All about XAT Exam - A to Z of Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT)

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All about XAT: A to Z of Xavier Aptitude test (XAT)
A complete overview of XAT, its structure, exam dates, top B-schools, placements, and other FAQs.
Table of Contents
  • What is XAT?
  • What is the structure of XAT exam?
  • Syllabus for XAT 2023
  • When is the XAT exam conducted?
  • Who can appear for XAT exam?
  • Which colleges/institutes accept XAT scores?
  • Admission Process
  • What’s the ROI of MBA programmes offered by XLRI?
  • How to Prepare for XAT 2023?
  • FAQs Regarding XAT 2023


Well, that is the very purpose of this article - to provide you with the important details about XAT exam. If you have set your mind on taking XAT, you must be fully aware of all the related information before starting its preparation.
What is XAT?
Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) is a national-level MBA entrance test conducted by Xavier Labour Relation Institute (XLRI) Jamshedpur on the behalf of Xavier Association of Management Institutes (XAMI). For the last 70 years, XLRI is conducting XAT at the all-India level to select the most appropriate students for its management programs. Considered as one of the toughest entrance exams, XAT scores are accepted for admission in MBA/PGDM offered by 11 XAMI member institutes, 83 associate institutes, and 600+ other B-schools.
Many students aim to get admission to XLRI and pursue management courses. XLRI is considered one of the top B-schools and lately, it has also added many executive and certificate programmes to meet the emerging demands of the business sector. XLRI has a host of courses to offer namely, PGDM HRM, PGDM BM (Full-time residential programmes), Exec- FPM, and BM (Part-time Programmes for Working Executives), to name a few.
The best brains of the country aspire to seek admission in the programs offered by XLRI and related institutes. More than 90,000 aspirants appear for the exam every year.
What is the structure of XAT exam?

Similar to other top competitive exams, XAT is moderately difficult in the level and type of questions. Until 2017, XAT was held in paper-based mode. But since 2018, XAT is a computer-based test. Its duration is 190 minutes and has five sections:
  • Verbal Ability & Logical/Analytical Reasoning
  • Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation
  • Decision Making
  • General knowledge
  • Essay Writing

XAT consists of 100 objective questions and 1 essay topic. The paper is divided into two parts. Part-I comprises the first three sections that are considered for the final score, whereas Part-II is composed of GK section and Essay Writing. There is no sectional time limit for part-I, which means you have to manage the total time (165 minutes) very efficiently. For Part-I, there is a negative marking of 0.25 for each incorrect answer and a penalty of 0.10 after every 8 unattempted questions. However, no marks are deducted in Part II. Although your GK score doesn’t count in the final XAT percentile, yet it plays a deciding role in B-school admission process. Besides, the essay is evaluated only after the candidate is shortlisted for interview.

Further, there is a likelihood of NAT questions to be introduced in XAT 2023. There will be no negative marking for such questions and the candidates are required to type in the numerical answer.
Syllabus for XAT 2023
As there is no predefined syllabus for XAT, candidates have to prepare as per the exam pattern and question types of the previous year papers. Over the last few years, the exam pattern of XAT has varied and so has the type of questions.
The exam is designed to assess the candidate’s proficiency in reasoning, data analysis, interpretation, and mathematics. Further, the candidate is also evaluated for his/her decision-making skills and general awareness. Listed below are important points to remember for XAT syllabus:
  • Quantitative ability mainly focuses on arithmetic, geometry, and algebra.
  • Verbal and Logical ability includes critical reasoning, inference-based questions, reading comprehensions, sentence corrections, etc.
  • Decision-making section involves ethical dilemmas, managerial issues, and other situational questions. This section is unique to XAT, since other entrance tests don’t generally feature any such section.
  • GK section emphasises on static general knowledge as well as current happenings from the fields of economics, polity, etc.
  • Essay Topics are mostly general or abstract in nature. These are also based on the latest issues and current events.

When is the XAT exam conducted?

XAT is conducted in the first week of January. It is held on a single day in one session. The detailed notification is released around August-September on the official website ( You will get to know about the important dates, application fees, MBA/PGP programmes and other requisite information from the notification. The registration process for XAT and XLRI is through the same application form. You may have to pay an additional amount as per your choice of XLRI program.
XAT 2023 registration begins from 10 August, 2022 and the exam will be held on 8 January, 2023.
The exam is conducted in 80+ cities across India, but the number of cities may vary every year. The official XAT answer key and OMR sheet is released by XLRI in the last week of January. The result is declared online in the first week of February.
The selection procedure of XAT for all the participating institutes begins after the announcement of the result and cut-off. XLRI sends the hard copy of XAT score card to the candidates'  registered address. Candidates are advised to preserve the scorecard until the admission process gets over. After clearing the entrance exam, students are called for Personal Interview and Group Discussion session.
Note that XLRI admits on the basis of XAT scores only whereas the other associated colleges also accept the scores of other entrances like CAT.
Who can appear for XAT exam?

Ever since its inception, XAT eligibility conditions have remained same and are considered the simplest for any exam. XAT Applicants are required to possess a bachelor’s degree/ equivalent of atleast 3 years duration. But there is no criterion of minimum qualifying marks for appearing in XAT. Further, final year students can also apply for XAT.
However, XLRI also specifies programme-wise eligibility criteria for the candidates.
Which colleges/institutes accept XAT scores?

In total, around 700 colleges in India accept XAT scores. However, it is always better MBA from a reputed B-school for a secure and bright career ahead. Listed below are some of the best XAT-accepting institutes:
Some of XAMI Member Institutes
  • Xavier Labour Relations Institute, Jamshedpur (XLRI)
  • Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar
  • Xavier Institute of Management & Entrepreneurship, Bangalore/ Chennai
  • Loyola Institute of Business Administration, Chennai
  • Xavier Institute of Social Service, Ranchi
  • Xavier Institute Of Management & Research, Mumbai
Other Management Institutes that accept XAT:
  • Goa Institute of Management
  • SP Jain, Mumbai
  • Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad/Nagpur/Hyderabad
  • MICA, Ahmedabad
  • TAPMI, Manipal
  • Great Lakes Institutes of Management, Chennai
  • Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal
  • KJ Somaiya, Mumbai
Did you Know: XLRI is a signatory of UN-supported initiative PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education). It takes different social initiatives round the year and lays special emphasis on sustainability.
Admission Process
Most B-schools initiate their selection rounds in February and finalise the admission lists by April. After each XAT participating institute releases its cut-off, candidates are shortlisted for the subsequent selection process comprising of Group Discussions (GD) or Group Exercises (GE), Written Ability Tests (WAT), and Personal Interviews (PI). B-schools differ in their cut-off criteria, with some specifying both the overall and sectional cut off for various management programs. Besides, different weightages are assigned to different evaluation parameters (XAT percentile, academic profile, performance in GD/WAT/PI, work experience*, etc.). Finally, candidates are given admission as per the aforementioned criteria.
*Note that work experience is not a mandatory requirement for all B-schools. However, some particular MBA programmes may require you to have 1-2 years of experience.
What’s the ROI of MBA programmes offered by XLRI?
The best talent of country aspires to do MBA from the top-ranking management institutes of India. Return on investment (ROI) at these top B-schools is adequately high. In other words, a good score in XAT ensures your career in a top recruiting company. Best recruiters from India and abroad eye these institutes for their placement season.
XLRI is known to have the salary placements as high Rs. 50-60 lakhs per annum. Go through some amazing facts about MBA placements from XLRI:
  • In 2022, The Highest CTC stood at INR 60+ LPA which as offered by the BFSI Sector whereas the Average CTC stood at INR 30.73 LPA, and the Median CTC stood at INR 29 LPA. Around 40.28% students received Pre-Placement Offers.
  • PGDM Batch of 2020-22 received a total of 437 domestic offers from 99 recruiters. The top roles were from BFSI, Consulting, and Sales & Marketing domains.
  • Bain and Co., BCG, Accenture, Amazon, ITC, PayTM, and Microsoft contributed to the highest number of offers among the recruiters.
  • Over the last 5-6 years, XLRI has witnessed a steady rise in the average CTC offered to PGDM students.

How to Prepare for XAT 2023?

Acing the XAT exam calls for smart work, dedication, and focus. Experts advise that you need around 6-8 months to prepare for XAT. So, it is important to plan your preparation schedule and exam strategy well. In XAR, the aim is not only to increase your number of attempts, but also the accuracy of your answers. In order to get a high percentile in the exam, you must keep the following things in mind:
  • Firstly, start your preparation early. Many students tend to postpone their serious preparation to the last few months, which ultimately has a negative impact on their performance in XAT.
  • Once you have gone through the latest exam pattern and syllabus, divide your preparation plan in 2-3 stages, beginning with concept-building and ending with regular mock test practice.
  • Make reading a part of your daily routine. This will help you built good reading and comprehension skills, strong vocabulary, and general awareness. The important thing is to read widely from top-rated books, magazines, newspapers, websites, etc. Besides, reading financial and business articles will assist you while tackling decision-making questions.
  • Keep a note of basic formulae, tricks, and shortcuts while learning about mathematical concepts.
  • Practice chapter-wise/ topic-wise tests after revising the essential concepts and formulae.
  • Once you get a hold of the crucial topics through chapter-wise tests, start taking sectional tests in timed manner.
  • Finally, start attempting previous year XAT papers and mock tests in the stated time limits.
  • After every test, you must analyse your performance and identify your strengths and weaknesses. Test analysis will let you modify your exam strategy and ace the exam with high score.
  • Remember to use shortcuts, approximation techniques, elimination method, and similar ways in the exam, wherever possible. The only way to adopt such methods is to put them into regular practice.
  • Since XAT imposes no sectional time limits, you must decide the specific time to spend on each section. For instance, you can invest 55-60 minutes on Quant section, 50-55 minutes on Decision-making, etc.
Lastly, never stick to solving only those questions that interest you. More than often, there are a few surprise elements in the exam every year.
FAQs Regarding XAT 2023
1. What is the validity of XAT scores?
XAT scores are valid for one year only.
2. What is the application fee for XAT?
The standard fee for XAT registration is Rs. 2000. Also, you have to pay Rs. 200 each for every management programme of XLRI.
3. What is the course fee at XLRI?
Course fee at XLRI varies from Rs. 20.95 to 23.6 lakhs, as per the particular MBA programme.
4. What is a good score in XAT?
If you are aiming to get admission in XLRI, you must target a 96 percentile in XAT. However, in case of other decent colleges, a 90+ percentile in XAT would suffice.
5. What are the age restrictions for XAT?
There is no age bar for appearing in XAT.
6. How many times can I take the XAT exam?
There is no limit on the number of times you can take XAT.
7. Is XAT more difficult or easier than CAT?
Both XAT and CAT are difficult in terms of question types and sections. Also, the syllabus for verbal, reasoning, and quant remain same for CAT and XAT. Yet the decision-making and GK sections are additional parts of XAT exam. Further, either exam is unique in marking scheme and kind of sections. For instance, in CAT, DILR section is considered the toughest and most time-consuming whereas in XAT, the quant section is the most challenging one. Nevertheless, both the exams count among the most popular management entrance exams and serve as a gateway to the top B-schools of the country.


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