XAT 2016 Test Analysis


The overall structure of XAT-2016 underwent some changes since XAT-2015. The exam consisted of 2 Parts and Part 1 consisted of 3 sections having 26, 23 and 29 questions respectively (total 78 questions) to be attempted in 170 minutes. Further, Part 2 contained 25 GK questions and one essay-writing exercise, to be attempted in 35 minutes. The break-up of the sections of Part 1 was as follows:

Section Section Name Number of questions
Section-I Verbal and Logical Ability 26
Section-II Decision Making 23
Section-III Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation 29
  Total 78

Section A – Verbal and Logical Ability

The XAT Verbal and Logical Ability section is well known for being tough, but this year it was even tougher than normal. There were a total of 26 questions in this section: 12 Verbal Ability/Reasoning questions and 14 Reading Comprehension questions. There were fewer questions in total as well as RC questions than last year, but the overall difficulty was slightly higher. The exact question distribution was as follows:

Area/Questions No. of Qs. Question Type Level of Difficulty
Vocabulary & Grammar
Proverb 1 Sentence analogous to proverb Medium
Analogy 1 Medium
Descriptive phrase 1 One phrase to describe a number of words Easy
Pronunciation 1 Medium
Verbal Reasoning
Poem 1 Essence of the poem Difficult
Critical Reasoning 3 Medium-Difficult
Relation of 2 statements to each other 1 Medium
Para Completion 1 Medium
Para Jumbles 2 6 sentences with first and last sentence fixed Easy-Medium
Reading Comprehension
Passage 1 – Two paragraphs on the limits of markets 3 All were inferential 1 Easy, 1 Medium, 1 Difficult
Passage 2 – One page long passage on game analogies for communication 4 1 word-based, 3 inferential 1 Easy, 1 Medium, 2 Difficult
Passage 3 – Two-thirds of a page passage on experimentation in science 3 All were inferential 1 Medium, 2 Difficult
Passage 4 – One-third of a page passage on the axioms as the base of knowledge 4 1 direct, 3 inferential 1 Easy, 2 Medium, 1 Difficult

A student should be able to attempt 18 of the questions in this section (with about 75-80% accuracy) in about 45-50 minutes. Since this year the XAT encourages students to maximize their attempts, students should have attempted a few more, if there was sufficient time. The RC passage on experimentation should have been avoided, as it was the difficult to understand and had the most difficult questions. Some of the VA questions, such as the poem, could also have been avoided.

Section B – Decision Making and Analytical Reasoning

Area/Questions No. of Qs. Question Type Level of Difficulty
Case 1 – Single paragraph case on a taxis in a city 2 Strategy situation 2 Medium
Case 2 – Single paragraph case on an MLA and a businessman 2 Strategy situation 1 Easy, 1 Medium
Case 3 – Short passage on a research institute 3 Analytical reasoning 2 Medium, 1 Difficult
Case 4 – Single paragraph case on hairdressers. 2 Strategy situation & number-based business/revenue situation 2 Medium
Case 5 – Case involving tables real estate projects 3 Number-based 1 Easy, 2 Medium
Case 6 – Single paragraph case on a family-owned sweetshop 3 Analytical reasoning 1 Easy, 2 Medium
Case 7 – Single paragraph case on harmful chemical found in a food product 3 Strategy situation 3 Medium
Case 8 – Single paragraph case on unhappy employees 3 HR situation 3 Medium
Case 9 – Case on scheduling crop cultivation 2 Number-based 2 Medium

The non-mathematical part of this section (18 questions) consisted of 7 sets of 2-3 questions each. All of these were easy to read and short, and most of the questions were of medium level of difficulty. So, choice of sets/questions to attempt would have depended mainly on your personal preferences. All the questions involved additional information, ranging from a sentence to a paragraph each. Like last year, though unlike previous years, there weren’t any long sets.

The mathematical part of this section (5 questions) was characterized by easy to medium level of difficulty. There were two sets in the mathematical part of the section (one set with 3 questions and the other with 2 questions).

In 40-45 minutes, students should have solved about 5 sets and attempted 14-15 questions confidently (about 75-80% accuracy), out of the 23 questions.

Section C – Quantitative Ability

The Quantitative Ability-Data Interpretation section was slightly easier than XAT-2015. Questions on Quantitative Ability were dominated by Geometry and Arithmetic. At least two questions on Arithmetic also combined the concepts of Geometry. There were four questions on Numbers, out of which one question was incorrect. Further, there were three questions on Modern Mathematics. There was no question on Logarithms, Permutation-Combination or Probability. One question was on Logical Data Sufficiency.

There were two Data Interpretation sets, one with 4 questions and the other with 3 questions. The set with 4 questions on salaries involved a complex combination of a box plot and line graph with medium to difficult questions. The other set with 3 questions on crops had a table and was characterized by Easy to Medium level of difficulty questions. The set on table should have been attempted while the set on box plot should have been attempted at the end.

Overall, the level of difficulty of the section was slightly lower as compared to XAT-2015. In 60 minutes, about 17-19 attempts with 80% accuracy will be considered good.

  Level of difficulty  
Topic Easy Medium Difficult Total
Geometry (Total 7 questions)
Quadrilaterals 0 3 0 3
Triangles 1 0 1 2
Circles 0 1 0 1
Triangles & Polygon 0 1 0 1
Arithmetic (Total 7 questions)
Time-Speed-Distance 0 2 1 3
Clocks 0 1 0 1
Profit & Loss 1 0 0 1
Ratio-Proportion 1 0 0 1
Work-Pipe-Cisterns 1 0 0 1
Number Theory (Total 4 questions)
Absolute Value 0 1 0 1
Base System 1 0 0 1
Divisibility 0 1 0 1
Properties of Numbers 0 1 0 1
Modern Mathematics (Total 3 questions)
Functions 0 1 0 1
Progressions 0 1 0 1
Set Theory 0 1 0 1
Logical Reasoning
Data Sufficiency 1 0 0 1
Total 6 14 2 22
Data Interpretation (Total 7 questions)
Box plot on salaries of students placed in campus interview over the years Total 4 questions.
Level of Difficulty: Medium to Difficult
Table on percentage of shops of different types in the four regions of India Total 3 questions.
Level of Difficulty: Easy to Medium

General Knowledge

The 25 GK questions contained an almost equal distribution of current and static questions and national and international news based questions. There were hardly 2-3 easy questions. The section was such that it required the student to possess extremely good general knowledge ability in multiple areas to be able to score well. Secondly, the topics of the questions were very diverse encompassing subjects such as Geography, Business and Economy, the budget, names of personalities and new inventions such as the Rasberry PI. Considering that students would spend 15-20 minutes on GK, and there was no negative marking all questions were to be attempted without fail. A score of 8-10 would be considered a good score in this section.

Essay Writing

Like in previous years’ XAT 2016 featured an essay, topic being, “Technology and nature are natural enemies.” Students were free to agree with the topic, disagree with it or give a balanced view with pros and cons from both sides.

As usual the essay should have been written in a structured manner – with an introduction, main body consisting of one or two paragraphs followed by an effective and forceful conclusion. Relevant examples would have resulted in more marks.

If a student supported the assertion made in the title then there were many points that s/he had in his/her arsenal. For example, the byproducts of technology - deforestation, global warming, ozone holes, depletion of natural resources, extinction of many plant and animal species etc. could be pointed out to show that technology and nature are inherently incompatible.

If a student wished to write against the topic then the task was more difficult – although there are some good points here as well. The student could have pointed out how new technologies are being adopted to bring about sustainable development with minimal loss to nature, such as, the adoption of “clean coal technologies” which mitigate the environmental impact of coal energy generation. Another major point was of how certain new technologies are repairing the damage caused to nature by the older technologies or how technology is being used to repair environmental damage in general – new afforestation programmes for example. The main point that should have been made here is that technology is not inherently in conflict with nature but that mankind had hitherto not given any thought to preserving nature when developing new technologies. Therefore, it appears that the two entities are in perpetual conflict.

Writing both for and against the topic was not advisable because of time constraints and the relative difficulty of being able to conclude effectively.

XAT 2016 and XAT 2015 Results

According to XAT 2016 results, a total percentage of 51.28 was equivalent to 99.751 percentile, a total percentage of 47.12 was equivalent to 99.278 percentile, a total percentage of 45.64 was equivalent to 98.896 percentile, a total percentage of 42.82 was equivalent to 97.891 percentile, a total percentage of 40.83 was equivalent to 96.842 percentile.

The XAT 2016 cut-offs for XLRI programs along with sectional cut-offs are mentioned below: (as published on XAT 2016 website)

  VA & LR DM QA & DI Overall
XLRI-BM 77.47 78.042 88.60 96
XLRI-HRM 69.128 68.978 69.00 94.4
XLRI-GMP - - - 69

For your reference and a better understanding of the test, we have also mentioned XAT 2015 results.

According to XAT 2015 results, a total percentage of 41.67 was equivalent to 99.62 percentile, a total percentage of 38.69 was equivalent to 99.12 percentile, a total percentage of 37.5 was equivalent to 98.81 percentile, a total percentage of 34.23 was equivalent to 97.31 percentile and a total percentage of 31.25 was equivalent to 94.88 percentile.

The XAT 2015 cut-offs for XLRI programs along with sectional cut-offs are mentioned below:

  Score Overall
XLRI-BM ~30% 94.23
XLRI-HRM 27.68% 90.04
XLRI-GMP ~19% 67.98


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