XAT 2017 Detailed Analysis And Cutoffs


XAT Paper Pattern and Analysis

Many students would be opening dictionaries to figure out what Jingoism is! Though the importance of Essay in the selection to XL and other Institutes would come much later, this was the first thing on their minds when they came out of the XAT exam!


Last year, the dean of XL had said that the XAT paper would be more inclusive and ensure that there is more diversity in the campuses. Well, he seems to have delivered the same one year late!

The Quant section, normally the bête noire for  many a student, was surprisingly easy and may have given many smiles to students who wrote XAT. Especially because, students would not be able to assess their performance in the Verbal and Decision Making sections AND the fact that Quant has gone well, would leave a good feeling after the exam!

The paper pattern was exactly as announced. No surprises there! As usual, it was administered as two parts. The first part consisted of Verbal & Logical Ability, Decision Making and Quantitative Ability & DI. ONLY the first part is taken towards the calculation of PERCENTILE. This percentile is used for shortlisting by all institutes that take the XAT scores.

The Second part had the General Knowledge Section (no negative marks) and an Essay section which is used mainly by XLRI at the time of the Interview and final selection.

Part I

No of Questions : 72

Time available : 170 minutes

No of Marks : 72

No of Sections : 3 (Cutoffs exist)

Marking : All questions carry equal marks

Negative marking : ¼ th  of the mark deducted


Part II General Knowledge and Essay

Time Available : 35 minutes

General Knowledge : 25 questions

Essay : “Globalisation And Jingoism Always Coexist”


Test Pattern

Section Area No. Of Questions Marks
PART ONE Section -A Verbal and Logical Ability 24 24
Section – B Decision Making 21 21
Section – C Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation 27 27
Total 72 72
PART TWO General Knowledge 25 25


XAT 2017 Analysis


XAT 2017 was Tricky!

Though the Quant section was easy, the Decision Making Ability Section AND the Verbal Ability & Logical (typically critical reasoning) were definitely of a higher order of difficulty!

At first glance, the overall cutoffs may go up and the sectional cutoffs may remain similar to that of the last year with a marginal increase in the Quant cutoff.

XAT 2017 paper was very similar to the XAT 2015 paper in terms of the structure of the paper as well as the difficulty level. However, the number of questions have drastically reduced in XAT 2017 while the time available has increased over the XAT 2015 paper!

XAT scores are taken for admission into not only XLRI but also XIMB, GIM, LIBA, XISS, XIME and a host of other member and associate institutes.


Analysis of Sections in XAT 2017


Verbal and Logical Ability (24 Questions)

Of the 12 questions in the Verbal Ability & Logical Section, there were enough questions which were doable. The question(s) on Vocab, Grammar and Critical reasoning were doable. There were two poems (again an XL speciality) which required one to infer from the same.

The Para Jumbles questions were of a moderate level of difficulty and one question was easy and should have been solved.

Except for the passage on Existentialism, the other three passages had easy questions and a careful reading of the passage would have been enough to get the answers right!

The section as a whole can be termed as a section of medium to high level of difficulty section.

A good student could have attempted around 17 to 20 questions in about 50 minutes in this section.

A quick view of the pattern of this section will clarify what is meant above

Sno Question Type No of Questions Difficulty Level
1 Vocab based Analogy 1 Medium
2 Sentence Correction/Grammar 2 Easy
2 Fill-in-the-blanks 2 Medium to High
3 Critical Reasoning/Inference 3 Medium to High
4 Poems 2 High
5 Para Jumbles 2 Medium
6 Reading Comprehension (4 sets) 12 Moderate to High
Total 24 Medium to High


Cutoff for the section – 6.75 (80 percentile) & 7.5 (85 percentile)


Decision Making (21 questions)

The Decision making section is probably the most interesting section of almost all MBA entrance exams. Decision Making has been a regular feature of XAT for quite a number of years now.

The composition of the section included 7 sets of about 18 questions and 3 sets which had individual questions in them. Of the 7 sets, 4 sets had 3 question each and the rest of them had 2 questions per set.

There were individual questions which were easy, however, there was No One Set which could be said as easy in the section,

A good student would have attempted around 17 to 18 questions from the 21 that were available.


Cutoff for the section – 6.5 (80 percentile)


Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation

The QA and DI section probably was easier than the other two. Of the 16 questions in Quant area, Algebra and Pure Math accounted for 13 questions. The section had only 4 questions of arithmetic and a question each in Venn Diagrams, Functions, Trigonometry and a miscellaneous (logic) question.

Around 12 to 14  questions could be solved by anyone who has a basic grounding in math.

Data Interpretation and Data Sufficiency area was challenging. While the set on Production and Selling of Kurtas (Table) was easy, though lengthy, the Scatter Plot set was pretty easy but difficult to understand. Any student who could understand the Data and Interpret the same, it was very easy! The set on T20 (data sufficiency) was of a moderate level of difficulty and was solvable.

The break-up of the entire section with their sub-topics is given below.


Area Topic No of Questions
Arithmetic 4
Equations (in the garb of T&D question) 1
Percentages, P&L 1
Time & Distance 1
Time & Work 1
Algebra/Pure Math 13
Polynomials 1
Numbers 1
Progressions 1
Probability & Permutations, Combinations 2
Geometry 3
Mensuration 1
Functions & Graphs 1
Trigonometry 1
Venn Diagram 1
Miscellaneous 1
Data Interpretation 10
Data Sufficiency 2
Scatter Plots with Bar Charts 4
Table 4


Overall the section was easy and a good student could have attempted around 12 to 14 questions in about 60 minutes.

Cutoff for this section –   9 (80 percentile) & 11 (90 percentile)


Overall Cutoff

XLRI has three programs, the HRM, the BM program and the Global MBA Program. The HRM program typically has a lower cutoff than the BM program.

VA & LA DM QA &DI Total
XLRI (HRM) 7.5 (85%ile) 6.5 (80%ile) 8 (70%ile) 29 (90%ile)
XLRI (BM) 6.75 (80%ile) 6.5 (80%ile) 11 (90%ile) 32 (94%ile)
XLRI (Global) 6.75 (80%ile) 6.5 (80%ile) 11 (90%ile) 29 (90%ile)
XIMB 6.75 (80%ile) 6.5 (80%ile) 9 (80%ile) 28 (88%ile)




About the Author:

ARKS Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and has been the All India CAT Director at TIME. He is currently the CEO of VistaMind Education. VistaMind is the only National Level Training institute, which prepares students for CAT through LIVE ONLINE CLASSES. For more information, write to info@vistamind.com


ARKS Srinivas

ARKS Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and has been the All India CAT Director at TIME. He is currently the National Head for MBA Prep at Career Launcher.



Suseem Swagat Sahu

can i expect a call from TAPMI,SIMSR,GIM,XIMB with a score of range 26-29. range if score becoz coaching institutes answer key are differing in this range. and i am a odisha domicile candidate.

Mayank Ramnani

Hi Sir,
According to Official answer key, I have calculated my scores in XAT 17 as:
Overall 24.92
(VA-11.90 DM-7.42 and QA-5.60) after deduction for non-attempted questions negative marking section wise (0.05)
What percentile I can expect and which colleges I can apply for?

Kunal Sanu

Hi Sir,
My expected(from XAT17official answer key) scores : VA-11.75, DM-6.25, QA-17.75 a total of 35.75. GK 16. Will I be able to qualify(XLRI and SP Jain) considering such a low score in DM?

Shashank Lohia

Hello sir,
I am getting score of 31.8 (considering negative marks for unattempted questions) as per official answer key.
Can I expect call from XLRI (BM)?