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MBA Entrance Exam Details - What You Need to Know


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Masters in Business Administration or MBA is one of the most popular postgraduate management courses pursued by aspirants in India. Statistics reveal that close to 15.6% of management graduates in the world hold degrees from universities in India! 

If you are considering pursuing an MBA degree, it is important to recognize the different processes that need to be completed to gain admission. With the tough competition that is a part of the postgraduate studies industry, making an impression on your performance is essential. 

Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about the most popular MBA entrance exams conducted in India! 

Most Popular MBA Entrance Exams in India 

With the number of aspirants aiming for MBA courses increasing on an annual basis, one of the factors determining admission is the clearing of an MBA entrance exam. 

To gain admission to some of the best B-schools, clearing one or more of the following entrance exams can grant you clearance for the next round of the selection. 

Some of the most popular national-level entrance exams are as follows: 

Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) 

A popular graduate management admission test is the Common Management Admission Test or CMAT. Conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), close to 70,000 aspirants attempt this exam on an annual basis. 

The exam duration is typically 3 hours and is conducted online in a computer-based test (CBT) mode. 


The syllabus of the exam includes topics such as: 

  • General Knowledge & Awareness 
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Verbal Ability & Language Comprehension 
  • Logical Reasoning 
  • Data Interpretation & Quantitative Techniques 

The exam pattern typically involves 100 questions asked in a multiple-choice question format. Clearing this management entrance exam grants you admission to more than 1300 MBA colleges in India! 


Common Admission Test (CAT) 

The Common Admission Test or CAT is another popular entrance exam conducted for admission to some of the best B-schools in India! Clearing the CAT 2022 exam will grant you admission to programs offered by the prestigious Indian Institute of Management and other reputed colleges. 

Much like CMAT and other entrance exams, CAT is conducted as a computer-based test and consists of MCQs and non-MCQ format questions. 


The CAT syllabus includes topics such as: 

  • Quantitative Abilities (QA) 
  • Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation 
  • Reading Comprehension & Verbal Ability

To be eligible for this exam, you will need to provide proof of an undergraduate degree with a minimum aggregate of 50% or equivalent. If you are in the final year of your undergraduate studies, you are also considered eligible for the CAT exam. 


Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) 

The Xavier Aptitude Test is another national-level management examination that is conducted by the prestigious XLRI. The scores of this exam are considered for admission to MBA and PGDM courses around the country. 

Conducted once a year, the exam duration is 3 hours and 10 minutes. 

The syllabus of the exam contains the following: 

  • Essay Writing 
  • General Knowledge 
  • Data Interpretation & Quantitative Ability 
  • Verbal & Logical Ability 
  • Decision-Making Skills 

The exam pattern includes 100 questions asked in the typical MCQ format. It is estimated that close to 95,000 students attempt this exam on an annual basis.


National Management Aptitude Test (NMAT) 

National Management Aptitude Test (NMAT) or NMAT by GMAC is a popular entrance exam conducted for admission to MBA courses in India. One of the key points to note about this exam is that it is designed to keep the convenience of test-takers in mind. 

This means you can opt for a date and venue preference that is most aligned with your requirements during the exam window. Choosing the option that suits you with the NMAT scheduling can provide you with ample time for preparation and practice. 

The duration of the exam is roughly 120 minutes and comprises 108 questions. 

The syllabus of the exam includes topics such as general awareness, logical reasoning, quantitative skills, and language skills. 

To be eligible for this exam, you will need to have a minimum of four years of education from a recognized university. You will also need to score a minimum of 50% aggregate in the final year of your graduation. 


Tata Institute of Social Science National Entrance Test (TISSNET) 

TISSNET is a national-level entrance examination that is conducted for admission to MBA courses in the country. TISSNET is also applicable for admission to MA courses offered by the institute. 

This test is typically conducted as a computer-based test of roughly 100 minutes. The questions are asked in an MCQ format. 

Some of the key concepts tested in this exam include: 

  • General Awareness 
  • Logical Reasoning 
  • Mathematical Skills 
  • English Proficiency 

TISSNET does not have any negative marking and using the right resources to prepare for the exam is crucial to clearing the same with flying colours. 


Management Aptitude Test (MAT) 

The Management Aptitude Test or MAT is a national-level exam that is conducted by the All India Management Association (AIMA). Clearing this exam will grant you admission to some of the most recognized MBA and PGDM courses in India. 

The MAT exam is conducted in a series of four phases spread out over the year. The test dates are often scheduled for the months of: 

  • February 
  • May
  • September 
  • December 

MAT is generally conducted as a paper-based test or in an online, computer-based format. As a candidate, you can opt for a mode that is best suited for your requirements. 

Some of the most popular modes of taking the MAT exam include: 

  • Computer-Based Test & Paper-Based Test 
  • Computer-Based Test & Internet-Based Test 
  • Internet-Based Test & Paper-Based Test 
  • Computer-Based Test 
  • Paper-Based Test 
  • Double-Internet Based Test 


Symbiosis National Aptitude Test (SNAP)

The SNAP exam is a national-level management aptitude test conducted by Symbiosis International University (SIU). This is an exam that is typically conducted in an online and offline mode. 


The exam duration is one hour and is conducted annually. The paper comprises 60 questions asked from the following sections: 

  • Analytical & Logical Reasoning 
  • Data Sufficiency & Quantitative Data Interpretation 
  • General English 

On clearing the SNAP exam, you will be shortlisted for the Written Ability Test (WAT), Personal Interaction (PI), and Group Exercise (GE) rounds. 

It is estimated that close to 50,000 students attempt this exam every year. Clearing this exam and the subsequent rounds of the selection process will grant you admission to more than 20 SIU-affiliated universities in India! 

Attempting one or more of the above-listed exams is one of the best ways to gain admission to an MBA course of your choice from a reputed university. 

Noting the competitive nature of these exams, however, it is necessary to prepare well in advance with the right resources and material. 

Tips to Prepare for National-Level MBA Entrance Exams 

Before preparing for your entrance exam, it is advisable to choose an exam that is just right for you. You can make this decision by streamlining your choices based on the following factors: 

  • The difficulty level of the exam 
  • Familiarity with exam syllabus and types of questions 
  • Familiarity with exam pattern 
  • Choice of university 

Once you have recognized the three or four exams that you would like to attempt, the next step includes a rigorous preparation schedule. 

Here are 3 tips to help you prepare for these exams: 

Thoroughly Understand the Exam Syllabus 

A strong understanding of the exam syllabus is one of the best ways to create a successful revision regime. 

Once you have shortlisted and applied for the management exams of your choice, make a list of all the important topics that need to be covered in your revision. 

A typical management level entrance exam will contain the following sections: 

  • Verba Ability 
  • Reasoning Ability 
  • Quantitative Ability 
  • General Awareness 

A detailed list of topics under each section will be provided to you once your registration is complete. 


Practice Mock Tests and Previous Years’ Question Papers

Arguably, one of the best ways to prepare for your MBA entrance exam is by solving previous years’ question papers. A good understanding of the kinds of questions asked can help you put your best foot forward and prepare accordingly. 

Timing yourself while attempting mock tests is a good way to assess your strong and weak areas. This will give you ample time to work on concepts that you are not entirely comfortable with. 

Most management entrance exams will conduct mock tests a couple of days before the final exam. This is designed to provide students with the experience required to attempt the paper to the best of their abilities. 


Read Newspapers 

Making a habit out of reading newspapers is a great way to build your knowledge and understanding of events happening in the world. Often, your general knowledge will not just be tested in management entrance exams. 

You will also need to display a clear understanding of global affairs during your interview to gain admission to your chosen course. 

There are several mobile apps and newspapers that you can subscribe to. While cramming all relevant information last minute is not advisable, spending 30 minutes a day reading newspapers can help. 

Do some research on the dates of all relevant management exams to plan your revision schedule accordingly. Remember not to spend too much time on one section and divide your revision hours so that all concepts are cleared well in advance. 

Good luck!

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