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XAT Exam Pattern

XAT Exam Pattern is officially announced by Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) each year. It details out the complete paper pattern, marking scheme, weightage of questions, important questions, etc. The overall XAT Exam Pattern has been revised frequently over the past years. The current format of XAT Exam Pattern is same as that of last year.

xat paper pattern

Here are some key points about XAT Exam Pattern:


  • XAT comprises of two papers and both of them are mandatory to clear.
  • Paper 1 contains 3 section viz. Decision Making, Verbal and Logical Ability and Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation.
  • Paper 2 contains questions from General Knowledge and includes writing an essay.
  • There are a total of 72 questions in Paper 1 and 25 questions in Paper 2.

XAT 2017 was successfully conducted on January 8, 2017. The questions in the paper appeared as per XAT Syllabus and pattern only, giving a sign of relief to all examinees. The level of difficulty of XAT 2017 ranged from moderate to high. While questions in quantitative ability were comparably hard, the verbal ability section was slightly easier than the previous years’. Check complete XAT 2017 Exam Analysis

XAT Exam Pattern Highlights

XAT 2017 Exam DateJanuary 8, 2017
Number of Papers2
Number of sections

Paper 1- 3 (Decision Making, Verbal and Logical Ability and Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation)

Paper 2- 2 (General Knowledge and Essay Writing)

Duration of exam

Paper 1- 170 minutes

Paper 2- 35 minutes

Number of questions

Paper 1- 72

Paper 2- 25

Language of paperEnglish
Number of answer choices5
Mode of examinationOffline
Marking scheme

Paper 1- +1 marks for correct answer; -0.25 marks for incorrect answer

Paper 2- No negative marking

XAT Exam Pattern- Paper 1

  • Paper 1 of XAT Exam Pattern evaluates a candidate on his aptitude. 
  • It focuses on the candidate’s ability to analyze and solve various reasoning and logical questions.
  • It is further divided into Verbal Reasoning, Logical reasoning, Decision-making Ability and Quantitative Reasoning along with Data Interpretation.
  • All questions are objective in nature.
  • There will be 5 answer choices for each question.

XAT Exam Pattern – No. of Questions

  • According to XAT Exam Pattern, candidates have to attempt 72 questions in Part I- Aptitude Test.
  • Paper 1 is further divided into 3 parts.
  • Here is distribution of questions in XAT Exam Pattern Part I:
PartSection NameNumber of Questions
AVerbal and Logical26
BAbility Decision Making23
CQuantitative Ability & data Interpretation29

Check XAT Peparation

XAT Exam Pattern - Time Duration

  • Participants of XAT 2017 will have a total of 170 minutes i.e. 2 hours and 50 minutes to solve Paper 1.
  • Since there are 72 questions, candidates must take an average 2 minutes and 17 seconds to solve each question.
  • Here is the section-wise time duration for Paer 1 of XAT:
PartSection NameDuration (approx.)
AVerbal and Logical56 minutes 
BAbility Decision Making50 minutes 
CQuantitative Ability & data Interpretation63 minutes 

XAT Exam Pattern – Marking Scheme

  • All questions carry equal marks.
  • Negative marking is applicable in the case of incorrect entries as well as in the case of unanswered questions.
  • 0.25 mark is deducted for every wrong attempt.
  • A candidate can leave out 12 questions unattempted, beyond which there will be negative marking of 0.05 marks.

XAT Exam Pattern- Paper 2

  • Paper 2 of XAT 2017 is based on General Knowledge and Essay Writing.
  • This section covers various conventional general knowledge questions and trending current affairs. The topics could vary from economics, politics, geography, business and history.
  • In case of essay writing, all candidates are given a particular topic. They have the provision of writing in support of the topic or against the statement of the topic. They have to provide valid points supporting their view on the statement of the topic.
  • There are 26 Questions in Paper 2 (GK & Essay).
  • Questions in Paper 2 are both, subjective and objective in nature.

XAT Exam Pattern – Number of Questions

The distribution of questions in both parts of Paper 2 vary. Check them below:

PartSection NameNumber of Questions
AGeneral Knowledge25

XAT Exam Pattern - Time Duration

  • According to the current XAT Exam Pattern, the time allotted to Paper 2 B is 35 minutes.
  • Thus, candidates have to attempt a total of 26 questions including the essay in this time frame. 
  • Since essay writing requires more time as compared to the GK questions, we suggest canditoates o allocate around 10 minutes for the essay and 15 minutes to solve the GK questions. The time management for this section rests entirely on the hands of the candidates.

XAT Exam Pattern - Marking Scheme

According to the marking scheme, there is no negative marking for Paper 2 in XAT.

XAT Syllabus

It is essential to be thorough with XAT Syllabus before sitting for the exam. This is to avaoid any surprises in the actual paper. XAT Syllabus helps cover all topics and sub-toopics from all the sections of Paper 1 and Paper 2. Here is the section-wise XAT Syllabus for your reference:

Paper 1

SectionImportant Topics
Data Interpretation

Variation; Time and Work; Time, Speed and Distance; Linear and Quadratics Equations; Surds and Indices; Inequalities; Logarithms; Numbers; Mensuration and Geometry, etc; Tables and Caselets; Probability; Critical Path; Averages and Partnerships; Alligations and Mixtures; Algebra; Percentage; Profit and Loss; Ratio

English Language and Logical Reasoning

Grammar questions; Para Completion and inference; Reading Comprehension; Verbal Logic; Parajumbles.

Decision Making

Decision making; Sets; Logical reasoning

Paper 2

SubjectImportant Topics
General Knowledge


Government and Politics; Science; Famous Personalities; History; Geography; Awards and winners; Business; Economy; Current affairs; Important happenings around the World; Static GK


Essay WritingEssay is an impromptu test of candidate’s ability to perform under pressure.This section has no fixed syllabus. The topic of the essay questions can vary from any general awareness questions to something very abstract. Candidates must understand and identify what the question is actually asking.

Read more XAT Syllabus

XAT 2017 Paper Analysis

XAT 2017 was successfully conducted on January 8, 2017. Its exam pattern was similar to what was decided last year. XAT 2017 Exam contained a number of tricky questions in all its sections. This year, the level of difficulty of XAT ranged from moderate to high.

While the overall difficulty level of the exam was moderate, the paper 1 and paper 2 has different difficulty level. While the questions in quantitative ability were comparably hard, the verbal ability section was slightly easier than the previous years’. 

Here is the section-wise XAT 2017 Exam Analysis:

Paper 1

SectionQuestionsDifficulty Level
Verbal & Logical Ability24Low to Moderate
Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning21Moderate to High
Data Interpretation & Quantitative Ability27High

Paper 2

SectionQuestions/TopicsDifficulty Level
General Knowledge25Moderate to tough
Essay1 (Globalisation & Jingoism always co-exist)Moderate

Read detailed  XAT 2017 Exam Analysis

XAT Practice Papers

XAT is an exam that evaluates a candidate on his speed and accuracy. It is always advisable to solve as many XAT Sample Papers as possible, before you actually sit for the exam. They help you give fair idea of XAT Exam Pattern and what questions to expect. Regular practice is especially important for sections such as VA, LR and DI. Also, you get to learn about which section is eating up your maximum time. So, you prepare accordingly. 



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