Comparison Between XAT 2018 with CAT and other management exams

Last Updated - March 24 2018

XAT is the second most famous management entrance exam in India after CAT. XAT is various in many ways from other exams like CAT, MAT & CMAT. XAT is organized by XLRI Jamshedpur and XAT score is accepted by 120 B schools across India including XLRI and its associate members. However, there are some other parameters which make XAT a unique exam. XAT is considered a high difficulty level exam in comparison to CAT and other exams.

Comparison of XAT and CAT will be done on the basis of

  • Participating Institutes/Colleges accepting Score
  • Difficulty Level
  • Number of Test-takers
  • Marking/Scoring/Cutoff
  • Exam Format
  • Method and Timing
Topics to be comparedCATXAT
What does it stand for?Common Aptitude TestXavier Aptitude Test
Organizing BodiesIndian Institute of ManagementXLRI, Jamshedpur, and XAMI members
When is it organized?Two days slots in November every year.On first Sunday of January every year.
How can I register for the test?To register you may log in to register you may log in to
Application FeeINR 1600 (General) INR 800 (SC/ST/DA/PWD)INR 1000 for each category
Method of ExamOnlinePen Paper Based

Ques. Do IIMs accept XAT score?

Ans. No, IIMs do not accept any other score than CAT for its regular PGP courses. Now we will discuss in detail how these both exams are various from each other.

XAT 2018 Exam Format

XAT Exam format is the little bit various from CAT and other exams. These both sections are evaluated during the final selection i.e. individual interview. These are โ€“ Judgment Making, Essay Writing, and General Knowledge. The following analysis will help you understand the difference between XAT and CAT exam format Although essay writing and general knowledge sections are not considered in calculating XAT score.  But if you are planning to get into B Schools like XLRI, XIMB and SPJIMR, Essay writing and general knowledge can make a difference. There are some topics that are only asked in XAT.

TopicsNo of questions in XATNo of questions in CAT
QA and DI30-3550
VA and LR2850
Judgment Making23NA
General Knowledge20NA

Difficulty Level

XAT is considered somehow difficult than CAT. According to the XAT 2017 aspirants, Quantitative Aptitude was the toughest of all the sections followed by Verbal Ability, Judgment Making & Analytical Reasoning, and General Knowledge. XAT 2018 has moderate to difficult level of difficulty. And the aspirants who appeared in CAT too, establish saying that CAT 2017 was easier. Although some of the aspirants feel XAT was not any tougher than CAT, there are also some parameters which made XAT a bit tougher, these are-

  • General Knowledge, this section is always considered tough because of its vast syllabus.
  • Essay Writing  Section, which requires extra attention and time

Ques. Which is the more difficult CAT or XAT?

Ans. Although there are some topics that make it a bit various these both are of the nearly same level. There is a myth about XAT that it is a tough exam. However sometimes in XAT, some questions are tougher than CAT, as it was in QA section of XAT 2018. 

Marking Scheme

In XAT each objective type question contains one mark and it also has the subjective part i.e. essay which carries 30 marks weight, however, it is not considered while calculating XAT score and cutoff. There is negative marking of 1/4 in XAT i.e. for every wrong response .25 marks will be deducted.


In CAT each question has the weight of 3 marks and there are totally objective type questions. Negative marking in CAT is of 1/3 i.e. for every wrong response 1 mark will be deducted.

Method and Timing

XAT is a pen paper based exam while most of the exams now are taken into online mode. Except this, XAT time period is 3 hours and for CAT it is 2 hours and 50 minutes. In online method aspirant required to understand the instructions and also some aspirants may not be such tech-savvy. This makes a lot of difference between both the exams. If we talk about CAT it is taken in online mode. XAT on other side follows the same pen paper format since it was started in 1949 which is the most convenient way of the exam.

Most importantly in XAT, all the aspirants solve the same exam all over the country because it is held on one specific date while CAT is organized in window method i.e. there is a set of dates on which exams are organized and also there are various sets for each day.

Scoring and Cutoff

XAT score is calculated by a simple procedure, how many questions you have done correctly and how many are wrong. Each aspirant attempts the same test and so cut off is also very simply calculated.


In CAT there are various sets of papers attempted by aspirants each day of the exam taken. CAT score evaluation is done in two-stage procedure- raw score and scaled score, which is a bit complicated than XAT.

Number of Test-takers

Although XAT is a national level exam but still it is less famous than CAT. This year number of test takers in XAT was 89400 while in CAT 2014 it was195000. In XAT the competition hence becomes little easier. This also makes a lot of difference between both the exams.


Acceptance of Score

XAT score is accepted by 120 b schools of India. also, accept XAT score. These institutes comprise (except XLRI) XIMBXISS RanchiXIME Bangalore, LIBA, Chennai, XIMJ, XIMR Mumbai, SFIMR Mumbai, AIMIT Bangalore, SJCBA Bengaluru and Mount Carmel Institute of Management Bangalore. Except these, there are some other top institutes like  SPJIMR, MICAWelingkar, and TAPMI etc. Among these 10 are the member institutes of XAMI.

While CAT score is more widely used in nearly all renowned b schools in India. There are more than 175 b schools that accept XAT score including countryโ€™s top management institutes i.e. IIMs.

Ques. Does XLRI accept CAT score?

Ans. XLRI for its regular PGDM courses accepts only XAT score.

Ques. Do colleges prefer CAT score to XAT?

Ans. There are many B schools that accept both XAT and CAT scores. It only depends on how much seats are reserved and how is the cutoff for that particular score. But there are no such criteria for preference of any of these scores. For example, SPJIMR accepts both accept CAT and XAT score, and last year cutoff for both were 8.

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