XAT Exam Pattern 2018

Last Updated - March 10 2018

XAT is organized in Pen Paper-based pattern since its inception. In this article, we will share the detailed Exam format of XAT. XAT is three-hour duration exam which consists both objective and subjective parts. XAT is divided into two parts- First part is of 2 hours and 20 minutes period which contains four sections with multiple choice questions and the second part is of 40 minutes consisting Essay Writing and General Awareness. XAT Exam organizing body never follows a strict format, however, there are some changes in the question paper nearly every year. XAT would remain the same.

XAT 2018 is going to be held on January 07, 2018. XAT Application procedure has been started since August 16, 2017 and the last date to apply is November 30, 2017. XAT Admit card will be available from December 20, 2015


XAT 2018 Exam Format

XAT is basically divided into two papers. Paper 1 of XAT 2016 will be the objective type having multiple choice questions from 3 sections – Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning and Judgment Making which has a period of 2 hours 20 minutes. Paper 2 consists of Essay Writing and General Knowledge and time allotted for this part is 40 minutes. The total time period of XAT is 3 hours.


xat exam details
Paper 1Quantitative Ability English Language & Logical Reasoning Judgment Making2 hour 20 minutes
Paper 2Essay writing (Subjective) General Awareness (Objective)40 minutes

Number of Questions Asked in XAT

The number of questions asked in XAT varies every year and so does the marks. This year in XAT 2015, paper 1 contained 84 questions and general awareness section had 20 questions. Following table shows variation in a number of questions asked in Part 1 during last three years: General awareness section always carries 20 questions since major changes in exam format from 2013.

PaperNo. of questionsMarks
XAT 20139191
XAT 20148383
XAT 20158484

XAT 2018 Marking scheme

Each question contains 1 mark and there is also Negative marking. General Awareness section is only qualifying; it means no marks will be considered in merit or cut off from this section. For every wrong response, 0.25 marks will be deducted. Multiple choice questions have five number options to choose from. Essay writing part carries 30 marks but it is evaluated during the interview. XAT papers contain differential marking, so aspirants must read the instructions cautiously.


XAT Difficulty Level

XAT maintains its difficulty level since it was started. In XAT 2015 QA and DI section were stated to be very tough. There are some sections and parameters that make it tough than other exams sometimes. Essay writing and general knowledge may require extra attention sometimes. Sometimes it is a moderate exam and sometimes it tends to be tough.

XAT 2018 FAQs

Ques. Does XAT format change every year? What was the format of last years’ XAT?

Ans. XAT is being organized in the same format since 2013, only the number of questions varies. However before 2013 it was different, general knowledge section was introduced in 2013. XAT 2015 has 84 questions in part 1 and 20 questions were from general knowledge and one essay in part 2.


Ques. Is XAT really a tough exam than CAT?

Ans. These both are the same level exams. Although sometimes XAT is considered tougher than CAT because of its extra sections i.e. essay and GK and also QA part in XAT is sometimes tougher than CAT and other exams. But overall it all depends on your preparation and caliber, and which exam you are mainly focusing.

Ques.  What is marking scheme? Does each question carry equal marks? What about essay writing?

Ans.  XAT paper has differential marking scheme, it means marks allotted to each question will be given next to them. Although objective type questions contain only 1 mark each. Essay writing carries 30 marks however Essay writing is evaluated during the interview.

Ques. Is sectional cutoff considered in XAT?

Ans. Some top institutes like XLRI, XIMB, and SP Jain consider both sectional and total cutoff for final selection. All other b schools only consider total cut off for the selection.

Ques.  How many questions are asked form Quantitative Aptitude/Verbal and Logical Ability/ Judgment Making?

A. Following is the section wise number of questions asked since last three years-

SectionsNo of Questions in XAT 2015No of Questions in XAT 2014No of questions in XAT 2013
Quantitative Ability333136
Verbal and Logical Ability282828
Judgment Making232425
General Knowledge302030

Ques. Do marks in GK section and Essay writing matter while selection?

Ans. If you have scored very well in all sections but a poor essay writing and general knowledge may lead you to rejection. XLRI considers essay writing and general knowledge during the interview. Some institutes don’t even consider essay writing while final selection.

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