XAT 2023 Analysis

06 January, 2023
Aaliya Patel

XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test) 2023 was conducted online on January 8, 2023, between 2 PM and 5:30 PM. The test had almost the same structure as last year. Three essay topics were provided. The test-taker had to select one.


The structure of the test along with suggested time allocation, good attempts, and estimated cut-offs based on the feedback from IMS students and experts are in the table below:


The Question Paper consisted of:

SectionNo. of QuestionsMarks per questionTotal marksSuggested time allocationGood Attempts
PART – A (175 minutes) No Sectional Timing within  Part – A
Verbal and Logical Ability2612655-6013-14
Decision Making2212250-5511-12
Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation2812855-6017-18
PART – B  (5 minutes)  Keyboard check
PART – C  (30 minutes)  No Negative Marks
General Awareness25125No Negative Marks12
EssayThe essay will be assessed if the candidate is shortlisted for the interview.

Part A questions invited negative marks of – 0.25 for each incorrect response. In addition, there was a penalty of  -0.1 mark for every unattempted question after 8 unattempted questions.



Overall, XAT-2023 was similar in difficulty level to XAT 2022. The DM Section was on par with the same last year with a few questions in DM being difficult. The VALR section was slightly more challenging than the same section in XAT 2022. The QA-DI section was slightly easier compared with XAT 2022.


Based on the inputs received from students and IMS mentors who appeared for the test and based on the actual cutoffs over the last two years, we estimate the following cut-offs for XLRI BM and HRM programs:


XLRI BM Program

VA-LR SectionDM SectionQA-DI SectionOverall

(Part A)

Male candidates6-75-69-1030-32
Female candidates5-64-58-928-30


XLRI HRM Program

VA-LR SectionDM SectionQA-DI SectionOverall(Part A)
Male (Engineers)7-85-68-929-31
Female (Engineers)6-74-57-827-29
Male(Non Engineers)7-85-67-827-29
Female (Non Engineers)6-74-56-726-28


Note: For both BM and HRM programs of XLRI, the overall cutoff is significantly greater than the sum of the sectional cutoffs. Therefore, the number of good attempts for different sections has been estimated from the point of view of a student who wishes to maximize the score in that section.



Verbal and Logical Ability Section (26 questions)

There were 14 Reading Comprehension questions and 12 Verbal Ability/Reasoning questions. The Verbal ability/Verbal Reasoning questions were a fair mix of grammar, vocabulary, and reasoning-based questions (Critical Reasoning, Correct statements and Jumbled Paragraphs). The 14 RC questions were distributed among four passages and one poem. The poem-based RC was difficult. The remaining four passages were of 200 – 450 words each approximately; they had a mixture of mostly medium to difficult questions. Many of the questions were inferential and application-based.

Area/QuestionsNo. of Qs.Level of Difficulty
Verbal Ability / Reasoning
Grammatically correct sentence22 Medium
Correct punctuation11 Difficult
Fill in the blanks (4 blanks)11 Difficult
Jumbled Paragraphs (4 / 5 statements)22 Medium
Critical Reasoning54 Medium, 1 Difficult
Paragraph completion11 Medium
Reading Comprehension
Passage 1 (What is interpretation – 280 words)3Difficult
Passage 2 (Bad storytelling can impact society negatively- 450 words)3Medium
Passage 3 (Lack of understanding among corporates about global warming – 380 words)3Medium
Passage 4 (Why people procrastinate – 220 words)3Medium
Passage 5 (Poem – Three Persons by Vijay Seshadri)2Difficult

An attempt of about 13-14 questions in this section in about 55-60 minutes, with about 75-80% accuracy would be considered a good attempt.


Decision Making (22 questions)

This section consisted of 22 questions. There was one Quantitative DM set.

The section consisted of 6 sets of 3 questions each and 2 sets of 2 questions each. Most of the questions were on Ethical Dilemma. As usual, some questions had a fair deal of ambiguity – in that either no answer seemed correct or more than one option appeared correct. Overall, the questions were of medium difficulty. Therefore, the choice of sets/questions to attempt would have depended mainly on your personal preferences and strengths.

Area/QuestionsNo. of Qs.Level of Difficulty
Case 1 – Moonlighting2Medium
Case 2 – Leave policy2Medium
Case 3 – B-school recruitment3Difficult
Case 4 – Opening a tea shop3Medium
Case 5 – Sexual harassment3Medium
Case 6 – Free food centre3Medium
Case 7 – Hiring visually impaired3Medium
Case 8 – Quantitative DM3Medium

In about 50-55 minutes, an attempt of about 11-12 questions with about 75-80% accuracy would be considered to be good.


Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation (28 questions)

This section was of moderate level of difficulty. As a whole, it was slightly easier than XAT-2022. Out of the 28 questions in the section, 22 were on Quantitative Ability and 6 were on Data Interpretation.

There were two sets of Data Interpretation with 3 questions each, one was based on a scatter plot, radar and bar graph while the other was on table.


Following is the break-up of the questions in the section:

Quantitative Ability (22 questions)
Modern Math0123
Data Interpretation (6 questions)
Multiple Diagrams1203
Total DI2406
Total QA-DI913628

An attempt of about 17-18 questions (with about 80 percent accuracy) in about 55-60 minutes would be considered a good attempt.


Part B: Keyboard Check 


Part C

General Knowledge

The 25 GK questions comprised 18 current affairs questions and 7 static GK questions. Overall, the GK section was slightly more difficult than XAT 2022.. 15 questions were based on national events, 10 questions were based on international events and miscellaneous topics As usual, the questions covered a wide range of areas and gave no special advantage to specialists in any one area.


To maximize the score in this section, one should have attempted 12 questions seriously. Additionally, as there was no negative marking in this section, all the remaining questions should also have been attempted. A score of 6 – 7 would be a good score in this section.


Essay Writing

Three topics were provided. The test-taker had to select one topic and write an essay in around  250 words.

The topics for the essay writing task were:

  1. Risk is the essential need of the soul, the absence of which produces a kind of boredom which paralyses in a different way from fear, but almost as much.
  2. Rapid decarbonization to fulfil India’s net zero commitments will have business consequences.
  3. Someone with half your IQ is making 10x as you, because they are not smart enough to doubt themselves.