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XLRI conducts the XAT every year in the first week of January on behalf of Xavier Association of Management Institutes (XAMI). XAT is a common admission test for the 11 institutes under XAMI, and there are more than 100 other institutes that accept XAT score. Over the past many years, XAT has maintained a consistent approach of examining the students, but the last couple of years have seen some subtle changes. The introduction of the General Knowledge Section 2 years back and the changing number of questions in various sections startle the test takers. It is essential to develop a concrete strategy and understand the paper pattern well to maximize your scores in XAT. The following table would give you a clear picture of the XAT 2021 paper pattern:

Number of Sections



Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation, Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning, Decision Making, GK


Online Exam

Duration of the Test

XAT 2021: 180 minutes (3 hrs.)

Number of Questions
(100 Questions)

Verbal & Logical Ability: 26 Questions
Decision Making: 21 Questions
Quantitative Aptitude & Data Interpretation: 28 Questions
General Knowledge: 25 Questions

Marking Scheme

Students have a choice of not attempting 8 questions. Beyond this, any un-attempted question will carry the negative marking of 0.05. The Negative marking for incorrect response is 0.25. General Knowledge section is free from negative marking.

The major takeaways for the XAT preparation are:

  • All the sections need equal importance as fetching maximum marks is the most important task and a gateway to move ahead. Clearing Sectional cut-off is mandatory.
  • A proper tab on time is a must. The level of difficulty is high. So time management is an asset.
  • Regular practice of Mock Tests is essential for superior performance in Verbal and Logical Ability Section.
  • Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension are the main dominating areas in this section.
  • Strong conceptual base in Geometry, Number System, Probability and DI with a good application orientation is the key to crack Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation section.
  • Get yourself updated with both current and static GK. Preparing current events for the past six months is essential, and a focus on awards, books and authors and geography will ace your hold on static GK.
  • Striking a right balance between speed and accuracy is all that matters to score in XAT.