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XAT Pattern, Preparation and Books

“XAT exam” stands for Xavier Aptitude Test and is one of the largest MBA entrance exams in India for admission to XLRI, SPJIMR, IMT, XIMB, TAPMI and 160+ MBA colleges.

 Saurav Anand 10/04/2022
XAT Pattern, Preparation and Books
XAT Pattern, Preparation and Books


"XAT exam" stands for Xavier Aptitude Test and is one of the largest MBA entrance exams in India for admission to XLRI, SPJIMR, IMT, XIMB, TAPMI and 160+ MBA colleges. The XAT exam is taken by more than one million students each year from all disciplines, including engineering, commerce, humanities, science and law, to get into these top B-schools' MBA programs. XAT 2022 will require 4-5 months of serious preparation to get a high percentile (90+) on the exam.

XAT Exam Pattern for 2021

There is no other MBA Entrance Exam in India that has the same pattern as XAT. On the XAT Paper, instead of the three sections as on the CAT Paper, there are four sections:
  • Logical and Verbal Ability
  • Decision Making
  • Data Interpretation and Quantitative Ability
  • General Knowledge
Therefore, candidates need to modify their preparation for XAT in comparison to CAT. There are 3 hours in total to complete the XAT Paper Pattern 2021. XLRI, Jamshedpur has specified the XAT Exam Pattern 2022 in detail. Registration for XAT 2022 began on August 5, 2021, following the release of the official notification.  In terms of exam patterns, no major changes have been announced. There will be 100 questions in total, divided into four sections, viz. Ability to make logical and accurate decisions, quantitative ability and data interpretation, and general knowledge. The XAT exam pattern was updated in 2021 and there will only be four sections in the exam in 2022. Following are the important changes in the XAT Exam pattern:
  • The question paper has been updated to include questions of the numerical answer type (NAT).
  • We will be using objective MCQs for all questions.
  • We have removed the essay writing section.
  • In comparison to previous years, the question paper will have 100 questions instead of 99.
  • After 30 minutes of commencement, candidates can submit the exam.
  • The results of GK are not taken into account in the calculation of the final XAT score.
  • The XAT paper time duration has been reduced from 210 minutes to 180 minutes.
The XLRI team has confirmed that the XAT exam pattern has changed significantly this year. The format of the exam will change. The XAT 2022 exam is divided into four sections. Ability in Verbal and Logical Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Ability, and Data Interpretation.

Question types will be multiple-choice (MCQ) based and each MCQ will be followed by five answer options.

Besides the changes in the type and number of questions to be asked of exam takers, there are also other changes. According to other MBA entrance exams, the exam is designed to assess a candidate's aptitude. For the XAT, candidates will be given 180 minutes, which is approximately 3 hours. For every correct answer, an aspirant will earn one mark. For the XAT 2022 exam, negative marking is equal to 0.25 (14) marks. XAT's GK section is non-negative-marked. As a result, aspirants may attempt all the questions in the GK section without worrying about the negative marking.

Exam Structure for XAT 2022

XAT 2022 exam questions are divided into four sections. These sections are Decision Making, Verbal & Logical Ability, Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, and General Knowledge. XAT Exam will not include a subjective essay writing test. At the initial (1st) stage of selection, the marks from general knowledge will not be included in the final percentile and cut off. In a single session, the test will last for 3 hours, beginning at 9:30 am and ending at 12:30 pm.
  • XAT 2022 exam pattern provides us with significant information to design an effective strategy. Our experts offer the following recommendations:
  • The sections should be given equal importance since they will all contribute to the overall score as well. To get admitted to the top B-schools, you need to clear both the overall and sectional cut-offs. XAT has gained in significance since essay-writing was removed from the test.
  • It is necessary to choose the time limit for one section (of Part 1) carefully since the level of difficulty is high.
  • In the Decision-making section, XAT examines students' aptitude for MBA by asking them to solve problems related to management. Since the answer choices are usually tricky, this section needs to be handled very carefully.
  • Practising Mock Tests regularly is essential in all sections of the test for superior results.
  • Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning are the two main dominant areas in the Verbal & Logical Ability section. Students should build their vocabulary and grammar concepts to master these topics.
  • For Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation, it is essential to have a strong conceptual foundation in Geometry, Number Systems, Probability, and DI with strong application orientation.
  • Staying up to date with both current and static GK is essential. You should prepare current events for the past six months, as well as books, authors, and geography to maintain your grasp on static GK.
  • To score high in the XAT, you must strike the right balance between speed and accuracy.


You won't find XAT strange after preparing for CAT, except for yes the Decision-making section. Those who clear the cutoff can get admission to renowned colleges such as XLRI, SPJIMR, IMT, XIMB, TAPMI, XIME, BIMTECH, and other top B-schools.  In order to score well on the XAT, you must have a plan and accuracy must be your on-the-go factor, in addition to time management and speed. Unlike other exams, this one has a shorter duration. XAT preparation must be given due attention from the beginning.

Preparing for the XAT 2021

It is important to start early when preparing for XAT. Those who have started preparing for XAT 2021 already or plan to start within the next two months will be more likely to complete the curriculum than those who delay their studies until the critical months of October or November. In order to clear XAT, candidates who plan to start on a later date will either have to take a crash course or be updated with mock revisions. Please note that XAT's marking scheme is stricter than CAT's and that some sections are far more challenging than those in CAT. In light of the fact that a lot is to be covered in only a short period of time, here is a list of essential steps that will help a XAT aspirant to overcome the difficulty level and compete with other candidates.

We present here some tips to help you prepare for the XAT

  • Analyze your strong and weak areas. Make two separate lists of the units involved in your strong and weak areas. You could improve your scores by focusing on your weak areas
  • Revisit your concepts: Continue to work on solving numerical problems to the best of your ability. QA (Quantitative Ability) is one of the toughest sections to pass and carries a high weightage in the overall exam. Moreover, keep an eye on current affairs to broaden your perspective, and make it a habit to read every day.
  • Take daily mock having in mind that XAT's native marking scheme is 0.25%, it is imperative that you improve your accuracy to prevent yourself from experiencing the same fate. Our mock analysis allows you to identify your mistakes before the actual exam and simulates the exact examination process to instil a sense of peer pressure into the heart of every candidate, which reminds them of the grave competition and enables them to improve their problem-solving skills.
  • Sample papers and mock tests from previous years are available for download.
  • Schedule your preparation for the XAT exam.

Be familiar with your syllabus

An examination's syllabus is essential for every test taker. A difficult and time-consuming preparation process will result if you do not know the syllabus. The XAT 2022 Syllabus will guide the candidates through the sections and topics that need to be studied and prepared before appearing for the test. The syllabus contains minute details of the sections from which different questions will be framed.

Knowledge of the XAT 2022 Exam Pattern

Another most important part of preparing for an exam is knowing the exam pattern. An exam pattern is the outline of a question paper for the XAT 2022. There are factors such as the number of questions per section, the total number of questions, the marks per question, the total marks, the time duration, the negative marking, and the format of the test. If the candidate is aware of these factors, then he/she can divide the syllabus according to the exam pattern and start studying the portions that give equal weight to each section. This will in turn help candidates achieve good marks in XAT 2022.

Plan your studies

Study plans must be created before candidates begin their preparation. XAT 2022 presents a vast syllabus to candidates that they need to plan out in order to cover everything well. Having a good study plan will allow candidates to get through the syllabus smoothly since it will include sections for all subjects and therefore sections they need to cover for the test.

Focusing on the Concept

For every subject and topic we study, we need to have a clear understanding of the subject or topic. Candidate's ability to understand any topic or subject matter enables them to study and memorize that subject or topic in a short period of time. The candidate should first focus on understanding the subject matter and then practice it. In subjects that have to be solved in steps, understanding the concept of the subject is best.

Planning your time

For competitive exams like the XAT 2022, time management is very important. Candidates may lose the chance of getting selected for the best management institution if they fail to complete the exam paper in the allotted time. In the same manner, if the candidates fail to finish their syllabus on time, taking the examination will become a difficult task for them. Therefore, experts advise candidates to create a timetable for exam preparation in order to manage their time. Thus, they will be able to cover the entire syllabus on time, as well as have time to revise the chapters before the examination. By following the exam pattern during practice sessions, time management can also be conquered. On the main exam day, all that is needed is to be quick and easy with the questions, which can only be achieved by following the time duration and keeping the exam pattern in mind.

Write Short Notes

The XAT 2022 syllabus has numerous difficult topics, so this is the best way to cover them. It is fun to make short notes as well. It is possible for candidates to break down a large topic into a number of short notes or points, which make the process easier for them. The shorter notes will help candidates read the whole topic more quickly and lighten the burden of a vast syllabus.

Regularly take tests

Tests should be taken regularly so that candidates are familiar with the pattern that they will be facing at the time of the exam. Regularly taking tests will also allow candidates to review what they have studied and to learn what they need to study more. Candidates will be able to identify their weaker sections and the sections that need more practice and concentration.

Consult Experts

Getting help and guidance from experts is one of the most effective ways to handle the syllabus and the examination. Teachers, parents, and seniors are all possible experts. If you need help with the syllabus, you should not hesitate to ask anyone or any source that you think can help. Individuals like these can help you get to know the concepts of a topic or subject or they can assist you in understanding the structure and pattern of the test that you will be taking. Books for XAT QA & DI
  • How to prepare for the Data Interpretation Exam - Arun Sharma
  • R.S. Aggarwal’s Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations  R.S. Aggarwal
  • Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations written by  Abhijit Guha
  • Nishit K. Sinha’s Data Interpretation for the CAT Nishit K. Sinha
Best books for XAT 2022 VA & LR section
  • A Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning  written by  R.S. Aggarwal
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension  book  by Ajay Singh
  • Word Power Made Easy Book book by  Norman Lewis
  • Analytical Reasoning is written by MK Pandey
  • High School English Grammar & Composition written by  Wren & Martin
Recommended Books for XAT Decision Making Section
  • Target XAT 2020 (Past papers & mock tests) written by Disha experts
  • Analytical and Logical Reasoning written by  Arihant Publications
  • Jabbing the XAT (with solved papers) written by R.K. Jha

1.XAT 2021: Is it easy?

There was no significant difference in difficulty levels between the XAT exam papers of previous years and this year. All sections were easier than the Decision-Making one.  

2.Are Arun Sharma's books sufficient for XAT?

There is a small chance that a single book will suffice for any of the exams. Different questions can be found from different sources. It is only possible to learn from books. We need you to do everything. Your best effort is needed.

3.Is it possible to prepare for XAT in one month?

The XAT mocks can be done after you have given your CAT, provided that your DM is ready (which shouldn't take more than one month). CAT preparation should prepare you well for VA. Master DI and solve a few tough questions for QA. When you practice mocks well, you won't feel pressed for time.

4.Is 3 months enough time to prepare for the XAT?

XAT 2022 preparation should begin at least three months before exam day if you hope to achieve good results. You will have three full months to prepare if you start in October.

5.What are the best XAT scores?

A score of somewhere above 35 marks is generally sufficient to get an interview call from XLRI Jamshedpur in terms of the XAT Cut Off.

6.What are my chances of succeeding on XAT if I don't hire a coach?

You can crack XAT or any MBA entrance exam without formal coaching if you work hard enough. You should allow at least one to two hours every day to prepare for the XAT and be extremely relaxed prior to the test.

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