XAT Exam Pattern 2021: Marking Scheme, Negative Marking, Total Marks

Exam Date : January 3, 2021
Result Date : February 1, 2021

It is very important for the candidates to go through the XAT exam pattern 2021 exam prior to starting to prepare for the same. It will help them to understand the overview and the layout of the distribution of questions throughout the question paper, and thus they can prepare accordingly to score well. XAT exam pattern is slightly different from the other MBA entrance exams as it contains an extra section called Decision Making where the decision-making skills of the candidate are tested. The XAT exam pattern for Quantitative Ability is quite complex, therefore candidates must be thorough with the basics. The XAT question pattern of 2021 is tabulated and explained in detail. The exam paper as per the XAT Syllabus has 4 sections. As mentioned earlier DM is a new section, so it will be beneficial to the candidates if they practice many questions based on that topic. Candidates must remember that there are negative marks in XAT for wrong answers and 1/4th of the marks will be deducted for every question answered incorrectly. However, there is no XAT negative marking for General Knowledge Section. Candidates can check the structure of the XAT exam pattern in this section.

XAT 2021 Exam Pattern Highlights

XLRI has made some changed in the XAT exam pattern for the year 2021. The major changes that have been made in the XAT paper pattern compared to the past years are listed below:

  • The exam timing of XAT is changed from 9.30 AM to 12.30 PM to 10 AM to 1 PM.
  • The total number of questions has increased to 100 from 99.
  • XLRI has introduced NAT Questions without any negative marking scheme. To answer the NAT questions candidates have to use the virtual keypad appearing on the computer screen and enter the numerical answer.
  • There will be no essay writing test in the XAT exam pattern.
  • Questions will be of objective types (multiple-choice questions)
  • General Knowledge section will not be counted for percentile evaluation.
  • All the MCQ type questions have five options with one correct option.
  • Candidates must remember that each un-attempted question beyond 8 questions will carry a negative marking penalty of 0.10 mark per unattempted question in revised XAT exam pattern.
  • There will be no sectional time-limit provided for the sections.
  • XAT negative marking will not be applicable for the GK section.
  • For visually impaired candidates, XLRI offered extra 25 minutes to completed Part 1 of the question paper. But no time concession is given for GK section as per the new XAT exam pattern.

Section-Wise XAT 2021 Exam Pattern

The section-wise XAT exam pattern is tabulated below. Candidates can check the number of questions that will be asked from each section, the time allotted for those sections and the XAT marks per question. There are two sections overall; Part 1 contains subjects such as Verbal and Logical Ability, Decision Making and Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation whereas Part 2 contains questions from General Knowledge. Candidates must remember that there will be no sectional time allotted for these subjects.

XAT Exam Pattern Section-Wise
Sections XAT Question Pattern Overall Time Duration
Part-1 75 (Multiple-choice Questions) 165 Minutes
Verbal and Logical Ability 26 No Sectional Time Limit
Decision Making 21
Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation 28
Part-2 25 (Multiple-choice Questions) 15 Minutes
General Knowledge 25  
Total questions (Part 1 + Part 2) 100  

Important Note!!

XAT Exam 2021 is a Computer-based test (CBT). There is a negative marking for every incorrectly answered question. The candidate can leave 8 questions unanswered beyond which 0.10 marks will be deducted for each unanswered question.

XAT 2021 Exam Pattern Detailed Information

To prepare well for the XAT 2021 exam, candidates must have knowledge of the XAT exam pattern in detail. With the help of XAT pattern, XAT marking scheme and XAT question pattern, candidates will get an idea about the number and type of questions that are asked in recent years. The XAT test pattern is discussed in details below.

XAT Exam Pattern Structure
Name of the Section XAT Exam Pattern 2021 Details
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension & Logical Reasoning
  • Total questions: 26
  • Type of questions: MCQs
  • RC passages: 4
  • RC Based questions: 14 to 16
  • VA questions: 8 to 10
  • VA topics: Vocabulary; Analogy; Para Jumbles, Para completion; Critical Reasoning; Statements-assumptions;
  • Level of difficulty: Moderate to Very difficult
Decision Making
  • Total questions: 21
  • Type of questions: MCQs
  • Question groups: 7 to 8 sets of decision-making problems following by 2 and 3 questions each
  • Level of difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Quantitative Aptitude & Data Interpretation
  • Total questions: 28
  • Type of questions: MCQs
  • Level of difficulty: Moderate to difficult
  • Frequently asked topics in Quant & DI Section
General Knowledge
  • Total questions: 25
  • Type of questions: MCQs
  • Time Limit to Attempt: 15 minutes
  • Level of difficulty: Moderate to difficult
  • Question topics: GK questions could be based on any topic including Current domestic and international affairs; Business; Economics; social issues, appointments; conventional GK; sports; Constitution of India among others.
  • Key highlight: Not taken into account for the calculation of percentile in XAT exam.

XAT 2021 Marking Scheme

The marking scheme of XAT 2021 is tabulated below. Candidates can check the XAT exam pattern which will include XAT negative marking and XAT marks per question for every correct answer. With the help of XAT marking scheme, candidates will be able to analyse their marks in the qualifying exam and what marks they have scored for each correct answer. In this way, candidates will get to know the expected marks they had secured in the XAT 2021. The XAT scoring pattern is given below in the table.

XAT Exam Pattern Marking Scheme
XAT Marking Scheme 2021
1/4 marks will be deducted for wrong answers
0.10 mark will be deducted for eight unattempted questions.
For every correct answer, 1 mark will be awarded
No XAT negative marking will be there for GK section in part-2

XAT 2021 Exam Pattern Vs Last Years XAT Pattern

The table below represents the XAT exam pattern 2021 compared with the previous year's XAT exam pattern. Apart from removing the essay writing test from XAT, a new type of NAT question pattern has been introduced in the XAT exam. Although there is no significant change in the XAT paper pattern in the past two years, the only thing which is different when compared with past two years in the question paper is that there is no essay writing. Candidates can check all the details in the table below.

XAT Exam Pattern Past Years Trends
XAT Exam year XAT 2021 XAT 2020 XAT 2019
Test Duration 3 Hours 3 Hours 3 Hours
Number of Sections 4 4 4
Subjective Answer Question No No No
XAT Total marks 100 99 99
Key Change No Essay Writing Test No Essay Writing Test No Essay Writing Test

XAT Paper Pattern - Syllabus

As far as preparation is concerned, one can practice mock tests using previous year papers. This will ideally help them to get familiar with the XAT exam pattern. The question paper is divided into five different sections. For the XAT 2021 exam, the essay writing section is removed. So the other sections are Data Interpretation & Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning, Decision Making, and General Knowledge (GK). There is no strict curriculum for the GK section. Students ought to be thorough with the current affairs to score well in this section. The other three subjects are taken into consideration for calculating the percentile. Some of the important topics for the XAT exam pattern are mentioned below. The XAT Syllabus is just as extensive as the CAT Syllabus and similar to CAT, it does not have an official syllabus as of now. Before the XAT Syllabus, the XAT exam pattern has to be carefully looked at. The XAT Exam Pattern is composed of 4 sections which include:

  1. Verbal and Logical Ability
  2. Decision Making
  3. Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation
  4. General Knowledge

Verbal and Logical Ability

  • Para jumbled
  • Grammar
  • Paragraph completion
  • Vocabulary
  • Reading comprehension

Decision making

  • Situational events
  • Case studies
  • Data arrangement
  • Analytical reasoning

Data Interpretation and Quantitative Ability

  • Tables, Graphs
  • Geometry
  • Statistics
  • Profit and Loss
  • Speed and Distance
  • Clocks

General Knowledge

  • News
  • History
  • Politics
  • Sports
  • Economics
  • International Relations
  • Society updates

To learn more about the topics students must know the syllabus of XAT. Also, knowledge of the syllabus helps one to prepare and strategize better for this test. For more details, regarding the syllabus of XAT 2021, candidates can check the XAT 2021 Syllabus

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Discussion Forum



The XAT exam consists of 78 questions to be answered.

Answer By: Getmyuni

23 Jan 2017



The XAT 2017 exam shall consist of the following sections:

    • Quantitative Ability
    • English Language & Logical Reasoning
    • Decision Making
    • G.K
    • Essay

Answer By: Getmyuni

19 Jan 2017



In XAT different questions carries different marks.

  • The marks allotted to each question was mentioned next to the question on the question paper.
  • There is negative marking for incorrect answers.
  • 1/4th of the mark allotted to a question is deducted for answering it incorrectly.

Answer By: Getmyuni

16 Jan 2017


What is the duration of the XAT exam?

Asked By: Anonymous 24 Jan 2017


The XAT 2017 exam is for a duration of 170 minutes.

Answer By: Getmyuni

24 Jan 2017


What is the XAT marking scheme?

Asked By: Anonymous 18 Feb 2017


The XAT marking scheme is as below: -

  • Each question will carry 1 mark.
  • 1/4th mark will be deducted for every wrong answer.

Answer By: Getmyuni

18 Feb 2017

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