How to Prepare for XAT 2021 Verbal Ability: Syllabus, Pattern, Solved Questions, Cutoff, Preparation Tips

    XAT 2021 Verbal Ability is one of the 4 sections that require equal preparation as other sections. VARC (Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension) is an important section of XAT 2021 that tests a candidate’s command over the English Language.

    Despite being a single section, XAT Verbal Ability and XAT Reading Comprehension require separate preparation. Over the past few years, questions from XAT VA has mostly consisted of moderate to difficult questions with few easy ones. Check XAT Previous Year Paper Analysis

    Some major updates of XAT paper that includes VARC section over the years:

    • Since 2018, the XAT exam has been conducted in online mode. 

    • In 2020 the number of questions increased from 99 to 100 and few questions did not have negative marking. 

    • Number of unanswered questions resulting in deduction of 0.5 marks went down from 12 to 8. 

    • Essay writing questions have stopped coming altogether in the VA section.

    Table of Content

    This 3 hour long exam is divided into 4 sections; Verbal and Logical Ability, Decision Making, Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation, and General Knowledge. You can check XAT Cutoff of previous years to get an idea of sectional cutoff marks. 

    There is only one paper for XAT. Before discussing the verbal ability section, let us look into the section wise weightage of the paper:

    • Verbal and Logical Ability will have a maximum of 26 questions.

    • Decision Making will have a maximum of 21 questions. 

    • Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation will have a maximum of 27 questions.

    • General Knowledge will have a maximum of 25 questions. 

    XAT 2021 Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension Difficulty

    Year Decision Making Section DifficultyNumber of Questions
    2020Mix of easy, moderate, and difficult26
    2019Moderate to difficult24
    2018Moderate to difficult26
    2017Mix of easy, moderate, and difficult24
    2016Moderate to difficult28

    XAT Decision Making Exam Pattern

    XAT 2021 Verbal Ability Key Highlights

    Here are the major highlights of the XAT VA section:

    • The Verbal Ability section is further divided into 2 parts; reading comprehension and english usage. 

    • Reading comprehension is a rather difficult topic and the level of difficulty seems to be increasing every year. 

    • A good attempt in this section would be around 7 - 8 questions out of 12 for the non reading comprehension part. 

    • Over the last few years, the number of questions have been 24 - 28. Variations in pattern can be expected each year as XAT does not adhere to a strict pattern. 

    • For most institutions which accept XAT scores, the cut off for Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning is 80 percentile.

    • Check:XAT 2020 Paper Analysis

    XAT Verbal Ability Syllabus

    XAT 2021 Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension Syllabus

    Verbal Ability covers questions from the english vocabulary while in reading comprehension one has to answer questions from an entire paragraph. 

    XAT does not publish any official syllabus, so looking at the questions papers of previous years gives a good estimate on which topics must be covered or what can be expected. Also see: 

    XAT English Usage syllabus

    XAT Verbal Ability is similar to that of the VA section in CAT. candidates can expect questions from the following areas:

    • Antonyms

    • Synonyms

    • Completion of paragraph

    • Correct Use of Words

    • Error correction

    • Contextual meaning of words

    • Fill in the Blanks

    • Jumbled Paragraphs

    • Sentence Completion/Correction

    • Vocabulary

    XAT Reading Comprehension Syllabus:

    A significant section which cannot be ignored, reading comprehension in XAT is similar to that of the VARC section of CAT. passages are smaller but the difficulty level is high. 

    Types of passages include information based, author’s observation, inference based, central idea focused, right or wrong statements, and explanation of words or phrases. Candidates can expect the following questions from XAT reading comprehension section: 

    • Culture

    • Economic Issues

    • Fiction

    • Psychology 

    • History

    • Literature

    • Science

    • Social Issues

    • Technology

    • History

    • Philosophy

    • Narration of Incidents or Things

    Also Read:XAT Syllabus 2021 (Updated): Important Topics and Preparation tips

    XAT Verbal Ability Books

    XAT 2021 Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension Best Books

    Getting the right resources for preparation is almost as important as the preparation part itself. This is applicable especially for students who are preparing for XAT without tuition/coaching classes or any other type of assistance. 

    • It is suggested to students to choose books as per the section instead of one book that covers everything. 

    • While choosing books, candidates must choose the latest version only especially for competitive exams such as XAT. 

    • Always go for authors who are popular in this arena and have been trusted by most students over the years. 

    • Do check the reviews to know the common opinion and get honest feedback on the same. 

    Suggested books for XAT 2021 VARC preparation with author and ISBN has been tabulated below:

    Book Name Author Name ISBN
    Verbal Ability and Reading ComprehensionAjay Singh9788183484749
    A Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal ReasoningR.S. Aggarwal978-9352832163
    A New Approach to Reasoning Verbal & Non-Verbal (Arihant)BS Sijwali978-9351765103
    How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading ComprehensionArun Sharma978-9389811414
    Word Power Made Easy Norman Lewis978-8183071000
    High School English Grammar & CompositionWren & Martin978-9352530144

    XAT VARC Pattern

    XAT 2021 Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension Pattern

    It is vital for XAT aspirants to familiarize themselves with the pattern of this exam to get a better idea of what to expect and prepare accordingly. Though XAT does not follow any particular pattern when the number of questions from a subtopic is concerned. The marking pattern for XAT VARC has undergone few major changes over the years.

    • XAT is an online exam; Computer Based Test.

    • Total time of XAT paper is 3 hours, and 165 minutes is given for the first 3 sections.

    • One mark will be awarded for correct responses.

    • Candidates must answer a total of 100 questions. 

    • For incorrect responses, 0.25 or ¼ marks will be deducted.

    • 0.5 marks will be deducted per question after 8 unanswered questions. 

    • Reading comprehension has been an important part of Verbal Ability carrying the maximum marks. 

    • Relation of 2 statements to each other holds almost no importance as questions from this topic have stopped coming. 

    Distribution of question from Verbal Ability in the last 6 years (2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015) has been tabulated below:

    Topics 202020192018201720162015
    Grammar 354544
    Para Completion 222222
    Para Jumbles212---
    Poem 22221-
    Critical Reasoning555331
    Relation of 2 statements to each other11----
    Reading Comprehension121213121418
    Total 262626242628

    XAT VA Sample Questions

    XAT 2021 Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Cutoff

    Every year, XLRI releases cutoff for individual sections in XAT after result announcement. It is nothing but the minimum marks a candidate must score to qualify for XAT counselling.

    • XAT cutoff is different for engineering and non engineering students.
    • Cutoff for HRM, BM, and GM program is not the same.
    • For male and female students also, cutoff is not same.
    • XAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension cutoff range has been between 72 – 80 over the years (BM).

    XAT VARC Cutoff for Business Management

    Key takeaways from XAT VARC cutoff for Business Management:

    • XAT Cutoff for male candidates in Business Management has remained between the range 74 – 80.
    • It is not expected to exceed 80 for 2021 session but no guarantee can be made.
    • XAT Cutoff for female candidates for Business Management is not expected to exceed 75.
    • XAT cutoff for XIMB Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning is 90.

    XAT VARC Cutoff for Human Resource Management

    • XAT VARC cutoff for male candidates in HRM is likely to cross 85
    • XAT VARC cutoff for male candidates in HRM is likely to decrease below 79
    • XAT VARC cutoff for female candidates in HRM is likely to cross 80
    • XAT VARC cutoff for female candidates in HRM is likely to fall below 74.

    XAT 2021 Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension Solved Questions

    Going through sample questions will give you an idea of the type of problems that usually come in XAT papers. We have given a problem and solution from each Verbal Ability topic. This will help in better prepration for XAT 2021 preparation for VARC.

    XAT para completion sample question

    Ques. Anybody setting up a new business or factory has to comply with a plethora of statutory requirements. It is not argued here that regulations are bad, but the rules should not be unrealistically stringent as to make compliance impossible. It appears that the purpose of regulation is not to enforce responsible behavior among people and protect society but to provide an avenue for corrupt officials, who make easy money  _______________ .

    1. It Seems That Our Laws Serve As A Fertile Breeding Ground For Corruption.
    2. It Seems That Strict Laws Are Made Not To Be Observed, But To Be Paid Lip Service With The Connivance Of Corrupt Officials.
    3. It Seems That Indian Laws Are Typically Known For Their Complexity, Obtuseness, And Ambiguity.
    4. It Seems That The Statute Book Is Littered With Obsolete Laws Which Have Outlived Their Utility.

    Answer: (b) It Seems That Strict Laws Are Made Not To Be Observed, But To Be Paid Lip Service With The Connivance Of Corrupt Officials.

    XAT parajumble sample question

    1. They subjected the residues from sherds of the rhyta-vessels to radiocark determine their ages and chromatography - mass spectrometry (GC-MS) - structure and isotopic composition and found that the vessels were used to store cheese. 

    2. In many Neolithic sites near the Adriatic Sea, researchers unearthed cone-shaped clay vessels, known as rhyta, with four legs on the bottom and a round opening on the side. 

    3. Fresh milk couldn't be kept for long without going bad; cheese, on the other hand, could be stored for months at a time, providing much-needed calories to early farmers between harvests.

    4. Archaeologists who used to assume animals such as cows and goats were mainly used for meat early in their domestication history are thus forced to admit that humans might have been using animals for dairy quite early in their domestication history. 

    5. "If you kill one cow, you eat meat for about a week until it goes off; but by milking the animals, the farmer would be spreading the food gain from that animal over several months rather than just one week"

    Ques. Rank the statements in a logical order from the options:

    1. 2, 1, 5, 4, 3

    2. 4, 5, 2, 1, 3

    3. 4, 2, 1, 3, 5

    4. 2, 1, 3, 5, 4

    5. 4, 1, 3, 5, 5

    Solution - Option (d) 2, 1, 3, 5, 4

    Tips to solve parajumbles: 

    • Try to identify the tone and theme of the passage. You can do this by identifying the opening statement of that paragraph. 

    • Try to form chains and connected links in the paragraph. 

    • Avoid jumping to conclusions quickly or adopting a rigid approach.

    • Go through previous year papers to get an idea. 

    XAT fill in the blanks sample question:

    Ques. Carefully read the paragraph below:__________, medicine has been operated by trial and error, in other words,__________. We know by now that there can be entirely_________ connections between symptoms and treatment, and some medications succeed in medical trials formere random reasons. 

    From the options below, choose the one that MOST appropriately fills up the blanks.

    1. Formerly, randomly, accidental

    2. Periodically, logically, arbitrary

    3. Traditionally, analytically, casual

    4. Historically, arbitrarily, fortuitous

    5. Initially, statistically, unexpected

    Solution: (d) Historically, arbitrarily, fortuitous

    XAT Poem sample question

    Read the poem below and answer the 2 associated questions:

    Ques. Some say the world will end in fire, 

    Some say in ice.

    From what I’ve tasted of desire 

    I hold with those who favor fire. 

    But, if it had to perish twice, 

    I think I know enough of hate

    To know that for destruction ice 

    Is also great 

    And would suffice.

    Question: Which of the following statements will the poet agree with the MOST?

    1. Desire overpowers hatred to control humans.

    2. Greed can destroy one’s world.

    3. Ambition is more powerful than envy.

    4. Both desire and hate can create self-doubt.

    5. Hatred destroys what desire cannot.

    Solution: (b) Greed can destroy one’s world.

    Suggested Read:XAT 2021 Sample Papers/ Practice Papers, Previous Years' Question Papers

    XAT Reading Comprehension Question

    XAT Reading Comprehension Solved Question

    Problem: Some psychologists and sociologists believe that psychopathy can be an asset in business and politics and that, as a result psychopathic traits are overrepresented among successful people. This would be a puzzle if n were so. If our moral feelings evolved through natural selection, then it shouldn't be the case dial one would flourish without them. And, in fact, the successful psychopath is probably the exception. Psychopaths have certain deficits. Some of these are subtle. The psychologist Abigail Marsh and her colleagues find that psychopaths are markedly insensitive to the expression of fear. Normal people recognize fear and treat it as a distress cue, but psychopaths have problems seeing it, let alone responding to it appropriately. Other deficits run deeper. The overall lack of moral sentiments—and specifically, the lack of regard for others—might turn out to be the psychopath's downfall. We non-psychopaths are constantly assessing one another, looking for kindness and shame and the like, using this information to decide whom to trust, whom to affiliate with. The psychopath has to pretend to be one of us. But this is difficult. It's hard to force yourself to comply with moral rules just through a rational appreciation of what you are expected to do. If you feel like strangling the cat, it's a struggle to hold back just because you know that it is frowned upon. Without a normal allotment of shame and guilt, psychopaths succumb to bad impulses, doing terrible things out of malice, greed, and simple boredom. And sooner or later, they get caught. While psychopaths can be successful in the short term, they tend to fail in the long term and often end up in prison or worse. Let's take a closer look at what separates psychopaths from the rest of us. There are many symptoms of psychopathy, including pathological lying and lack of remorse or guilt, but the core deficit is indifference toward the suffering of other people. Psychopaths lack compassion. To understand how compassion works for all of us non psychopaths, it's important to distinguish it from empathy. Now, some contemporary researchers use the terms interchangeably, but there is a big difference between caring about a person (compassion) and putting yourself in the person's shoes (empathy).


    Q1) The core deficit of Psychopaths affects their long term success because 

    1. They cannot sustain the behaviour. 

    2. They are less likely to succeed as HR managers than as finance managers. 

    3. They cannot hide their lack of compassion for long. 

    4. Empathy is essential for long term success. 

    5. Natural selection enables moral feelings.

    Q2). Which of the following options is correct according to the author? 

    1. Compassion exists for a reason. 

    2. Empathy is a chance event.

    3. Empathy is the cause of moral choice. 

    4. Caring for others is psychopathy. 

    5. Long term success in business is a freak accident.

    Q3). A student approaches a tacuity pleasing to increase nis marKs because failure in one more subject will result in the student having to leave the program. The faculty said, "I am sorry. But I cannot change your grades as it would be unfair to others" In the given circumstance

    which are the following best describes the faculty? 

    1. The faculty is a psychopath. 

    2. The faculty was compassionate. 

    3. The faculty was both empathetic and compassionate but unfair 

    4. The faculty displayed empathy but not compassion. 

    5. The faculty displayed compassion but not empathy.


    Q1. Answer - (c) They cannot hide their lack of compassion for long. 

    Q2. Answer - (a) Compassion exists for a reason. 

    Q3. Answer - (d) The faculty displayed empathy but not compassion. 

    Tips to solve RC questions:

    • In order to solve lengthy or tricky RC questions, you can find the key words and summarize the paragraphs in a line to avoid reading again. 

    • For lengthy RCs, read questions first. If the answer looks too obvious, it might be a trap and is best avoided.

    • RC passages can be rather difficult and time consuming. Try to solve passages that have phrasal meaning, are fact based, or involve correlation questions. 

    XAT Antonyms and Synonyms Sample Question

    Read the words given below:

    1. Cacophonic

    2. Cacographic

    3. Calamitous

    4. Catastrophic

    5. Contraindicative

    6. Cataclysmic

    Question: which of the following words have similar meaning?

    A. d and f only

    B. a, b, e only

    C. b, e, f only

    D. c, d, f only

    E. c, d, e, f only

    Answer: Option d is the correct answer.

    XAT Must Read Articles:

    XAT VA Previous Years Analysis

    XAT Verbal Ability Previous Years Analysis

    XAT verbal ability paper analysis gives students an insight on the level of difficulty that can be expected for the next XAT exam. It is also helpful in coming up with a preparation strategy based on the types of questions. 

    XAT Verbal Ability 2020 analysis: 

    • There were 26 questions from VA and the difficulty level was a bit higher than 2019. 

    • The reading comprehension questions covered topics such as arts, social issues, and psychology. 

    • Poem and para jumbles were of moderate difficulty. MCQ based problems had 5 options for each. 

    • Answering 15-17 questions with at least 70% accuracy would be a good attempt. 

    XAT Verbal Ability 2019 analysis: 

    • In 2019 26 questions were asked from Verbal Ability. 

    • This section was harder compared to 2018. Apart from 12 reading comprehension questions, topics included poem, analogy, para jumbles, and fill in the blanks. 

    • Para jumbles were on the easier side but fill in blanks was rather hard. 

    • A good attempt would be 16 - 18 questions with at least 65% accuracy. 

    XAT Verbal Ability 2018 analysis: 

    • XAT was conducted online for the first time in 2018. 

    • Verbal Ability was tough but 2 para jumble questions however were easy. 

    • Reading comprehension came from topics like philosophy and logic which was hard for many students due to the vagueness of the reasoning in questions. 

    • Fill in the blanks questions were hard.

    • A good attempt would be 17 - 19 questions with an accuracy of about 70%. 

    XAT Verbal Ability 2017 analysis: 

    • Overall difficulty level of 2017 is similar to that of 2015. 

    • Reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and grammar were of moderate level while para jumble and analogy were difficult. 

    • This year the exam was held in offline mode. 

    • For every 12 unattempted questions, 0.5 marks were deducted. 

    XAT Verbal Ability 2016 analysis: 

    • Difficulty of the VA section in 2016 was overall harder compared to 2015. 

    • Eliminating incorrect answers required careful reading; critical reasoning and reading comprehension section was rather difficult. 

    • Vocabulary and para jumbles were comparatively easier. 

    XAT Verbal Ability 2015 analysis: 

    • This year there were 28 questions from Verbal Ability. 

    • Questions from english usage were comparatively tougher than 2014. 

    • Reading comprehension questions from science, economics, and management was however easier compared to previous year. 

    • A good attempt would be 15-16 questions with at least 75% accuracy.

    XAT 2021 Verbal Ability Tips for Preparation

    Overall difficulty level of XAT is higher than that of CAT. but with the right resources, preparation strategy, and tips, one can ace this exam with ease. We have listed the best suggestions that have proved to be helpful to XAT aspirants over the years. These tips include:

    • Start solving your paper with para jumbles, grammar and other non RC questions. Do not spend much time on questions which are completely new to you. 

    • It is crucial to form a reading habit to ace RC. If you do not like reading newspapers or magazines, go for articles online that interest you or books. While reading, try to understand what the author is conveying to the readers. 

    • Watching good english movies or TV series is a good way to improve your command over the language and also a break from studies that is actually beneficial. 

    • In order to form a good reading habit, start with materials which are easy and work your way up to the harder ones. 

    • Try to learn new words everyday. Whenever you come across a difficult word, look up the meaning and write it down in a notebook. It is a good practice to maintain a notebook for new words. 

    • Do not try to attempt all questions in reading comprehension as it would be very time consuming, leaving little time for other sections. If 12 questions come, a good attempt would be around 7 - questions. 

    • If you are from an engineering or technical background, focus more on Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. Similarly, if your knowledge of english is strong, focus on QA & DI.

    • Out of 165 minutes allocated for the first three sections of XAT, try to attempt VA questions in not more than 50 minutes. 

    • For vocabulary and parajumble one should ideally spend about 10 - 15 minutes. For the reading comprehension part, do not take more than 30 minutes. 

    More useful tips from XAT toppers: 

    XAT Topper Tips By Arya BalialXAT Topper Tips by Akash Senapati
    XAT Topper Tips By Isha ParasramkaXAT Topper Tips by Aditi Srivastava

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Question: How many questions will be asked from XAT verbal ability sections?

    Ans. Candidates can expect around 26 questions from the XAT verbal ability section.

    Question: What is the marking pattern of the XAT verbal ability section?

    Ans. Marking pattern for the XAT verbal ability section is 1 mark will be awarded for each correct answer and 0.25 marks will be deducted for incorrect responses. 

    Question: What is the best book to improve my vocabulary for XAT verbal ability?

    Ans. In order to score well in XAT Verbal ability, the book Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis is highly recommended. 

    Question: What are some good books for XAT verbal ability section?

    Ans. Some good books for XAT verbal ability are Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension by Ajay Singh, A Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning by R.S. Aggarwal, A New Approach to Reasoning Verbal & Non-Verbal (Arihant) by BS Sijwali, How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension by Arun Sharma, Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis, and High School English Grammar & Composition by Wren & Martin.

    Question: How much time should I take for XAT verbal ability?

    Ans. Out of 165 minutes allocated for the first three sections of XAT, try to attempt VA questions in not more than 50 minutes. For vocabulary and parajumble one should ideally spend about 10 - 15 minutes. For the reading comprehension part, do not take more than 30 minutes.

    Question: Where can I get mock papers for XAT online for free? 

    Ans. Check Practice Papers to get free access to XAT complete practice papers, previous year papers, and sample papers. 

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


    October 15, 2020XAT 2021

    Delhi School of Business (VIP ..

    August 25, 2020XAT 2021

    AICTE: Admission Guidelines f ..

    August 07, 2020XAT 2021

    XLRI Courses, (On Campus and ..

    August 14, 2020XAT 2021

    XAT 2022 Admit Card




    No Comments To Show