After successfully completing the CAT 2016 sprint series and the SNAP 2016 sprint series, we are back with the XAT 2017 sprint preparation series – Verbal 1 to boost your prep. This series will consist of 10 sets of questions from past year XAT papers, leading to XAT 2017 and covered almost all the question types that you needed to know come the 8th of January.


XAT 2017 sprint preparation series – Verbal 1


Directions for questions 1 to 4: Read the following discussion/passage and provide an appropriate answer for the questions that follow.

Of the several features of the Toyota Production System that have been widely studied, most important is the mode of governance of the shop-floor at Toyota. Work and inter-relations between workers are highly scripted in extremely detailed ‘operating procedures’ that have to be followed rigidly, without any deviation at Toyota. Despite such rule-bound rigidity, however, Toyota does not become a ‘command-control system’. It is able to retain the character of a learning organization.

In fact, many observers characterize it as a community of scientists carrying out several small experiments simultaneously. The design of the operating procedure is the key. Every principle must find an expression in the operating procedure – that is how it has an effect in the domain of action. Workers on the shop-floor, often in teams, design the ‘operating procedure’ jointly with the supervisor through a series of hypothesis that are proposed and validated or refuted through experiments in action. The rigid and detailed ‘operating procedure’ specification throws up problems of the very minute kind; while its resolution leads to a reframing of the procedure and specifications. This intertemporal change (or flexibility) of the specification (or operating procedure) is done at the lowest level of the organization; i.e. closest to the site of action.

One implication of this arrangement is that system design can no longer be rationally optimal and standardized across the organization. It is quite common to find different work norms in contiguous assembly lines, because each might have faced a different set of problems and devised different counter-measures to tackle it. Design of the coordinating process that essentially imposes the discipline that is required in large-scale complex manufacturing systems is therefore customized to variations in man-machine context of the site of action. It evolves through numerous points of negotiation throughout the organization. It implies then that the higher levels of the hierarchy do not exercise the power of the fiat in setting work rules, for such work rules are no longer a standard set across the whole organization.

It might be interesting to go through the basic Toyota philosophy that underlines its system designing practices. The notion of the ideal production system in Toyota embraces the following – ‘the ability to deliver just-in-time (or on demand) a customer order in the exact specification demanded, in a batch size of one (and hence an infinite proliferation of variants, models and specifications), defect-free, without wastage of material, labour, energy or motion in a safe and (physically and emotionally) fulfilling production environment’. It did not embrace the concept of a standardized product that can be cheap by giving up variations. Preserving consumption variety was seen, in fact, as one mode of serving society. It is interesting to note that the articulation of the Toyota philosophy was made around roughly the same time that the Fordist system was establishing itself in the US automotive industry.

1. What can be best defended as the asset which Toyota model of production leverages to give the vast range of models in a defect-free fashion?

A. Large scale complex manufacturing systems

B. Intellectual capital of the company’s management

C. Loans taken by the company from banks and financial institutions

D. Ability of the workers to evolve solutions to problems

E. Skill and charisma of the top leadership

2. Which of the following can be best defended as a pre-condition for the Toyota type of production system to work?

A. Existence of workers’ union to protect worker’s rights

B. Existence of powerful management to create unique strategies

C. Cordial worker-management relations to have industrial peace

D. High management involvement towards problems identified by workers

E. Management’s faith in workers’ abilities to solve problems in a rigorous manner

3. Based on the above passage, which of the following statements is best justified?

A. Workers have significant control rights over the design of work rules that allow worker skills and ingenuity to continuously search for novel micro-solutions using information that often sticks to the local micro-context of the work.

B. Managers have significant control rights over the design of work rules that allow worker skills and ingenuity to continuously search for novel micro-solutions around microinformation that often sticks to the local micro-context of the work.

C. Work rules enable the workers to report problems faced at the shop-floor to specialized personnel who set up experiments to replicate the conditions. This allows the specialists to come up with solutions that are rigorously tested in experimental conditions.

D. Toyota as an organisation has extensive networks with different specialists who are subject matter experts in different fields. These networks allow problems to be resolved in the most advanced manner, enabling Toyota to beat the competition.

E. Toyota’s products are extensively tested by customers in simulated conditions before they are released to the market. This extensive testing is done by workers who double up as a community of scientists experimenting to develop the most advanced product.

4. What could be the best defense of the “different work norms in contiguous assembly lines”?

A. Without such variation allowed, rights of manager to design work-rules would have made very little sense, making the company similar to Ford.

B. Proscribing standardised work norms would prevent Toyota from benefiting from workers’ problem solving ability in resolving different kinds of problems that emerge, thus making it difficult to attain the Toyota philosophy.

C. If similarities were imposed, rights of workers to experiment with work-rules would have made very little sense.

D. Standardisation of work rules is only justified when the investments in plants are huge and experimenting with the work rules would be detrimental to the efficiency of the plants. Since Toyota’s plants typically involved low investment, it could tolerate non standard work rules.

E. With standardisation of processes, right of the workers in design of work-rules made sense. Since Toyota’s manufacturing processes were non-standardised, the different work norms did not make sense.

5. The author has __________ his composition to the best of his __________; yet listen to it with a sympathetic ____________, O ______________ souls, and judge it.

The option that best fills the blanks in the above sentence would be:

A. honed, insights, mind, distinguished B. polished, intellect, mind, noble

C. polished, mind, intellect, noble D. refined, ingenuity, heart, righteous

E. refined, thoughts, heart, righteous

6. There is much difficulty ___________ getting ____________ this place and it is not possible to reach ______________ without the grace of the lord.

The option that best fills the blanks in the above sentence would be:

A. in; to; it

B. to; to; it

C. to; in; it

D. in; in; in

E. in; to; to

7. ___________ you have a doubt, why not go and verify? I shall be waiting in the shade ____________ this banyan tree till you come back __________ me.

The option that best fills the blanks in the above sentence would be:

A. if; under; on

B. as; of; for

C. as; of; at

D. for; under; at

E. if; of; to

8. Pick the odd one out):

A. wisdom; folly

B. friendship; enmity

C. often; seldom

D. loyalty; treachery

E. devotion; loathing

9. Nature is _____________ and unchangeable, and it is ____________ as to whether its hidden reasons and ________________ are _____________ to man or not.

The option that best fills the blanks in the above sentence would be:

A. relentless, indifferent, actions, understandable

B. persistent, heartless, actions, comprehensible

C. inexorable, apathetic, activities, explicable

D. harsh, indifferent, actions, understandable

E. inescapable, unconcerned, activities, intelligible

10. Impressions are direct, vivid, and forceful products of immediate experience; ideas are merely feeble copies of these original impressions.

Assuming the above statement is true, which of the statements logically follow from it?

I. Every impression leads to an idea.

II. Ideas must follow an antecedent impression.

III. The colour of the 2011 XAT test booklet right in front of a candidate is an impression to her, whereas the memory of the colour of her television set is an idea.

IV. If one was interested in origin of the idea of the colour of a television set, then one need to understand the impressions from which this idea was derived.

A. I & III


C. II & IV


E. I, II, III & IV

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1. Option d

2. Option e

3. Option a

4. Option c

5. Option b

6. Option a

7. Option e

8. Option c

9. Option a

10. Option d

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You can follow the entire sprint series here: XAT 2017 Sprint Preparation Series by Learningroots

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