XAT Decision Making

Decision Making is a unique section of the XAT Exam. This section checks whether the candidate can adopt a manager's mindset. Different cases are given, and the managerial understanding of the situation is tested. To crack this section, aspirants must practice numerous tests and solve the previous year's papers to get familiar with the section.

XAT Decision Making Syllabus

XAT exam has no specified syllabus. Analysis of past year patterns and trends helps you know the essential topics asked in XAT every year.

Arrangement Ethical Dilemmas Grouping Complex Arrangement
Financial Issues Case-lets Data Arrangement Conditions
Managerial Issues Analytical Reasoning Situational Analysis Assumptions

XAT Decision Making Questions for Practice

Name Tests Taken Score rank Take Test
XAT Decision Making Test 1 Free 10097 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 2 Free 6713 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 3 Free 5252 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 4 Free 6233 -- --  Take test
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XAT Decision Making Test 10 Free 2705 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 11 Free 2188 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 12 Free 2240 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 13 Free 1928 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 14 Free 1482 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 15 Free 1319 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 16 Free 1568 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 17 Free 1187 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 18 Free 1352 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 19 Free 1348 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 20 Free 1311 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 21 Free 891 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 22 Free 1518 -- --  Take test
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XAT Decision Making Test 24 Free 1231 -- --  Take test
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XAT Decision Making Test 26 Free 1390 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 27 Free 1510 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 28 Free 1685 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 29 Free 2225 -- --  Take test
XAT Decision Making Test 30 Free 4598 -- --  Take test

How to Approach XAT Decision Making?

Step 1: Identify the problem

Know what kind of problem. The problem can be any one of the following:

  • What decision would you take if you were an HR?
  • Should you choose the business proposal?
  • What decision would you make if you were the CXO / CEO of a company?
  • A personal situation is given, and asked to choose the immediate course of action.
  • A personal situation is described, and asked to choose a decision to resolve the conflict.

Step 2: Identify all the stakeholders and know what their requirements are.

Case: Two colleagues of a company are having disputes about work distribution. The stakeholders of the context are:

  1. The Manager
  2. The Company
  3. The Colleagues
  4. The rest of the team
  5. The people working with those clients are also the stakeholders

Step 3: Identify the Ideal Results State.

Find a solution where all the teams work in peace and are willing to work hard to achieve the company's goals. Choose options that best answer the situation.

Case: Let's say you plan a flexible working week in your company.

  • The first step is determining whether the company will meet its long-term goals and the targeted profit with the latest updated decision. Company functioning must always be the priority.
  • But remember, there is no one size solution for all companies. So, a decision that worked for a banking company may not equally work for an advertising company.

So, the best option is the one that satisfies better than the rest.

XAT Decision-Making Questions: Types with Examples

HR Policy

  • You would be asked to decide if you were a company's HR. For example, you would be asked whether you should fire an employee of your company. Another instance is whether you hire an employee for your company with given attributes.
  • HR should never take extreme steps like firing an employee. But, a person must be fired if he has breached the unethical code or crossed the red line. For example, if he has stolen money.
  • In the rest of the instances, HR should choose a win-win situation.
  • Always choose an option that balances the needs of different stakeholders.
  • HR Policy (XAT 2023 Question)

Behaviour/Personal Decisions

  • Here, a personal issue is given and asked to choose an option to handle the problem.
  • This question is primarily given for testing your maturity only. So, only choose an option that describes how balanced you are.
  • Also, in another variant of these sets, you would be asked to choose the order of priority to complete a task or solve an issue.
  • This is asked to test the maturity and moral code of the candidate.
  • Behaviour Decision (XAT 2022 Question)

Organisational Policy

  • In these kind of sets you would be asked to make a decision if you are the CXO or the CEO of a company. Here, a decision has to be made which affects the entire group.
  • The best decision would be to think:
    1. If I make this policy how would the group react?
    2. If I make this financial incentive change would employees cope-up with this?
    Organisational Policy (XAT 2021 Question)

Strategy Based/Quant Based

  • For these kind of sets you would be asked whether you would take up a business proposal.
  • For dealing with questions like this you would basically need critical reasoning skills and quantitative skills.
  • Should be able to do break-even analysis.
  • Quant (XAT 2023 Question)

HR Policy Based Set: How to Tackle?

Newspaper test: This test is the litmus test to take before deciding. It checks if you can defend your decision if it comes in the next day's newspaper.For instance, check if you can defend if you fired someone from the company.If your decision does not pass scrutiny, then that decision should not be chosen.

Checklist before taking a HR Policy Decision

  • Check if the decision is fair and transparent
  • Check if the decision is discriminatory
  • Check if the decision can be defended if displayed in the next day's newspaper

Strategy Based Set: How to Tackle?

You need to understand what information is required to tackle this kind of set. Understand the extent of the opportunity and evaluate the opportunity.

  • Size of the market
  • Players in the market
  • Types of Customers
  • Market Share - know whether the market is fragmented or a dominant player consumes the entire share
  • Know How To Reach a Customer - Know the customer's demographics, age, location, and spending ability
  • Think of your product and think of the selling price - The price at which you will sell and think about how you will reach it

Think of all these verticals to consider which strategy to take up or to consider a business proposal

Question Formats of XAT Decision-Making

Single Question Prompts

Here, a single paragraph is followed by a single question. Questions like these must be answered as they don't take much time. These sections require critical reasoning skills.

Two to Three Questions per Prompt

A longer case-let is given, followed by 2 or 3 questions. Moving whenever you find yourself stuck between two options is advisable.

Four to Five Questions per Prompt

These formats are the longest ones among the three. A long case-let is given, followed by 4 to 5 questions. This section requires reading comprehension skills as they are long.

One must learn to move to the next question whenever one gets stuck between the two options.

What Are The Skills Required For XAT Decision Making?

  • Critical reasoning skills are majorly tested in this section
  • Managerial skills are also tested. It is not that you need to be a manager with hands-on experience. It needs someone pragmatic who can manage people and bring the team together. Someone who can understand the dynamics of the team
  • Also, it tests how mature a candidate is—and checks whether the candidate can maintain his composure in moments of need
  • Tests whether the candidate is an extremist

For instance, a CEO/CXO can not suddenly cut down perks on the sales executive of a company. This decision will cause an imbalance in the company because their budgets will be allocated personally based on the company's policies.

Tips to Crack XAT Decision Making

XAT Decision Making effectively tests managerial solutions for ethical dilemmas. Students usually think that the decision-making section requires prior work experience to understand the section. But, this section can also be cracked with diligence and practice.

Do Not Allow Personal Opinion

  • An aspirant must be able to look at the situation from a third-person perspective and make a decision that satisfies multiple stakeholders involved. Do not allow your personal opinion to get in between. View the scenario from the third-person perspective.

Essential Things That Are Tested

  • DM section tests candidates' short-term and long-term analysis skills. The candidate must be able to consider all the short-term and long-term possibilities that are prone to happen if a decision is made.

  • DM also tests candidates' core beliefs, ethics, and value systems.

How to Arrive At the Right Answer

  • In more typical scenarios, the candidate can eliminate the two. But he gets stuck with the remaining two options. The ability to pick the right option is developed by practising more and more questions.

  • Also, another way out is focusing on eliminating the wrong ones rather than trying to pick out the right ones.

Consider All the Stakeholders Involved

    Before starting a question, include all the stakeholders involved while opting out for a decision.
  • Also, consider how it affects each stakeholder, quantify it, and make decisions effectively.

  • Also, consider how a single decision will affect all the stakeholders involved. Quantify the effect and make informed decisions.

Do not pick Extreme Options.

  • In most cases, extreme options aren't the right ones to choose.

  • An extreme option, for instance, is firing an employee from a firm because of the damage he/she has incurred to the company. In most cases, the solution for this situation is not to fire the responsible employee.

Reading in Between Lines and Extracting Implicit Information

  • The candidate should also be able to read between the lines and extract the implicit information mentioned indirectly. To be able to do so, the candidate has to be with a calm mind.

XAT Pattern

  • XAT has a unique exam pattern. The CAT exam's pattern is closest to XAT. CAT and XAT have overlap in Quant and some portion of Verbal. However, XAT tests various other not-so-common skills.
  • Decision Making, Poem RC, and Essay Sections are only tested in the XAT exam alone.
  • Hence, students are advised to be well-versed with the unique pattern of XAT.

XAT Paper-I exam pattern:

  • The XAT paper-I will have negative marking of ¼ marks.
  • For up to 8 un-attempted questions no negative marks, after more than 8 un-attempted questions, each unanswered question will have a penalty of 0.10 marks.

Section name No. of questions Total marks Time duration
Verbal and Logical Ability 26


175 minutes
Decision making 21 21
Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation 28 28
Total 75 75

XAT Paper-II exam pattern


Mock Keyboard Testing (new section)


5 minutes

XAT Paper-III exam pattern

The exam duration of this Part, will be 30 minutes

No negative marking in this part

Name of the section No. of QuestionsDuration
General Knowledge 25
Essay1 (Out of 3 Essay's)30 minutes
Total 26

XAT Decision Making Cut-Offs (Last 5 Years)

The cut-off keeps changing every year. It depends on the level of difficulty of paper. An easier exam would have a higher cut-off and a tougher exam would fetch lower cut-off.

Year Cut-Off
2024(Expected) 75% ile
2023 75% ile
2022 74% ile
2021 70% ile
2020 78% ile
2019 80% ile

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Decision Making in XAT difficult?

Decision Making is a unique section of XAT that test students’ decision skills. It is of moderate difficulty.

How many Decision Making questions are asked in the XAT Exam?

Twenty-one questions are being asked in the XAT exam every year. The type of questions asked are HR / Organisational Policy, Behavioural / Personal Decisions, Strategy and Operations, and Quant Based.

What does XAT Decision-Making section test?

DM Section tests the managerial acumen of the candidate. He should be able to consider all the short and long-term possibilities of a decision. Also, he should be able to include all the shareholders involved before making a decision.

When is XAT Exam?

XAT Exam will be held on the first Sunday of January every year. XAT 2024 is going to be held on January 7th, 2024.

What is the Cut-Off for Decision Making in XAT exam?

The Cut-Off for the XAT DM Section is usually six marks for clearing the sectional cut-off. It might fluctuate a bit, year on year.

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