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Changes in XAT 2018 Essay Writing

Last Updated - January 04, 2018

XAT 2018 is scheduled for January 7 and at the eleventh hour, it has been announced that the essay writing section has to be attempted in online mode only.

This came out only in response to a query raised by a test taker, where the student asked IF the 2nd half of XAT 2018 (Essay) will be online or pen-paper based. The response to the same created stir as the XAT 2018 convener, Fr Antony Uvari said, “It will be online in lieu with rest of the exam.”

Earlier it was shared by Fr Antony Uvari, S J. XAT convener and XLRI admission chair, on behalf of XAT, that “We are ready for CBT essay writing test but for this year, the format of the essay will remain pen and paper based, which is same as last year.”

As, this announcement has come at the last minute, just with a week left for XAT 2018, students are worried about how would be able to manage the change. But looking on the brighter side, one can see that, it is working for the student’s benefit, as “no marks are lost because of bad handwriting, cutting or correction”.

Read Latest Changes in XAT Exam Pattern 2018


About XAT 2018

From this year on, XAT exam will completely be held in online mode. The total duration of the exam is 3.5 hours. The exam is conducted in two halves- part 1 will be conducted in morning shift from 10.00 AM to 1.35 PM (5 minutes is the turnover time- this will be used for switching between the MCQ based exam and the essay writing exam). Read XAT Syllabus

XAT 2018-20 is a single gateway for admission to the top B-Schools like XLRI, SPJIMR, XIMB, IMT, XISS, LIBA, TAPMI, GIM Goa, Great Lakes and many other renowned schools.   

XAT exam will be conducted in online mode for the first time in 47 cities in India, excluding two exam centers in the foreign location. There are only two XAT exam centers abroad Kathmandu and Dubai.  


Updated XAT 2018 Exam Pattern

The overall XAT Exam Paper is divided into 2 Parts (A & B). Their details are given below:

Part A: Time to solve- 170 minutes

SectionNumber of questions
Verbal and Logical ability24
Decision making21
Quantitative ability & data interpretation27

Part B: Time limit to solve – 35 minutes

SectionNumber of question
General Knowledge25
Essay writing1

Given below are the highlights of XAT Exam Pattern 2018:

  1. Uniform marking scheme: The homogenous marking scheme was introduced in 2013, before that marks were awarded and deducted variably. A student could be awarded 1.5 marks- 5 marks per question, the system was changed in 2013 and is same till date.
  2. The penalty for negative marking: 1/4th marks will be deducted for every incorrect answer, so be careful of your selections.
  3. Percentile calculation in XAT 2018: The marks gained in GK MCQ section will not be used while calculation of XAT Result. All the top B- Schools like XLRI, SPJIMR, IMT, XIMB, GIM, LIBA, BIMTECH, Great Lakes, TAPMI, will be using the score in part 1 of the XAT exam for the admission process.
  4. Freedom to switch between the section: XAT 2018 will not restrict you to move between sections within the overall time frame defined. However, it is advised that do not spend too much of time only on one section as all the sections are important to have their own difficulty level and important from the perspective of percentile.
  5. Difficulty level: Vary from moderate to high

XLRI has already made it clear that the question paper is set in such a manner that the difficulty level is not too high for any section. The questions are distributed in a homogeneous manner such that all the questions can be attempted and the percentile is not affected. Also, the overall skills are analyzed, thus the introduction of the essay section. Read XAT Paper Analysis

About XAT 2018 Essay Section

  • You can attempt the essay writing question in 20 minutes easily. So, no more hassle of carrying stationery to work with the essay.
  • In order to write a good essay, you just need a good mind with the coherent flow of thoughts.
  • Now no more marks are lost to scratching, cuttings, corrections, etc.
  • A 300-350 words essay has to be written.

Importance of Essay writing in XAT 2018

Essay writing is of great importance, as it is used for learning the thinking ability of the student. The topic is generally a current issue and students are asked to write about the topic so that both the IQ and EQ are checked at the same time. Read XAT 2018 Essay Preparation Tips

As it was observed that students can easily attempt the MCQ based questions, but it was observed that to drive the real-life problems a balance of EQ and IQ is needed. An effective communication (oral and written) is required in order to effectively drive any work and be a responsible business leader. Thus, in order to identify the perspective and personality of the aspirant, the emphasis is given to the essay writing section.

An excellent performance in essay writing section is important for institutes like XLRI, SPJIMR, IMT, TAPMI, XIMB, GIM Goa, Great Lakes among others. Read XAT Selection Procedure


XAT 2018 Exam Duration

The total time duration for the XAT 2018 exam is 3.5 hours. The test is divided into two parts.

  • Part 1 is MCQ type and requires the aspirant to attempt 72 questions of part 1 in 3 hours.
  • Part 2 of the exam has 25 questions on GK and 1 question on essay writing. Students are advised to attempt the GK section in 10 minutes and give approximately 20 minutes for attempting the essay writing question. The remaining 5 minutes can be used for revision of the answers marked.

One can find the importance given to the section by looking at the time allotted to the essay writing section. A good investment of 20-25 minutes with minimum error will help you gain the edge in this section.

The basic format of XAT will remain same as was in previous years without any change this year and will have similar pattern of the test sections with the only exception that it will be online computer based test. We wish you luck!


Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Hi Kritika, There is no defined marking scheme for the essay writing section.

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