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

“To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” ~Nicolaus Copernicus
Get ready, because this article is all about the XAT exam! It'll provide you with all the important details you need to know. So, if you've decided to take XAT, it's crucial to be fully aware of all the related information before diving into its preparation. Let's get started!
What is XAT?
The Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) is a prestigious national-level MBA entrance examination conducted by the distinguished Xavier Labour Relation Institute (XLRI) in Jamshedpur, India. With a remarkable legacy of over 70 years, XLRI has been entrusted with the responsibility of identifying the most deserving candidates for its esteemed management programs through the XAT. Regarded as one of the most challenging entrance exams, XAT scores hold immense value and are accepted by 11 XAMI member institutes, 83 associate institutes, and over 600 other esteemed B-schools across India. To explore more about XAT and its results, you can visit this link: XAT results.
XAT Prep Course
XLRI, also known as Xavier School of Management, has long been an esteemed destination for ambitious students pursuing management courses. Recognized as one of India's premier business schools, XLRI consistently adapts to meet the ever-evolving demands of the business landscape. In addition to its flagship full-time residential programs – PGDM HRM and PGDM BM – XLRI offers an extensive selection of executive and certificate programs. These thoughtfully designed programs cater to the unique requirements of working professionals, enabling them to stay at the forefront of their fields while balancing their career commitments. Among these notable programs are Exec-FPM and BM, which empower executives to pursue their academic aspirations while actively engaging in their professional lives. With a rich heritage and unwavering commitment to excellence, XLRI stands as a trailblazer in developing leadership capabilities and nurturing managerial talent.
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. The duration of the exam is 210 minutes and has five sections:
  1. Verbal Ability & Logical/Analytical Reasoning
  2. Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation
  3. Decision Making
  4. General knowledge
  5. Essay Writing
XAT consists of 100 objective questions and 1 essay topic. Previously, the paper was divided into two parts. Part-I included the first three sections, which contributed to the final score, while Part II consisted of the GK section and Essay Writing. However, there have been slight changes to the exam pattern in XAT 2023. The number of questions and duration to complete the exam have increased. Now, the exam is divided into three parts, each with a sectional time limit. Part I has a time limit of 175 minutes, Part II has a time limit of 5 minutes, and Part III has a time limit of 30 minutes. In 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 the GK section. It's important to note that while your GK score doesn't count in the final XAT percentile, it plays a significant role in the B-school admission process. Moreover, the essay is evaluated only after the candidate is shortlisted for an interview.
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Syllabus for XAT 2025
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 emphasizes 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?
    The XAT, a nationwide entrance examination for MBA/PGP programmes, will be conducted in the first week of January '25. This single-day, single-session test plays a crucial role in shaping the future of aspiring candidates. The detailed notification, containing vital information such as important dates, application fees, and more, is now available on the official website, xatonline.in. Both the registration process for the XAT and XLRI can be completed through a single application form. However, for those opting for an XLRI program, an additional payment may be required based on their program of choice. Stay tuned for updates and make sure to seize this incredible opportunity to pursue your management dreams!
    XAT 2025 registration will most probably begin from the second week of July and the last date to fill in the form will be till Dec '25 tentatively.
    The exam will be conducted in 80+ cities across India, but the number of cities may vary every year. The official XAT answer key and OMR sheet are released by XLRI in the last week of January. The result is expected to be declared in the first week of February '25 tentatively.
    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 the XAT scorecard to the candidates'  registered addresses. Candidates are advised to preserve the scorecard until the admission process is over. After clearing the entrance exam, students are called for Personal Interviews and Group Discussion sessions.
    Note that XLRI admits based on XAT scores only whereas the other associated colleges also accept the scores of other entrances like CAT.
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    Who can appear for XAT exam?
    Ever since its inception, XAT eligibility conditions have remained the same and are considered the simplest for any exam. XAT Applicants are required to possess a bachelor’s degree/ equivalent of at least 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?
    Across India, approximately 700 colleges accept XAT scores. Nevertheless, opting for an MBA program from a renowned B-school paves the way for a secure and prosperous future. Below, you'll find a selection of esteemed institutes that welcome XAT scores:
    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 the UN-supported initiative PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education). It takes different social initiatives around the year and lays special emphasis on sustainability.
    Admission Process
    Most B-schools initiate their selection rounds in February and finalize 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 weights are assigned to different evaluation parameters, including XAT percentile, academic profile, performance in GD/WAT/PI, work experience*, extracurricular activities, and diversity factors. It is worth noting that these evaluation parameters may vary across different B-schools. Finally, admission decisions are made based on a comprehensive assessment of the aforementioned criteria, ensuring the selection of well-rounded candidates who demonstrate the potential for success in their respective management programs.
    *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 talented individuals in the country aspire to pursue an MBA from India's highest-ranked management institutes. These top B-schools offer a remarkably high return on investment (ROI). In simpler terms, achieving a good score in XAT guarantees a promising career with a leading recruiting company. Both domestic and international recruiters eagerly seek out graduates from these esteemed institutions during the placement season.
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    XLRI is known to have salary placements as high as 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 is 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% of 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 2025?
    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 into 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 build 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 a timed manner.
    • Finally, start attempting the previous year's XAT papers and mock tests within 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 a high score.
    • Remember to use shortcuts, approximation techniques, elimination methods, 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 in Quant section, 50-55 minutes in 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 2025
    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. 2100. 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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