XAT 2021 - Exam pattern, Score Card, Result and Important Preparation Tips

  • By Kirti Yadav
  • 24 September 2020

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What is the XAT 2021 Exam?

Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) is a pan-India management aptitude test conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur on behalf of the Xavier Association of Management Institutes (XAMI). XLRI has been conducting the management aptitude test online for more than 70 years to select the country's best brains for admission to management education. Considered the second most sought after MBA entrance test after the all-India Common Admission Test (CAT), the XAT exam score is accepted by more than 160 institutes for admission to various MBA/PGDM courses. Top management institutes that accept XAT scores include XLRI Jamshedpur, Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneshwar (XIMB), XLRI Delhi, and St. Xavier's University (Kolkata).

Like every year, XAT 2021 will be conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur, in the online mode across more than 70 cities in India. The XAT 2021 registration process has commenced from September 12, 2020, and XAT registration will end on November 30, 2020 (at midnight). The XAT online test is scheduled to be held on January 3, 2021. The XAT form is available on the XAT official website xat online.in. Here is a quick guide on the XAT exam dates, including XAT 2021 admit card download.

Events  XAT 2021 Dates  Features
XAT 2021 registration begins 12 September 2020 The registration process is online through the XAT application form
XAT 2021 registration last date  30 November 2020 XAT last date to apply (xatonline.in)
XAT 2021 admit card download begins December 20, 2020, onwards XAT 2021 admit card will be available on XAT website (xatonline.in)
XAT 2021 admit card download ends January 3, 20121 XAT 2021 admit card can be downloaded up to the day of the exam
XAT 2021 exam date  January 3, 2021 XAT online exam will be held in a single session from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM in 72 cities
Announcement of XAT 2021 result The third week of January 2021 (tentative) XAT results in 2021 will be announced on the XAT website with the option to download the XAT scorecard

XAT 2021 Exam Pattern

The XAT exam is computer-based and is conducted in the online mode. The question paper consists of 100 multiple choice questions to be solved in 3 hours. The XAT 2021 exam pattern has undergone revision and will consist of five sections instead of the earlier four. The number of questions in the revised XAT exam pattern has also been increased to 100 from the previous 99. Check out the following table to get a clear idea of the XAT 2021 exam pattern, including sectional composition and marks pattern.

Sections in the XAT 2021 Question Paper Number of Questions Duration Level of Difficulty
Part-I  75 multiple-choice questions (total) 165 minutes
Verbal and Logical Ability  26 No sectional time limit Moderate to very difficult
Decision Making 21 No sectional time limit Moderate to difficult
Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation 28 No sectional time limit Moderate to difficult
Part-II 25 multiple-choice questions (total) 15 minutes 
General Knowledge  25 Moderate to difficult
Total Questions (Part-I + Part-II) 100 180 minutes (3 hours)

XAT 2021 Marking Scheme

  • Five answer options will follow each multiple-choice question. 
  • Marking the correct answer will fetch a +1 mark.
  • 0.25 mark (¼) will be deducted for each incorrect answer.
  • A 0.10 mark will be deduced per question for more than eight unattempted questions.
  • No negative marking scheme applies to the General Knowledge section (Part-II).
  • The General Knowledge section is not included for percentile calculation.

Fundamental Changes in the XAT 2021 Exam Pattern

Aspirants taking the XAT 2021 exam will see a slight change in the exam pattern from the previous years. Here is a list of the fundamental changes that have been made in the upcoming XAT 2021 exam structure and pattern:

  • Each multiple-choice carry will carry five answer options.
  • Numerical Answer Type (NAT) questions have been introduced in the XAT exam pattern since 2020. Answers to the NAT questions will have to be given through the virtual keypad appearing on the candidate's computer screen.
  • Eight consecutive unattempted questions will carry a penalty of 0.10 mark per question.
  • The time duration of the XAT 2021 will be 3 hours, which used to be three and a half hours earlier.
  • The revised XAT exam pattern does not include any descriptive or essay writing type of questions.
  • Candidates visually impaired and assisted by a scribe will be given an extra 25 minutes to complete Part-I of the question paper. No time concession is awarded for the General Knowledge section in Part-II.

XAT Result

XAT Result will be released online by XLRI Jamshedpur through the XAT official website (xlri.ac.in). As per the tentative dates of the XAT 2021 examination calendar, results for the XAT 2021 test are expected to be out in the third week of January 2021. Candidates will be able to view and download the XAT result and scorecard by entering their registration ID/application no. and password through the online mode only. A valid registration ID/application no. and password are mandatory for viewing the XAT 2021 result without which candidates will not be able to access the result and scorecard. Before the XAT 2021 results are declared, XLRI Jamshedpur will release the test answer key against which candidates will be allowed to raise objections within a stipulated time. 

XAT Score Card

Candidates can download the XAT scorecard from the XAT website after the XAT results' official declaration online. The XAT scorecard does not display the XAT raw score, but only the XAT percentage and the XAT percentile score. The percentile is calculated by considering the score obtained in the first 75 multiple choice questions, and the General Knowledge section is excluded from percentile calculation. 

How To Download the XAT Result and Scorecard?

Here is a step-by-step guide to downloading the XAT scorecard after the declaration of the XAT 2021 results:

  1. Log in to the official website of XAT
  2. Click on the 'Scorecard' option
  3. Enter your registration ID of XAT 2021, password/date of birth as required
  4. You will see your scorecard displayed
  5. Check and verify your details such as name, registration ID, exam date, test venue, etc.
  6. The scorecard will show your overall percentage score and percentile as well as of each of the three sections of Part- I.
  7. Download and take a printout of your scorecard.

XAT 2021 Expected Cut-offs

XLRI Jamshedpur releases the XAT cut-offs for various XLRI PGDM programs immediately after the announcement of the XAT exam results. Candidates scoring around 95 percentile or above in the XAT exam are shortlisted for flagship PGDM(BM) in XLRI - Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur.  Candidates who wish to apply to some other participating Institute based on the results of XAT 2021 must check the respective cut-offs for each of the Institutes. Qualified candidates are called for the successive rounds of selection procedure that include group discussion, and personal interviews. Each participating Institute may have different procedures of selection for XAT 2021. Therefore, candidates must check and verify the same accordingly.

The cut-off percentiles for XLRI’s Human Resources Management (HRM), Business Management (BM), and General Management (GM) programmes are different. The factors that determine the expected cut-off for a particular year are determined by the total number of candidates appearing for the test that year, the level of difficulty of the XAT question paper, and the vacancy of seats for admission. Based on a general analysis of the previous years’ XAT exams, the following are the expected cut-offs of each section of the XAT 2021 question paper for admission to XLRI Jamshedpur:

Section Expected Cut-off
Verbal and Logical Ability  79+ for HRM and BM
Decision Making 71+ for HRM, 76+ for BM
Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation 70+ for HRM, 88+ for BM
Overall  93 for HRM, 95+ for BM

XAT 2021 Selection Procedure

Candidates are selected for admission to the PGDM programmes of XLRI Jamshedpur based on their XAT score, group discussions (GD), and personal interview (PI). Candidates who obtain the required cut-off in the XAT 2021 will be required to fill an online application form. The institute will then shortlist candidates (based on a category-wise minimum cut-off) for the GD and PI rounds. 

The GD and PI round is usually conducted in or around February at Delhi, Mumbai, Jamshedpur, and Bangalore. After a rigorous round of personality assessment, the candidates who are shortlisted are offered admission. Selected candidates receive their admission offers via email usually in May. However, the participating Institutes may follow a different selection process and candidates have to apply to them individually after the declaration of the XAT 2021 result. Final selection and admission will depend on the preferences of XLRI Jamshedpur and participating Institutes concerning past academic records, XAT 2021 score, performance in the GD/PI rounds, and work experience of the respective candidates. 

XAT 2021 Exam Preparation Tips

  • Familiarize yourself with the XAT syllabus, the exam pattern, and the test structure. 
  • Analyze and segregate your strong and weak areas. Invest more time into topics that need improvement.
  • Prepare a practical and sustainable preparation timetable and stick to it.
  • Solve as many XAT previous year papers as possible. Question papers of previous XAT exams are available for download in the 'Exam Resource' section of the XAT website.
  • Take regular mock tests that are available online. The negative marking feature for incorrect answers and unattempted questions requires that candidates be highly accurate while answering questions. Mock tests will pinpoint your problem areas and help you prepare for the actual examination.
  • Brush up mathematical concepts since the 'Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation' section carries the maximum weightage.
  •  Besides, please make it a habit of reading every day since the XAT exam will test your language and grammar proficiency. Practice as many Reading Comprehension passages as possible.
  • Since the General Knowledge section does not carry negative marking, attempt as many questions as possible from this part. Stay updated on domestic and international current affairs, literary events in the last five years, topics in social welfare and world history, Indian Polity and Constitution, Science and Technology, Government organizations, and Sports. 
  • Newspapers like The Hindu, The Economic Times, The Indian Express, The Live Mint, and The Business Standard are recommended to stay up-to-date on daily affairs. 
  • You may also participate in online quizzes and Q&A forums to test your progress in general awareness.


If you are aspiring to secure a seat in one of the country's top management institutes, the XAT exam is your way to go! Considered as one of the most prestigious MBA entrance tests in line with CAT, the XAT exam score is accepted in more than 160 eminent management schools in India, including XLRI Jamshedpur. The XAT test is unique in that consecutive unanswered questions carry a penalty. It's one reason why the XAT exam preparation requires a coherent strategy emphasizing the basics. So gear up for the XAT 2021 exam with extra attention to the XAT exam pattern, XAT syllabus, and XAT exam preparation tips.

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