All about XAT

XAT is an annual entrance exam conducted by the Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur to select the most appropriate students for its management courses. Every year a large number of management aspirants take the XAT to get admission in to XLRI or other good institutes where XAT scores are considered. It has become the most popular entrance exam for management aspirants after CAT and MAT. It, however, differs from other management entrance examinations as candidates are also expected to write an essay on a given topic besides the usual objective type questions. The essay is considered only for admission to XLRI, Jamshedpur.

Course Stream: BBA / MBA / Management

Important Dates for XAT Exam

Date of Commencement of Application12th August 2014
Last Date for Applying22nd November 2014
Last Date to change Test City26th November 2014
Downloading of Admit Cards18th December 2014 - 31st December 2014
Date of Exam4th January 2015
Test Timings10.30 am to 01.30 pm
Mode of ExaminationPaper & Pen based

Details of XAT Exam

XAT usually comprises 3 Objective type Multiple Choice sections and an essay writing section.


  1. English Usage & Reading Comprehension- (Objective Type Multiple Choice)
  2. Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation - (Objective Type Multiple Choice)
  3. Analytical Reasoning (AR) and Decision Making- (Objective Type Multiple Choice)
  4. Essay


You get 2 hours for the first 3 sections which is followed by a break and then you need to write the essay within 20 minutes. Avoid wild guesses as XAT follows progressive negative marking. Unlike CAT and almost all other management entrance exams which have a uniform pattern of marking throughout the question paper, XAT follows differential marking. The number of questions varies every year: 2010 saw 101 questions, 2009 had 104 questions and 2008 had 120 questions.


The application procedure for XAT is explained in details here:


XAT is a common test for admission into the academic programmes of XLRI and more than 70 other institutes (list follows). However if you are interested in XLRI or other XAT associate institutes, you need to obtain their prospectus separately and register for the concerned institute.


The exam which still has a paper pencil based format will be held in the following 33 cities:


Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Bangalore, Berhampur, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Cuttack, Dehradun, Delhi, Goa, Gurgaon, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Noida, Patna, Pune, Raipur, Ranchi, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Trivandrum, Vadodara and Visakhapatnam.


XAT Exam Eligibility Criteria

One needs to have a bachelors degree under a 10+2+3 system from a recognized university or a deemed university in order to be eligible to take XAT. You are eligible to take XAT as well as admission to XLRI, if you complete your final year examination by June 10, 2013. Other XAT Members Institutes may have a different date regarding the completion of the final examination.

How to Prepare for XAT Exam ?

The most important step in the preparation for this particular exam is to understand how it differs from other management entrance exams. Understand the pattern of XAT thoroughly. Go through previous years’ and other sample XAT papers. Some of them are provided here online. Take as many mock tests as possible.


After having seen enough number of sample papers, you would be able to figure out that the sections are categorised in a different fashion in XAT as compared to CAT, FMS etc. Here the Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation questions are in one section. The second section is English Usage (EU) and Reading Comprehension (RC). The third section is Analytical Reasoning (AR) and Decision Making. XAT also has more number of questions to be solved in the same amount of time. One should therefore learn how to identify the easier questions that can be solved and how to drop the tough ones.


XAT focuses on good language skills, so one can expect questions on vocabulary etc more often in this exam than in any other. However a good overall verbal ability is more useful than vocabulary. One can manage with average vocabulary skills. Reading comprehension is an important topic and should be practiced diligently and regularly to acquire proficiency. Parajumbles, metaphors, similes, fill in the blanks etc are common types of questions in this section. Practice enough number of questions like these.


The quantitative section can test both basic and advanced concepts. So become proficient in mental calculations and all the formulae. Algebra, Arithmetic, Geometry and Modern Maths are the important areas to be covered. Questions related to data interpretation and data sufficiency require sheer common sense more than anything else. However practicing similar questions do go a long way in increasing your speed. The key to this section again lies in finding the sim ple questions and dropping the time consuming and tough ones.


The analytical reasoning (AR) and decision making section tests exactly what its name suggests: your reasoning and decision making skills. There will be questions from Data arrangement, Decision Making, Business Judgement caselets and Logical Reasoning which are mostly simple.  These questions can be quite subjective and practicing similar questions from previous years’ papers is very important. The advantage of attempting AR questions is that once you have worked out the solution you can answer three to four questions straight away. The best thing about decision making caselets is that it will hardly take you 2-3 minutes to scan through them and then there are some questions which are very direct.Picking the easiest questions will help you ace this section too.


The essay writing section plays a big role in the GD round of XLRI so it’s recommended that the aspirant does not take this section lightly. Make sure that you go through the daily newspapers as not only would it help you in the essay but also in the interviews. Also try looking up at the essays of previous years. The essay topics for XAT 2009 and XAT 2010 were ‘The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries’ and ‘Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed’ respectively. Read a lot, practice even more and apply certain strategies: Don’t panic if you don’t understand the topic of the essay; if you have been reading a lot then chances are high that you will find the connect and will be able to write some good points and present your thought process in a smooth flow.


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