XAT 2020 Detailed Analysis

XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test) 2020 was conducted online on January 5, 2020 between 9:30am and 12:30 pm. The test had the same structure as last year with 1 additional question in the QA and DI Section. The structure is given below along with suggested time allocation, good attempts and estimated cut-off based on the feedback from IMS students and experts.

XAT 2020 Negative Marks: At the time of preparing this analysis there are conflicting reports about the negative marks in the test. Students have reported that while the Main Instructions page specified +1 and -0.25 for all questions, the individual questions in Part I showed negative marks for only a few questions in each VARC, DM, and QA-DI. We await clarification from XAT authorities.

In view of the above, the estimate of cut-offs mentioned in this analysis assumes negative marks of -0.25 for all questions in Part I.

The Question Paper consisted of two time-bound parts.

Section No. of Questions Marks per question Total marks Suggested time allocation Good Attempts
PART – I (165 minutes) No Sectional Timing within  Part - I
Verbal and Logical Ability 26 1 26 55 16-18
Decision Making 21 1 21 55 14-15
Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation 28 1 28 55 17-18
Total 75 75
PART – II  (15 minutes)  No Negative Marks
General Awareness  25 1 25 No Negative Marks 15


Overall, XAT-2020 was more or less the same as last year in difficulty level. VARC and DM Sections were on par with last year with a few questions in DM being difficult. The cut-offs are likely to be a bit lower compared to last year.

Assuming that there are negative marks of -0.25 for all incorrect responses, we expect the overall cut-off (for the Males in the general category) for the second round of admission for the XLRI BM program at 33-35 and for XLRI-HRM program at 31-33

Last year the sectional and overall cut offs in the general category for female candidates for both the XLRI -BM program and the XLRI -HRM program were marginally lower. This year too we expect the cut offs for female candidates to be a bit lower



Verbal and Logical Ability Section (26 questions)

The Verbal and Logical Ability section of XAT 2020 was marginally easier compared to last year. 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 and Jumbled Paragraphs). The 14 RC questions were distributed among four passages and one poem. The poem was a short one (like last year), but was relatively less abstract/difficult. The remaining four passages were of 250-300 words each; they had a mixture of medium to difficult questions. Nearly all the questions were inferential. The options were close and the directions emphasised to choose the ‘best’ one among them.

Area/Questions No. of Qs. Level of Difficulty
Verbal Ability / Reasoning
Grammatically correct sentence 2 2 Medium
Fill in the blanks (3/4 blanks) 2 2 Medium
Jumbled Paragraphs 2 1 Medium, 1 Difficult
Critical Reasoning 6 1 Easy, 3 Medium, 2 Difficult
Reading Comprehension
Passage 1 (Sustaining Pleasure in today’s world) 2 2 Medium, 1 Difficult
Passage 2 (Knowledge has become a product) 3 2 Medium, 1 Difficult
Passage 3 (Capitalism and Meaningless Jobs) 3 2 Medium, 1 Difficult
Passage 4 (Increase in Cultural Exiles) 3 2 Medium, 1 Difficult
Passage 5 (Poem - Robert Frost’s Fire and Ice) 3 2 Difficult

An attempt of about 16-18 questions in this section in about 55 minutes, with about 75-80% accuracy would be considered a good attempt. Assuming that there are negative marks of -0.25 for all incorrect responses, we expect the cut-off for this section (for the general category-males) to be around 8-9 for XLRI -BM and 9-10 for the XLRI-HRM programs

Decision Making (21 questions)

This section consisted of 21 questions, and like last year, none of the questions were quantitative.

This section consisted of 7 sets of 3 questions each. Most of the passages were short and easy to read. As usual, some questions had a fair deal of ambiguity – in that either no answer seemed correct or s 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. Overall the section was more difficult compared to last year's test.

Area/Questions No. of Qs. Question Type Level of Difficulty
Case 1 3 Ethical Dilemma 2 Medium, 1 Difficult
Case 2 3 Ethical Dilemma 1 Easy, 1 Medium, 1 Difficult
Case 3 3 Business Decision 1 Easy, 2 Medium
Case 4 3 Business Decisions 2 Medium, 1 Difficult
Case 5 3 Business Decisions 2 Easy, 1 Medium
Case 6 3 Ethical Dilemma 2 Medium, 1 Difficult
Case 7 3 Ethical Dilemma 1 Medium, 2 Difficult

In about 55 minutes, an attempt of about 14-15 questions with about 75-80% accuracy would be considered to be good . Assuming that there are negative marks of -0.25 for all incorrect responses,we expect the cut-off for this section (for the general category-males) to be 7.5-8.5 for the XLRI -BM program and 6.5-7.5 for XLRI-HRM program.

Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation (28 questions)

This section was of moderate level of difficulty, slightly more difficult than that in XAT-2019. Out of the 28 questions in the section, 22 were on Quantitative Ability and 6 were on Data Interpretation.

There were two sets on Data Interpretation with three questions each. Both sets were easy to medium in terms of Level of Difficulty. One set involved a Table while the other set had multiple graphs. The set on multiple graphs also had slight logical angle to it.

Out of 22 questions on Quantitative Ability, 20 were standalone questions and 2 questions were in the form of a set on Venn Diagrams. The questions on Quantitative Ability in this section consisted of a few sitters as well as a few really lengthy questions. As a result, selection of right questions to attempt was very important. Some questions, especially the questions on Geometry involving circles and quadrilaterals were on difficult side. However, option elimination could have been effectively used to answer these questions.

This section was dominated by questions on Arithmetic (7 questions), followed by Geometry (6 questions).

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

Quantitative Ability (22 questions)
Easy Medium Difficult Total
Arithmetic 2 3 2 7
Geometry 1 2 3 6
Modern Maths 2 3 0 5
Algebra 0 1 1 2
Numbers 0 2 0 2
Data Interpretation (6 questions)
 Table 3 0 0 3
Multiple graphs 1 2 0 3
Total 9 13 6 28

An attempt of about 17-18 questions (with about 80 percent accuracy) in about 55 minutes would be considered a good attempt. Assuming that there are negative marks of -0.25 for all incorrect responses, we expect the cut-off for this section (for the general category male candidates) at 11-12 for the XLRI -BM program and 7-7.5 for XLRI - HRM program.


There was no break between Part-I and Part-II.

General Knowledge

The 25 GK questions comprised 5 current affairs questions and 20 static GK questions. Overall the GK section was easier than last year’s test. 18 questions were based on national events, 5 questions were based on international events and 2 questions were general. As usual, the questions covered a wide range of ares and gave no special advantage to specialists in any one area. The topics were diverse - Science, History, Geography, Business, Economy, names of political personalities, etc.

As there was no negative marking in this section, all questions should have been attempted. A score of 7 - 8 would be a good score in this section.


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