Juggling Management Entrance Tests

If you have planned to pursue an MBA program in the next academic year, you will have to take more than just one entrance test. Why more? Quite simply, you need to keep a few options open. Plan B and C are necessary in case plan A does not materialize. 

If you have planned to join an institute in India, you might have already decided to take the CAT. In case you are looking outside India, both the GMAT and the GRE open many doors to universities offering an MBA program anywhere abroad. ISB in India admits students based on the GMAT score.

List of tests in India:

Test name Conducted by Institutes that accept the score
CAT IIM IIMs; Most institutes in India
XAT XLRI XLRI; many other institutes in India
NMAT Narsee Monjee institute NMIMS University and a few other institutes
SNAP Symbiosis institutes Symbiosis institutes
MAT (four times a year) All India Management Association Several B- schools across India
CMAT The National Testing Agency Several B- schools across India

There are state-level admission tests like the MH-CET conducted by the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE), Maharashtra government. This score is accepted by many top B-schools in Mumbai like JBIMS, Welingkar, SIES, MET, Dalmia, K J Somaiya, etc. for the MMS program. 

Which test is the best?

Most MBA aspirants take the CAT and the XAT as it is the gateway to many premier institutes in India. Take as many tests as possible to ensure you have the option to use the best score of the lot.

CAT is the mother of all tests. It is conducted by one of the IIMs every year, and all the IIMs accept only this score. Besides the IIMs, almost all institutes in India accept the CAT score.

XLRI institutes accept only the XAT score. XAT, conducted by XLRI is also accepted by many institutes in India. 

Some institutes conduct their own admission tests. 

Are all the tests conducted online?

Nearly all of them are conducted online. MAT usually offers both online and offline modes, but the pandemic situation may make it difficult to conduct an offline test. 

Which test is easy?

The difficulty level varies in most tests. The section-wise breakup can give you an idea of the level. Almost all the tests are based on the three sections: Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability, and Logical Ability. Some of them include a section on General Awareness. The XAT also has sections on Decision Making and Essay Writing.

The quant section is believed to be the most difficult in the CAT, followed by the XAT. The verbal sections in both seem to be of similar difficulty level. Most test takers view the CAT and the XAT as the two most difficult tests..

Beware of the negative marking

Most tests have objective type questions. The CAT introduced TITA (type in the answer) questions five years ago for 8 to 10 of the questions in each section. 

The MCQs (multiple choice questions) in the CAT carry negative marks for incorrect answers while the TITA (type in the answer) questions do not deduct any marks for incorrect attempts. 

Almost all the tests deduct 0.25 to .33 marks for incorrect answers. 

NMAT, TISS-NET, IBSAT, and MH-CET do not award negative marks. 

How to divide the preparation for the different tests?

The sections and question types are similar for most tests. When you prepare for the CAT, you are prepared for the others too. Additionally, you catch up on general awareness for tests like SNAP, CMAT, etc.

The XAT requires a little more – you need to understand decision making, case studies, and essay writing. Practice the sections by doing mocks and you can face all of them confidently. 

All the best!

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