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XAT Syllabus – Changes in Syllabus & Exam Pattern, Important Topics

XAT Syllabus 2021 reduced to 4 sections/subjects instead of 5. 

75 questions with negative marking+25 GK questions without negative marking

XAT 2021 exam syllabus has been revised and is now divided into four main sections – 1.) Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension & Logical Reasoning; 2.) Decision Making; 3.) Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation; 4.) General Knowledge. The three initial core sections collectively determine the XAT percentile score as well as XLRI’s shortlisting criteria. The score of the General Awareness section, on the other hand, is estimated later during the Personal Interview (PI) round.

A clear understanding of an updated syllabus and exam structure is crucial before getting started with the XAT 2021 preparation. Some of the key insights to keep in mind for the XLRI XAT Exam 2021 includes:

  1. An updated syllabus
  2. Changes in the exam pattern
  3. Important topics from the new syllabus.

XAT Syllabus – Key Changes in XAT Syllabus 2021

XLRI has listed some of the key changes for XAT exam syllabus 2021. They are:

  1. XAT Syllabus 2021 reduced to 4 sections/subjects instead of 5
  2. No subjective questions on Essay Writing in XAT syllabus 2021
  3. All the 4 subjects (Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension & Logical Reasoning;  Decision Making; Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation; General Knowledge) will form a single question paper in a single section instead of two different parts without break
  4. Total number of questions as per XAT exam syllabus not to exceed 100
  5. All questions will be of MCQ type
  6. 75 questions with negative marking
  7. 25 GK questions without negative marking

XAT 2021 Syllabus Highlights:


Important Topics

Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation

Geometry, Tables, Graphs, Arithmetic, Trigonometry, Statistics, Profit & Loss, Speed and Distance, Clocks, Probability, Algebraic Function, Mensuration -2D and 3D

Verbal and Logical Ability

Grammar, Para Jumbles, Para Completion, Vocabulary, Reading Comprehensions, Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, Completion of Sentences

Decision Making

Analytical Reasoning, Situational, Case sets, Data Arrangement,

General Knowledge

Current Affairs, Politics, Literature, Sports, History, Awards and Recognitions, Business, Economics, International Relations, Society, Merger, and Acquisition

XAT Syllabus – Prepare as per XAT Detailed Syllabus 2021

Preparation for the XAT Exam is a little challenging unless you know the important topics in the XAT entrance exam syllabus. A knowledge of the syllabus ensures a wide coverage of all the topics. The XAT exam 2021 syllabus shared below is based on a revamped and an updated curriculum.

To know how to register for the XAT management test, read XAT Registration article here. 


Section Highlights: Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) exam syllabus for Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning section in XAT 2021 is subdivided into three parts: 

  • The 1st part of XAT 2021 syllabus covers questions based on Verbal Ability
  • The 2nd part of XAT 2021 exam syllabus covers questions on Reading Comprehension
  • The 3rd part of XAT 2021 exam syllabus covers questions on Logical Reasoning.

Number of Questions: The revised pattern of this section consists of 26 Multiple-Choice questions.

Major topics covered in XAT detailed syllabus 2021 for Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Logical Reasoning are: 

Part-1: Verbal Ability (VA)

Topics on which Verbal Ability questions are based:

  1. English Vocabulary based questions – fill in the blanks with correct words; synonyms/antonyms; contextual usage on vocabulary words
  2. Jumbled Paragraphs
  3. Correction of errors in sentences, correct use of words
  4. Completion of sentences
  5. Completion of paragraph

Part-2: Reading Comprehension (RC)

  1. Share of Reading Comprehension in VARC & LR section is very high
  2. Topics on which RC passages are based: Abstract topics, Literature, Social and Economic issues; Science & Culture; history & fiction among others.
  3. There is no clear cut definition of RC topics in XAT exam syllabus. RC passage on any topic under the Sun can be placed in the XAT exam.
  4. Type of RC passages: Moderate and short
  5. Type of Questions: All MCQ type
  6. Format of questions: Questions based on information in RC passage; explanation of the words & phrases as used in the passage; In context of the passage –True/false statements; Author’s view on various issues raised in the RC passage; Inference from the passage; main idea of RC passage; Purpose of the RC passage

Part-3: XAT Syllabus for Logical Reasoning (LR)

  1. Share of LR questions in XAT syllabus is not very high. Usually there are few critical reasoning and a few LR-based questions in the XAT exam. All questions are of MCQ type.
  2. Topics covered in XAT syllabus on which LR questions are based: Analogy, Clocks, calendars, Fact, Inference, Judgement, binary logic, seating arrangement, blood relations, logical sequence, assumption, premise, conclusion among others.
  3. XLRI entrance exam syllabus defines that questions on Logical Reasoning can be individual or can be in the sets.


Section Highlights: XAT detailed syllabus 2021 on Decision Making is unique as neither CAT nor any other national level entrance exam has included this particular module.

Number of Questions: This section consists of 21 questions. 

Major Topics: Decision Making is the problem or case solving capability of a candidate. Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) measures such skills broadly on following topics:

  1. Conditions and Grouping Test
  2. Data Arrangement Test
  3. Complex Arrangement
  4. Decision Making in a situation
  5. Caselets/puzzles


Section Highlights: XAT detailed syllabus 2021 for Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation section is wide-ranging. It is the 3rd and the last section in the revised XAT exam pattern. This section contributes to the final estimation for XAT percentile score. Syllabus of XAT 2021 for Quantitative Ability ensures a massive coverage of the key topics in Mathematics.

Number of Questions: There would be 28 MCQs on Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation section in XAT 2021.

Major Topics: Quantitative Ability

Syllabus on Quantitative Ability is based on questions on different topics such as Arithmetic, Algebra, Modern Math, Geometry, Mensuration, and Trigonometry among others. Major topics covered in XAT syllabus for Quant are as under:

  1. LCM and HCF
  2. Percentages
  3. Profit and Loss
  4. Interest (Simple and Compound)
  5. Speed, Time and Distance; Time and Work; Averages; Ratio and Proportion and others
  6. Number System
  7. Algebra
  8. Geometry including Co-ordinate Geometry
  9. Mensuration
  10. Pure Math
  11. Venn diagrams
  12. Linear Equations
  13. Quadratic Equations
  14. Complex Numbers
  15. Logarithm
  16. Progressions
  17. Binomial Theorem
  18. Surds and Indices
  19. Inequalities
  20. Permutation and Combination
  21. Probability Functions
  22. Set Theory
  23. Mixtures and Alligations
  24. Trigonometry

Syllabus for Data Interpretation (DI)

Questions around Data Interpretation in XAT exam are in the form of sets mostly. Occasionally, individual questions are asked. All the questions are usually MCQ type. Data Interpretation questions in the XAT exam are in the set of 4 questions. Questions on interpretation and analysis of data are generally based on text, graphs (line, area), tables, charts (column, bar, pie), Venn diagram. Data could be prearranged in the form of tables, charts or graphs. This section examines how candidates can interpret and answer the questions based on the data prescribed. 

Major Topics Covered:

  1. Data Tables
  2. Data charts
  3. Bar diagrams
  4. Pie charts
  5. Graphs
  6. Data analysis and comparison


Section Highlights: XAT exam syllabus for this part consists of General Awareness (GK) section. The score in this section is not considered for percentile calculation of the XAT exam. Questions can be based on current as well as conventional General Knowledge. Thorough and regular reading is very important as certain questions in this section are relatively complex. 

Number of Questions: As per the revised pattern of XAT exam, this section consists of 25 Multiple Choice type questions.

Major Topics Covered: Economics, finance, national and international current affairs are a few of the many topics on which questions are placed in this section in XAT exam.

  1. Economics
  2. Finance
  3. National and International current affairs
  4. Conventional GK
  5. Constitution of India
  6. Company profiles, logos,
  7. Business & Economy
  8. Who’s who
  9. Books & Authors
  10. Capitals & Currencies

XAT Syllabus – No More Essay Writing Test

Essay Writing in XAT has been scrapped. There is no more essay type question asked in the XAT. The total number of questions has been raised to 100 and all the questions are MCQ type questions. Every question will have five options and one of them will be correct.

Key Points to note on XAT Candidates

  1. Candidates searching for XLRI entrance exam syllabus should note that the XAT syllabus and pattern is based on previous XAT exams and the type of questions, their composition, format and number is subject to change, following revised versions of the XAT exam syllabus.
  2. There wouldn’t be any repetition of XAT questions. The difficulty level of questions as per XAT syllabus 2021 remains moderate to difficult
  3. The questions in XAT exam 2021 are to be within the prescribed broad areas of XAT exam syllabus.

XAT Syllabus – FAQs

Q. How to prepare for XAT 2021?

Ans. Here is a list of the Best Preparation Tips that one can follow to ace the upcoming XAT:

  1. Scheduling and writing XAT 2021 Mocks every week after the date of the CAT Exam.
  2. Frequent and regular newspaper & article-reading.
  3. Deeply focussing on concepts and their practical-application.
  4. Solving previous year papers and trying to get an idea of the pattern of questions.
  5. Performing a thorough qualitative analysis of each mock test that you undertake.

Q. What is the syllabus for XAT 2021?

A: XAT’s syllabus is divided into four sections: 

  1. Verbal and Logical Ability: Reading comprehension and vocabulary, analogy based on vocabulary, para Jumble, grammar, critical reasoning and inference, para completion, etc.
  2. Decision Making: Decision making, analogy, seating arrangement, logical sequence, assumption, premise, conclusion, etc.
  3. Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation: Tables and caselets, percentage, surds and indices, algebra, mensuration, bar diagrams, pie charts, etc.
  4. General Knowledge: Science, economy, business, politics, static GK, sports, prize and award, world, government, constitution of India, etc.

Q. Is the syllabus for XAT and CAT the same?

A: No, the syllabus for both of these exams has a few differences. Refer to the table below:



Section 1

English Language & Logical Reasoning- 26 questions

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension- 34 questions

Section 2

Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation- 28 questions

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning -32 questions

Section 3

Decision Making-21 questions

Quantitative Ability-34 questions

Section 4

General Awareness-25 questions

Not Applicable, only 3 Sections

Q. Does XAT still take the essay writing test?

A:  No. Essay writing test has been scrapped from the XAT and will not be part of XAT 2021.

Aatif Nafees

Published by
Aatif Nafees

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