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Essay Writing Tips and Topics for XAT

Last Updated - July 19, 2018

The most unique aspect of XAT is its essay writing section. Candidates are required to write a 200-word essay on a given topic in maximum 20-25 minutes’ time in section B of XAT question paper. Except for the year 2012, when there were 2 essay topics from which students could choose one, all other years of XAT did not offer any option in essay topics. 2018 onwards, XAT is being conducted in the online mode, hence the essay also has to be typed using a keyboard.

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The maximum marks that candidates can secure for a balanced and well-worded XAT essay is 3. Though the sectional marks may seem very negligible, candidates should bear in mind that doing well in this section is very crucial as the performance in this section will be considered in the GD/PI rounds and will carry a weightage of 15-30% in the calculation of the final merit (varies for different institutes).

The XAT essay topics are usually very general in nature intended to evaluate candidates’ coherent thinking prowess and the ability to effectively word the thoughts in a structured manner. Specific subject knowledge is not mandatory to write a good essay. However, regular study of news articles and editorials, and knowledge about current affairs can help in structuring the essay.


Essay Scoring Parameters

The XAT essay is essentially an insight into the attitude, thought processes, the inherent value system of a candidate and practically sets up the stage for the Personal Interview round further down the line. The section does not have provision for negative marking but is adjudged on the basis of following parameters:

Structure – logical flow of ideas and strong arguments in the context of the given topic.

Knowledge – awareness of current affairs, ongoing debates in public media and personal opinion with respect to such debates.

Innovative Ideas – ability to present unique ideas to interpret a situation or viable solutions to a problem.

Attitude – a balanced thought process reflects rationality of mind. Extreme views, judgmental statements, unscientific reasoning in the course of idea presentation in the essay is frowned upon.

Grammar – finally, correct usage of grammar and punctuation and content that is free of spelling mistakes is much appreciated.


Essay Structure

Since there is a constraint on the word count of the XAT essay as well as time-limited to write it, it is best to split the write-up into:

Introduction - first introduce the topic and your understanding of the same on a broad basis,

Body - elaborate the idea stated in Introduction, highlighting different perspectives in separate paragraphs,

Conclusion – conclude on a positive note with your own opinion or views.


Preparation Tips

Keeping in view the type of essay topics that appear in XAT essay section and the parameters on which the essays are scored, the only strategy that aspirants can possibly adopt to do well in this particular section is Read and Practice in a loop.

  • Regularly browse through newspapers, newspaper editorials, business and current affairs magazines, particularly all in English to broaden your knowledge base as well as improve on your vocabulary.
  • Regularly practice writing essays, in a timed environment, preferably in topics that have already appeared in XAT in the past years as well as current affairs topics presently in the discussion.
  • Do a self-review of your own writing and try to improvise on it.
  • Ensure to avoid grammatical and spelling errors and constantly try to improve your vocabulary.
  • Practice fast and error-free writing on a computer so that on the day of the exam, you do not find yourself inconvenienced by your unfamiliarity with the computer keyboard or typing speed.

Do’s and Don’ts of XAT Essay Writing

  • Make your writing interesting. Enrich your content with facts, examples, and logic. Do not simply state your point of view; instead, support your idea with details.
  • Make sure your grammar, spellings, and syntax of sentences are flawless.
  • Introduce each new idea or perspective in a new paragraph.
  • Keep your sentences short and simple.
  • If using quotations, make sure to attribute it correctly.
  • No Jargon/Slang/Abbreviations/Clichés.
  • Avoid ambiguity of idea. Clarity in thought will translate into clear and concise statements.
  • Do not mix styles of writing. The presentation of your ideas is either deductive or inductive in nature.
  • Do not end the essay abruptly without putting in your concluding remarks. The conclusion is like tying together all your perspectives in a systematic series before putting down your pen.

Essay Topics: Appeared and Expected

XAT exam yearXAT essay topics
2018Ethical Practices and Sustainability: Do they co-exist?
2017Globalization and Jingoism always co-exist
2016Technology and Nature are natural enemies
2015Listening is a dying art. We hardly listen to understand. We only listen to refute or reply.
2014The most beautiful thing can neither be seen nor be touched but can only be felt.
2013Corruption is the root cause of the economic slowdown in India.
2012 (the only year when an option in essay-topics was given)Government is not addressing the root cause of poverty. Or, Government is not able to implement the policies properly due to the huge magnitude of poverty.

For the upcoming XAT exam (2019), the topics that aspirants should prepare among others are:

Vigilantism, Goods and Services Tax, Demonetization, Digital India, Clean India movement, Brexit etc. Apart from the above topics that are hot topics of discussion presently, candidates must also practice writing on environmental issues, socio-cultural issues, lifestyle problems like competition, loneliness, depression etc.


Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


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

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