XAT and CAT are the most preferred management entrance tests for MBA Admission. Despite these being a preferred management entrance test in India XAT is different from CAT exam in many ways. Those who will be appearing for XAT entrance test have to understand the key differences and prepare accordingly. For example- Negative marking in XAT is less than CAT. In the XAT entrance exam, one-fourth marks are deducted in case of an incorrect answer, whereas in the CAT exam, one mark is deducted. Check here complete details on how XAT is different from CAT and how to prepare for both the exams.


  • The complete schedule for XAT 2019 has been published online. Click Here to check it.
  • The registration for CAT 2018 has been started. The last date to apply is 19 Sep 2018. Click Here to apply now.

XAT Exam

XAT is a National Level Entrance Exam which is conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur. The exam is conducted in the online mode through CBT. Through this exam, candidates get admission to 150+ B schools in India. There is a negative marking of 0.25 marks in the exam.

Eligibility – The students must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.

Application Process Starts – The application process for XAT exam starts in the third week of August.

About the Exam – XAT exam divided into two parts 2 parts. Objective and subjective type questions are asked in the exam. Although there is no specific syllabus for the XAT exam, However, Verbal and Logical Ability, Decision Making, QA and DI, GK and essay writing questions are asked in the exam. Through the XAT exam, the students can get admission to a Number of courses such as BM, HRM, GBM, GMP. There are 47 exam centers in India whereas 2 centres abroad.

Important Links For XAT

How To Prepare for XAT exam XAT Syllabus
Previous Year Question Papers

CAT Exam

CAT is one of the most important MBA Entrance exam. Every Year about 2 lakh students attempts the CAT exam to get admission in the top B schools and IIM’s. CAT scores are accepted by many institutes.

Eligibility – Students are required to have at least 50% marks in the graduation. CA, CS, ICWA candidates are also eligible for the exam.

Syllabus – Subjects such as Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation Quantitative Aptitude are asked in the exam.

Exam Pattern – Conducted for a time duration of 3 hours. 3 sections ave to be completed in 3 hours for the CAT exam and Students have 1 hour to complete each section. Registration begins in the 2nd week of August.

Important Links for CAT

Books For CAT Preparation CAT Past 10-year question papers
How To Prepare for CAT exam Strategy For Scoring 95+ Percentile in CAT exam

How is XAT different from CAT – How to Prepare for Both the Exams

The decision making section – Majorly the Decision-Making section does not appear in the CAT whereas it does in the XAT exam. The students are given the designation of a manager and have to get to a decision. General Knowledge section is a section that is not a part of the score but it will be counted in the later stage of admission by XLRi and some of the famous colleges. There is essay writing in the CAT exam whereas it is not there on the XAT exam

Both CAT and XAT exam have a seasonal cutoff. The difference is acceptance of lower Marks. CAT has something which XAT doesn’t have and that is the Individual daily session wise cut-off calculation for the whole 20-25 days window and places the result accordingly.

Mode of Exam – The candidates can note that both of the exams follow the different mode of exams. The XAT is conducted in the conventional Pen and Paper mode whereas the CAT exam is conducted in the online mode as a CBT.

Also, XAT exam is conducted in a single day whereas it takes 20-25 days in two sections every day.

Time duration – The CAT exam is of a time duration of 140 Mins whereas the XAT exam keeps changing the number of questions and time duration of the exam.

Negative Marking – Both XAT and CAT exams have a different negative marking. In the XAT exam for every wrong answer you give you will be given negative marking of 0.25 marks per question. Also, you can leave up to 13 questions in the XAT exam.

In the CAT exam, there is a negative marking of 1 Mark.

Unique Marking Scheme in the XAT Exam – From 2016, the XAT exam introduced a different kind of marking scheme. According to the scheme, the students must remember that along with the incorrectly answered questions the students shall also be given negative marking for every question after leaving 13 questions. This means that the students will be able to leave only 13 questions.

XAT Exam’s General Knowledge Section – Comparing both the exams it can be seen that the XAT exam has an extra General Knowledge section. Also, there is no Negative Marking for this section. Students must note that this section will not be counted for scoring but this section will be valued at the time of interview.

How is the preparation for CAT exam different from the XAT exam ?

For both the CAT and XAT exam, the students must start giving the only mock tests. Doing this will help you a lot in both exams. You must stay updated with the News and happenings. Students can check out the sections such as Politics, sports, Media, and business etc.

Preparation for Decision-Making section in the XAT exam – Since there is a unique section in the XAT exam. The students will have to prepare for the XAT exam also. The students can check out the below points for the preparation of Decision Making Section.

Preparation for XAT, Decision Making Section – The self-study from various MBA Entrance Preparation books is very important. For this section, the students must take ample mock tests. I

  • It is advisable for the students to keep practicing the mock tests for this section. T
  • Taking the help of the previous year question papers are also considered to be very helpful for the XAT exam Preparation.

Test series help for the Verbal and quanitative ability sections. Since there is no sectional time limi, the students can easily divide the questions according to sections. However, the students must note that they should be trying easy questions first so that they can fetch a lot of marks quickly. According to the XAT Topper Aditya Tiwari, it is very crucial to devote at least 1 and a half to two hours time every day for the XAT preparation.

Take coaching when its necessary – For both XAT and CAT exam the students must try to prepare on their own. The candidates must make sure that they first take as many mock tests as they can and make sure that they analyze the result. The candidates can later check if they need coaching classes or not.

If you have any questions, let us know in the comment section below


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