XAT vs CAT differences

In a year, MBA aspirants take numerous management entrance examinations to improve their chances to secure a seat in top MBA colleges in India. The top choice for candidates is the Common Admission Test. Being the gateway to IIM’s, lakhs of students appear for CAT every year. There are other prestigious entrance exams and colleges also for which candidates apply to pursue MBA. Examples of such colleges are S.P Jain, NMIMS, XLRI etc. Similarly, the Xavier Aptitude Test is also one of the top choices to get admission in management programme. This test is conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur for courses in General Management, Human Resource Management etc.

Now, the question arises, how come both are different? CAT & XAT are different in various parameters. The difficulty level, number of questions, type of questions, marking scheme varies for both the exam. Let’s take each parameter one by one in the article below.

What are the Factors which makes XAT Different from CAT?

Both the exams are peculiar in their own terms. Even the preparation requires a different strategy and time management. If you are serious for XAT, then you must give equal importance to this exam as you give to CAT. More or less, XAT is 60% similar to CAT.

The major difference between Common Admission Test and Xavier Aptitude Test:

Parameter CAT XAT
Difficulty Level High High
Time Limit (in minutes) 180 170+30
Sections in the Examinations 3 3+2
Type of Questions Puzzle based (MCQ+non-MCQ) Case-Study Based (only MCQ)
Number of Questions 100 72+25+1
Exam Focus LRDI Language and Reasoning
Marking Scheme +3 for () & -1 for (x) +1 for () & -0.25 for (x)
Test Takers(approx) More than 2 Lakh Between 90,000 -1,00,000
Conducting Body Indian Institute of Management Studies XLRI Jamshedpur
Institutes that consider score for admission IIM + more than 100 B-Schools XLRI and Colleges Affiliated to Xavier’s

Difficulty Level in XAT and CAT

The difficulty of both the exam is high. The XAT is difficult due to its Decision Making and Quantitative Aptitude. The paper requires good reasoning skills. Whereas, CAT is difficult due to its Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning Section. This appears to be a most challenging section of the exam.

Time Limit for XAT and CAT

In XAT there is no time limit, candidates have to attempt maximum out of 72 questions in the duration of 170 minutes. You are allowed to switch between sections in the given time window. Whereas, in CAT, there is the one-hour sectional limit for each section. Once the time limit is complete you don’t have the freedom to switch between the sections.

Exam Dates: CAT | XAT

The Focus of XAT and CAT Exams

The Xavier Aptitude Test focuses much on language skills and reasoning skills. Candidates need to have good command over grammar and decision making. In CAT, the focus is on DILR section which requires extensive thinking to solve the puzzle based questions.

Type of Questions in XAT and CAT

In XAT, questions are generally focused on case studies. Especially in decision making, you have to put yourself in the shoe of manager to take the apt decisions. In CAT, questions are more puzzle based, it requires how you able to find the logic in the question to crack it.

Previous Year Question Papers: CAT | XAT

Sections in XAT and CAT

There are three sections in the CAT, they are Reading comprehension & Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability. Whereas XAT is comprised of two parts. First part contains English Language & Logical Reasoning, Decision Making, and Quantitative Ability. Whereas the second part consists of Essay writing and General Knowledge.

Reading comprehension & Verbal Ability English Language & Logical Reasoning
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Decision Making
Quantitative Ability Quantitative Ability
Essay writing
General Knowledge

Number of Questions in XAT and CAT

In CAT, there are generally 30+ questions in each section including MCQ and Non MCQ questions. In XAT,  there are total 72 questions in the Part A and 25 in Part B.

CAT Section Questions XAT Section Questions
Quantitative Ability 34 Quantitative Ability 27
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension 34 English Language & Logical Reasoning 24
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning 32 Decision Making 21
General Awareness 25
Essay Writing 1

Marking Scheme for XAT and CAT

In CAT, there are 3 marks for each correct answer and negative marking of 1 mark for each incorrect answer. There is no negative marking for the Non-MCQ questions.

In XAT, there is an add-on of marks for each correct and a deduction of 0.25 marks for the incorrect answer. Moreover, for every unattempted question beyond 8, there is negative marking of 0.05 marks.

Preparation Tips: CAT | XAT

Test Takers for XAT and CAT

In general, the number of test takers for the CAT is higher than XAT. Last year there were 2,31,067 students applied for CAT. Whereas for XAT around 90, 000 candidates applied for XAT. The number of test takers is less but the competition is very high due to few numbers seats in XLRI as compared to total IIM’s and other colleges.

Syllabus for XAT and CAT

Both exams require the basic understanding of topics. Then comes practice according to the type of questions of the exam. You can check the syllabus for the exams in the links below.

Check Syllabus: CAT 2018 | XAT 2019

For any doubts and clarifications, please ask in the comments below.

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