Essay Topics from Previous XAT Papers (2000 to 2024)

All the information you need about Essay Writing in the XAT exam

After a break of 4 years, essay writing made a comeback in XAT 2022 and was present in XAT 2023 & 2024. Keep in mind that the topics in Part II of XAT ie Essay & GK are used only by XLRI for the selection of students (all the other institutes under XAT consider only Part I of XAT) and that too only at the interview stage (ie XLRI does not consider Part II scores for shortlisting candidates for the interview).

In both XAT 2024 & 2023, the total time for GK & Essay was 30 minutes. GK had 25 questions and would need at least 10 minutes of time if not more. Hence the time to gather your thoughts, structure them and present them in the form of an essay would be around 15 to 20 minutes. Before we dig deeper into this, let us first take a look at the kind of essay topics that were asked in XAT over the years.

Essay Topics from Previous XAT Papers (2000 to 2024)

2024:  Three topics were provided. The test-taker had to select one topic and write an essay of around 250-300 words.

  1. Tech prediction often fails not because of wrong models or a lack of imagination but due to a lack of humility in admitting our uncertainties about the future.
  2. Implementing more stringent regulations for Social Media Platforms is crucial to effectively combat the proliferation of fake news.
  3. Things that matter the most must never be at the mercy of things that matter the least.

2023: The candidates had three options to choose from

  1.  Risk is an essential need of the soul. The absence of risk produces a kind of boredom which paralyses in a way different from fear but almost as much.
  • Rapid decarbonisation to achieve the target of zero carbon emissions will have business consequences.
  • Someone with half your IQ is making 10x as you because they are not smart enough to doubt themselves.

2022: Test-taker had to select one topic from the following two choices 

  1. Capitalism and democracy follow different logic: unequally distributed property rights on the one hand, and equal civic and political rights on the other. debate, compromise and majority decision-making within democratic politics versus hierarchical decision-making by managers and capital owners. Therefore, Capitalism and democracy cannot co-exist
  2. In management, we do not need people who have never experienced setbacks. Such people are highly risk-averse. Because business schools mainly focus on stellar academic achievements during admissions, the selected students turn out to be average managers

2017: Globalization and Jingoism always coexist.

2016: Technology and Nature are natural enemies.

2015: Listening is a dying art. We hardly listen to understand. We only listen to refute or reply.

2014: The most beautiful thing can neither be seen nor be touched but can only be felt.

2013 Corruption is the root cause of the economic slowdown in India.

2012  Support one of the two given statements

Statement I – Poverty is the major problem that is plaguing India. Because of the magnitude and complexity of this problem, government policies are not successful

Statement II – Poverty is a consequence of government policies. Instead of trying to address the problem, the government should concentrate on the root causes of the problem

2011 The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals would not only load himself with most unnecessary attention but assume an authority which could safely be trusted to no council and senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who has folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.

2010 Earth provide enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greedy need

2009 The Inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings and the inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of misery

2008 Gender Imbalance will lead to Third World War

2007 Economic growth without environmental damage – a mirage or a reality.

2006 India has one of the largest pools of talented manpower, but few innovations and patented products.

2005 More than one billion Indians: A gigantic problem or a sea of opportunities.

2004 Asked at the age of 83, as to which of his project would he choose as his masterpiece, Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect answered, The next one

2003 To give real service, one needs to add something that cannot be bought or measured, like sincerity and integrity.

2002 Indian Economy in the post-WTO era.

2001 Economic Growth without distributive justice can only lead to violence

2000 Ships are safer in the harbour. But they are not meant for the same.

How to write a good essay

Keep in mind that the objective is not to write a long essay. We don’t have the time for that. 200 to 250 words maximum (Unlike in the previous years, the word limit for the essay was specified in XAT 2023). So, focus on writing a concise essay with good logical thoughts, presented in a structured manner.

For this, you have to first structure your thoughts. Look at the keywords in the topic and churn them in your mind and you will come up with points. It is a good idea to scribble a few points on your worksheet before you start off on the essay. Just scribble the points in words; you don’t have the time to write the points in sentences. This will help you to present the essay with a natural flow (otherwise there is the risk of the essay looking haphazard)

Structure of an essay

Write the essay in three paragraphs. The focus is on clarity of thought, the flow of ideas and crisp presentation 

The first paragraph is the introduction. Mention what this topic is all about, define it, and state its importance/relevance (with pointers in the present national/global context if any). Be brief as we have limited time and two more parts of the essay to be completed before time runs out. Build the premise using simple language. Be aware that essay writing is not the place to show off your vocabulary skills.

The second paragraph constitutes the main body of the essay. Content & analysis – supporting points and arguments, presentation of facts and figures if any, all form part of this.

The third paragraph is your conclusion. I notice XAT essays of the past focus on your thoughts and opinions on the topic. Here, express your viewpoint on the topic, with your recommendation. Do not make the mistake of restating the arguments you have put forward in the second paragraph. Based on what you have highlighted in the second paragraph, state your opinion. Don’t forget to close your argument which ensures that the essay has a complete look.

You will be a bit rushed for time. So, be concise. Keep in mind that the focus is on your ideas and logical thought process. Be careful to avoid slags and college/workplace lingo. Don’t worry too much about grammar; that is already tested in the VA section of XAT. We are not saying that grammar is not important. What we are stressing is that don’t let that tie you down. Let your ideas flow freely. Marks are for your logical thoughts and arguments


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