NMAT 2018 – A Comprehensive Analysis

NMAT 2018 (Day 1, Slot 1 – 4 Oct, 9 a.m.) mostly stuck to a predictable pattern. There was hardly any surprise. Question wise, the paper was very similar to CL mock papers. There were three sections with no negative marking. A student had the choice of deciding the sequence of sections. There were no technical glitches and the experience was quite pleasant. Compared to last year, the one major change in the Language Skills section was the fewer number of vocabulary questions. There were only three very easy vocabulary questions. The number of analogy questions increased a bit. The Reading Comprehension passages were lengthy and even the options were tedious to read.

The Quantitative Skills section was of a similar level of difficulty as that of last year. Most of the questions were conceptual and less calculation-intensive. However, the DI section contained more questions this time as compared to previous years and required calculation in a pair of sets.

As we had to take the first slot, we didn’t go with any preconceived expectation. Based on our experience, one should have solved close to 85-94 questions (across the sections) in 120 minutes. The remaining questions should have been calculated attempts (educated guess) because of the marking scheme. Just like last year, the paper pattern varied for different candidates in the same slot. However, the difficulty level didn’t vary drastically. Anyone with a weak reading speed would have faced a tough challenge due to the strict sectional time constraint. A solid strategy was the need of the hour.

If this paper is taken as a good indicator of this year’s NMAT exam, the cut-off will likely remain in the same range (208-210 for Mumbai Campus) as that of last year. An advice for students would be to start with the Quantitative skills section and end with the Logical Reasoning section.

The pattern of the paper was as follows:

S. no


No. of Questions

Time (in Minutes)

Difficulty Level



Language Skills






Quantitative Skills






Logical Reasoning











Logical Reasoning

The Logical Reasoning section was easy.

There were 25 questions based on Analytical and logical reasoning. Most of the questions were from predictable areas. One LR set was easy while the other one was time-consuming and was more like the decision making ones. The singlets were pretty easy. One set of 4 questions based on input/output was a bit easy and could have been cracked without much effort. The blood relation questions were very easy too. Questions based on coding-decoding had varieties as all three questions were of a different pattern, out of which one was very tricky.

There were 15 questions from the area of Verbal Logic. There were eight critical reasoning questions. The paragraphs were short and easy to read. So, the difficulty level was moderate. The options were not very close. Any student, with a basic understanding of the fundamentals of verbal logic, could have answered these easily. The two decision-making paragraphs required one to use the basic of ethics and integrity. Try to read on the concepts of leadership and responsibility. The syllogism question (only one) was a sitter. There was a question (based on fact and statement) which was basically a syllogism question in disguise. The remaining questions in verbal logic ranged from easy to moderate level of difficulty.

Overall, as compared to last year, this section was easy. An attempt of 29-32 with 90% accuracy was achievable.

Topic No. of Questions
Coding 3
Blood Relation 2
Critical Reasoning 8
Statement-Argument 1
Statement Conclusion 1
Course of Action / Decision making 3
Statement-Assumption 1
Syllogism 1
Logical Reasoning(arrangement and ranking) 8 (2 sets, 4 questions each)
Input/output 4
Missing number and visual reasoning 3
Mathematical Puzzles & Direction 2
Singlets (Contained Visual Reasoning and Set theory based diagram) 3
Total 40


Quantitative Skills

The Quantitative Aptitude section was of easy-moderate level. Arithmetic dominated the section. Number system, too, made its presence felt. The Data Sufficiency questions were from diverse topics such as Ratio, Percentages, and Average. These questions were difficult as they were very lengthy. However, one could have solved these by just using the basic concepts. The questions from Higher Maths (Permutation-combination and Probability) were very easy and anyone could have solved these. The Time and Work questions were easy. The Arithmetic Progression questions were time-consuming.

There were 5 DI sets which included pie-chart, line graph, mixed graphs, and tables, each containing 4 questions. Two of these sets were calculation intensive. The remaining 3 were easy and less calculative.  A well-prepared student would not have had much difficulty in going through this section. 35 – 38 proper attempts were certainly possible.


Topic No. of Questions
Profit & Loss 3
Percentages 1
Ratio & Mixture, Proportion 1
SI & CI 1
Averages 1
Work & Time 1
Number System( HCF/LCM and units digit based) 4
Progression 3
Logarithm 2
Polygon 2
Geometry 2
Permutation and Combination 2
Probability 2
Data Sufficiency 5
DI 20 (5 sets, 4 questions each)
Total 48


Language Skills

The infamous “NMAT Vocabulary” was conspicuously absent in the paper this year. There were only three synonym/antonym based questions. One of these was a word we use almost every day. So, if you are on the verge of a panic attack trying to cram up any ‘high frequency word list’, you can rest easy. The number of analogy questions increase from 1 to 4. However, the words were very simple. Overall, the vocabulary based questions were easy. So, was the cloze test question where three blanks were easy to answer. Only one blank might pose some confusion.

The two Reading Comprehension passages made all the difference in this section. Out of 8 questions, almost five were idea based. The first passage was on cloud computing. It was lengthy. The options were tedious to read. However, with a bit of common sense, a student could have attempted these questions. The second passage was about dinosaurs. It was easy to read and even the questions were of moderate difficulty level. The central idea question was slightly confusing.

There were four para-jumble questions. These were not difficult. Only one question was confusing. The other three were easy. The sentences of the paragraphs were short too.

The remaining questions in the section were based on grammar. The preposition based Fill-in-the-blank questions were quite easy. The sentence correct questions were easy too and out of the three questions, two were based on subject-verb agreement errors.

The pattern of this section remained on predictable lines. Overall, the section was of a moderate level of difficulty keeping in mind the time constraint. An overall attempt of 26-28 with 95% accuracy is realistic. The other questions could have been educated guesswork.

Topic No. of Questions
Reading Comprehension Passages 8 (2 passages of 4 questions each)
Para Jumble 4 (4 sentences)
Error Spotting 3
FIBs (Prepositions) 2 (1 blank each – 3 sentences)
FIB (Preposition based) 1 (2 blanks each)
FIBs (Common Confusables) 2 (2 blanks each)
FIBs (Vocabulary) 1 (2 blanks each)
Synonyms 1
Antonym 2
Analogy 4
Cloze Test 4
Total 32


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.