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XAT Syllabus

XAT Syllabus contains questions from Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, Verbal & Logical Ability, Decision Making, General Knowledge and a question on Essay Writing. The syllabus for XAT is different for both the papers. Although there is no official XAT Syllabus declared by XLRI, but it is generally based on past years’ pattern. 

XAT is quite difficult to crack because of its variable exam pattern. Every year few questions come that make students sweat in the exam hall. But, getting thorough with XAT Syllabus will make your preparation journey must easier. So, here are some key points about XAT Syllabus that all students must be aware of beforehand:

  • XAT syllabus for Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation (QA & DI): It includes 15 important topics which have a weightage of 29 marks. The difficulty level of this section is always high. An accuracy of 70 percent is good as loss of a single mark to negative marking is making you lose in percentile.
  • XAT syllabus for Verbal and Logical Ability (VA & LR): There are 7 important topics and the section can be of moderate to high difficulty level. Last year, this section had a moderate difficulty level. There can be 26 questions depending on XAT Exam Pattern.
  • XAT syllabus for Decision-Making (DM): Generally, 20-23 questions come from this section. The data is provided and answers are to be identified on the basis of the same. The data graphs or pie charts can become difficult to comprehend sometimes.
  • XAT GK syllabus: Questions come from politics, geography, history, economics and recent trends of the market. The section always has moderate difficulty level as questions are designed from recent changes in any field.
  • XAT Essay syllabus: There is no set syllabus for XAT for the essay writing section. Any topic of examiners interest, which will involve some brainstorming, can come up. The grammatical rules and clarity of thought are most important in essay writing.

XAT Exam Pattern

Here are some key points about XAT Exam Pattern:

  • XAT comprises of two papers and both of them are mandatory to clear.
  • The exam will be conducted in offline mode.
  • 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 26 questions in Paper 2.
  • As for the negative marking in Paper 1, 1 mark will be awarded for each correct answer and -0.25 marks will be deducted for an incorrect answer. For Paper 2, there is no negative marking.
  • All questions will be in English only.
  • The duration of Paper 1 is 170 minutes, while the duration for Paper 2 is 35 minutes.

We advise you to practice as many XAT Sample Papers as possible before you sit for the exam. It helps you understand XAT Exam Pattern and all other components to be done beforehand. Also, XAT Practice Papers help you manage your time effectively. You can have a fair idea as to how much time is to be devoted to each section. So, hurry up!

XAT Syllabus for Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation

  • QA and DI section is counted as part of Paper 1 of XAT exam.
  • XLRI has brought significant changes in this section. Numbers, Geometry and Mensuration questions have become more prominent and around 50% of the Quant questions are based on these areas.
  • Arithmetic, venn diagrams, functions are other favourite topics on which questions are formed in XAT.
  • Questions on Data Interpretation are based on Bar charts, Tables, Pie charts, diagrams and are in sets mostly. 
  • There are 29 questions asked from this section and we suggest you take 2 minutes and 17 seconds to solve each question.
  • All questions carry equal marks.
  • There are 5 answer choices and the correct answer must be darkened in OMR sheet.
  • QA and DI section is considered to be of the highest difficulty level.


  • The section is difficult and the number of questions can change.
  • There is no percentage defined between the numbers of questions asked in QA & DI section.

Marking scheme for QA/ DI

  • 1 mark is awarded for every correct answer.
  • 0.25 marks are deducted for every incorrect answer.
  • 0.05 marks are deducted once the count of 12 unattempted questions has completed.

Important topics for Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation

Important topics for Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation in XAT
GeometryMensuration – 2D and 3D
ProbabilityAlgebra Functions
P&LSpeed & Distance
ArithmeticHeights & Distance
Direction Sense & TimeClocks
Data Interpretation – Table, Combination--

XAT Preparation Books for QA/ DI

Book namePublisher / Author

Quantitative Aptitude for CAT

Nitish K.sinha

PSC for VA for CAT

Nitish K.sinha

Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT

Nitish K. Sinha

CAT 2017 Quantitative Aptitude

Gautam Puri

Wiley's ExamXpert XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test)

Wiley India (Author)

Jabbing the XAT Mock Tests & Solved Papers

R K Jha

XAT Syllabus for Verbal and Logical Ability

  • VA and LR section is part of XAT Paper 1.
  • There are 7 important topics in Verbal ability section.
  • 26 questions of objective type are expected to come from this section.
  • Approximately 56. 6 minutes are required to complete this section.
  • Every question will have 5 answer options.
  • All questions will carry equal marks.
  • The section can have moderate to high difficulty level questions.

Marking scheme for XAT VA/ LR

  • 1 mark is awarded for every correct answer.
  •  0.25 marks are deducted for every wrong answer.
  • 0.05 marks are deducted for every unattempted question after the count of 12 unattempted questions has completed.

Important topics for Verbal and Logical Ability

Important topics for Verbal and Logical Ability in XAT
GrammarPara Completion
VocabularyPara Jumble
Critical ReasoningReading Comprehension

XAT Preparation Books for VA/ LR

Book namePublisher/ Author

Study Notes Material On XAT Paperback – 2016

Sourav sir's classes

Verbal Ability Comprehension for CAT/ XAT/ IIFT/ CMAT/ MAT/ Bank PO/ SSC 2nd Edition

Bharta Patodi

Aditya Choudhary

XAT Syllabus for Decision Making

  • DM section is part of Paper 1 of XAT.
  • There are 23 questions expected from this section.
  • Set based questions are asked.
  • The difficulty level of DM section is moderate to tough.

Marking scheme for DM 

  • 1 mark for every correct answer.
  • 0.25 marks deducted for every wrong answer.
  • Once the count of 12 unattempted questions has completed, 0.05 marks will be deducted for every unattempted question. 

Important topics in XAT Decision Making

Important topics for Decision Making in XAT
ArithmeticAnalytical Reasoning
SituationalConditions and Grouping Test
Data Arrangement TestReading Comprehension
Case letsDecision Making in a situation

XAT Preparation Books for DM

Book namePublisher

XAT 2016 Decision Making Online Coaching by Ravi Handa (Voucher)

Online book

Target XAT 2017 (Past Papers 2005 - 2016 + 5 Mock Tests

Disha Experts

XAT Solved Papers 2008-2016 with Full Length Model Papers Essay Writing & Practice Essays Decision Making

Disha publications

XAT Syllabus for General Knowledge

  • GK section is included in Paper 2 of XAT 2017.
  • 25 questions will be asked in total.
  • The difficulty level is moderate as no brainstorming is needed.
  • Most questions are on current affairs and some on GK.
  • 60:40 breakup is defined for GK and current affairs.

Marking scheme of GK Section

  • 1 mark is awarded for every correct answer.
  • No negative marking for a wrong answer.
  • You can spend 20 minutes to complete this section. 

Important topics in GK

Important topics for GK in XAT
PoliticsNation and states
SportsAwards and Recognitions
International RelationsSociety
Merger & Acquisitions--

XAT Preparation Books for GK

Book namePublisher

Objective General Knowledge


General knowledge


General Science


XAT Syllabus for Essay Writing

  • There is no set syllabus defined for Essay writing section.
  • Topics of general interest, current scenario or past events can be asked to write.
  • Grammar rules must be confirmed while writing an essay.
  • There is no marking scheme defined for Essay writing.

XAT Preparation Books for Essay Writing

XAT Essay Writing Books
Book namePublisher/Author

XAT Solved Papers 2008-2016 with Full Length Model Papers Essay Writing & Practice Essays Decision Making

Gautam Puri

XAT Simplified (12 yrs Past Papers + 5 Mock Tests + General Awareness Gist/ Essays

Disha publications

XAT 2017 Essay Topic

Here are some sample topics from previous years:

  • XAT 2017 essay topic: Globalization and Jingoism always coexist.
  • XAT 2016 essay topic: Technology and Nature are natural enemies.
  • XAT 2015 essay topic: Listening is a dying art. We hardly listen to understand. We only listen to refute or reply.
  • XAT 2014 essay topic: The most beautiful thing can neither be seen nor be touched but can only be felt.
  • XAT 2013 essay topic: Corruption is the root cause of economic slowdown in India


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