How to prepare for the XAT 2022? | Section-wise prep strategy

How to prepare for XAT?
How to prepare for XAT?

How to prepare for the XAT Exam?

The Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) is a popular entrance exam, conducted by XLRI, Jamshedpur. XLRI conducts the XAT exam on behalf of XAMI (Xavier Association of Management Institutes). For more than 70 years XLRI is conducting XAT to select the most appropriate students for management education. The XAT score is being used by more than 160 institutes for admission. The XAT Exam 2022 will be held on January 2, 2022. The exam registration closes on Nov 30, 2021. The candidates who are already preparing for CAT can leverage their preparation to score well in the XAT exam. They should also prepare for an additional section called the Decision Making Section. In this article, we will see how to prepare for the XAT Exam, and also the top colleges accepting the XAT scores.

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XAT Mock Test Series (in the latest pattern)

Taking the XAT mocks that mimic the exam pattern, syllabus, interface, and difficulty level are very important for XAT exam preparation. XAT Exam is a 165 mins (2 hr 45 mins) online test with questions asked from Verbal ability, Quantitative ability, and Decision Making. Solving the Previous year papers of XAT can help aspirants know about the pattern of the paper and the types of questions asked in the exam. Online preparation for XAT can help aspirants in the preparation process.
As we know, there is an overlap between the syllabus for the CAT and XAT exams. The CAT online preparation will help you a great deal in improving the scores in the VARC, LRDI, and Quants sections.

XAT Exam Pattern and Important Dates

First, let us take a look at the Important Dates and the XAT exam pattern.

Important Dates

Important Dates
XAT 2022 Registration Started
August 10, 2021
XAT 2022 Registration Ends November 30, 2021
Admit Card December 20, 2021
XAT 2022 Test Date January 2, 2022
Answer key release 2nd week of January 2022
XAT 2022 Result 3rd week of January 2022


XAT 2022 Exam Pattern

Section name No. of questions Marks per correct answer Total marks
Verbal and Logical Ability 26 1 26
Decision making 21 1 21
Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation 28 1 28
Total 75 75
General Knowledge
25 1 25


  • The Part 1 of the XAT exam will have a negative marking of ¼ marks. (There is No negative marking for the GK section).
  • For up to 8 un-attempted questions, there are no negative marks. After 8 un-attempted questions, each unanswered question will have a penalty of 0.1 marks.
  • Duration: 3 hours (165 Minutes for Part-1 and 15 Minutes for Part-2)
  • There is NO Sectional Time Limit in Part 1 of the XAT Exam.
  • NRI Candidates can also gain admission through the GMAT Exam.

How to prepare for XAT?

The XAT exam is different from CAT. Though the topics are mostly the same, the nature of the exams is entirely different. Aspirants must make some minor changes to their preparation to crack the XAT exam. Let us see how to prepare for the XAT exam by leveraging the preparation done so far.

Divide your preparation plan into two phases

  • The first phase of your preparation study plan should be to cover the Basics from all three sections. In any case, spend enough time learning the fundamental concepts, and make sure you thoroughly understand them. Without strong fundamentals in place, you are not going to improve your mock scores in the later stages of the preparation. Especially in the Quants section, one must be aware of the basics of the key concepts. In the Decision Making (DM) section, be thorough with the types of questions asked. After covering the basics of all topics, Practice a variety of questions.
  • In the second phase, it is imperative to take more XAT Mocks Tests. Remember that XAT is not a speed test (you would have slightly more than 2 mins per question). There is also no sectional time limit in the XAT exam. Therefore, aspirants must tweak the way they prepare for the exam to score well. Someone who has practised a large number of standard questions is likely to perform better in the exam. Hence, take more XAT Mocks to get used to this test-taking format. After the mock, analyse the time spent per section, and per each question. The candidates must focus on improving the accuracy.
  • Also, it is recommended to take the mocks during exam time only. This will prepare you better for the exam day.

Let us see the section-wise preparation for the XAT Exam.

How to prepare for XAT Verbal and Logical Ability?

The Verbal section in XAT is a bit different from that of the VARC section in CAT. Though RCs are present here, they do not dominate as much as they do in the CAT VARC section. The questions are usually from a wide range of topics. Aspirants must refresh their basics in grammar, and vocabulary as questions from these topics are also tested.

This section of the exam had a few summary questions as well. An important thing to note is that the subject matter of the RCs is dense and is often philosophical. XAT is also known for Poem based short passages. Therefore, aspirants must practice all the RCs from past year papers to get hold of the section.

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Quantitative Aptitude

The quants section is also slightly different than that of the CAT Quants section. Questions are slightly tougher and demand conceptual clarity over anything else. Therefore, aspirants must focus on strengthening their basics. Also, solve all the quants questions from previous year papers to know about the types of questions asked in this section. Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, Number systems, P&C etc., are tested. Therefore, aspirants must put in more effort while revising these topics.

The DI questions, though not as tough as those appearing in CAT, are a bit tough to crack. Also, certain DI questions can be from topics such as statistics. Therefore, aspirants must revise the basics of statistics too before the exam (basic Concepts such as variance, S.D.).

Quantitative Aptitude Formulas PDFs for XAT exam.

How to prepare for XAT Decision Making?

This section is the deciding factor in the XAT Exam. Though most aspirants recognize the need to prepare for this section, very few aspirants prepare for this section. This section is one of its kind and is unique to the XAT exam. Therefore, aspirants must be careful while preparing for this section. This is not a very tough section to crack if you prepare well. A unique situation will be presented, and you have to take a decision. There can be questions on Business problems, Ethical Dilemma, etc.

Past papers of XAT is one of the best sources for preparing for this section. Extensive practise is required in this section and hence, aspirants must try to complete all the past papers.

Rather than getting an answer right, the focus must be on finding out what makes an option right. Aspirants must analyse what makes an option better suited than the others. The thought process so developed will be of great use in the actual exam.

Watch this Excellent video on XAT Decision Making, to learn everything about this section.

Also, remember that XAT has a penalty for skipping questions (over a limit). However, the penalty is minimal (1 mark per 10 skipped questions) and hence, one should not worry too much about this. Aspirants must continue to attempt the questions carefully and must not give in to such gimmicks.

XAT Decision making free Topic test

GK Section

As we know, XLRI does not use the GK scores while giving out the calls (so, not included in the XAT percentile). But, they carry some undisclosed weightage in the final selection. Therefore, aspirants must prepare for this section too.

GK section does not have any penalty for wrong answers. Just like IIFT GK, prepare by going through recent happenings. Aspirants can refer to the GK compendiums for the Static GK part.

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XAT Cut-offs for XLRI BM and HRM Programs

Based on XAT 2021, below are the cut-offs for the XLRI BM Program and the XLRI HRM Program. (remember that the cut-offs vary depending on the difficulty of the paper).

XAT_Cut-offs. Info. as per official website
Info. as per official website

For other top colleges accepting the XAT scores (such as XIMB and IMT), the cut-offs are around 90%ile.

Top Colleges accepting the XAT Scores

The top colleges accepting the XAT Scores are: XLRI Jamshedpur, XLRI Delhi, XIMB, IMT Ghaziabad, XIME, TAPMI, GIM Goa, Great Lakes Chennai, IRMA Anand, MICA, Welingkar Mumbai, BIMTECH Greater Noida, KJ Somaiya Mumbai, FORE New Delhi, etc.

(For detailed information on each college, candidates can go to the respective college websites and check the details of the courses offered, the fees and placements.)

To summarise, be thorough with the basics of all the key concepts, and solve questions from mixed topics, and take more mocks, to score well in the XAT exam. Also, remember that your score in the Entrance exam matters more. So, though your acads are poor you can get admission to XLRI if you perform well in the entrance exam and the Interview. All the best!

Download XAT Previous Year Papers [PDF]

Also read: How to prepare for the SNAP exam (in less than 30 days).

Candidates can Join our Telegram group of MBA aspirants for quick and regular exam updates.

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