Detailed XAT 2020 Paper Analysis, Section Wise analysis of Last 6 Years

    XAT 2020 was conducted online (CBT) January 5 in a single session. Students claimed there were some difficult Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning questions and some tricky Decision Making questions. Overall the difficulty level of XAT 2020 was moderate to difficult.

    Key takeaways from XAT paper analysis 2020:

    • The exam includes multiple-choice question types with 5 choices.
    • The paper is divided into 2 parts which is further divided into 4 sections
    • Sections are Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning (VA/LA), Decision Making (DM), Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation (QA/DI), and General Knowledge (GK).
    • You are allowed to submit test papers after 30 minutes of the test commencement time.
    • No negative marking will be there for the GK section.
    • For not attempting 8 questions, if a question is unattempted 0.05 mark will be deducted. Check XAT Exam Pattern

    Table of Contents

    2020 Paper Analysis

    2019 Paper Analysis

    2018 Paper Analysis

    2017 Paper Analysis

    2016 Paper Analysis

    2015 Paper Analysis

    Important highlights of XAT exam:

    • Total number of questions increased from 99 to 100 with no essay writing section included.
    • Numerical Answer Type (NAT) were introduced carrying no negative marking. 
    • With the introduction of changes XAT Cutoff were also seen for HRM and BM programmes.
    • Decision making section was reported by candidates to be tricky with moderate to difficult Quants section.
    • Reading Comprehension was of moderate difficulty level.
    • Visually impaired candidates were given 25 minutes extra for part A
    • Timings of test changed from 9.30am – 12.30 pm to 10am – 1pm.
    • No Negative Marking Questions in XAT 2020: Acting as a level playing field, NAT questions were proposed by XLRI in which candidates had to use virtual numeric keypad. Fractional number in decimal notation could be entered answer.

    XAT 2020 Paper Analysis

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

    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 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 ws considered covering 16 to 18 questions with 70% accuracy.

    ChapterNumber of QuestionsDifficulty LevelIdeal Attempt
    Reading Comprehension4 passage with 3 questions eachModerate to Difficult7
    CR5Moderate to Difficult3
    Poem Comprehension2Moderate-
    Para Jumble2Moderate1-2
    Fill in the Blanks3Difficult1-2

    Must Read 

    XAT 2020 Decision Making Analysis

    Decision making section was similar to previous years. 21 Situation decison making questions were put up,

    • 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 attemps is considered good for clearing the sectional cutoff.

    XAT 2020 Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation Analysis

    In comparison to XAT 2019 quants was comparitively difficult to attempt in 2020. There were a total of 27 questions out of which 21 questions were prominentkly covered by Algebra and Geometry section. DI questions consisted of tables, graphs, and sets.

    One question was found to be incorrect and candidates werealloted buffer marks for that section. An ideal attemp considered was 2-3 DI questions and 13-15 questions on quants. 

    ChapterNumber of QuestionsDifficulty Level
    Co ordinate Geometry4Moderate
    Data Sufficiency2Moderate
    DI-Time Zone3Difficult
    DI-Mixed Graphs3Moderate

    XAT 2020 General Knowledge 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 optuons for one question. Level of difficulty was not more or less compared to 2019. Attempting 12-14 questions with accuracy is considered good attempt. 

    AspectNumber of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
    Current Affairs2Easy
    Personality and Awards3Moderate
    Science and Technology2Moderate

    XAT 2019 Paper Analysis

    Must Read:

    XAT 2019 Paper Analysis

    SectionMax. QuestionsGood AttemptsDifficulty Level
    Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning2616 – 18Difficult
    Decision Making2116 – 17Moderate
    Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation2717 – 18Moderate
    General Awareness2512 – 14Moderate

    XAT Paper 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 2020: Paper Analysis

    XAT Previous Year Paper 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.
    TopicNo. of Ques.Good AttemptsDifficulty
    Situational Decision Making2116 -17Moderate

    XAT Paper 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:

    XAT 2020 Paper Analysis

    Previous Years Paper 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 2019 Exam analysis: GK

    XAT 2018 Paper Analysis

    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

    The below tables describes the XAT Cutoff required for different programs of XLRI:

    Program OfferedVerbal Ability and Logical ReasoningDecision MakingQuantitative Ability and Data InterpretationOverall (Percentage/ Marks)
    Business Management79.46%76.84%88.7%96%
    Human Resource Management79.67%71.628%70.07%92.55%
    Global Management Programme5 marks and above5 marks and above6 marks above22 marks and above

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

    A detailed XAT Previous Year analysis is tabulated below for XAT exam from the past three years. From 2018 onwards the exam is being conducted in an online mode. 

    Total Questions10098104
    Duration3 hours3 hours3 hours
    Mode of ExamOnlineOfflineOffline
    Type of QuestionsMCQs + DescriptiveMCQs + DescriptiveMCQs + Descriptive
    Answer Options555
    Level of DifficultyModerate to HighModerate to HighHigh
    Total Sections3+23+23+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 Case0.05 marks per question if more than 8 questions were un-attempted0.05 marks per question if more than 12 questions were un-attempted0.05 marks per question if more than 13 questions were un-attempted

    XAT 2017 Paper Analysis

    XAT 2017 Exam took place in the single slot on January 08, 2017 across multiple centers. 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

    SectionsQuestionsDifficulty Level
    Verbal & Logical Ability


    Low to Moderate
    Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning22Moderate to High
    Data Interpretation & Quantitative Ability27High

    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 2016 Paper Analysis

    XAT previous year paper analysis reveals that XAT exam pattern is more or less similar from the past years. In 2015, there was a total of 78 questions asked in Section I and 25 questions in Section II.

    Candidates are advised to stay updated with the basic sciences and current events to score well in the General Awareness section of XAT 2017 Exam. However, Marks scored in General Awareness is not included in percentile calculation at the first stage. XAT previous year analysis for 2016 is given below.

    XAT 2016 Verbal & Logical Ability Analysis

    The Verbal Ability Section was comparably tougher than the other sections.

    • There was plenty of variety in the types of questions was observed in this section.
    • Prior to XAT 2016, no question on grammar was asked in this section.
    • The reading comprehension section was based on Communication, Economic theory, Objectivism, and approximation philosophy.
    • Candidates are advised to pay extra attention to questions based on reading comprehension.
    • Comprehensions on the philosophy of approximation and Communication was asked with a maximum number of questions from them.
    • Candidates are suggested to practice and focus on these types of questions a bit more.
    • XAT Previous year analysis for 2015 shows that Reading Comprehension dominates the Verbal Section. 
    TopicNumber of QuestionsDifficulty
    Reading comprehension14Difficult

    XAT 2016 Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning Analysis

    The decision making section had a similar difficulty level as previous year papers. The only difference was that the passage given for reading and interpretation was smaller in size. This gave the students a chance to score higher marks. Detailed analysis of Questions in Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning is provided below.

    TopicTotal Questions in XAT 2016Difficulty level in XAT 2016
    Mathematical + Analytical reasoning53-Easy 2-Difficult

    XAT 2016 Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation Analysis

    This section experienced a maximum number of correct attempts than any other section. XAT Quantitative Ability of 2016 was easier as compared to previous year exams. The questions were mainly asked from Algebra, Geometry and Number systems. The cutoff of this section went high because of maximum correct attempts from the section.

    XAT 2016 Paper had 2 sets of DI questions, the total number of questions were 7. An applicant could easily attempt 2-4 DI questions in 20-25 minutes.

    The XAT Quantitative Ability and XAT Data Interpretation of 2016 section breakup are mentioned below. Candidates are advised to check the section breakup to understand the subject areas from where the questions were asked. XAT Previous Year topic wise analysis is given below:

    TopicQuestions in XAT 2016Difficulty level
    P & L2Easy-Moderate
    TSD, Work2Easy-Moderate
    Number System2Easy-Moderate
    Geometry, Mensuration8Moderate-Difficult
    Set Theory1Moderate
    DI- Table based3Difficult

    XAT 2016 Part B: General Awareness Analysis

    XAT 2016 GA Section had questions mainly from Economy, Geography, Science, and Technology. The knowledge of current affairs was tested mainly through Business economics. Most of the questions were statement based. Questions with more than one correct answers were also asked. The overall difficulty level can be stated as “moderate-difficult”. An attempt of 10-11 questions was considered good.

    XAT 2015 Paper Analysis

    The XAT 2015 exam had 3 sections in part I of the exam. Part II of the XAT 2015 exam had 2 sections. The part I was MCQ based exam. The candidate had to choose an answer from the five options given for each question. The total time duration for the part I was 140 minutes. The time duration for part II of the exam was 40 minutes.

    Section Name XAT 2015No. of Questions XAT 2015Optimal time per section XATDifficulty levelGood attempts
    Part 1Verbal Ability2830Moderate-difficult14
    Quantitative Ability3365Moderate- difficult14
    Decision making2345Moderate-difficult14
    Part 2General Awareness3040Easy-Moderate15

    XAT 2015  Verbal and Logical ability Analysis

    The logical ability section was relatively tough in XAT 2015 exam.

    • In XAT 2015 there was no Grammar question.
    • The pattern was similar to the previous year exam for this section.
    • The section had 5 Reading comprehension passages.
    • So there was a total of 17 questions in the Reading Comprehension section.
    • Also, 1 question from Vocabulary based cloze test, 1 question from sentence completion and 2 questions from Vocabulary.
    • There were 2 questions each from Para- Jumbles and Para- Completion.
    • The 2 questions out of 3 questions of Critical Reasoning were difficult.
    • The 10 questions in the section were easy and could be attempted with almost 80% accuracy.

    XAT 2015 Decision Making and Analytical Ability Analysis

    The questions from decision making were quite difficult and complex to solve. Though the level of questions was relatively simpler than the previous year, candidates found it tough to solve the Decision-making problems.

    • Analytical Ability section was designed to test the candidates’ rational thinking and to judge them on their ability to solve problems over such a topic.

    XAT 2015 Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation Analysis

    Quantitative Ability section in XAT paper demands the candidates to solve the problems efficiently and quickly. There were 25 questions in this section in XAT 2015.

    • The questions from Arithmetic were easy and that from Geometry and Algebra were difficult.
    • Problems on directions were also difficult to work with.
    • A candidate on an average could attempt 9-11 questions.
    • The time of 35-40 minutes was assumed sufficient.
    • The DI section had 2 sets in which there were 4 questions each.
    • The graphical question was easy while the table based question required intensive calculation.
    • In the time duration of 20-25 minutes, 3-5 DI questions could be done easily.

    XAT 2015 Part B General Knowledge Analysis

    The GK section of XAT 2015 was difficult as compared to XAT 2014.

    • There were 30 questions in the section consisting of two questions from History and 6 from Geography.
    • There were 6 questions on Economy which were difficult.
    • There were 7 questions based on Current Affairs and 4 questions on Sports.
    • Five questions with moderate difficulty level were asked.
    • An attempt of 12-14 questions could get an applicant a score of 8-10 questions.

    XAT 2014 Paper Analysis

    There were 103 questions in total and candidates were given 160 minutes to solve the paper. An additional 20 minutes were given for essay writing.

    • Verbal Ability and Logical Ability had 28 questions. A thorough study of the passages was the only way to crack this section.
    • Quantitative Ability and data interpretation had 31 questions. Quant section required time management and was difficult compared to previous years.
    • Decision making had 24 questions. DM was tricky and lengthy.
    • General Awareness had 30 questions (wouldn’t count for percentile calculation). Question from topics such as economics, business, finance dominated this section.

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


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    What is the exam pattern of XAT 2021?

    13 Oct, 2020 16:49


    XAT 2021: XAT exam pattern 2021

    14 Oct, 2020 17:07

    Which section is the toughest in the XAT exam?

    15 Sep, 2020 10:14

    Hello Harssam, greetings from Collegedunia. Click here, for details about the syllabus for XAT so that you can determine for yourself which sections you might find tough.

    29 Sep, 2020 01:02

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