About XAT 2021

XAT or Xavier Aptitude Test is an online CBT (computer based) management entrance exam which grants the eligible candidate's admission into XLRI Jamshedpur, XIMB Bhubaneswar, SPJIMR Mumbai, IMT Ghaziabad, etc along with other 150 management institutes the country. The exam is conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur, which is the same league as that of the top IIMs of the country, in association with XAMI (Xavier Association of Management Institutes). It is the most widely chosen MBA entrance exam after CAT. Each year more than a lakh students enroll for XAT. The XAT 2021 notification had been released on 7th September 2020 and the registration had begun on 12th September 2020. The registration will last till 30th November 2020. The exam will be held on the first Sunday of January 2021.

The XAT 2021 Exam will likely be conducted in the month of January with the result being declared a couple of weeks after the test. Read on to find more about XAT 2021 notification, Exam dates, Exam Registration. Exam Pattern, Exam Syllabus, Eligibility etc.

Overview of XAT 2021

XAT (Xavier’s Aptitude test) is a management entrance examination which is regulated by XLRI (Xavier Labor Relations Institute) in association with XAMI (Xavier Association of Management Institutes). XAT is conducted in an online mode and the XAT 2021 Exam Pattern will be based on the updated syllabus, eligibility criteria, marking scheme and type of questions that were asked in the previous years’ question papers.

XAT was always primarily a pen-and-paper test but has shifted gears in recent times. XAT 2019 was the first time that the XAT Exam was conducted online. The XAT Exam contains two papers: the aptitude paper and the general knowledge paper. The candidate needs to attempt both sections to complete the test although the first paper scores are the only ones counted by most colleges.

XAT 2021 Notification

The XAT 2021 Notification is considered by most aspirants to be the first step towards the march to the XAT 2021 Exam. The XAT 2021 notification was released by XLRI on 7th September 2020 . It also gives some important details about the XAT 2021 Exam such as the XAT 2021 Exam Date, the XAT 2021 Registration process and a broad XAT 2021 Exam Pattern.

Following the release of the XAT 2021 Notification, the XAT 2021 Registration begins. The exact dates of the XAT 2021 Registration beginning and ending will be given in the XAT 2021 Notification. For XAT 2020, the XAT Registration began on 23th August 2019 and ended on 30th November 2019. 

XAT 2021 Important Exam Dates

The tentative examination schedule for XAT 2021 is mentioned below. The candidates can prepare according to the dates provided here:

Exam Details  

Exam Dates  

Official notification release by XLRI

7th September 2020

Starting of registration   

12th September 2020

Application Deadline   without late fees

30th November 2020

Application deadline with late fees

10th December 2020

Downloading of admit card

20th December 2020

Last date to download admit card

3rd January 2021

XAT 2021 Exam Date

3rd January 2021

Declaration of Result

Between 25-31st Jan , 2020

XAT 2021 Registration

The XAT 2021 Registration is completely online and is quite straightforward as well. The XAT 2021 Registration constitutes of the candidates:

  • Clicking on “new user” on XAT official website and registering through email ID and phone number.

  • Login into the profile created in order to fill the XAT 2021 Registration form

  • The XAT 2021 Registrations would require the candidate to fill in their personal, professional and academic details. The candidate is also required to upload their signature, photograph and academic mark sheets of 10th, 12th and graduation.

  • These details are followed by the candidate filling their preferences for programs at XLRI Jamshedpur, in case they get an interview call

  • The final step of the XAT 2021 Application process is the payment of the application fee

  • Submit the application form and take a printout of the same for future reference.

XAT 2021 Application Fee

The XAT 2020 Application fee is expected to be around:

Indian Applicants

  • Rs 1750 for XAT 2020 Registration on time and Rs 3oo for additional XLRI management program

  • Rs 2050for XAT 2020 Late Registration and Rs 500 for additional XLRI management program

Foreign nationals

  • $50 for XAT 2020 registration and $25 for every additional XLRI Management Program

The XAT 2021 Registration is likely to contain a field where the candidate is expected to fill their preferences in terms of programs. The fee for each program is Rs 300 if the candidate fills it on time and Rs 500 if it is filled during the late registration window. The candidate can make the application fee payment through debit card, credit card,net banking or mobile wallet.

XAT 2021 Exam Pattern: Eligibility Criteria

 The XAT aspirants need to be cautious regarding the imperative eligibility criteria to accord well with the registration guidelines of XAT 2020. It is mentioned as follows:

  • Candidates must complete a minimum of three-year time duration degree or a UGC equivalent from any stream, devoid of backlogs. Due to this, candidates with 2-year diplomas are ineligible unless it is from a program with a duration of 3 years.

  • Indian candidates, foreign nationals and NRI applicants are all eligible to go for XAT 2021 on an additional evaluating agent I.e. GMAT. Candidates from Dubai, UAE or Kathmandu, Nepal can appear for the examination from their domicile

  • There is no age limit in the XAT 2021

  • Candidates in their final year can also appear for XAT 2021 but their selection is conditional on their completing the bachelor’s degree.

XAT 2021 Exam Pattern

 The XAT 2021 Exam Pattern is likely to be quite different from other MBA Entrance Exams. The XAT 2021 Paper is expected to have 4 sections:

  • Verbal and Logical Ability

  • Decision Making

  • Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation

  • General Knowledge

The XAT 2020 Exam was conducted in the form of two papers. The first paper consisted of the first three sections and has 75 questions which had a time limit of 165 minutes. The other paper consists of general knowledge questions (25) for a period of 15 minutes. Therefore, the total time limit for the exam is 180 minutes with no sectional time limits. 

The marking scheme for the XAT 2020 Exam is:

  • For the MCQs, each correct response carries a reward of 1 mark.

  • Any incorrect response in the MCQs leads to a penalty of 0.25 marks. 

  • If the candidate leaves over 8 questions in the XAT 2020 Paper, there is a penalty of 0.1 marks for every question after the 8-question mark.

The rule for the number of questions which can be left is modified quite frequently. However the addition of this rule means that the candidate has to decide on exactly how many questions can they afford to leave especially since the penalty for an incorrect response is 2.5 times the penalty for leaving the question.

The XAT 2021 Exam Pattern is likely to follow the XAT 2020 Pattern and will be as follows:

Section Name

Number of Questions

Marking Scheme

Total Marks

Verbal and Logical Ability




Decision Making




Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation




General Knowledge







XAT 2021 Exam Pattern: Important Highlights

Here are a few summarized pointers regarding exam pattern that all candidates must remember while preparing for XAT 2021.

  • XAT will be held in an online CBT (Computer based) mode. XAT will be held in a single slot I.e. 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

  • Number of questions will be 100.

  • There will be no essay writing assessment in XAT 2021

  • The General Knowledge section score will not be included in percentile calculation

XAT 2021 Marking Scheme

The marking scheme for the XAT 2020 Exam is:

  • For the MCQs, each correct response carries a reward of 1 mark.

  • Any incorrect response in the MCQs leads to a penalty of 0.25 marks.

  • If the candidate leaves over 8 questions in the XAT 2020 Paper, there is a penalty of 0.10 marks for every question after the 8-question mark.

The rule for the number of questions which can be left is modified quite frequently. However, the addition of this rule means that the candidate must decide on exactly how many questions can they afford to leave, especially since the penalty for an incorrect response is 2.5 times the penalty for leaving the question.

XAT 2021 Exam Pattern Change

XAT (Before 2019)

XAT (After 2019)

Pen-Paper mode

Online CBT (Computer Based) mode

Two sessions in one day

Single session in one day

99 total questions

100 total questions

Essay Writing test

No essay writing test

Negative marking in NAT (Numerical Ability test) questions

No negative marking in NAT questions

MCQ + TITA questions

Only MCQ type questions

General Knowledge section included during percentile calculation

General Knowledge section not included during percentile calculation

Negative marking for GK section

No negative marking for GK section

0.05 marks deduction after leaving 12 questions in a row

0.10 marks deduction for after leaving 8 questions in a row.

XAT 2021 Syllabus

The XAT 2021 Exam does not have a definitive syllabus because of which the XAT Preparation can become quite difficult. In order to study the XAT 2021 Syllabus, one should ideally go section by section so that they can cover as much ground as possible even if it is impossible to completely cover it owing to its ambiguous nature. The sections, as mentioned above, are:

  • Verbal and Logical Ability

  • Decision Making

  • Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation

  • General Knowledge

Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning Section :

This section can be further split into following sub sections:

  • Reading Comprehension

  • Verbal Ability

  • Logical Reasoning

This section is considered to be slightly more difficult than CAT. A part of the reason for this belief is that there are no sectional time limits in the XAT 2020 Exam. Due to this, most candidates tend to finish this section in a hurry whether it be in the beginning of the paper or the end. This leads to a fall in the average score of the candidate in the section and gives it the reputation of being quite difficult.

Decision Making Section

The Decision-Making section is unique amongst all the other MBA Entrance Exams in India. It does not have any fixed syllabus because it consists of small cases and the candidate is expected to select the best decision based on the options and information given. It is the Achilles heel for several candidates due to the ambiguity of it.

Quantitative Ability Section

The QA section is a combination of Mathematical problems and Data Interpretation questions. It consists of several different components such as:

  • Geometry

  • Percentages

  • Arithmetic

  • Trigonometry

  • Statistics

  • Commercial Maths

  • Speed and Distance

  • Clocks

These are a few of the more commonly tested topics in the XAT Exam. Apart from these topics, there are also questions based on data interpretation. Time Management is extremely important in this section because of the inherently lengthy nature of the section.

General Knowledge Section

The General Knowledge Section of the XAT 2021 Exam will not be counted in the overall score when deciding the cutoff but does play some role in the final selection of the candidate. Therefore, the candidates should not ignore the section completely. The vast nature of the general knowledge section means that no candidate can be completely confident in their preparation of this section. The only bonus, in this section, is that there is no negative marking which means that the candidates should be attempting each question with at least their best guess. 

This is a general look at the XAT 2021 Syllabus. For more information, please visit this page.

How to Prepare for XAT 2021

The XAT Exam is one of the toughest MBA Entrance Exams in India. Therefore it is extremely important for each candidate to understand exactly how to prepare for XAT 2021. 

The candidate needs to have some basic information about the XAT Exam when they begin to prepare for XAT 2021. This information is given above in the form of the exam pattern and the syllabus. Based on the XAT 2021 Exam Pattern and their own status in terms of the XAT 2021 Syllabus, the candidate can build a roadmap for their preparation of XAT 2021.   

The basic structure of preparing for any MBA Entrance Exam is always similar:

  • The candidate needs to revise the basics of Maths and English from Class 8 to 10

  • The candidate practice questions of different difficulty levels to identify their strengths and weaknesses

  • The candidate needs to give as many mocks as possible to ensure that they are familiar with the paper pattern and can attempt it irrespective of the difficulty level.

These are a few basic steps that must be taken so that the candidate can crack the XAT Exam. There is obviously much more that can be done while preparing for the XAT Exam however these basic steps should serve as a guideline to the specific plan that the candidate makes for their own preparation.

Click here to read more.

XAT 2021 Admit Card

The XAT 2021 Exam is expected to be held in the first week of January 2020 (most likely on 3rd January 2020). One of the key documents that each candidate has to produce at the XAT 2021 Exam is the XAT 2021 Admit Card. 

The XAT 2021 Admit Card is expected to be released in the third week of December 2020. It can be downloaded from the official XAT website by logging in with the Username and Password used for the XAT 2021 Registration. It contains certain details of the candidate for verification at the XAT 2020 Exam Center. Some of these details include:

  • Name of the candidate Date of Birth of candidate

  • Signature and Photograph of the candidate

  • Exam Duration

  • Exam Center Name and Address

  • Date and reporting time of the Exam

  • Gate closing time of exam centre

  • XAT Registration Number

  • Exam Instructions and Invigilator signature

Some of the details are used to verify the candidate’s identity at the XAT 2021 Exam Center to remove any doubt of foul play.

XAT 2021 Exam Date

It is always important to have a destination that you are working towards. Keeping this in mind, it is important for the candidate to have some idea about the XAT 2021 Exam Date. For this purpose, the candidate can have a look at the XAT Exam Dates of the previous years to find the trend.

XAT Exam Year

Date of Exam

XAT 2016

3rd January 2016

XAT 2017

8th January 2017

XAT 2018

7th January 2018

XAT 2019

6th January 2019

XAT 2020

5th January 2020

XAT 2021

3rd January 2021

These XAT Exam Dates do reveal the logical trend that all the XAT Exams are held on the first Sunday of January if it is not a public holiday. True to this, XAT 2021 will be held on the first sunday of 2021 i.e 3rd January 2021

XAT 2021 Result

The XAT Result is usually uploaded on the official XAT website. The declaration of the XAT Result is usually quite prompt in terms of when it is declared. The XAT Exam will be held on 3rd January 2021 and the XAT Result is declared within three weeks of the XAT Exam.

Before the XAT 2021 Result is declared, XLRI also releases the XAT 2021 Answer key as well as the response sheet. This allows the candidates to get an idea of their performance in the test and how they should proceed going forward.

The XAT 2021 Result is most likely be released in the fourth week of January 2021.

XAT 2021 Colleges

The XAT 2021 Colleges that attract most of the candidates are:

  1. XLRI Jamshedpur


  3. IMT

  4. XIMB

  5. GIM

  6. More

Out of these XAT 2021 Colleges, the colleges which are most sought after are XLRI Jamshedpur and SP Jain (SPJIMR). These two colleges are some of the best in the country and XAT 2021 represents a chance to get into these esteemed institutes. XLRI Jamshedpur uses only the XAT 2021 and the GMAT Exam as the qualifying exams while SP Jain is comparatively more liberal by allowing candidates to qualify through CAT 2020, XAT 2021 and the GMAT.

Overall there are over 150 colleges which are likely to accept the XAT 2021 Score as the qualifier for their admission processes. 

XAT 2021 Cut Off 

The XAT 2021 Cut Off is the minimum percentile that a candidate needs to attain in order to get a call from the college they have applied to. While the exact XAT 2021 Cut Off can only be speculated since it depends on several factors such as:

  • Difficulty of the XAT 2021 Exam

  • Number of candidates appearing for the XAT 2021 Exam

  • Number of Seats available

However, the cut off for the top colleges in XAT 2021 has remained relatively constant over the past few years. The cut off for the BM program at XLRI Jamshedpur is likely to remain around 96%ile while the same for the HRM program is likely to stay at around 94%ile. The reason for the difference between the two percentiles is the fact that there are less candidates interested in the HRM Program at XLRI Jamshedpur. 

The official XAT 2021 Cut Off will only be known post the XAT 2021 Result.

XAT 2021 Marksheet

The XAT 2021 marksheet can be easily downloaded by visiting the official website of XAT 2021. The result will arrive between January and March 2021

XAT 2021 Selection Procedures

The XAT 2021 Exam is simply the qualifier for candidates and as such there are generally several processes that Business Schools follow before they decide on whether they wish to select a candidate or not. 

Some of the most common selection procedures which are followed are:

  • WAT (Written Assessment Test)

  • GD (Group Discussion)

  • PI (Personal Interview)

In XAT 2020, there was also a self-assessment and recorded interview round however it is not guaranteed that the rounds will be repeated in XAT 2021

These are the staple selection procedures amongst all the B-Schools and especially among the top B-Schools. However, this should not be taken as gospel since the B-School has the authority to change the selection procedures as per their wishes.

XAT 2020 score vs percentile