How I prepared for XAT

Tips from the Topper itself


XAT stands for Xavier Aptitude Test. It is a national level entrance examination conducted by XLRI every year for selecting the best possible students for management programs in the institute. Additionally, more than 100 other institutes for admission to their management programs use the XAT score. It is a paper-based test conducted on the first Sunday of the year in which the program commences.

The XLRI is one of the oldest and leading business management schools in India. The institute is located in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, and conducts a number of graduate and post-graduate courses in the field of management.

EXAM pattern:

Subjects No. of Questions Time Alloted
Decision Making 25 140
Verbal & Logical Ability 30
Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation 36
Essay & General Awareness 40

Essay & General Awareness is the only non-MCQ type section, where first 140 minutes will be allotted for solving 1st three sections & next 40 mins for writing essay.

How to work your preparation:

  • Prepare section-wise: Each section needs equal attention as the exam is considered quite challenging and competitive. Make a plan for your studies by creating a proper schedule where you allot sufficient time for all the papers.
  • Improve your Verbal Ability and General Awareness: Read newspapers, editorials, magazines, and other books to increase your vocabulary skills and general knowledge. Mark new words you encounter, add them in your data bank and use them wherever applicable. The basics of English grammar should be clear. Engage in group discussions. Watch news channels and browse the Internet to keep updated with the current affairs. Solve previous years’ question papers.
  • XAT Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning is one of the most unique sections of the XAT exam.
  • Consisting of various business and everyday situations, you are meant to establish what the various stakeholders should do in the situations given.
  • Different types of questions probed in Decision making areas include: Ethical dilemmas, financial issues involving sales, revenues etc. of a company, employee management issues and general management scenarios.
  • Solve question papers:The sections on Verbal & Logical Ability, Quantitative Ability, and Data Interpretation are quite similar to those of the Common Aptitude Test (CAT). Practice from these papers also. Also, a number of websites provide practice tests on Data Interpretation, Verbal Reasoning, Logical Reasoning, and Mathematics. Specialised question banks for the XAT are available. Practice them to improve your skills.
  • Avoid negative marking:The exam has negative marking, so it is advisable not to attempt too many questions on guesswork. In case you have to, then apply the process of elimination (PoE) to eliminate the less probable choices to zero-in on the correct one.
  • Read the questions carefully: The questions in the exam can be confusing. Any silly mistake can ruin your efforts. Read the question carefully, understand well and then go for solving it. Revise the paper carefully before submitting, if you have time.
  • Keep your calm:Reach the examination hall a bit earlier and settle down comfortably. Have confidence in yourself and stay calm and composed during the exam. Unnecessary nervousness can spoil your preparation, which is not desirable.

XAT Essay Writing 

Going by the past trends, XAT essay topics have had stronger abstract dimensions. The topic is based on either a common phrase or an idiom with a philosophical hint implied within.

The examiner is not only looking for language skills here, but is also evaluating coherence of thoughts, ability to provide logical arguments and your knowledge level.

Reading the editorial page of national newspapers may be of great help in this section.

It is recommended that you write sample essays and get them assessed on content and style.


— This article is written as per tips given by our topper Ashutosh Khanna, 99.92ile in XAT