NMAT 2016 – Analysis And Expected Cutoffs

NMAT for the year 2016 is a computer-based test that is conducted over 2.5 months (starting today, 7th October and continues till 20th December). Our students from VistaMind have written the test on the first day first slot and below are their observations –

Exam center: NMIMS campus, Koramangala, Bangalore

There were about 10-12 students for the morning slot at 9:00AM. The pre-exam process was simple enough taking not more than 5minutes of the time. You will be asked to show two original ID proofs and will be asked to sign on an electronic pad at the registration desk. The sign coupled with the photo they take will make up your profile.

The items to carry for the exam are –

  1. Confirmation mail printout
  2. Admit card
  3. Two original ID proofs and photocopy of the ID proofs

You will not be allowed to take any personal belongings into the exam hall including wrist watches, wallets, mobiles etc. Even the pen/pencils are not allowed.

The computers on which the examination is administered are in a very good shape and none of the students faced any problems. Also given the fact that per slot there are not more than 12 students, it becomes easy for the management to ensure that the system requirement is met easily.

You will be given an ‘erasable’ spiral workbook which has laminated leafs and a marker pen to write on it. It is advisable to wear half sleeves as the marker ink can get all over your elbow when you rest your hand on the workbook given. You will NOT be given any additional sheets. So please take care to finish your workings within the sheets given. The workbook will have a total of 5 leaves; 10 sides of which the first side is printed and the rest 9 are available for working. If you are careful enough, the complete working can easily be done within these sheets.

Exam paper pattern and other info

You will be given 2 min to click on the “I agree” button on the Non-Disclosure Agreement page that pops up first once the test starts. If no action done or for some reason, you decide to decline, then the exam ends there and no refund of the fee will be done.

The software will take you through a thorough tutorial on all the things you will need to know to mark your answers and navigate through the paper. The tutorial is simple and easy to understand. The time allotted for this is 10 min. You can choose to finish this section before time and move to the next part.

Once this is done, you will be given 3 min to decide on the order of the sections. There are three sections – Quant, English and Logic and you can decide on the order in which these sections should be lined up in the exam. One can easily calculate that there are totally 6 possible ways and your screen will show up all the 6 possibilities of order sequence. You will have to select the one that is best for you. The best way to select is to go in the order of your strengths. Your most favourite subject must be first followed by the other two.

Exam Analysis

The test had 3 sections. The following table gives the time limit per section and the questions per section. You cannot go to the next section even if you finished the section before the allotted time is over. The system will automatically take you to the next section once the time is up. Once you go to the next section, there is no scope of coming back to the earlier section.

Section Questions Time
Quant 48 60 min
English 32 22 min
Logic 40 38 min


There was no mention of number of marks for each question or negative marks if any. If we go by the NMAT 2015 pattern, then each question is for 3 marks and no negative marking for wrongly answered questions. It is advisable for students to keep the last 2 min of every section to randomly mark all questions pending because of not having the negative marking. This would definitely boost up the score.

The pattern is very similar to NMAT 2015. The Quant section had DI and DS (data sufficiency) included in it. English had both Verbal and RC in it while Logic had normal LA topics and Critical Reasoning included in it.

The overall paper level can be said to be between moderate and difficult. This can be said to be more difficult than the NMAT 2015 paper.

Sectional Analysis


The quant section had a total of 48 questions and 60 minutes of time. The section had questions from all areas of quant with Data Sufficiency also making an appearance here. There were about 4 DS questions that were relatively easy. The topics that made an appearance were –

Geometry – 3

Number Theory – 3

Time & Work – 2

Time & Distance – 1

SICI – 2

Percentages – 2

Partnerships – 1

Mensuration – 1

Probability – 2

Simple Equations – 2

Quadratic Equations – 2

Polynomials – 2

Co-ordinate Geometry – 1

Averages – 1

Indices & Surds – 1

Logarithms – 1

Progressions – 1

Data Sufficiency – 4

Data Interpretation – 16


The number of questions from Geometry/Mensuration and Number Theory was higher compared to other topics. On the whole, the paper was well distributed and covered almost all important Quant topics. The questions were ranging from easy to above average. Very few questions were difficult and leaving them was the best option given paucity of time.

The DI part had 4 sets of which 3 sets were multiple graph combo type and one set was table based. On the whole, all the sets were time-consuming and had intensive calculation. However, there was one odd easy questions in each set sprinkled across that a good student with a keen eye can pick up and leave the rest.

We recommend that the student spends 40-45 min on Quant and 15-20 min on DI depending on his/her comfort level with DI. Also, focus only on picking easy questions. Of the 16 DI, the target should be to attempt about 8-10 in the 15-20 mins. Of the 32 Quant, one should try to attempt around 23-25.

A well-prepared student should be able to attempt anywhere above 32-33 questions in the given time with about 80% accuracy. Anything above 70 is a good score in this section and an 85 and above would be an excellent score


The English section was relatively easier and a good student should be able to complete at least 26-28 questions out of the 32 in the given time. The questions types were –

Sentence correction – 4. These were easy to average difficulty level. No tricky ones here. We recommend not more than 1.5-2 min to be spent on this.

FIB with 3 blanks – 3. These were very easy and should not take more than 1.5-2 min for all 3.

FIB with prepositions – 2. These were easy and should not take more than a min for both.

FIB (closed para) – 5. These were easy to moderate difficulty level. Should not take more than 2 min.

Reading Comprehension Passages – 2 with 4 questions each = 8. The passages were slight lengthy and a couple of the questions were not straight forward. However, the overall difficulty level can be said to be moderate. A good student will be able to answer all within 8-10 min. One passage is actually easier than the other. The student can figure out the easier one and spend time on that and leave the other passage for later part if time permits.

Synonyms – 3. These were difficult with only 1 word that even an above average student would identify. It is best if the candidate leaves these if the word is not known. The time taken should not be more than 1 min for this. This should be like a T20 “hit out or get out” mindset.

Antonyms – 3. Like synonyms, these were difficult too and our recommendation is the same as above.

Para Jumbles – 4. The Para jumbles were easy and the options definitely helped the candidates. The options were not close so getting the right link or the beginning or ending can directly help one get the answer. We recommend not more than 3 min in this part.

Anything above 60 is good and 75 and above is excellent score in this section.


Logic section had a mixed bag of Logic, Decision Making, Critical Reasoning put together. It was an interesting mix of questions. The overall level can be said to be moderate where students will find hard pressed for time. It is essential that the students pick the best questions from their areas of strengths. Following is the breakup of questions–

Decision Making – 3

Critical Reasoning – 4

Facts/Assumptions – 3

Venn diagrams – 2

Number/Letter Series – 4

Coding – Decoding – 4

Blood Relations – 3

Puzzles (3 sets) – 3*4 = 12

Syllogism – 2

Input – Output – 3


The Decision Making part was relatively easier compared to what one finds in XAT.

The critical Reasoning was also in the moderate level. Facts Assumptions were varying between easy/moderate.

Venn diagrams were easy. Once the diagram is correctly drawn, the answer will be obvious. Number series were above average difficulty whereas letter series were dead easy.

Coding decoding was easy to moderate and blood relations were tricky yet not too difficult.

The puzzles needed a bit of thinking and students spent the maximum time here. We recommend not spending more than 10 min in all the puzzles put together. Pick out the easier ones and move on.

Syllogisms were easier and straightforward while the Input Output was moderately difficult.

A good number of attempts in this section would be about 26-28 and a score of 60 would be considered good and anything above 70 would be excellent.


Snapshot of Cutoffs

Section Good Attempts Cutoff Expected
Quant 32-33 70-72
English 26-28 60-62
Logic 26-28 60-62
Total 85-90 190-200


We expect the cutoffs to be slightly below the last year’s paper because of the increase in the overall difficulty level of the paper.




About the Author:

ARKS Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and has been the All India CAT Director at TIME. He is currently the CEO of VistaMind Education. VistaMind is the only National Level Training institute, which prepares students for CAT through LIVE ONLINE CLASSES. For more information, write to info@vistamind.com OR Visit cat.vistamind.com

ARKS Srinivas

ARKS Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and has been the All India CAT Director at TIME. He is currently the National Head for MBA Prep at Career Launcher.