A Beginner’s Guide To XAT From A 99.16%iler (XAT)

XAT is a real-life example of Hare and Tortoise Story.

Once the CAT is done, maximum of the aspirants take a break. CAT  would be around December and after that many are left with least momentum to prepare for XAT. This is the case with the hare.

But believe me, if you manage to be the tortoise, have the patience and keep the momentum alive just for a month after CAT, you will be amused by your own results in XAT.

XAT gives you the chance to major institutes like XLRI, SPJAIN, XIMB, IMT. Still many undermine the importance of XAT since only a few prestigious institutes are on the list. But do not fall into the trap since cutoffs are achievable, also the number of test takers are half as much as CAT.

XLRI BM- 96%

XLRI HR- 93%

XIMB  – 91%

SPJAIN – 85%( the catch here is you need a sparkling profile)

IMT- 90%

Now let’s see the –

XAT 2018 Exam Pattern,

No. of Questions
Optimal Time in Mins
Difficulty Level
Good Attempts
Expected Cutoff
Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning 26 55 Difficult 17-19 7-7.5 6-6.5
Decision Making 21 45 Moderate 16-17 8.5-9 7.5-8
Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation 27 70 Moderate 18-19 12-13 9-10
Total 74 Moderate-Difficult 54-55 35-36 31-32

– XAT 2017 Exam Pattern,

Paper Section Name No. Of Questions Total Marks Total Time Negative Marking
Paper 1
Verbal and Logical Ability 26 26
170 Mins
0.25 for any wrong answer, 0.05 for more than 13 unattempted questions
Decision Making 23 23
Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation 29 29
Paper 2
General Knowledge 25 25
35 Mins
No Negative Marking
Essay Writing 1 essay No Negative Marking

CAT level preparation should take care of. No one would just prepare for XAT, but some extra preparation would be needed along with the CAT.

  • Verbal and Logical Ability [a bit harder than CAT, but the pattern of questions are usually the same and can be referred from previous year papers]
  • Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation [easier than CAT]

For XAT, you need to concentrate especially on

Decision Making

This is a crucial section. Some do extremely well and some often land in dilemma. If you have worked in any organisation before and have a good understanding of how the corporate world works, you can do this well.  But for Freshers, I would recommend to go through coaching material specific to this and solve as much as possible. The idea here is to grasp how one should think for the company, also as an employee and also the solution to the issue.

Tip: Avoid the answers which seem too harsh or too lenient

Tip2: Some require out of the box thinking, so don’t get your mind conditioned with the question completely, be neutral

This section if you have practised well and can take quick decisions, will be done in just 20 – 30 minutes. This can be the best return of marks for your time. So don’t neglect this section.

Then Paper 2:

General Knowledge

Questions will be of moderate difficulty asked on both static and current GK. One who is constantly in touch with happenings around the world won’t find it difficult to crack this portion. Although this won’t be counted into your final percentile, it can be a deciding factor once you are called in for an interview. 10-12 right answers out of 25 can get you 90%+, which would be considered a safe region.

Tip: Have Newsinshorts installed and be updated. https://news.google.co.in/ <- This can also help.


Final Verdict

  • XAT isn’t time intensive exam, rather it is time extensive. You will find a lot of time to solve the questions, so pace accordingly.
  • The paper goes for 3.5 hours, make sure you practice sitting patiently and solving for such long hours. Also on D-day not to forget the necessary stationery and water bottle.
  • “0.05 for more than 13 unattempted questions” Seeing this many try to attempt more and end up with more negative marks, but this is nothing to worry about. Thus do not over attempt.

You might also like to read –

CAT And XAT: 2 Sides Of The Same Coin

‘Practise All The RCs You Can Find’ – Shelly Saksena, 99.62 In Verbal Ability, XAT

XAT – A Second Chance To Redeem Yourself – Tips By An SPJIMR Student


About the Author:


Karan Madangeri is a student at XLRI – HR class of 2017-2019. He scored 99.16%ile in XAT 2017 and bagged final admission offers from XLRI, NMIMS, XIMB, SIBM.

(This article was updated on 30th November 2018 – 11:45 AM)