Section-wise Preparation Tips For XAT 2020


Out of the various management entrance tests that are conducted in India every year, XAT or Xavier Aptitude Test is one of the most difficult ones to crack. Conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur, cracking this examination means you will be able to be a part of the esteemed educational institution, XLRI Jamshedpur. Of course, there are other well-known institutions around 150 plus B schools in India where your XAT score is accepted. 

On 5th January, XAT 2020 will be conducted. The mode of examination is entirely computer-based and you can expect at least 75000 candidates to compete with you to crack this crucial management entrance test. The registration for the entrance test is still going on till 30th November 2019. But if you get late do not worry because till 7th December 2019 you will get a chance to apply although a late fee will be levied on you. You can expect this XAT 2020 to be pretty difficult like always, and a neck and neck competition is inevitable. 

To gear up for this examination, take as many online XAT mock tests as you can. Mock tests are the best way to assess your own performance and fine-tune it even further. For now, we have got some useful tips that will help you prepare well and attempt each section in XAT with confidence.


XAT 2020 Exam Pattern & Syllabus

As stated earlier this entrance test will be difficult and the pattern keeps on changing every year so what you can do is go through the mock question papers of previous years. 

Let us now discuss the pattern and XAT syllabus in details. 

  • The mode of examination will be online. 
  •  There will be four sections or parts in total with the marks distribution given below:

Section Name

Maximum Marks Allotted

Decision making

21 to 24

Logical XAT reasoning and Verbal Ability

24 to 26

XAT quant questions and Data Interpretation


General Knowledge



  • In all the sections except for the XAT General Knowledge section, negative marking is applicable, 0.25 marks will be deducted for every wrong answer whereas you will get 1 mark straight for every right answer.
  • All the sections will be of moderate to difficult level. 
  • The total number of questions will be 98 to 103.
  • You will be required to solve multiple-choice questions from all the parts. 
  • The duration of the examination will be of 3 hours starting from 10 AM to 1 PM.
  • There will be no essay type questions. 
  • For the decision-making section, you are not expected to spend more than 15 minutes similarly for the XAT quant questions you can spend maximum 55 minutes, XAT reasoning and XAT GK section will also require 55 minutes each. 
  • If you leave more than 8 to 13 unanswered questions, 0.05 marks (negative marking) will be deducted.


Useful tips to guide you in each section

XAT Syllabus is pretty elaborate so these tips might help you a lot in preparing for this entrance examination.

Tips for Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation Section

Most of the examinees will agree to the fact that this part is one of the toughest. It is necessary that you get acquainted with what sort of questions you will be dealing with. You must be in touch with solving XAT mock question papers from previous years with a special focus on XAT Quant questions from areas like

  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Number Systems and
  • Questions from multiple graphs and Tables.

Solving questions from these parts will also help you to understand your level and you can work on it accordingly to become XAT ready. But of course, every section is equally vital to fetch a higher merit score so you must focus on all of them and prepare well.

Preparing for the DI section needs solving complex graphs and problem statements; the difficulty level is perceived to be higher in XAT owing to its format.

Books to prepare for the Quantitative Section, include Mr Arun Sharma’s “How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT (McGraw Hill)”. Another notable author Mr Nishit Sinha’s books on XAT preparation are also very helpful.

Tips For Verbal And Logical Ability Along With Decision Making

This should include practice reading of more and more sample cases. Practice is indeed the key in case of both XAT reasoning and decision making. Verbal ability will require you to be well versed with English language plus it includes a lot of reading such as reading comprehensions, etc. so try to be a fast reader because time is a factor. Your grammar and vocabulary have to be pretty strong so it is better to solve at least two question papers every day. If you can't solve or understand a question do not waste time just move on to the next question but whatever you do try to be perfect. In the case of XAT, the quantity doesn't count rather the quality counts so manage your time accordingly. A little bit of practice every day will ensure good XAT score.

Tips for General Awareness

The section on General Awareness in XAT 2020 is not directly linked to the merit score. Still, you have to be well updated about recent happenings, the economy of the world, etc. This section can be pretty scoring so read as much as possible and try to gather knowledge on current affairs and topics related to international news, politics, sports, world records, events, books and authors etc. You can read newspapers and magazines like Management Compass Career Launcher, Business Line by The Hindu Group, Business Today by India Today Group, and others. 

The XAT cut off is decided by XLRI. Depending on your percentile and the cut off you will be shortlisted for the GD and PI round. There are sectional cut-offs as well… an analysis of the past years show that the overall cut off for XLRI-BM was 32 to 33.5 percentile, the overall percentile for XLRI-HRM, XLRI-GMP, XIMB and SP Jain were 30-31.5, 26-31 and 32-33.5 respectively. XAT is a difficult entrance test and it can be compared to CAT candidates over the past few years have reported that CAT was easier than XAT. Last year the decision-making section was relatively trickier whereas the Quantitative ability was pretty easy according to many. 

To perform better in XAT some have suggested that online test platforms such as Eduwhere have proved pretty helpful as it makes you ready for the original examination. These mock online test platforms follow the same norms and regulations as followed in XAT so the candidate gets a taste of what she or he can expect which is absolutely necessary to perform well. These online mock tests also boost the confidence of a candidate. 


Studies have shown that maximum candidates, due to the lack of confidence, fail to perform well…so prepare well, practice well and perform well.