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XAT Previous Year Exam Analysis

XAT 2017Exam is scheduled to take place in January, 2017. The XAT Exam will have similar paper pattern as previous years’. Detailed XAT Exam paper analysis shows that the questions fall under easy to difficult range depending upon the practice. A few questions are tricky in the all the sections. Candidates should go through the XAT Exam Pattern carefully to identify the important topics and plan their preparation accordingly.


XAT Exam will have 2 major sections. Section 1 will test the candidate’s logical and quantitative apprehension and Section 2 is constructed to judge candidate’s general awareness. Section 1 is aimed at testing the candidate’s ability to read, recreate and resolve the problem. Questions in XAT 2017 are formulated to analyze candidate’s verbal and logical ability. The different sub sections in which XAT 2017 Section 1 is divided are:


  1. Verbal Ability
  2. Quantitative ability and data interpretation
  3. Decision making

The total time duration for the exam is 170 minutes. The XAT 2017 exam will be divided in two parts. There will be a total of around 75-85 questions in Section I and 25-30 questions in Section II of General Awareness. An essay on a generic topic will also be asked to test candidate’s word building and thought process. Candidates are required to pay extra attention to the topics of Section I and Section II as well.


XAT 2016 Paper Analysis

XAT 2016 had the same structure as expected in XAT 2015. There were total of 78 questions asked in Section I and 25 questions in Section II. Candidates are advised to stay updated with the basic sciences and current events to score well in General Awareness section of XAT 2017 Exam. However, Marks scored in General Awareness and Essay is not included in percentile calculation at the first stage.

Verbal & Logical Ability

The Verbal Ability Section was comparably tougher from the other sections. There was plenty of variety in the types of questions was observed in this section. Prior to XAT 2016, no question on grammar was asked in this section. Reading comprehension section was based upon Communication, Economic theory, Objectivism, and approximation philosophy.


Candidates are advised to pay extra attention to questions based on reading comprehension. Comprehensions on philosophy of approximation and Communication was asked with maximum number of questions from them. Candidates are suggested to practice and focus on these type of questions a bit more.

TopicNumber of QuestionsDifficulty
Reading comprehension14Difficult

Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning

The decision making section had a similar difficulty level as previous year papers. The only difference was that the passage given for reading and interpretation was smaller in size. This gave the students a chance to score higher marks. Detailed analysis of Questions in Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning is mentioned below.

TopicTotal Questions in XAT 2016Difficulty level in XAT 2016
Mathematical + Analytical reasoning53-Easy 2-Difficult

Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation

This section experienced maximum number of correct attempts than any other section. Quantitative Ability of XAT 2016 was easier as compared to previous year exams. The questions were mainly asked from Algebra, Geometry and Number systems. Cutoff of this section went high because of maximum correct attempts from the section.


XAT 2016 DI questions had 2 sets, the total number of questions were 7. An applicant could easily attempt 2-4 DI questions in 20-25 minutes.

The XAT 2016 Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation section breakup is mentioned below. Candidates are advised to check the section breakup to understand the subject areas from where the questions were asked.

TopicQuestions in XAT 2016Difficulty level
P & L2Easy- Moderate
TSD, Work2Easy- Moderate
Number System2Easy- Moderate
Algebra3Easy- Moderate
Puzzles1Easy- Moderate
Geometry, Mensuration8Moderate –Difficult
Set Theory1Moderate
DI- Table based3Difficult

XAT 2016 Part B

General Awareness

XAT 2016 GA Section had questions mainly from Economy, Geography, Science, and Technology. The knowledge of current affairs was tested mainly through Business economics. Most of the questions were statement based. Questions with more than one correct answers were also asked. The overall difficulty level can be stated as “moderate-difficult”. An attempt of 10-11 questions was considered good.


Essay Writing

The topic for the essay was “Technology and Nature are natural enemies”. The topic allowed candidates to share their own perspective. The topic was philosophical and abstract at the same time. Candidates can take reference from the following previous year papers.

XATEssay Topic
XAT 2015Listening is a dying art. We hardly listen to understand. We only listen to refuse reply
XAT 2014The most beautiful thing can neither be seen nor be touched but can only be felt.
XAT 2013Corruption is the root cause of economic slowdown in India

XAT 2015 Paper Analysis

The XAT 2015 exam had 3 sections in part I of the exam. Part II of the XAT 2015 exam had 2 sections. The part I was MCQ based exam. The candidate had to choose an answer from the five options given for each question. The total time duration for part I was 140 minutes. The time duration for part II of the exam was 40 minutes.

 Section Name XAT 2015No. of Questions XAT 2015Optimal time per section XATDifficulty levelGood attempts
Part 1Verbal Ability2830Moderate-difficult14
Quantitative Ability3365Moderate- difficult14
Decision making2345Moderate-difficult14
Part 2General Awareness3040Easy-Moderate15

XAT 2015 Part A

Verbal and Logical ability

The logical ability section was relatively tough in XAT 2015 exam. In XAT 2015 there was no Grammar question. The pattern was similar to previous year exam for this section. The section had 5 Reading comprehension passages. So there was total of 17 questions in Reading Comprehension section. Also, 1 question from Vocabulary based cloze test, 1 question from sentence completion and 2 questions from Vocabulary. There were 2 questions each from Para- Jumbles and Para- Completion. The 2 questions out of 3 questions of Critical Reasoning were difficult. The 10 questions in the section were easy and could be attempted with almost 80% accuracy.

Decision Making and Analytical Ability

The questions from decision making were quite difficult and complex to solve. Though, the level of questions were relatively simpler than the previous year, candidates found it tough to solve the Decision making problems. Analytical Ability section was designed to test the candidates’ rational thinking and to judge them on their ability to solve problems over such topic.


Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation

Quantitative Ability section in XAT paper demands the candidates to solve the problems efficiently and quickly. There were 25 questions in this section in XAT 2015. The questions from Arithmetic were easy and that from Geometry and Algebra were difficult. Problems on directions were also difficult to work with. A candidate on an average could attempt 9-11 questions. The time of 35-40 minutes was assumed sufficient.

The DI section had 2 sets in which there were 4 questions each. The graphical question was easy while the table based question required intensive calculation. In the time duration of 20-25 minutes, 3-5 DI questions could be done easily.

XAT 2015 Part B

General Knowledge

The GK section of XAT 2015 was difficult as compared to XAT 2014. There were 30 questions in the section consisting of two questions from History and 6 from Geography. There were 6 questions on Economy which were difficult. There were 7 questions based on Current Affairs and 4 questions on Sports. Five questions with moderate difficulty level were asked. An attempt of 12-14 questions could get an applicant a score of 8-10 questions.

Essay writing

This time the question was “Listening is a dying art. We hardly listen to understand. We only listen to refuse reply.”

XAT 2014 Paper Analysis

The XAT 2014 exam turned out to be difficult from its previous edition. There was a decrease in the number of questions that were given. The total number of questions was 83 in XAT 2014 and the total time allotted to attempt the questions was 150 minutes. In 140 minutes the candidate could complete the 3 main sections and in last 10 minutes the GK section. Additional 20 minutes was provided to complete the essay part.

A pattern shift was observed in XAT 2014 which was followed in later on in XAT 2015 and XAT 2016. XAT 2017 exam is also supposed to be conducted on the same lines.

XAT 2014 PapersSection name XAT 2014Number of Questions XAT 2014Difficulty level
Paper 1Verbal Ability28Moderate
Decision making24Moderate to tough
Quantitative Ability31Tough
Paper 2General Awareness20Easy-Moderate

XAT 2014 Part A

Verbal Ability

There were total of 28 questions of moderate- tough difficulty level partly due to subject matter. New type of questions were introduced with a main objective to test the fundamental understanding of candidate’s critical reasoning. Vocabulary was tested through Fill in The Blanks type of questions.

Questions on Grammar were also asked, which were rather simple as compared to the rest of the paper. Reading Comprehension passages were set and designed to test candidates’ ability to reason and infer from the matter in subject.

Sectional Analysis of Verbal Ability is mentioned below

VA Question description / TopicNo. of Questions
Sentence Rearrangement2
Sentence completion5

Decision making

The Decision making section had 24 questions in total. At least 14 questions were easy enough to be attempted and a score of 9 marks was easy to obtain. Candidate’s with logical reasoning aptitude scored good in this section.

Quantitative Ability

The section was difficult with very moderate questions. There were no direct problems and candidates had a tough time doing it. The graphs were also very difficult. A lot of calculation based questions were seen in the section. Most of the questions from this section required sound knowledge of the topic. Sectional analysis of Quantitative Ability is mentioned below.

Quantitative Ability TopicsNo. of Questions
Algebra and Functions2
Number System5
Arithmetic sequence1
Ratio and proportion1
Line Graphs3

The good attempts for the section came around 8 and the achievable score was 6. A candidate with more practice could score more.

XAT 2014 Part B

General Awareness

The GK section in XAT 2014 was little difficult. The questions were random in nature and came from different topics. Questions on national and international awards were asked. Apart from this questions came from world Geography and history. Stats based questions were also asked. A well-read person would be able to attempt at least 10-12 questions easily.

Important Topics for XAT 2017

Candidates appearing for XAT 2017 are advised to pay more attention to quantitative ability section as it is expected to be one of the deciding factors in the final marks scored by candidates. A good knowledge of Situational Reasoning will also help candidates score well in XAT 2017. Essay comes on a very general topic with word limit of 200. Candidates are required to write a brief and concise essay because the word limit makes it quite a tricky job.


Decision Making is also one of the important sections in XAT 2017. Applicants should only attempt those question whose answer they are sure of. Candidates are advised to practice Vocabulary for XAT 2017 as candidates with good vocabulary strength are considered to have scored a better rank than the other candidates.



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