Top 9 MBA exams that you must aim for in 2020
For the MBA Aspirants, the marathon for the MBA entrance exam 2020 is about to begin with all the major exams on the way. Important dates and exam dates for major national level management entrance exams either have been announced or will soon be announced and its time that you make sure your attempt for this year doesn’t go in vein. While CAT is considered to be the cornerstone as far as MBA entrance examinations are concerned, but we advise that you must also thoroughly prepare and appear for other management entrance examinations to open up multiple admission opportunities.
Given below is a list of some other MBA Entrances that you can target beyond CAT to secure a seat in India’s top MBA institute(s).
1. CAT 2020 - Mother of all MBA Exams
One of the most common mistakes that candidates regret at the end of MBA Entrance Exam season is adopting the CAT Only approach. Although the general syllabus of all major MBA entrance exams include Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, the question type, style and at times the sections can different quite a lot. This year the exam is scheduled to take place in last week of November 2020.
For instance, some MBA entrance examinations have a general knowledge section; whereas some like XAT and MICAT have a combination of objective and subjective questions.
In order to be ready to tackle anything that you come across in a management entrance examination, you need to design a preparation strategy that covers all these unique aspects of MBA tests. Let us evaluate the different MBA entrance exams and understand these unique aspects and prepare for them.
General Preparation Tips
All these management entrance exams have their own share of similarities and differences; and preparing for all of them individually would be very difficult. However, a holistic preparation strategy that covers important aspects from all these exams would go a long way in ensuring that you do well in all of them. Some common tips that may help in designing such a strategy are given below:
- Focus on Concepts: Any candidate serious about cracking a MBA entrance exam must focus on core concepts of the syllabus. As an aspirant, you should clear your basics regarding important topics and gain masterful conceptual clarity on all of them.
- Mock Test: No matter however much you study and read, you will never be able to understand the style and type of questions being asked in management exams until you take several mock tests. Try to take as many mock tests as possible in both computer mode as well as pen-paper mode. This will give you clear understanding of exam structure and time constrains that you will have to deal with.
- Reading: Develop a habit of reading, be it preparation materials, magazines, editorials, general knowledge books or newspapers. Try to gather as much information and understanding on things going around you. This will not only give you necessary information for answering objective questions, but also help you develop a unique and intriguing writing style for descriptive tests.
2. IIFT 2020: Path to Foreign Trade domain
IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade) conducts its own entrance exam for inducting students into management courses offered on its campus. IIFT has entrusted NTA with the responsibility of conducting IIFT exam for MBA Aspirants. IIFT 2020 is a two hour pen-paper mode test that includes questions in range of 114 to 150. The questions are from five main topics i.e. Quantitative Ability, Logical Ability, Data Interpretation, Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension and General Awareness.
In addition to core common sections, IIFT entrance examination carries a general awareness section. Any candidate serious about securing admission at IIFT management programme needs to prepare for this section thoroughly. Although the overall marking weigh-age of this section is low, candidate has to clear this section with minimum marks in order to qualify for the admission. Just like XAT exam, the IIFT General Awareness section includes questions from current affairs and GK and as per past trends the GK questions are more compared to the ones asked from current affairs. IIFT offers MBA in international business and therefore it is important to cover topics related to current international business and politics to prepare for general awareness section. Major topics that must be covered include merger and acquisitions, recent appointments, corporate facts and history, awards and recognitions.
The marking pattern for IIFT is also quite different, with differential marking system for different questions along with a common negative marking system of 1/3 of allotted marks.
3. XAT 2021: Gateway to Xavier’s League
One key management entrance exam that was revamped last year was XAT MBA Entrance exam. The Xavier Aptitude Test has undergone significant changes in terms of marking scheme and the test duration. XAT has always had its little difference, when compared to CAT or any other MBA entrances. In addition to the common subjects like Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning and Verbal Ability; candidates will also have to prepare for XAT only sections like General Awareness, Decision-making and Essay writing. XAT 2021 is likely to be held in the third week of January 2021.
XAT 2021 examination papers would be of 3.5 hours instead of 3 hours as before. The time has been divided Paper wise, in which Paper 1 which consists of core sections like Quantitative Ability, English Language & Logical Reasoning and Decision Making will be of 3 hours; whereas Paper 2 which General Awareness will last for 30 minutes.
Decision Making Section
The Decision Making Section of XAT 2021 is aimed at testing a candidate’s calculative, interpretative and logical skills with help of caselets. Caselets are mini case studies that put forth a problem or situation detailing all the related aspects in the form of a descriptive textual context. An ideal answer for a decision making caselet will include evaluative description answering the reasons that lead to the particular situation or problem given in the caselet. Secondly, the answer should also convey a clear course of action to resolve the given situation or problem in best possible manner. In order to prepare well for Decision Making Section, candidates must look at past question papers and practice keeping in mind aforementioned points.
The section of Essay writing is removed from the XAT 2021 Exam Pattern.
General Awareness section is also part of paper 2 and can includes 30 MCQ style questions based upon current affairs and general knowledge. For last year, the level of questions asked in general awareness section was quite tough, with questions ranging from different topics like national and international news, history, economy, social movements, literature, award and recognitions, technology, movies, geography politics and others.
The marking system for XAT exam has also been modified, with reports suggesting that negative marking may be introduced for un-attempted questions and negative marking for wrong answers and un-attempted questions may be different.
4. SNAP 2020: Gateway to Symbiosis
SNAP (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test) is the main management entrance examination for admission to B-schools under the umbrella of Symbiosis International University. SNAP is a two hour test that will be conducted in online mode only. Earlier it was conducted in pen-pencil mode. But from 2017 onwards, the test has been shifted to match the league of the other prominent management entrance exams. The main focus of SNAP test is on Analytical and Logical reasoning section.
The General Awareness section of SNAP is also quite tough, when compared to other MBA entrance examinations. This section covers questions from GK and current affairs topics like sports, Indian constitution, advertisements, general history, business and brand awareness, general geography personalities, general economics, business news, politics and awards.
SNAP Test employs differential marking system, with different questions carrying 1 and 2 marks. There is also negative marking of 25% for every wrong answer.
5. NMAT by GMAC 2020
NMAT is the main MBA entrance exam for admission to full time MBA offered by NMIMS, Mumbai and PGDM programmes offered at NMIMS, Hyderabad and Bengaluru campuses. The test is conducted in collaboration with GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council) – an international organization consisting of leading business schools around the world. NMAT is a two hour computer based exam testing candidates for language skills, quantitative skills and logical reasoning. The questions allotted to each section keep varying every year.
The Language Skill section is the main focus of NMAT and has traditionally been dubbed as the toughest among all MBA entrance exams. In this section, questions style differs greatly, covering reading comprehensions, English usage, vocabulary test, Para-jumbles, sentence correction, grammar inputs and verbal analogies.
Quant and Logical Reasoning
The Quant and Logical Reasoning sections of NMAT are quite similar to those covered in CAT and other major management entrances. Quantitative Skills section also includes questions on data interpretation, data sufficiency, arithmetic, numbers, algebra, geometry, charts and tables. The Logical Reasoning section includes operator centric questions, series based questions, non-verbal reasoning, analytical puzzles, blood relations, input-output of number and others.
The key difference between NMAT and other entrance examinations is the marking system. There is no negative marking in NMAT, which has often worked to disadvantage of the candidate in terms of time. Along with maximizing the attempted number of questions, candidate must also keep in mind the necessary time constrains and ensure that they don’t miss out any important sections.
6. MAT 2020 - Round the Year Exam
Management Aptitude Test (MAT) is a national level entrance test for admission to management programs of institutes participating in the test. The test is conducted by AIMA (All India Management Association) four times a year to screen students for admission to MBA programmes for more 350 B-schools across India.
MAT is one of the few MBA entrances that gives the aspirant choice of appearing for the test in either a computer based mode or a pen-paper mode. The test include question from five core areas, namely Language Comprehension, Mathematical Skills, Data Analysis & Sufficiency, Intelligence & critical reasoning and Indian and Global Environment. The test is to be completed in time duration of 2 hours and 30 minutes.
The syllabus for core subjects of Language Comprehension, Mathematical Skills, Data Analysis & Sufficiency, Intelligence & critical reasoning, is more or less on the lines of CAT and should be prepared in the same way.
Indian & Global Environment Section
The Indian & Global Environment Section is basically general awareness section that is designed to test the IQ of the candidate. This section will include general knowledge questions along with questions about current economic, social and political happenings at national as well as international levels. The main topics from which questions are asked in this section include business, politics, sports, awards and recognitions, books and others. In order to prepare well for this section, candidates must develop a good reading habit and keep abreast with latest current affairs.
All the five sections of MAT exam carry 40 questions of 1 marks each; taking the total MAT marks to 200. There is a negative marking of 0.25 for each wrong answer.
7. CMAT 2021
Common Management Aptitude Test (CMAT) is a national level MBA entrance exam that enables students to seek admission to all management programmes approved by the AICTE. The test is conducted by NTA (National Testing Agency) and is considered to be the second most important management entrance exam after CAT.
CMAT is a three hour computer based test which has 100 questions from four main sections of Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Language Comprehension and General Awareness. The core sections of Quant, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning are structured in the same way as CAT and general preparation for CAT would cover all major topics included in syllabus for CMAT.
General Awareness section in CMAT is quite unique and includes questions from generic GK as well as current affairs. Unlike other MBA entrance exams, the General Awareness section of CMAT carries equal marks as core subjects and therefore is very important for aspirants. The questions are designed to test the general IQ and overall awareness of the candidate with respect to the contemporary national and international affairs. To prepare well for this section, the candidate must follow important news stories, read magazines and be up-to date with all facts and figures of recent current affairs.
The marking system for CMAT is quite simple and each of the 100 questions carries 4 marks, making total of 400 marks. There is negative marking of 1 mark for each wrong answer.
8. MICAT 2020
MICAT is the main entrance examination for management programmes offered by Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad. MICAT has always been one of the most distinct management entrance exams with very few common sections. As of this year, the test has been shifted to computer based mode and has to be completed within 165 minutes.
Just like XAT exam, MICAT also offers a combination of subjective and objective questions as part of the test. The test paper consists of 2 main sections; first with descriptive and second with objective questions.
Section 1 focused around 4 descriptive questions that test candidates for:
- Story writing
- Essay writing
- Writing arguments
Section 2 of the MICAT paper is again divided in three sub-sections of:
- Part 1: Psychometric Test
- Part 2: Quantitative Ability, Reasoning and Language Skills
- Part 3: General Knowledge Section.
Section 3 comprises of the Psychometric Test
Paper 1: Descriptive Section
The main different between MICAT and other management related entrance examinations is that, the former tries to test the creative quotient of the aspirant. Section 1, which is the descriptive section, is dedicated to testing the creative abilities of the candidate. Like any descriptive test, the best way to prepare for this section is to read as much as you can and develop your own creative style of describing, evaluating, explaining the given topic in the best possible manner. In addition to reading, a candidate must also undertake regular essay writing mock tests based on the previous year test papers. This year, MICAT is going to be a computer based test, and therefore it is important to develop typing speed to complete the test within the designated amount of time.
This is another MICAT only section and is meant test the psyche of the candidate. There is no defined syllabus to prepare for this test, but you can still refer to previous year test papers to get a general idea about type and style of questions being asked in this section.
MICAT offers management programmes with specializations in media and communication domain. Therefore the general awareness section of the test deals with topics related to this. The questions generally range from topics like media, advertising, marketing, films, general social issues, and overall global awareness. Special attention must also be paid to brand awareness of major businesses in terms of taglines, mergers and acquisitions, awards and recognitions offered in media domain.
MICAT does not declare the total marks of exams or the section wise weight-age given to questions. However, there is negative marking of 25% for Quantitative Ability, Reasoning and Language Skills and General Knowledge questions in Section 2 of the paper.
9. TISSNET 2020 Exam
TISSNET is the entrance exam for securing admission to management program offered by Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. TISSNET is a 1 hour 40 minute computer based test with 100 questions from three main sections of Mathematics, English Proficiency and General Awareness as well as Logical Reasoning.
The test is considered to be of moderate difficulty compared to more popular management entrance exams. General preparation would be more than enough for Mathematics, Logical Reasoning and English Proficiency test. However, it is the General Awareness section that would need special attention with respect to TISSNET. In terms of category wise classification of questions, there are 30 questions each in Mathematics and Logical Reasoning, 40 questions in General Awareness section; whereas English Proficiency has 30 questions. All questions carry 1 mark each.
Being an entrance exam for social sciences institute, the General Awareness section includes questions on social sensitivity, history, definitions, social activities and movements. In addition to these, the section also includes question from current social scenarios and current affairs based upon ongoing social issues.
The Marking System for TISSNET is quite simple with 100 questions, each carrying 1 mark. There is no negative marking for TISSNET.
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