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The Xavier's Admission Test or XAT conducted by XLRI, Jamshedpur is scheduled for January 4, 2009 for admission to its post graduate management course.
One of the unique features of the XAT is a 250-300 word essay that the MBA aspirant is required to write. The time allotted for this is 20 minutes and is after the objective component of the test.
The rationale underlying this component
The XLRI places a premium on the social and ethical values of the aspirant. The essay is used as a tool to judge the same as the written piece provides a valuable insight into the mind of the test taker. The B-school uses the essay as a pre-interview yardstick.
Some topics in the past years
2004: Asked at the age of 83, as to which of his projects would he choose as his master piece, Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect, answered, "The next one".
2007: Economic growth without environmental damage -- a mirage or a reality.
The methodology for writing a good essay
Read the topic carefully and determine what you have been asked to write.
Are you expected to present the pros and cons of a particular issue? Are you expected to present an analytical piece? Are you required to write an argumentative essay or come up with different prespectives vis-a-vis an abstract topic?
Once you have a clear picture, jot down the important points that occur to you. For example, for the 2007 topic stated above, the points can run thus:
Now reorganise thoughts into the three-section format:
A terrific introduction:
Employ a quote, [only if it is relevant] or a generic observation pertaining to the topic at hand.
This effectively is the body of the essay that is generally fleshed out over two or three small paragraphs. You can move from one paragraph to other by means of connectives such as 'Furthermore', 'Moreover' or 'To illustrate' etc. If you wish to present a deviation from the main line of thought or state an exception, you can use words like 'however', 'but' etc.
Examples will be the key to showcase your understanding of the topic. Provide those that are a function of your reading, observation or personal experience.
You must be politically correct and at the same time avoid wishy washy examples that do not stand scrutiny.
Wrap up the essay with a fitting finale, using connectives such as ' In conclusion' , 'Hence' or 'Thus'. Otherwise, however well written the essay, it will hang and have an unfinished feel to it.
Tick the important checklist
A] Cogency and coherence: The essay should have a smooth flow of thought and maintain relevance at all times. Moving back and forth will have a stilted effect.
B] Sentence structure: The word choice and construction of sentences should be apt and concise. Certain principles of grammar and usage must be adhered to.
C] Proofreading: Spelling errors and slang are a strict no-no in a formal essay.
What you need to do in the next one month
All the best!
Jaya Desai is Centre Head at IMS Learning Resources an institute that prepares candidates for various competitive examinations like the CAT, XAT, SNAP etc.
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