XAT vs CAT: Paper Pattern, Marking Scheme, Syllabus, Colleges

By Aditi Joshi|Updated : March 16th, 2022

XAT vs CAT article provides details about the differences and similarities between both the exams. XAT and CAT both are the top MBA entrance exams in India. The aspirants who wish to have an MBA degree mostly appear for both of these exams. The basic difference between CAT and XAT is that CAT is the key to enter in IIMs, while XAT is for XLRI Jamshedpur. So, the aspirants, thinking to appear for both XAT and CAT, must be well-versed with similarities and differences between CAT and XAT.

It is a dilemma for MBA aspirants whether to give CAT or XAT or both. If the aspirants wish to prepare for both of these exams, then they must be sure of a few things as XAT and CAT are a bit different. BYJU'S Exam Prep Experts have analysed CAT vs XAT to help you in your smooth preparation.

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Table of Content

CAT vs XAT Similarities 

Both CAT and XAT exams are conducted for MBA admission in India, so there are some basic points on which both of these exams are similar. Note the below table for CAT vs XAT exam similarities.





Difficulty Level

Moderate to Difficult

Sectional Timing


Exam Mode

Online Computer-based

Level of Exam


Number of Attempts

Once in Every Year

Exam Frequency

Once in Every Year

Exam Medium


Negative Marking 


CAT vs XAT Difference

The aspirants must know the difference between CAT and XAT, and the points on which XAT and CAT differ. Check the table below to get an overview of CAT vs XAT differences.





Common Admission Test

Xavier Aptitude Test

Conducted by


XLRI Jamshedpur

Basic Eligibility Criteria

The aspirants must be a graduate from any recognised university with a minimum of 50% in aggregate (45% for reserve category)

The aspirants must be a graduate from any recognised university in any stream

Time Duration

120 Minutes

190 Minutes

Application Fees

INR 2300/- for general category (INR 1150/- for reserve category)

INR 2000/-

Check details for CAT Eligibility and XAT Eligibility.

CAT vs XAT Exam Pattern

The test pattern for both XAT and CAT is quite similar as both of these exams consist of MCQs, and the aspirants have to choose the correct option. But, the marking scheme and sectional time limit are different in XAT and CAT. BYJU’S Exam Prep Expert has listed some important points below to show the difference between CAT and XAT.




Total Number of Questions

66 Questions 

  • MCQs: 48
  • Non-MCQs: 18

101 Questions

  • QA &DI: 28
  • Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning: 26
  • Decision Making: 21
  • GK: 25
  • Essay: 1

Total Marks



Number of Exam Section

3 Sections (VARC, DILR, QA)

2 Sections

  • Part 1

Decision Making


Verbal Ability and Logical  Reasoning

  • Part 2

General Knowledge


Sectional Timings

40 Minutes for each section

Part 1: 165 Minutes

Part 2: 25 Minutes

(Note: The Essay question in Part 2 in the XAT exam pattern was reintroduced. So, it will be evaluated if the aspirants are shortlisted for the XAT interview process.)

Go through for detailed analysis of CAT Exam and XAT Exam for better preparation.

CAT vs XAT Section-wise Weightage

The aspirants preparing for both CAT and XAT must be sure about CAT vs XAT sectional analysis. Note the below two tables to understand the section-wise weightage for both CAT and XAT.

CAT Paper Pattern

Exam Sections

Total Questions

Number of MCQ Questions

Number of TITA Questions

Section-wise Time Limit




















120 (as per CAT 2021)

XAT Paper Pattern 


Number of Questions

Total Time

Part 1

  • Verbal and Logical Ability: 26
  • Decision Making: 21
  • QA & DI:28

165 Minutes

Part 2

  • General Knowledge: 25
  • Essay: 1

25 Minutes


101 Questions

190 Minutes

Check Section-wise Preparation for XAT

CAT vs XAT Marking Scheme

The marking scheme for XAT and CAT is quite different. Note the below table to understand the marking scheme difference between CAT and XAT.




Marks Awarded

+3 (for every correct answer)

+1 (for every correct answer)

Marks Deducted

-1 (for every correct answer)

-0.25 (for every incorrect answer)

Unattempted Questions

No deduction

Beyond 8 unanswered questions, 0.10 marks will be deducted for each unanswered question

Questions without Negative Marking

TITA questions

GK Questions

Check also

CAT vs XAT Syllabus

There are two sections in XAT, such as Decision Making and General Knowledge which is not there in the CAT exam. The below table indicates the subjects for CAT vs XAT so that the aspirants can prepare accordingly. Check Detailed Analysis of CAT Syllabus and XAT Syllabus



  • Decision Making
  • Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation
  • Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning
  • General Knowledge
  • Essay
  • Quantitative Ability
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

CAT vs XAT Participating Institutes

CAT and XAT score is accepted by more than 1000 B-schools in India. However, if you have the desire to study only in IIMs or XLRI and XAMI members institutes, then you have to score individually for CAT and XAT and check for the participating institutes all over the country. Note the below table to get an idea about the participating institutes for both CAT and XAT.



CAT is popular because IIMs accept only the CAT scores.

To become eligible for admission in the XLRI Jamshedpur, the candidate needs to appear for the XAT exam only

Apart from IIMS, other institutes like IITs, FMS-Delhi, etc accept only the CAT scorecard for their shortlisting process.

Apart from XLRI, some of the XAMI (XLRI Associate) members also accept XAT scores in their selection process.

It is very common for MBA aspirants for appearing for both XAT and CAT to get an opportunity to study in their desired institutes. So, stay tuned with BYJU’S Exam Prep and get updated information regarding the CAT exam and XAT exam.

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write a comment


  • It can not be said which one is tougher in comparison. Details about CAT vs XAT show that both the exams are different in test structure and marking scheme. So, be very specific in your preparation if you want to prepare for both of these exams.

  • Not at all, because in XAT you have to be well-versed with Decision making and the GK section. But while preparing for CAT, you can avoid these two sections

  • The marking scheme comparison between CAT vs XAT is as follow:

    • In CAT:
    • +3 for every correct answer
    • -1 for every incorrect answer
    • No marks for unattempted answers
    • No negative marking in TITA questions
    • In XAT:
    • + 1 for every correct answer
    • -0.25 for every incorrect answer
    • Beyond 8 unanswered questions, 0.10 marks will be deducted for each unanswered question
    • No negative marking for the GK section
  • In comparison to CAT vs XAT, the XAT exam is more scoring in Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation section.

  • The main difference between CAT and XAT is in its syllabus.

    • CAT has three sections: VARC, DILR, and QA
    • While XAT has 2 sections, including Part 1 and Part 2
    • Part 1: Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning, Decision Making and QA&DI
    • Part 2: GK and Essay

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