Once you have decided to do your MBA, it’s time to prepare for entrance exams. The actual preparation starts when you have already made a list of B-Schools where you would like to take admission and the specialization you have already selected. The preparation you need to take is for tests which is an important part to achieve your dream of getting admitted to the B-School you have always desired.
A brilliant score in the test that you choose to give is of utter importance. For that you need discipline and proper preparation. Without preparing for the tests you may sit for the tests, but the chances of getting an excellent score are very much rare and hardly possible.
In this section, we will dig in and discuss about the top most tests you can take for enrolling yourself in a reputed B-School along with the preparation tips for your MBA. For all the tests you need different kind of preparation, but the basics are always same – hard work, discipline and the burning desire to crack the test. Let’s get started with the discussion for the tests and how you can prepare to crack the test without much hassle.
If you are planning to take admission in foreign universities, the most important test you can take is Graduation Management Admission Test (GMAT). It is applicable to all foreign universities. Along with that you need to take Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as non-native English speakers to be able to take admission in US universities. You can also apply in Indian B-Schools with GMAT score and in that case, you don’t need to worry about TOEFL.
Eligibility: From the name of the test it is clear that to sit for this exam one needs to be a graduate from a registered university.
Format of the test: GMAT test comprises of four separate sections – Analytical Writing Assessment (AWS), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative (Quants) and Verbal. The total time provided for the test is 3.5 hours, out of which 30 minutes are given for AWS, 30 minutes again for IR, 75 minutes for Quants and 75 minutes are provided for Verbal.
In AWS, there is a writing task given, usually an analysis of an argument. IR is relatively a new section (started in June, 2012) consists of 12 questions which include four types of questions – graphic-interpretation, multi-source-reasoning, two-part-analysis and table-analysis. Quants test the ability of the student in Maths and aptitude. In Verbal, the student is judged on the basis of comprehension ability, writing skill and reasoning on the written material.
How to prepare for the test: The GMAT score ranges from 200 to 800. It is usually given in the increment of 10. The average score is 540 in GMAT. The best way to start preparing is to enrol yourself for a GMAT course which also promises to offer you assured score or else if you decide to do it by yourself, you can take help from GMAT books, sample test practice, free online resources and other text books.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is another test which is very useful to apply in foreign university. But still GMAT is number one in regards to the preference of students who are applying for MBA. GRE score is very significant for applying for MBA and the score for admission in different department and for different specialization significantly vary.
Eligibility: The eligibility of giving GRE test depends upon the college and university one is applying for. There is no age restriction or requirement for taking this test.
Format of the test: GRE consists of total six sections. The first section is obviously about analytical reasoning. Out of the remaining five, the first two sections are on Verbal Reasoning, other two are on Quantitative Reasoning and the last section is either a research or an experimental section. The last five sections can be given in any order. The duration of the test if 3 hours 45 minutes with 1 minute break after each section and 10 minute break after third section.
How to prepare for the test: The lowest possible score in GRE is 130. So, if one prepares well, it is usually easier than GMAT. To start preparing you can take help from preparation software called PowerPrep which is provided by ETS. It consists of previous questions and review materials. Other than that you can use GRE text books, materials, web resources or else you can also enrol yourself for GRE course which will help you prepare well and ensure better score.
Common Admission Test is one of the most preferred tests for Indian Students. If you crack this and can get brilliant score the top most B-Schools like IIMs will shortlist you and send you a letter for further interview and group discussion.
Eligibility: To be able to appear for CAT examination, the applicant has to have a score of 50 CGPA in his/her graduation.
Format of the test: CAT is a computer based test taken all over India and the duration of the test was 2 hours 20 minutes. Since 2014 IIM has changed the pattern for CAT. Now it is 2 hours 50 minutes exam and numbers of questions have been increased from 60 to 100. CAT has multiple choice questions in specifically two broad sections – Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning. Each section should be given equal importance to score well in CAT. For every right answer 3 marks is provided and for every wrong answer ¼ th mark will be deducted from the score.
How to prepare for the test: Ideally CAT is the toughest MBA entrance exam in India. But nothing to worry. If you are a CAT aspirant all you need to do is to prepare yourself thoroughly in all the sections and practice the sums and verbal comprehensions every day. The top scorers who have score above 99 percentile in CAT mentioned that 4 hours of study every day for a year or so would be enough to crack CAT. You can also refer to CAT text books and materials and also can enrol yourself in CAT institutes which teach how to go about CAT and give you enough practice tests to sit for CAT confidently.
Xaviers Aptitude Test (XAT) is one of the reputed tests taken in India for MBA aspirants. More than 60 years of reputation makes it the second most preferred test for MBA in India. If you are planning to give XAT, you can take admission in more than 70 institutes all over India. Other than Xaviers institutes which accept XAT scores are – In Mumbai, Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research; In Chennai, Loyola Institute of Business Administration; In Mumbai again, S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research etc.
Eligibility: For sitting for XAT you don’t need to have any percentage of score. Anyone who have completed Bachelor’s Degree (10+2+3) in any discipline from a recognized university can sit for XAT.
Format of the test: XAT has four sections in the test - Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning (VA), Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation (QA), Analytical Reasoning & Decision Making Ability (AR) and General Awareness & Essay Writing. Till 2013 XAT exam it was a 2 hours 20 minutes exam, but since 2013, it has become a 3 hours long exam where 2 hours and 20 minutes are given for first three sections and last 40 minutes are provided for General Awareness & Essay Writing.
How to prepare for the test: XAT is not an easy exam. So you need to prepare thoroughly. There are certain differences in XAT exam from CAT, in format, in question pattern. Thus, if you are preparing for CAT, that would not be enough for XAT. You need to put some extra hours every day to understand the questions that come in XAT and then practice for honing your ability. Though, if you are thorough and practice regularly, XAT is not that hard exam to crack. You can take help from text books, past XAT questions papers or better you can go for XAT tutorial courses to make yourself exam ready.
Management Aptitude Test is the most common MBA admission test in India. It is conducted four times a year – February, May, September and December. It is conducted by Centre for Management Services (CMS) department of All India Management Association (AIMA). It is a comprehensive test designed to help students to get into reputed management institutes in India.
Eligibility: Any student who has completed Bachelor’s Degree from a recognized university can apply and sit for the exam. A final year student of Bachelor’s Degree can also sit for the exam.
Format of the test: MAT is divided into two formats suitable for both students who prefer computer test and at the same time other students who opt for offline test. The test has five papers in total – 1. Language Comprehension, Mathematical Skill, 3. Data Analysis, 4. Intelligence & Critical Reasoning, 5. Indian & Global Environment Section. There are total 200 questions. For each paper 40 questions one needs to solve. The total duration of time given for the entire test is 2 ½ hours.
How to prepare for the test: MAT is not like XAT or CAT. It has no percentile score, rather the students would be judge by a composite score they will get in their MAT exam. One needs to prepare thoroughly for MAT. Though MAT is much easier test than CAT and XAT. If one is ready for CAT and XAT, MAT would not be much problem for them. Students need to know the format and pattern. If you are MAT aspirant, you need to prepare for at least 2 hours a day every day for cracking the exam. You can also take help from tutorials, previous questions and MAT text books.
Symbiosis National Aptitude Test is a reputed test conducted for all the Symbiosis Institutes all over India. For this test written test is mandatory and once the students crack the test, they can apply for all reputed Symbiosis Institutes.
Eligibility: To be able to apply for SNAP, one should have at least 50% score in their Bachelor’s degree.
Format of the test: There are four sections in SNAP test – General English, Quantitative Aptitude, General Awareness, Logical & Analytical Reasoning. The questions come in objective form. Each question has four options. The applicant has to choose the right answer. Every wrong answer will reduce 25% of the score. SNAP test is a 2 hour duration exam.
How to prepare for the test: As it is as similar as CAT and XAT, if one prepares for CAT and XAT, one will eventually get prepared for SNAP test. But every format is slightly different. Thus, practicing the previous questions papers and solving problems from the same are recommended. But if one only prepares for SNAP, then they can take a SNAP course, practice thoroughly the SNAP text books and browse through web resources to prepare for the exam.
Narsee Monjee MAT is conducted by Narsee Monjee Educational Trust. It is one of the most reputed tests conducted all over India for Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies for various specializations. The reason for which a lot of applicants sit for this exam is the reputation of Narsee Monjee Institute. It is one of the top institutes in India after IIMs and XLRI.
Eligibility: Any student who has 50% in their Bachelor’s Degree can apply for NMAT.
Format of the test: It is a 2 hour duration computer examination conducted to fetch students’ application from all over India. Usually, NMAT has four sections – Language Skills, Quantitative Skills, Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency and Logical Reasoning.
How to prepare for the test: Like other MBA entrance exam like CAT, XAT, it is also of same repute. So one needs to prepare in detail for all the sections. But if one also prepares for CAT and XAT, this test will become easier for them.
Common Management Admission Test was first started in 2012. This is conducted by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in all over India. CMAT is usually an easier test compared to other Management Entrance Exams. Thus more than lakh students sit for CMAT every year. CMAT is conducted twice per year.
Eligibility: Any student who have completed Bachelor’s Degree with 50% score can apply for CMAT. All final year students also can appear for this examination.
Format of the test: CMAT is a three hour duration test. And it has four sections – Quantitative technique, Logical Reasoning, Language Comprehension, and General Awareness. Each section has 25 questions to attempt. There are a lot of MBA institutes in India which accept CMAT score.
How to prepare for the test: If one prepares for CAT and XAT, one doesn’t need to do much preparation for CMAT. But if you are only planning to sit for CMAT, then you need to provide 1 hour every day for at least 3-4 months for through preparation. You can take help from previous year question papers and web materials.
The above are the list of top most MBA entrance exams conducted all over the world and India. Other than these tests, there are also MBA entrance exams which students can sit for. But if one prepares for these 8 tests thoroughly, one would be eligible to apply anywhere in foreign universities and in Indian universities and by doing so they can enrol themselves in top most institutes of the world and in India as well.