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XAT 2020 - Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Eligibility, 20+ Strategy/Tips, Interview Experiences

What Is The XAT Entrance Exam?

The Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) is the annual competitive aptitude test conducted usually in the first week of January. The exam is conducted by XLRI on behalf of the Xavier Association of Management Institutes and is a gateway for aspirants to get admission into XLRI - Xavier School of Management and other management institutes that accept the XAT score. XAT 2020 will be conducted in the first week of January, 2020. The most likely XAT exam date would be 5th January (Sunday).

XAT is considered to be one of the most popular MBA entrance exams and follows a pattern similar to that of the Common Admission Test (CAT). However, XAT is considered to be more difficult than CAT due to the difficulty level of questions and additional sections as compared to CAT.

In 2018, XAT went online for the first time in 19 years (albeit with certain flaws). It was conducted on the 7th of January (Sunday) and shifted from the traditional pen and paper format.

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Who Can Give XAT (XAT Eligibility Criteria)?

  • No age bar for candidates aspiring to attempt XAT 2019.
  • No minimum qualifying marks.
    1. Completed Bachelor’s degree of a duration of 3+ years, or
    2. Completed professional degree (CA/CS/ICWA), or
    3. Should be in the final year of Bachelor’s degree.

Why Should I Give XAT 2020?

XAT 2020 will be a direct gateway for aspirants to get admission into XLRI Jamshedpur, one of India's leading private management institutes. Apart from  XLRI, management institutes such as SPJIMR, IMT Ghaziabad, XIMB, TAPMI etc. also consider XAT scores for shortlist calls.

At XLRI, which is the main objective for aspirants appearing for XAT, you are given a chance to be a part of one of the oldest management institutes in the country. The faculty at XLRI Jamshedpur consists of individuals with decades of industry experience. You will have a peer group consisting of some of the brightest minds in the country.

At XLRI, you can pursue one out of two prestigious programmes - Human Resource Management or Business Management.

Both these programmes are revered in the industry, with the HRM programme being the more popular of the two.

Being a part of one of the top-5 B-Schools in the country, you will have the opportunity to interview with and get a job at huge global and Indian companies such as Hindustan Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, Nestle, McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, ITC Limited, etc.

There is likely to be a significant escalation in your paycheck, along with the opportunity to work at some of the best offices across the globe.

All of this is possible only by appearing for XAT 2020 and being a part of the 98th+ percentile.

What Is The XAT Exam Pattern/Syllabus?

The XAT Exam/Paper pattern is as follows:

  • The exam is for a duration of 180 minutes. The number of questions in each section varies every year.
  • It consists of a combination of 4 sections - English Language and Logical Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, and General Knowledge. A candidate has 180 minutes to solve this section of the paper in any order that he/she may choose.
  • What makes XAT unique is the Decision-Making section. It makes use of logical reasoning, quantitative ability and ethical thinking on part of the test-taker.
  • The marking scheme is as follows -
    1. 1 mark is allotted for each correct answer. 1/4th of the marks (0.25) is deducted for each incorrect response.
    2. Further, if a candidate does not attempt a certain number of questions, there is a deduction of 0.05 marks for every other unattempted question. For instance, if a candidate leaves Q1 to Q8, and then further leaves Q9, Q12, Q13 etc., 0.05 marks will be deducted for Q9, 12, 13 and so on.The limit for the number of questions that can be left unattempted without negative marking varies from year to year.

XAT Previous Year Papers PDF

XAT 2018 Download
XAT 2017 Download
XAT 2016 Download
XAT 2015 Download

XAT 2019 Exam Analysis - Cut-Offs

XAT 2019 was conducted on 6th January 2019, putting an end to MBA exam season while maintaining its legacy of being the toughest exam of the year. Apart from some difficult Verbal questions and some really tricky DM questions, the exam didn’t throw any surprises. The new venture XAT took, this year, was eliminating Essay writing section and throwing a curve ball by not introducing non MCQ type of questions even though the sample paper released 3 days before the exam, stated so. more

Which Institutes Will Consider The XAT 2020 Score?

Over 140 management institutes consider XAT scores for shortlisting and admission of candidates. These include but are not limited to XLRI Jamshedpur, XIMB, IRMA, TISS Mumbai, SPJIMR, Great Lakes Institute of Management, IMT Ghaziabad, KJSIMSR, etc.

How Many People Give XAT?

Approximately 1 Lakh people give XAT every year, half the number of CAT test-takers.

When Is The Next XAT Exam?

The next XAT exam will be XAT 2020, which will be conducted in the first week of January, 2020. It is likely to be conducted on 5th January, 2020 (Sunday). The exam is expected to be for a duration of 200 minutes.

Registrations are expected to begin from mid-August, and the admit cards are likely to be made available mid-December. The registration fee for XAT exam is expected to be the same as last year i.e. Rs. 1700/- and Rs. 2000/- (with late fee). Also, Indian students, who are applying for General Management Programme (GMP) through GMAT has to pay Rs. 2500/- and NRI/Foreign candidates has to pay Rs. 5000/-.


  1. Is XAT tougher than CAT? 

    It is widely believed that XAT as an exam is tougher than CAT. This could be attributed to the fact that XAT has more number of sections than CAT and has a higher level of difficulty in its Quantitative Ability sub-section. The Decision-Making sub-section is also a curveball for some aspirants, as it is unique to the XAT exam structure. However, some consider XAT to be at the same level as CAT and a little less restrictive in terms of mobility between sections and minutes allotted per question.

  2. How can I prepare for GK and Decision Making Section of XAT? 

    The XAT Decision Making section is unique and is highly subjective in nature. So there is no preparation strategy as such. The most effective method to prepare for this section is to solve previous years' questions available on the XLRI Website. For the GK Section, an aspirant can focus on daily current affairs in newspapers, as well as surfing the internet for opinion pieces on current affairs. Books such as Manorama are used by UPSC aspirants to prepare for GK, and this can be used for XAT.

  3. What topics should I focus on for Quantitative Ability? 

    It is recommended to brush up on all the basics of the topics that are part of the syllabus. Special focus can be laid upon Geometry, Profit and Loss, Alligations and Mixtures and Simple and Compound interest, as these topics have regularly recurred in previous years' papers.

  4. Is there a calculator available for XAT? 

    No. In the previous version of the test, calculators have not been permitted either on-screen or in the examination hall. However, an on-screen calculator may be provided for XAT 2020, depending on how the exam is designed.

  5. Can I move between sections of XAT exam 2020? 

    Yes. Unless specified otherwise for XAT 2020, candidates can move between sections of the examination and can answer the question in any order of their preference.

  6. What happens after XAT results?

    After the XAT results have been declared, shortlisted candidates are invited for a GD-PI round at the respective institutes, following which final admission offers are handed out.