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XAT Syllabus 2024: Highlights, Section-wise Syllabus & Preparation Tips

Updated on 29th May 2023 | 10:17 am | #XATSyllabus

The syllabus assigned by XLRI Jamshedpur for the XAT exam focuses on Decision Making, Verbal & Logical Ability, Quantitative Aptitude & Data Interpretation, and General Knowledge. The XAT Syllabus is the first thing that every serious candidate should look at so that they can schedule their preparation with enough time for mocks at the end.

XAT 2024 is going to be held as a Computer Based Test. The XAT Exam Notification is expected to be released in the first week of August 2023. In XAT 2022, the Essay Writing section was reintroduced after being removed in XAT 2019. Thus, all questions except Essay Writing are multiple-choice type questions.

The XAT percentile score is determined by three sections:

  • Verbal & Logical Ability
  • Quantitative Aptitude & Data Interpretation
  • Decision Making

Essay Writing is only evaluated if the candidate is selected in the shortlisting process.

The XAT Exam is considered to be one of the toughest MBA entrance exams. The level of difficulty in each of the sections is generally higher than that of CAT. In addition to this, the Decision Making Section does not have any particular syllabus but rather focuses on the candidate's presence of mind and analytical skills.

Begin your XAT Preparations

XAT Syllabus 2024: Overview

The XAT Syllabus is just as extensive as the CAT Syllabus and similar to CAT, it does not have an official syllabus which gives the convening body some flexibility while setting the paper. Before the XAT Syllabus, the XAT Exam Pattern has to be carefully looked at. The XAT Exam is composed of 5 sections:

  • Verbal and Logical Ability
  • Decision Making
  • Quantitative Aptitude & Data Interpretation
  • General Knowledge
  • Essay Writing

The marking scheme for the XAT Exam 2021 is expected to be:

  • +1/-0.25
  • For every unattempted question after 8 unattempted questions, 0.10 marks are reduced per unattempted question.

Due to this rule of not leaving more than 8 questions unattempted, the candidates have to be extremely strategic in the questions that they decided to leave.

As mentioned above, the XAT Syllabus is not explicitly released by XLRI Jamshedpur, which convenes the XAT. However, the previous XAT papers can be used as a guideline for the types of questions asked as well as the topics which are generally tested in the XAT Exam. In order to prepare according to the XAT Syllabus, we need to look at the syllabus according to the sections.

XAT Syllabus 2024: Exam Pattern

In XAT 2023 there was a slight change in the exam pattern and questions and XAT 2024 is expected to follow that trend. The XAT exam consists of 3 parts with part 2 being a 5-minute gap for Mock Keyboard Testing. The remaining exam is split into 2 parts with 5 sections. The sections do not have any individual time limit. Given below is a brief outline of the XAT exam pattern.

XAT 2024


No. of Questions


Part 1

Verbal & Logical Ability


165 minutes

Decision Making


Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation


Part 2

General Knowledge


15 minutes

Essay Writing


10 minutes



190 minutes

XAT Syllabus 2024: Verbal & Logical Ability

This section is a combination of Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) & Logical Reasoning. It consists of three distinct sections for preparation purposes:

Verbal Ability

This part of the Verbal & Logical Ability Section is similar to the VA section in the CAT Exam. Thus the topics which are generally tested in the XAT Exam and hence are considered part of the XAT Syllabus are:

  • Vocabulary Based Questions
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Synonyms/ Antonyms
  • Contextual Meaning of Words
  • Jumbled paragraphs
  • Correction of Errors in Sentences
  • Correct Usage of Words
  • Completion of Sentences
  • Completion of Paragraph
  • Cloze Test
  • Poem

Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension in XAT is a smaller (but still significant) part of the section than in the VARC section in the CAT Exam. Like in CAT, there is no topic which is exempt from the XAT Exam. The word limit of the passages in the XAT Exam is quite limited. This, however, does not mean that the passages are more readable.

The types of questions asked in the RC section according to the XAT Syllabus are:

  • Information-Based Question
  • Author's View type of question
  • Inference based Question
  • Main Idea and Purpose of the Passage
  • True/False Statements based on the Passage
  • Explanation of Words/Phrases in the Passage

Logical Reasoning

The Logical Reasoning section in the XAT Syllabus is mostly covered by the CAT Syllabus. There are generally few questions for this section in the XAT Exam. It also includes some Critical Reasoning Questions which are generally not asked in the CAT Exam. The topics generally tested in the Logical Reasoning part according to the XAT Syllabus are:

  • Clocks & Calendars
  • Analogy
  • Fact, Inference and Judgment
  • Binary Logic
  • Seating Arrangement
  • Blood Relations
  • Logical Sequences
  • Assumption, Premise and Conclusion

The Logical Reasoning Questions in the XAT Exam could be in the form of sets or as individual questions.

XAT Syllabus 2024: Decision Making

The Decision Making section is unique to the XAT Exam in comparison to all other MBA Entrance Exams. It tests the candidate on their presence of mind and ability to read the situation so that the candidate's problem solving/ case solving skills can be tested. In XAT 2023, this section consisted of 22 questions and it consistently has over 20 questions.

The topics which are generally tested in this section according to the XAT Syllabus are:

  • Conditioning and Grouping Tests
  • Data Arrangement Test
  • Complex Arrangement
  • Decision Making in a situation
  • Case lets

In order to prepare for the Decision Making Section of the XAT Syllabus, the candidates are encouraged to solve as many XAT Exam Papers of the Past as possible. This will ensure that the candidates are familiar with not only the topics of the section but also the language of the XAT Exam.

XAT Syllabus 2024: Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation

Like the Verbal Ability section, this section is a combination of two sections of CAT: Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation. It had 28 questions in the XAT Exam 2023 with the highest number of questions in recent years being 33 in XAT Exam 2015.

Quantitative Ability

The XAT Syllabus for the Quantitative Ability section is similar to that of the CAT Syllabus. According to the previous XAT Papers which determine the XAT Syllabus, the topics generally tested are:

  • LCM and HCF
  • Percentages
  • Profit and Loss
  • Interest (Simple and Compound)
  • Speed, Time and Distance; Time and Work; Averages; Ratio and Proportion and others
  • Number System
  • Algebra
  • Geometry including Co-ordinate Geometry
  • Mensuration
  • Pure Math
  • Venn diagrams
  • Linear Equations
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Complex Numbers
  • Logarithm
  • Progressions
  • Binomial Theorem
  • Surds and Indices
  • Inequalities
  • Permutation and Combination
  • Probability Functions
  • Set Theory
  • Mixtures and Alligations
  • Trigonometry

Given the extensive nature of the XAT Syllabus in the Quantitative section, it is important to start the preparation as soon as possible. The level of difficulty of the XAT Questions is tougher than that of the CAT Questions due to which knowing the basics is not enough.

Candidates would benefit if they study for the Quantitative Ability section with XAT in mind rather than CAT so that they can get accustomed to that level of difficulty.

Data Interpretation

The XAT Syllabus for the Data Interpretation section consists of:

  • Data Tables
  • Data Charts
  • Bar Diagrams
  • Pie Charts
  • Graphs
  • Data Analysis and Comparison

The Questions are generally in the form of sets, like in CAT, however individual questions may also be asked on occasion.

XAT Syllabus 2024: General Knowledge Section

This is another section that CAT does not test. However, despite the presence of the section, the XAT percentiles are calculated on the basis of the first 3 sections.

The XAT Syllabus in this section is extremely vast with current affairs as well as conventional GK (trivia). The topics which are regularly asked in this section include:

  • Economics and Finance
  • National and International Current Affairs
  • Constitution of India and Laws
  • Capitals and Currencies
  • Famous Personalities
  • Books and Authors

XAT Syllabus 2024: Essay Writing

The XAT exam syllabus included the essay writing section till XAT 2018 before the section was removed from the XAT syllabus. However, in XAT 2022, XLRI Jamshedpur reintroduced the essay writing section.

The essay writing section is the only descriptive question in the XAT syllabus. With the introduction of this section, candidates can expect an increase of 10 minutes in the total time allotted for the exam. Essay writing is also a broad topic with an infinite possibility of questions. In XAT 2022, candidates had to choose between two given topics while in XAT 2023, candidates had to choose one essay topic from 3 options.

The Essay Writing section focuses on abstract ideas and contemporary thoughts. The section is only evaluated if the candidate is shortlisted for further admission rounds at an institute,

XAT Syllabus 2024: Preparation Tips

Now that the XAT syllabus has been clarified based on previous XAT papers, here are a few points to keep in mind while preparing for XAT.

  • Candidates should start preparing six to eight months before the exam date.
  • Much like CAT, candidates should first lay the foundation of the varius concepts and complete the XAT exam syllabus.
  • After the candidates are more confident in their preparation they should begin giving mock exams to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Another habit that candidates must inculcate in their routine is staying up to date with current affairs, garnering general knowledge and polishing writing skills.
  • Candidates can also rely on the most recent XAT study material and coaching classes to understand the paper properly and gather insights.

XAT 2023 Analysis


The XAT Exam is considered one of the toughest MBA Entrance Exams due to the level of difficulty of the exam. However, this reputation also contributes to a lower number of candidates attempting the exam. In 2020, around 75,000 candidates appeared for the XAT Exam compared to over 2 Lakh aspirants for the CAT Exam. Another possible reason is the lower number of colleges accepting XAT Scores compared to CAT however the top colleges which accept the XAT Score means that it should definitely be on the calendar for every serious MBA aspirant.

In terms of the XAT Syllabus, the difficulty level lends itself well to the preparation of the candidates since it means that they would find other MBA entrance exams to be rather easy. Looking at the pattern and the percentile calculation, the first 3 sections are of the highest importance. The sectional cutoffs and the roughly equal number of questions mean that each section is of high importance.

The Decision Making section is generally considered to be the make-or-break section by most candidates because while the other 2 sections can be prepared for, the level of preparation possible for the DM section is minimal.

Thus thorough preparation according to the XAT syllabus is the only way that candidates can clear the XAT cutoff.