XAT Examination Syllabus

The XAT 2020 syllabus includes topics based on Decision Making, Verbal & Logical Ability, Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, and General Knowledge. The syllabus was updated last year and the Essay Writing section was removed from the exam pattern. This year, the syllabus remains unchanged. The XAT 2020 question paper will be based on these four topics. Here’s a brief of the complete syllabus of XAT along with the best books and study material to prepare for XAT 2020 which is scheduled to be conducted on January 5, 2020. 

XAT Syllabus: Overview



Important topics

Verbal and Logical AbilityReading comprehension and vocabulary, analogy based on vocabulary, para Jumble, grammar, critical reasoning and inference, para completion, etc.
Decision MakingDecision making, analogy, seating arrangement, logical sequence, assumption, premise, conclusion, etc.
Quantitative Ability & Data InterpretationTables and caselets, percentage, surds and indices, algebra, mensuration, bar diagrams, pie charts, etc.
General KnowledgeScience, economy, business, politics, static GK, sports, prize and award, world, government, the constitution of India, etc


Section-wise XAT Syllabus 2020

The candidates must have a thorough understanding of the syllabus before they start their preparations. The section-wise XAT syllabus and related key points to note are given below.

XAT Exam Syllabus: Quantitative Aptitude (QA) & Data Interpretation (DI)

  • Includes a total of 27 questions in QA & DI section
  • Each question is of one mark
  • 25 marks is deducted in case of an incorrect answer
  • Last year, the questions were mainly from Arithmetic, Algebra, Co-ordinate Geometry, Data Sufficiency, Time Zone and Mixed Graph

The main Topics to refer in the Quantitative Aptitude (QA) & Data Interpretation (DI) section are mentioned below:

PercentageTables and CaseletsLinear and Quadratics Equations
Profit and LossProbabilitySurds and Indices
Ratio and ProportionCritical PathInequalities
VariationAverages and PartnershipsLogarithms
Time and WorkAlligations and MixturesNumbers
Time, Speed and DistanceAlgebraMensuration
LCM and HCFSimple and Compound InterestGeometry
Pure MathsVenn DiagramTrigonometry
Data TablesData chartsBar diagrams
GraphsPie charts Data analysis


XAT Paper Syllabus: Verbal Ability

  • Contains a total of 26 questions in this section
  • Each question is for one mark
  • There will be a deduction of 0.25 marks in case of an incorrect answer
  • In 2019, questions asked in this section were from RC, FIB, CR, Poem, Analogy, Antonym, and Para jumble

The following are the topics to study in the Verbal Ability section:


Reading ComprehensionFill in the blanks
Jumbled ParagraphsContextual usage of vocabulary
Word usageSentence completion
Antonyms/SynonymsParagraph completion In Reading Comprehension section, passages will be from literature, socio-economic essays, science and culture, and abstract topics.
Correction of errors in sentence 


XAT 2020 Syllabus: Decision Making

  • There will be a total of 22 questions in Decision Making section
  • Each question is for one mark
  • There will be a deduction of 0.25 marks in case of an incorrect answer
  • In 2019, all the question asked in this section were situation-based

Topics to study in Decision Making section are given below:


Analytical ReasoningLogical ReasoningArithmetic
Data ArrangementCaseletsConditions and grouping
SituationsAssumptionsDecision making


XAT Exam Pattern: General Knowledge

  • 25 questions are asked from this section
  • Each question is for one mark and there is no negative marking in this section
  • In 2019, questions were asked from History, Geography, Economy & Business, Current Affairs, Personality & Awards, Science & Tech

Topics to study in the General Knowledge section of XAT are listed below:


Awards and winnersHistory and GeographyStatic GK
Business and PoliticsConstitution of IndiaPersonalities
Government  and EconomyWorld EventsCurrent Affairs


Also Check XAT Exam Results

Best Books for XAT Preparation

XAT is one of the most difficult MBA entrance exams and the candidates must ensure to study only from books and study material recommended by experts and previous year toppers. The following table contains the list.

Best books for XAT Quantitative Aptitude (QA) & Data Interpretation (DI)

Books for XAT


How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CATArun Sharma
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT Common Admission Tests For Admission into IIMsSarvesh K Verma



Quantitative Aptitude For Competitive ExaminationsGuha Abhijit
Data Interpretation and Data SufficiencyAnanta Ashisha/Arihant


Best books for XAT Verbal Ability


Books for XAT


Word Power Made EasyNorman Lewis
Objective General EnglishDr RS Agarwal and Vikas Agarwal
High School English GrammarWren & Martin
The Students’ Companion BookD Best


Best books for XAT Decision Making


Books for XAT

Author Name/Publisher

Data Interpretation & Logical ReasoningGautam Puri
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CATNishit K. Sinha
Data Interpretation & Data SufficiencyAnanta Ashisha
How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CATArun Sharma


Also Check XAT Exam Cut-offs

Best Study Material for XAT General Knowledge

To be updated with the Current Affairs and General Knowledge, candidates must read the following newspapers and journals:


Newspapers and Journals

The HinduEconomic Times
Financial ExpressHindu Business Line
Wall Street JournalThe Financial Times
Business TodayBusiness World
Competition Success ReviewManagement Compass Career Launcher


XAT Exam Pattern for 2020

Mentioned below are XAT 2020 sections, number of questions in each section and marks allotted to them.


Number of questions

Marks allotted

Decision Making2121
Verbal and Logical Ability2626
Quantitative Ability & Data  Interpretation2727
General Knowledge2525


Also read:

XAT Syllabus FAQs

Q: Is the XAT exam tougher than CAT?

A: XAT and CAT both are quite tough when compared to other MBA entrance exams. But the level of toughness is based on the candidates taking the examination.

Q: What is the weightage for the GK section in XAT?

A: GK section will have a total of 25 questions, of one mark each.

Q: Where can I find the study material for the Decision-Making section of XAT?

A: As this section is unique to XAT, the study material is not readily available, thus the previous years’ question papers are the best study guides.

Q: Which is the best book for the Quant section of XAT?

A: For Quant section of XAT, books by Arun Sharma and Sarvesh K Verma are highly recommended.

Q: How many questions will be there in XAT 2020?

A: There will be about 99-100 questions in XAT 2020 all of which will be MCQ type.

Q: Can I prepare for XAT with CAT prep material?

A: Yes, as the syllabus of XAT and CAT are similar, one can prepare for both exams from the same study material. Only the Decision Making section has to be studied separately in XAT as this section is not a part of CAT syllabus.

Q: Does XAT offer official mock tests?

A: No, XAT does not have official mock tests

Q: Is there negative marking in XAT?

A: Yes, XAT follows negative marking of -0.25. For eight consecutive unanswered questions, 0.5 marks will be deducted.

Q: How many months do I need to prepare for XAT?

A: Ideally, XAT preparation takes 6-9 months, but if the candidates have prepared for CAT as well, then the XAT preparation can be done in 1-2 months.

Q: What is the duration of XAT exam?

A: XAT exam is held for three hours from 9:30 am till 12:30 pm. There is no break in between.

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