action.

The meeting ended without any member commenting on Shiv's ideas, although Mr. Shiv heard a lot of mumbling in the corridor. Over the week, Shiv noticed that the members seemed to avoid him and he had to make extra effort to get ideas from them.  After a fortnight Shiv reviewed the attendance register and found that Mr. Lal, an old time member, had not come during the week- ends and certain decisions were held up due to lack of inputs from Mr. Lal. Mr. Shiv issued a written reprimand to Mr. Lal. He was speechless on receiving the reprimand but kept silent

It has been three days since that incident. Some of the senior members had put in request for transfer to other business units. It was rumoured that four senior legal experts had agreed to an offer from a law firm. Other senior members would sporadically come in late to work, citing health reasons. Almost all senior members now wanted a weekly work-routine to be prepared and given to them in advance so that they could deliver as per the schedule.

This insistence on written communication was a problem as urgent problems or ad-hoc requests could not be foreseen and included. Also, normal services to other business units were being unattended to, and there were complaints coming from the unit heads.

Answer the following questions based on above Caselet

Q 1. It can be inferred from the above case that implementation of an ERP package in an organization requires creation of a team that has:

A. sufficient number of people who are networked with powerful stakeholders in the organization

B. right amount of problem solvers along with those who are abreast of the latest ERP technology

C. a mixture of experienced employees and newly graduated employees

D. only young people with education in top schools and colleges

E. people who have been involved with operations for a long duration of time along with people who are aware of the latest in ERP technology

Q 2. Which of the following could have been a better response of Mr. Shiv to Ms. Teknikwali’s request to re-schedule the ERP implementation?

A. Look at industry best practices regarding fast-tracking of ERP projects and then commit to a new deadline.

B. Consult the external consultant who was involved with ERP customisation and implementation.

C. Create a smaller team of all the new recruits of BAG and present the idea to them alone.

D. Eliminate the reliance on external consultants as they would be slow.

E. Present the idea to BAG members and ask them to look at the feasibility of the entire plan

Q.3. Which of the following can be identified as the immediate cause for the problems in BAG?

A. Ms. Teknikwali's decision to appoint Mr. Shiv as project lead for ERP implementation.

B. The incompetence of the consultant who was implementing the ERP project.

C. Lack of information about what was happening in the ERP project.

D. Infighting between new recruits and the older members of BAG group.

E. Unilateral decision making by Shiv.

Q.4. How should Mr. Shiv cope with the situation now? Choose the best option, considering Mr. Shiv's career would be at stake if the ERP project fails, and assuming that for carrying out the options, he has the necessary authority to do so.

A. Resign from BAG. The project cannot be done as per the re-scheduled time-table. Get a job in another company based on BAG's brand –name

B. Inform Ms. Teknikwali about the situation and get help from her to deal with the old time members. Some old members need to be fired so that others are also disciplined.

C. Align the new members of the BAG group to his side by promising them rewards at end of the project. Obtain approval from Ms. Teknikwali for the same.

D. Develop work-routines aligned to the ERP project requirements. Hire extra resources for dealing with other ad-hoc requirements and for the ERP project requirements.

E. Create a joint team of old members and new members within BAG to take care of ad-hoc requirements. They would be socialized in out bound programmes like mountaineering etc., which will be conducted during week-ends

Q.5. Of all the problems being faced in BAG, which of the following is neither discussed nor hinted at?

A. Ms. Teknikwali's lack of faith on older members to implement new ideas.

B. The inability of the younger members to work along with the older members of BAG.

C. Mr. Shiv's intention to impress Ms. Teknikwali by agreeing to a tougher deadline.

D. Ms. Teknikwali's lack of understanding of the complexity of an ERP implementation.

E. Mr. Shiv's lack of understanding of the sensitivities of the older members of BAG.

Q.6. After her father's demise, the best way Ms. Teknikwali could have gone about dealing with BAG group would have been to:

A. Discuss with the members as to what their views were about the company and solicit ideas on how to make it grow further.

B. Retire the entire team and hire a fresh team according to her criteria and her requirements.

C. Hire an external consultant who would have interacted with the BAG members on her behalf.

D. Ask the unit managers about the performance of the BAG group's performance and productivity. After that have discussion with BAG members about unit managers' performance.

E. Break down BAG into different sub-groups. It would be easy to tackle one sub-group at a time and do what she wanted to achieve.

Answers 1 to 6

1. E ERP package couldn’t be implemented. The BAG group probably killed the innovative skill of the old people. Option A is ruled out, B does not follow from the passage since as there is no commitment for successful ERP. Option C is also ruled out. We have no information regarding efficiency of employees who are networked with stakeholders.  Only option E appears correct. Knowledge of technology plus relevant experience both are required to be successful in implementation of ERP.

2. E is the right answer option. If all the BAG members in the decision making process are included it would make them more responsible towards the project. Option A, B, C, D  only look at other aspects like a probable deadline date;  no explanation on how to involve other members; overlooks the older members or have no consistency.

 3. E. Mr. Shiv is the unilateral decision maker and this is the cause for the problems. While options A and B do not the explain the immediate cause of  the problem nor any comment on capability of the consultant can be made, options C and D do not qualify for the answer as there is neither any lack of information nor any infighting elaborated.

 Options C and D are out of scope since it is not mentioned that there was any lack of information or infighting between members in the ERP project.

4. D as it is about the extra work load by hiring extra resources. There is no solution provided by option A or B. Option C doesn’t recognize the worth of experienced members;  E is no solution to the problem.

5. B As per the given information Ms.Teknikwali’s does not have that much of trust on older and experienced members to implement innovative ideas.  Option A,C, D and E. Despite knowing the technology, she didn’t know how to effectively implement it and got the time reduced. Mr. Shiv could also not take along the older and experienced members, in his anxiety he overlooked number of aspects that affected adversely the organisation.

 6. A as it details the best option to deal with the BAG group. Experienced  members are more aware about the company. B and E have negative throught. C and D are not direct approaches leading to solution.

The passage above has a good volume of information followed by a set of 6 questions, a few of them are tricky. Now the XAT aspirant is expected  to decide the best and preferred course of action to tackle the situation. The best approach to solve the set of questions is to identify the reasons leading to the situation and opt for best course of action to defuse and move forward in the given situation.

Stay tuned to MBAUniverse.com for more updates on XAT 2024