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XAT 2022 Exam Analysis: Sectional Analysis of XAT 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

Anwita Dhar logo

Anwita Dhar

| Updated On - Feb 23, 2021

XAT Exam Analysis: Xavier Aptitude Test is scheduled for January 2022 in online (CBT) mode. MBA aspirants must go through detailed XAT Exam Analysis to familiarize themselved with the XAT test pattern, important topics and questions type.

Latest: XAT 2021 was conducted on January 3 in a single session. Students claimed that Reading Comprehension and Reasoning questions were a little tricky in Verbal Ability section, while Quantitative and Data Interpretation section was moderately difficult. The paper was conducted in 2 parts over 3-hour duration. Part 1 was divided in 3 sections while Part 2 comprised of 1 section. Candidates who will be qualifying XAT 2021 Cut off will take part in further  XLRI selection process. Check Expected XAT 2021 Cut Off

XAT Exam Analysis 2022

XAT 2022 Exam Analysis

Based on xat paper analysis of previous years, the paper pattern for the upcoming session can be predicted. Here are the key takeways:

  • Number of questions: 100
  • Total Questions: 300
  • Negative Marking: 0.25 Marks will be deducted after 8 unanswered questions.
  • Total Time: 3 hours.
  • Type of questions: Objective

XAT 2021 Exam Analysis

Here are some highlights about the XAT 2021 Exam held on 3rd January, 2021 - 

  • Candidates found the Overall Difficulty Level to be Moderate to Difficult
  • The Decision Making Section was found to be the easiest to solve. 
  • However, the Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation section was the most difficult section to solve. 
  • The Data Interpretation questions were lengthy and took extra time to solve. 
  • Here is a sectional breakdown of the sections for XAT 2021 - 
Section Name No of Questions  Difficulty Level
Verbal and Logical Ability 26 Easy
Decision Making 21 Moderate
Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation 28 Difficult
General Knowledge 25 Moderate
Overall 100 Moderate-Difficult

XAT 2021 Verbal and Logical Ability Analysis

  • There were a total of 26 questions in the XAT VA section. The questions were similar to that of last year; inferential and application based.
  • There were 17 RC questions from 6 passages and 1 poem. Passages were about 150 to 350 words.
  • This section was found to be significantly more difficult than last year. 
  • The expected cut off for the Verbal Ability section would be around 9 to 10 marks according to various reports. 
  • The options were similar in nature which could have been confusing for some canidates.
Question Topics Total Questions Difficulty Level
Incorrect sentences 2 Medium
Correct sentences 1 Medium
Fill in the blanks (4 blanks) 1 Medium
Jumbled Paragraphs 2 Medium
Critical Reasoning 3 Medium to Difficult
Passage 1 3 2 Easy, 1 Medium
Passage 2 2 Difficult
Passage 3 2 Difficult
Passage 4 3 Medium to Difficult
Passage 5 2 Medium
Passage 6 2 Difficult
Passage 7 3 Medium to Difficult

XAT 2021 Decision Making Analysis

Given below are the major takeaways from XAT 2021 Decision Making - 

  • There were a total of 21 questions in the DM Section. Zero questions came from quant.
  • Most of the questions were short and understandable, whereas some questions were tricky and ambiguous. 
  • Most of the questions were Business Related in nature. 
  • The overall difficulty level of this section was found to be moderately difficult. 
  • Various reports suggest that the sectional cut off for this section would be around 8-9 marks.
  • Overall, questions were harder compaerd to previous year.
Question Topics No. of Questions Difficulty Level
Business Decision 3 Medium
Business Decision 3 Medium to Difficult
Business Decision 3 Medium to Difficult
Ethical Dilemma 3 Difficult
Ethical Dilemma 3 Difficult
Decision on Business 3 Medium to Difficult
Ethical Dilemma 3 Medium to Difficult

XAT 2021 Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation Analysis

  • There were around 28 questions from this section. 
  • This section was found to be the most difficult in the XAT 2021 paper. 
  • Most of the questions came from the Quant Section(22 questions), out of which 20 were standalone. 
  • The Data Interpretation section consisted of 6 questions. 
  • The DI section had 3 sets with 3 questions each.
  • The DI Section was very time consuming. 
  • Various sources suggest that the sectional cut off for this section would be around 10 to 12 marks. 
  • Here is the breakdown for the XAT 2021 QA/DI section: 
Question Topics Total
Arithmetic 5
Geometry 5
Modern Maths 3
Algebra 4
Numbers 1
Misc.(Logic) 1
Table 3
Venn Diagram 3
Scatter Plot 3
Total 9

XAT 2021 General Knowledge Analysis

  • There were a total of 25 questions to be attempted within 15 minutes. 
  • This section was moderate in difficulty. 
  • Most of the questions were based on Static General Knowledge questions. 
  • Static GK Questions were asked from the following topics - 
    • CEO/CM 
    • Olympics
    • National Parks
    • Mountains
    • Authors
    • History
Section No. of questions
Current Affairs 7
History 0
Economy & Business 4
Geography 5
Personality & Awards 2
Science & Tech 0
Polity 0
Books & Authors 1
Sports 2
Total 25
XAT Exam Analysis 2020

XAT 2020 Exam Analysis

Previous Year Question Papers are the best guide to prepare for XAT 2021 exam. The section-wise detailed paper analysis of the previous is given below. 

XAT 2020 Verbal and Logical Ability Analysis

Chapter Number of Questions Difficulty Level Ideal Attempt
Reading Comprehension 4 passage with 3 questions each Moderate to Difficult 7
CR 5 Moderate to Difficult 3
Poem Comprehension 2 Moderate -
Analogy 1 Difficult -
Antonym 1 Moderate 1
Para Jumble 2 Moderate 1-2
Fill in the Blanks 3 Difficult 1-2

Key Highlights of XAT 2020 Verbal and Logical Ability Analysis:

  • The section had overall 26 questions with difficulty level a notch up than 2019 session.
  • Reading comprehension were coving arts, psychology and social issues.
  • XLRI focusses quite a lot on Verbal and language comprehension skills of a candidate. Thus this section is of prime importance. 
  • There was 1 poem which was moderate-difficult. 2 para jumble questions were moderate.
  • Fill in the blanks questions were difficult CR questions were quite difficult.
  • An ideal attempt was considered covering 16 to 18 questions with 70% accuracy.

Must Read 

XAT 2020 Decision Making Analysis

Decision making section was similar to previous years. 21 Situation decision making questions were to be answered.

  • Level of difficulty fo situational questions was moderate.
  • There were no singlets thus it was easy to attempt decision making. 
  • No questions were asked from mathematical or analytical reasoning
  • Decision making section in 2020 was rather boring according to students.
  • Many students avoided sequence questions.
  • 16-17 attempts is considered good for clearing the sectional cutoff.

XAT 2020 Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation Analysis

Chapter Number of Questions Difficulty Level
Arithmetic 4 Easy
Algebra 7 Moderate
Coordinate Geometry 4 Moderate
Geometry 4 Difficult
Data Sufficiency 2 Moderate
DI-Time Zone 3 Difficult
DI-Mixed Graphs 3 Moderate

Key Highlights of XAT 2020 Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation Analysis:

  • In comparison to XAT 2019 quants was comparatively difficult to attempt in 2020.
  • There were a total of 27 questions out of which 21 questions were prominently covered by Algebra and Geometry section.
  • DI questions consisted of tables, graphs, and sets.
  • One question was found to be incorrect and candidates were allotted buffer marks for that section.
  • An ideal attempt considered was 2-3 DI questions and 13-15 questions on quants. 

XAT 2020 General Knowledge Analysis

Aspect Number of Questions Level of Difficulty
History 1 Moderate
Geography 4 Moderate
Economy 7 Easy
Current Affairs 2 Easy
Personality and Awards 3 Moderate
Science and Technology 2 Moderate
Polity 2 Easy
Miscellaneous 2 Difficult
Sports 2 Moderate

Key Highlights of XAT Decision Making Paper Analysis:

  • General knowledge nerve lies in good time management as candidates have to attempt a total of 25 questions in 15 minutes.
  • Questions are asked from current affairs and static general knowledge.
  • At times there are multiple correct options for one question. Level of difficulty was not more or less compared to 2019.
  • Attempting 12-14 questions with accuracy is considered good attempt. 

Must Read:

XAT Exam Analysis 2019

Section Max. Questions Good Attempts Difficulty Level
Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning 26 16 – 18 Difficult
Decision Making 21 16 – 17 Moderate
Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation 27 17 – 18 Moderate
General Awareness 25 12 – 14 Moderate

XAT Exam Analysis 2019: Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning

A brief about XAT Previous year paper for 2019 for the Verbal & Reasoning section is that the section had a total of 26 questions. 

  • This section was tougher than the last year, mainly because of questions from the Verbal section.
  • The section was dominated by Reading Comprehensions, having real time-consuming questions.
  • RC passages consisted of questions from art, psychology, and social problems.
  • Other questions were from topics like critical reasoning, poem comprehension, analogy, antonym, para-jumbles, fill in the blanks, etc. 
  • A well-prepared student could have attempted 16 – 18 questions with 65% accuracy.

Topic-wise distribution of the XAT VA & LR section for the 2019 exam:

XAT Exam Analysis 2019: Decision Marking & Analytical Reasoning

Previous Year analysis for XAT Decision Making tests helps you to get an idea that how prepared you are for a management level course.

  • The difficulty level of this section was again similar to last year. Decision Making questions dominated the section with 18 questions.
  • There were no questions from Mathematical/ Analytical Reasoning.
  • There were 3 questions that were similar to those that were there in the previous year’s papers. 
  • All questions were of moderate level.

Click Here to Give XAT Mock Test for Free

Topic No. of Ques. Good Attempts Difficulty
Situational Decision Making 21 16 -17 Moderate

XAT Exam Analysis 2019: Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation

The section was slightly tougher than last year’s.

  • A few questions were tricky and few of them were a little ambiguous.
  • Questions were mainly asked from Arithmetic, Algebra, Coordinate geometry, Trignometry, DI Time zone, etc. 
  • A good attempt would be 17-18 with an accuracy of 70%.
  • An ideal time to attempt this section would be about 65 – 70 minutes.
  • Questions were a mix of easy, moderate, and difficult questions.

The chart gives the topic-wise distribution of XAT Quantitative Ability & XAT Data Interpretation section for 2019:

Previous Years Exam Analysis XAT General Awareness 2019

Most of the questions were a single statement based. Some of the questions had more than one seemingly correct statement. The questions were mainly asked from sub-topics like Economy & Business, History, Geography, Sports, polity, etc. If you keep yourself updated with all these topics then you can easily score well in this section. There were 25 questions in total.

The chart below gives a fair idea about the Topic-wise distribution of the General Awareness section for the XAT 2019 exam.

XAT Exam Analysis 2018

XAT Exam Analysis 2018

Considering XAT 2018 was held in online mode, it was marred by a number of connectivity issues. Thus, in an official statement by XLRI, the exam was rescheduled for two of its exam centers (Kolkata & Gurgaon). The exam was of moderate difficulty level. XAT Previous Year topic wise analysis for 2018 is given below:

Section-wise XAT Analysis 2018

  • Quantitative Ability: This section had 27 questions of easy level.
  • Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning: This section had 26 questions of a moderate level.
  • Decision Making: This section had 22 questions that were tricky and time-consuming.
  • General Knowledge: This section had 25. About 50% were from current affairs.

XAT Cutoff for Different XLRI Programs

Program Offered Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning Decision Making Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation Overall (Percentage/ Marks)
Business Management 79.46% 76.84% 88.7% 96%
Human Resource Management 79.67% 71.628% 70.07% 92.55%
Global Management Programme 5 marks and above 5 marks and above 6 marks above 22 marks and above

Read: Top XAT Online Coaching Centres

XAT Previous Year Exam Analysis (2018/2017/2016)

Year 2018 2017 2016
Total Questions 100 98 104
Duration 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours
Mode of Exam Online Offline Offline
Type of Questions MCQs + Descriptive MCQs + Descriptive MCQs + Descriptive
Answer Options 5 5 5
Level of Difficulty Moderate to High Moderate to High High
Total Sections 3+2 3+2 3+2
Distribution of Questions

VALR - 26

DM - 22

NA & DI - 27

GK - 25

VALR - 24

DM - 21

NA & DI - 27

GK - 25

VALR - 26

DM - 23

NA & DI - 29

GK - 25

Special Case 0.05 marks per question if more than 8 questions were un-attempted 0.05 marks per question if more than 12 questions were un-attempted 0.05 marks per question if more than 13 questions were un-attempted
See XAT 2020 Answer Key
XAT Exam Analysis 2017

XAT Exam Analysis 2017

XAT 2017 Exam took place in the single slot on January 08, 2017 across multiple centres. The Paper was divided into 4 sections - Verbal & Logical Ability, Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning, Data Interpretation & Quantitative Ability, and General Knowledge. The level of difficulty of the XAT Paper ranged from moderate to high. The exam was held in offline mode.

While the overall difficulty level of the exam was moderate. Questions in quantitative ability were comparably hard and the verbal ability section was slightly easier than the previous years. XAT Previous Year topic wise analysis is given below:

Section-wise XAT 2017 Analysis

Sections Questions Difficulty Level
Verbal & Logical Ability


Low to Moderate
Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning 22 Moderate to High
Data Interpretation & Quantitative Ability 27 High
GK 25 Moderate

Verbal & Logical Ability: Multiple questions could have been easily attempted as RC passages were not very difficult. Para jumbles, however, were time consuming. Critical reasoning was moderately difficult.

Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning: Unlike previous year, there were no long passages on DM. Question on cricket, snake, and ladder were confusing.

Data Interpretation & Quantitative Ability: DI sets were quite tricky and geometry was also not easy. Few questions were ambiguous.

GK: Most questions this year were single statement based. Maximum questions were from economics, geography, science, technology.

XAT Exam Analysis 2016


Conducting Body IIMs Symbiosis International Deemed University XLRI
Exam Mode Computer-Based Test Computer-Based Test Computer-Based Test
Frequency of Exam Once a Year Once a Year Once a Year
Duration 3 Hours (180 Minutes) 1 Hour (60 Minutes) 3 Hours (180 Minutes)
Number of Sections 03 03 04
Sectional Time Limit Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) – 60 Minutes Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning – 60 Minutes Quantitative Ability – 60 Minutes No sectional Time Part 1 - 165 mins Part 2- 15 mins
Types of Question Format 72-75 questions are MCQs, rest Non-MCQs. 60 MCQs 100 MCQs
Option to Choose Order of Sections Candidates are not allowed to switch between sections Candidate can answer questions in any section Candidates can switch sections in part 1.
Total Marks 300 60 100
Negative Marking for Incorrect Answer -33% -25%  -25%
Difficulty Level Moderate to Difficult Easy to Moderate Moderate to Difficult
Top MBA Colleges Accepting Exam Score 20 IIMs, FMS, MDI, SPJIMR, IMI, IMT, IITs, TAPMI, XIMB and hundreds of other B-schools – Other Institutes SIBM Pune, SCMHRD Pune, SIIB Pune, SIBM Bangalore & all other Symbiosis institutes – Check more XLRI Jamshedpur, XIM Bhubaneswar, IMT Ghaziabad, MICA Ahmedabad, Great Lakes, TAPMI Manipal, GIM Goa, K J Somaiya Institute of Management Mumbai, FORE New Delhi
Exam date November 29, 2020 December 20, 2020 | January 6 & 9, 2021 January 3, 2021
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XAT Exam Analysis FAQs

XAT Paper Analysis FAQs

Ques. Can you name a few B-schools that accept XAT scores?

Ans. This is the list of top B-schools that accept XAT score:
XLRI Jamshedpur, XIM Bhubaneswar, XIM Bhubaneswar, MICA Ahmedabad, Great Lakes, TAPMI Manipal, GIM Goa, K J Somaiya Institute of Management Mumbai, FORE New Delhi, IRMA Anand. 

Ques. What is the difference between BM and HRM offered by XLRI? 

Ans. Business Management (BM) is similar to MBA offered by IIMs that focus on skill future business managers in key areas such as Economics, Finance, Information Systems, Marketing, Production, Operations and Decision Sciences and Strategic Management.
Human Resource Management (HRM) solely focuses on Human Resource studies that includes Human Resource Planning, Human Resource Information Systems, Selection, Performance Management, Training and Development, Compensation Administration and developing harmonious Employer-Employee relations.. 

Ques. What are the topics in Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation of XAT?

Ans. The topics under Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation are Arithmetic, Algebra, Coordinate Geometry, Data sufficiency, DI- Time Zone, DI- mixed graphs 

Ques. Does XLRI follow policy of reservation of seats?

Ans. No, XLRI follows no reservation policy of seats

XAT 2021 : 3 answered questions


Ques. Which are some good GK apps for IIFT, XAT, SNAP?

● Top Answer By Aditi Arun on 02 Feb 21

Ans. Here are some apps which will help you prepare GK for IIFT, XAT, SNAP, exams. Knappily It is one of the best news apps, basically, a knowledge app that updates you with all the important events happening around the world.  It covers sections from Politics, Tech, Sports, Entertainment, Business, Law, Environment, Literature, etc.  It also has its desktop version.  Knappily in 2 minutes give in-depth information on What, Why, When, Who, and How. Inshorts Inshorts is one of the best news apps you will come across. In 30 seconds it covers all the major events happening around the world.  As it summarizes in only 60 words, it will be a helpful app if time is running low for exam preparation.  You can also select relevant issues of your interest on the app, as there are 100% of news flooded on the app. Also, avoid unnecessary use of different applications at once. This will only confuse and distract you. It is better that you use only two of the best news apps for preparation.Read more
1 Answer

Ques. Who can rate CAT, XAT, SNAP, IIFT, MICAT, TISS, or NMAT in terms of difficulty level?

● Top Answer By Janvi Bhambri on 01 Feb 21

Ans. Among all these examinations, XAT is most difficult, followed by CAT. The difficulty level of the exams, in descending order (most difficult to easy) is XAT> CAT> IIFT> SNAP> TISS> NMAT. Now, let us dive into a detailed analysis behind the assigned ranks and the difficulty level. IIFT-  The questions asked in IIFT are a mixture of moderate and difficult.  The struggle lies in the attainment of marks within the cut-off range, both total cut-off and individual section cut-off.  Therefore, the students have no option but to perform exceedingly well in all sections, GK included.  The acceptance rate of IIFT is comparably low, only 400 students get admitted out of 50000 students. SNAP –  The entrance exam is easy but the tough part is to score marks that will be eligible for admission into Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, or SCHMID branch.  These are the branches which are of good quality, unlike the rest of them. TISS-  The exam pattern of TISS is easy but the GK section is the most dangerous part among them.  The questions asked in the GK section comprise both general knowledge and current affairs, therefore the portions are cover is endless. NMAT-  NMAT exam can be successfully cleared with proper preparation. The questions asked are conceptually based.  No negative marks are given for wrong answers, hence the students are free to attempt all the questions fearlessly.  MICAT is pretty easy. If you want a career in brand marketing and advertising it is necessary.  Therefore, from the above discussion, you can estimate the logic behind ranking the difficulty level of exams.Read more
1 Answer

Ques. What is the order of difficulty mode of entrances exam among these CAT, MAT, XAT, CMAT, ATMA and other exams conducted by deemed universities?

● Top Answer By Sahil Sachdeva on 18 Jan 21

Ans. The order of difficulty is definitely related to various factors but the prominent ones are candidates appearing & its composition. Keeping these in mind; the list is as follows: Common Aptitude Test(CAT) The exam is conducted by IIMs and accepted by most of the management institutes across the country.  The test duration is around 3 hours and comprises 100 questions.  A nice level of preparation is required to crack it as colleges look up to candidates holding more than 90 percentile. Xavier’s Aptitude Test (XAT) This examination is organised by Xavier Institute Of Management situated in Jamshedpur.  It also qualifies as a prominent score for management courses across various colleges.  The paper has sections similar to CAT but reasoning and general knowledge are the cracking points in the paper. Common Management Aptitude Test (CMAT) It is conducted by All India Council Of Technical Education(AICTE) having a moderate level of difficulty.  It takes general knowledge scores into consideration.  It is a 3 hour exam with 100 questions. Management Aptitude Test (MAT) This examination is conducted 4 times a year in February, May, September and December by All India Management Association (AIMA).  It is the easiest of all management exams and is accepted by 55-60% colleges across the country.  It is a 2.5 hour paper including 200 questions.  The percentile awarded is not inclusive of general knowledge score. The details regarding exams can be summed up in the table as follows: PAPER Number of questions Time duration (hours) Number of times paper conducted CAT 100 3 Once in a year (29 November 2020) XAT 100; 2 parts 3 Once in a year ( 3 January 2021) CMAT 100 3 Once in a year ( January 2021 ; registration open) MAT 200 2.5 4 times a year (February, May, September and December) The other prominent exams that are institute specific are : NMAT- Narsee Monjee Institute Of Management Studies -Management Aptitude Test SNAP- Symbiosis College – Symbiosis National Aptitude Test IIFT- Indian Institute Of Foreign Trade The aforesaid examinations are followed by GD/PI with a comprehensive evaluation of the entire academic cycle of candidate. Mere qualification of percentile is not a sure shot entry to top institutes.Read more
1 Answer

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College.


How many marks are deducted for each wrong answer?
abdul nazir

Hi Taniksha, There will be negative marking of 0.25 for every wrong answer and beyond 8 unanswered questions, 0.05 marks will be deducted for every unanswered questions. For GK section, there will be no negative marking. To know more details visit XAT exam pattern 2021.

rohan bharti
Will the counselling take place online or offline?
abdul nazir

Hi Rohan, XAT counselling can be done only in online mode at the official website.The counselling process includes Group Discussion and personal interview. Those who qualify the cut off are only eligible for counselling process. To know more details visit XAT 2021 counselling.

mohammed najamuddin
After total 3 backlogs in graduation, can I still give the exam?
abdul nazir

Hi Mohammed, No you need to complete your graduation to be eligible to apply for the test. Unlike other MBA tests, there is no minimum or maximum age limit or any kind of minimum aggregate requirement applicable. To take admission, all backlogs must be cleared. To get more details visit XAT eligibility.

yash raj singh
Can I give the exam if I have done diploma?
common admission test

Hii Yash Raj, Greetings from collegedunia. No, You can't appear for XAT exam with diploma as it's mandatory to have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a recognized institution to appear for XAT. For more details Click Here

What should I do if I want to make corrections in my form?

Hi Taniksha

Candidate cannot make any changes in the application form once submit so make sure that while filling the form you don’t do any mistakes or you won’t be able to correct it. Visit on our official website of XAT Registration for more details.

utkarsha khatri
Where can I get mock test paper series?

Hi Utkarsha

Visit on our official website of XAT Mock Test to find all the details about how you can solve your Mock Test paper. The Mock Test will be available on the XAT Official website.

rohan bharti
When will the result of 2021 be released?
rakhisree chatterjee

Hi, XLRI Jamshedpur will release XAT 2021 result in online mode on the official website i.e. xlri.ac.in in the third week of January. The exact date of result declaration has not been announced yet. For more information, please refer, XAT Exam.

fauzia shahid
Which section was the toughest?
arvind kumar

Hi Fauzia, Greetings from Collegedunia. XAT exam is a management aptitude test. Quantiattive section is generally considered tough. For more details visit: XAT EXAM