NMAT conducted by GMAC™ is accepted by leading b-schools in India and the number of institutes accepting NMAT scores is on the rise. Given the fact that it is conducted by GMAC™ which also conducts the GMAT, the test has credibility, reliability, and offers B-schools a platform on which candidates can be assessed.
At a point of time, NMAT used to be a paper-pencil based test. It later became a Computer Based Test (CBT) and finally, the test is now conducted by GMAC™. Even in its earlier versions, NMAT was a speed based test with moderate difficulty and less time per question, making it a preferred choice for a lot of aspirants. It has now transitioned into a test which can be taken three times in a given admissions cycle, and has eliminated negative marking altogether.
Before we get into the intricacies of strategy and preparation for NMAT, let us have a quick look at the structure of the test.
NMAT is a Computer Based Test (CBT) and gives each candidate a randomly generated test from a pool of questions. GMAC ensures that the difficulty level of the questions, the overall difficulty of the test and individual sections, remains the same regardless of when and where the test is administered. What makes NMAT unique is the timed sections format, no negative marking, and the option to choose the section order while attempting the test.
There are three sections – Language Skills, Quantitative Skills, and Logical Reasoning. Each of these sections has a time limit. As there is no negative marking, students can mark all the answers in a section within allotted time. It is crucial to review your answers before to another section of the test as once the section is closed, the answers are considered as final answers.
|Language Skills||32 questions||22 minutes|
|Quantitative Skills||48 questions||60 minutes|
|Logical Reasoning||40 questions||38 minutes|
|Total||120 questions||120 minutes|
Every right answer is worth 3 marks and there is no negative marking. Because of this, students are advised to mark all the answers. Every question has 5 answer choices.
Let us have a look at the individual sections and the strategies that can be employed for each of the sections.
As there are 32 questions to be attempted in 22 minutes, one needs to be extremely fast when it comes to the Language Skills section. If we look at the split of the questions, we will find that one can expect 8-12 questions on RC (2-3 RCs with 4 questions each). Vocabulary questions are synonyms and antonyms and are quite straight forward. As these questions fall under the you-know-it-or-you-don’t category, there is no point spending a lot of time on these questions and 20 seconds per question, should be good enough to crack these. 4-5 error spotting questions (a toned down version of sentence correction questions) appear on the NMAT. Considering one would be more careful while attempting these questions, 30-45 seconds per question should work well. Para jumbles question may have 4 or 5 sentences to be arranged and the difficulty is easy to moderate. Not more than a minute per question should be spent on these.
Fill in the blanks are comparatively easier and one can breeze through these. Preposition based questions wouldn’t take much time and can be managed in about 4 minutes. That will leave one with about 5 minutes for Reading Comprehension. It may not be possible to attempt both the passages. So, quickly decide which RC you wish to attempt and answer all the questions well. Spending a lot of time on RC in the beginning of the section may not appear a sound strategy as one will find one pressured if any extra time is invested without significant results.
|Question Type||Number of questions||Suggested time (in minutes)|
|Fill in the blanks||6||4|
|Grand Total||32||22 minutes|
To do well in this section, one must concentrate on studying prepositions, rules of grammar, sentence correction as these will take lesser time per question and push attempts and score. Time-consuming questions in this section are Para jumbles and RC selection makes a huge difference in the attempt accuracy dynamic.
This section has 40 questions and 38 minutes, giving candidates almost a minute per question. There are 2-3 LR caselets with 4 questions each and these are of moderate difficulty level. If you are attempting a set, it makes sense to get all 4 questions under it right. Coding-decoding, standalone puzzles, cryptomath questions also appear on the NMAT. If you aren’t used to solving cryptomath questions, don’t spend time during the test. Number series and number based puzzles are quite easy to manage and one should not spend more than 30 seconds to crack the logic.
The challenging part of this section is Critical Reasoning. Assumptions, Conclusions, Strengthen-weaken argument, Fact Inference Judgement can make or break the case in the Logical Reasoning section. As there can be 10-12 questions based on these, one cannot simply ignore the importance of getting these sorted early. Input Output and Visual reasoning questions do appear on the NMAT and a little bit of practice should help crack these.
The section split will typically look like this:
|Question Type||Number of questions|
|Argument type identification||1|
|Blood relations/Family tree||1|
|Course of Action||2|
|Odd man out||1|
|Set Theory/Venn Diagram||3|
|Solo Logic based question||3|
|Weaken the argument||1|
Choosing the right questions is extremely crucial in this section, but one must understand when to leave a set and not fall in the trap. Remember: A minute per question in this section!
A section that aspirants worry about the most is quantitative ability. The section covers almost all the topics in quant, from Numbers to P&C Probability. As GMAC loves Data Sufficiency question, one needs to practice these in addition to standard quant questions. If we look at the individual topics, Algebra and Geometry have almost the same weightage and Algebra is comparatively easier. Data Interpretation forms a huge chunk of this section with around 4-5 sets of 4 questions each. DI takes more time per question if you compare it with a direct formula based question. Having said that, two of these sets will be easily manageable.
For aspirants who dread the quant section, focus all your efforts on Numbers (4), Arithmetic, Algebra, DS and DI. You can keep questions from your improvement areas for the end. The difficulty level of questions varies from absolute sitters to CAT/XAT level. Ignoring this section can prove to be detrimental to one’s chance of getting a good score.
|Question Type||Number of questions|
|Bar Chart Based DI||8|
|Logarithms Indices Surds||2|
|Pie Chart Based DI||4|
|Simple & Compound Interest||1|
|Table Based DI||3|
|Task sequencing DI||4|
|Time and Work||2|
|Time Speed Distance||1|
Answer all the direct formula based questions correctly in this section. It is difficult to get 40+ correct questions in this section and only with practice and speed one can look at crossing 40 genuine attempts realistically.
Overall, for someone who is looking at the top institutes and a good score in NMAT, the attempts can look like:
|Sections||Target Attempts||Target Score|
The absence of negative marking can push one from 210 to 220 as one can always expect to get a few questions right from random marking. One should not depend on it and the random marking should be done only in the last one minute in each of the sections.
We have already covered what should be attempted and what should be skipped depending on the difficulty level of the test. Aspirants generally have a concern as to which section they should begin with. There is no definite answer to this question. To figure out which sequence works for you, take as many mocks as you can and try different section sequence in the first few mocks. Once you arrive at a conclusion, maintain that section order in the last few mocks. The mock analysis technique doesn’t change much from what you do for a CAT mock.
While practicing questions, especially in Quant and LRDI, practice guessing the right answer without a lot of rough work. Understand that every additional step you write on the rough paper, reduces the time available to you. Till your NMAT attempt, make it a point to solve 60 questions every day in 60 minutes of easy-moderate level of difficulty.
In case a section doesn’t go well, don’t let the other section and the overall test suffer because of it. NMAT is all about playing the game of speed and accuracy well. If you can keep your calm during the test irrespective of difficulty level and maintain 80%+ accuracy, nothing should stop you from achieving a good overall score.
Authored by Shashank Prabhu – CAT 100%iler, 5 times AIR 1, Director, learningroots.com , Ex ITC, Pagalguy, TAS
Source: MISB Bocconi Blog
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