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The XAT exam is conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur on behalf of the XAMI. The XAT scores are being used by about 140 institutions in the country for admission purposes. This exam also has a legacy associated with keeping it pen-paper based to ensure that candidates with the knowledge of operating computers are not privileged in comparison to those who do not have access from economically backward backgrounds. The count of questions in XAT has seen an interesting trend in the past few years. In the years 2010 and 2011, the total count of questions was 101 while from 2012 onwards, the questions were reduced to 85 to be of moderate difficulty. Further in 2013 the count was increased to 91 and went up to 114 in 2015 only to be reduced to 103 in 2016. Duration-wise, the paper was set to 2 hours and 20 minutes in 2010 and was increased by 10 mins in 2013 set to be moderately difficult. Further in 2016, it was increased by half an hour to ease the time-pressure on students.

XAT consists of two parts divided into 5 sections.  The first part is used to arrive at the percentile scores while the evaluation of the second part is reserved for the subsequent admission stage. About 170 minutes are reserved for the first part while 35 minutes for the second part. The essay writing section was introduced in 2008. The General Awareness section was scrapped in between only to be included further on from 2012. In 2009, the marking scheme was 0.25 for first 6 wrong answers and 0.5 thereafter. Now negative marking does not apply to a maximum of 13 unanswered questions.

The overall difficulty level of the questions has been brought down to encourage students to exhibit all-round skills and focus on accuracy. But the mode of attempting the exam has been pen-paper based to accommodate for candidates from varied backgrounds.

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