Top 8 MBA Entrance Exams Every MBA Aspirant Should Consider
An MBA is one of the most lucrative and popular programmes in India, with a large chunk of the talent pool of the nation opting to pursue an MBA degree. In India, quite a few freshers also opt for an MBA in order to expedite their career growth and work with big corporate brands, while experienced professionals with 1-4 years of work experience also look at Indian B-schools to enhance their management skills and grow in their careers.
In today’s fast-paced corporate environment, management is one of the most important skills that companies look for in their potential employees. In fact, the requirement of managers is such that many companies sponsor an MBA for their most promising and ambitious employees. Though such an in-demand skill is acquired through years of work experience, this skillset can be acquired faster by pursuing an MBA. An MBA equips an individual with tools and skills for effective management of the various functions of a business. Often, an MBA can also serve as a gateway to working with market leaders, as well as an opportunity to switch careers and jump the hurdle of career stagnancy.
Admissions to the top B-schools in India, such as the IIMs, requires aspirants to take MBA entrance tests, the most popular exam being the Common Admission Test (CAT). In 2018, the exam was taken by 2.4 lakh people pan-India, and only 1% of those test-takers made it to the top-10 B-schools in India. Other popular management entrance exams include IIFT, NMAT, SNAP, and XAT, etc. that are gateways to other top non-IIM management institutes. Let’s look at them in a little detail one by one below.
Top MBA Entrance Exams In India
Common Admission Test (CAT):
It is a 3-hour long exam conducted by IIMs on a rotational basis. Last year i.e. CAT 2018 was conducted by IIM Calcutta. The conducting body for this year, i.e. CAT 2019, is yet to be disclosed.
CAT 2019 Exam Date: 24th November 2019 (tentative)
CAT Registration Start Date: July – August 2019
CAT Exam Pattern:
CAT Exam Pattern & Marking Scheme
Section Total Questions No. of MCQ Questions No. of TITA Questions Marks (MCQ) Marks (TITA) Total Marks Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension 34 26 – 28 6 – 8 +3, -1 +3, no negative 102 Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning 32 26 – 28 4 – 6 +3, -1 +3, no negative 96 Quantitative Ability 34 26 – 28 6 – 8 +3, -1 +3, no negative 102
CAT Eligibility & Exam Fee
Min. Graduation Marks Required
Caste/Class Certificate Required
CAT Exam Fee
General 50% No 1900 NC-OBC 50% Yes 1900 SC 45% Yes 950 ST 45% Yes 950 PWD 45% Yes 950
Check: CAT 2019 Syllabus (in detail )
Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT)
XAT is a 3 hour-exam and one of the most sought-after MBA exams after CAT. It is conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur every year and is the only way to get admission to XLRI & other institutes which accept XAT scores.
XAT 2020 Exam Date: 1st week of January 2020 (tentative)
XAT Registration Start Date: August 2019
XAT Exam Pattern:
- The exam consists of 4 sections: English Language and Logical Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, and General Knowledge.
- 1 mark will be allotted for every correct answer and 0.25 (1/4) marks will be deducted for every wrong answer.
- Also, 0.05 marks will be deducted for every unattempted question, if you more than certain no. of questions.
XAT Exam Eligibility & Fee
- Any candidate with a degree of min. 3 years of duration.
- The registration fee for the XAT exam is INR 1700/-.
- Also, people applying for GMP through GMAT have to pay INR 2500/- & INR 5000/- for Indian students & foreign students respectively.
Check: XAT 2020 syllabus (in detail)
Bonus: Preparation Tips & Strategy by XAT Toppers & MBA Alumni
Indian Institute of Foreign Trade exam, which is popularly known as IIFT exam, is not as widely accepted as CAT or XAT but is a must if you seek to work in the field of international business.
IIFT Exam Date: Yet to be disclosed.
IIFT Exam Duration: 2 hours
IIFT Registration Start Date: July 2019
Mode of Examinations: Pen-Paper Based
IIFT Exam Pattern:
Section Marks per question Negative Marks/question Data Interpretation 0.75 0.33 Logical Reasoning 1 0.25 General Awareness 0.5 0.17 Verbal Ability 1 0.33 Reading Comprehension 1 0.33 Quantitative Aptitude 1 0.33
IIFT Exam Eligibility & Fee:
- Bachelor’s degree with minimum of 3 years of duration.
- Exam fee for IIFT: INR 1650/- (General/OBC), INR 825/- (SC, ST, PWD) and INR 5,500/- (Foreign Candidates/NRI).
Check: IIFT 2020 syllabus (in detail)
Bonus: Preparation Tips & Strategy by IIFT Toppers & MBA Alumni
How Is IIFT Different From CAT?
Section CAT IIFT English Language Inferential Based Fact Based Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Logical & Tricky Calculation Intensive Quantitative Ability Direct & Indirect Questions More of Direct Questions General Knowledge – Indirect Passage-Based Questions
Graduate Management Aptitude Test, popularly known as GMAT, is conducted by GMAC. Unlike CAT, XAT or any other exam, it has a score validity of 5 years and it can be taken multiple times a year.
GMAT Exam Duration: 3 hours 7 mins
Mode of Examinations: Online
GMAT Exam Pattern
Section Duration in Minutes Number of Questions Scoring Analytical writing assessment 30 1 essay 0.0 – 6.0 Integrated reasoning 30 12 1 – 8 Quantitative 62 31 6 – 51 Verbal 65 36 Total 187 minutes (3 hours 7 mins) – 200 – 800
GMAT Exam Eligibility & Fee
- The candidate must be of 18 years of age.
- The candidate can also appear for GMAT exam if his/her age varies between 13-17 with a written consent provided by guardian.
- GMAT Exam Fee: $250 (approx. INR 17,000/-).
Symbiosis National Aptitude Test is conducted by Symbiosis University on a yearly basis, which entitles the candidate to apply to 15 institutes which come under Symbiosis University. Some of the popular names are SIBM (Pune), SCMHRD, SICSR, etc.
SNAP Registration Start Date: August 2019 (tentative)
SNAP Exam Pattern
Section Normal Questions Special Questions Total Questions Total Marks Reading Comprehension, Verbal Reasoning, Verbal Ability 30 5 35 40 Quantitative, Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency 30 5 35 40 Analytical & Logical Reasoning 30 5 35 40 Current Affairs 20 5 25 30 Total 110 20 130 150
SNAP Eligibility & Exam Fee
- 50% marks in any discipline for General (45% for SC/ST).
- SNAP Exam Fee: INR 1750/-.
Check: SNAP 2019 Marking Scheme & Syllabus (in detail)
Bonus: Preparation Tips & Strategy by SNAP Toppers & MBA Alumni
Common Management Admission Test is a computer-based exam conducted annually by the National Testing Agency. It is accepted by approximately 60% of colleges that accept CAT.
CMAT Registration Start Date: 20th October 2019 (tentative)
CMAT Exam Date: 2nd & 3rd week of January 2019
Exam Duration of CMAT: 3 hours
CMAT Exam Pattern
Section No. of Questions Marks Per Questions Negative Marks Questions Total Marks Language Comprehension 25 4 -1 100 Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation 25 4 -1 100 Logical Reasoning 25 4 -1 100 General Awareness 25 4 -1 100
CMAT Eligibility Criteria & Exam Fee
- Graduate or final year student in any discipline of a duration of 3 or more years.
- CMAT Exam Fee: INR 1400 (General/OBC) & INR 700 (SC/ST/PWD).
NMAT or NMIMS Management Aptitude Test is conducted annually by GMAC which is accepted for admission by NMIMS, SPJIMR, TAPMI, IBS, etc.
NMAT Test Window: October – December (can be taken 3 times)
Event Start End Registration Tuesday, July 02, 2019 Thursday, October 03, 2019 Scheduling Tuesday, July 02, 2019 Wednesday, October 16, 2019 Late Registration Friday, October 04, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 Registration – Retake Saturday, October 05, 2019 Saturday, December 14, 2019 Re-scheduling Tuesday, July 02, 2019 Saturday, December 14, 2019 Re-take Scheduling Saturday, October 05, 2019 Saturday, December 14, 2019 Exam Delivery Friday, October 04, 2019 Tuesday, December 17, 2019 Results Submission – 3rd week of January, 2020
NMAT Exam Pattern
Section Number of Questions Time (in Minutes) Marks Per Question Total Marks Quantitative Skills 48 60 3 144 Language Skills 32 22 3 96 Logical Reasoning skills 40 38 3 120 Total 120 120 3 360
NMAT Eligibility Criteria & Exam Fee
- Bachelor’s degree with atleast 50% marks.
- NMAT Fee:
Service Fee Test Registration (Early) INR 2000 + applicable taxes Test Registration (Late) INR 2500 + applicable taxes Retake INR 2000 + applicable taxes Reschedule INR 1100 + applicable taxes Additional Score Reports (beyond first five) INR 200 per Score Report + applicable taxes
MICA Admission Test is an exam conducted by MICA. A person seeking admission into MICA has to appear either for MICAT – 1 or MICAT – 2, after appearing in CAT, XAT or GMAT.
MICAT Registrations Start Date: August 2019
MICAT Exam Pattern: It consists of 3 sections:
- Section A: Psychometric Test
- Section B: (has 4 sub-sections) – Verbal ability, Quantitative ability and Data Interpretation, General awareness; Divergent and Convergent Thinking
- Section C: Descriptive Test
MICAT Eligibility Criteria & Exam Fee
- Graduate or final year student in any discipline of a duration of 3 or more years.
- MICAT Exam Fee: INR 1,985/-