What Do You Know About CAT, MAT, XAT, CMAT?

What Do You Know About CAT, MAT, XAT, CMAT?

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Vipra
Vipra Shrivastava
Senior Manager - Content
Updated on Apr 16, 2024 11:47 IST

CAT, MAT, CMAT, XAT are the top four MBA entrance exams in India for MBA admission. Read all about CAT, MAT, CMAT and XAT in this article. Also know about other top MBA entrance exams that are gateway to some of the top MBA colleges in India.

MBA entrance exams

CAT, MAT, XAT and CMAT are the most popular MBA entrance exams in India as they are valid for admission to a large number of MBA colleges. These exams are conducted at all India level and any candidate who is a graduate can appear for them. In this article, we have shared key details about CAT, MAT, XAT and CMAT for you to make the right choice. The article also has a list of other MBA entrance exams in India you can appear in 2024.

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Top MBA Entrance Exams in India

Common Admission Test or CAT is the top entrance exam for MBA. It is the gateway to IIMs, FMS Delhi, IMT, SPJIMR, IIT-DoMS, MDI Gurgaon, IMI Delhi and other top ranked MBA colleges.

Q:   Which CAT exam slot is the toughest?

A:
The Common Admission Test exam is conducted in three slots. Each slot has a unique question paper, with unique questions at the Common Admission Test. The Common Admission Test examination authorities prepare the question paper keeping in mind that None of the slots is tougher or easier than another. However, it may happen that one or two questions in a particular slot are tougher. For more information, you may visit the Shiksha Common Admission Test page. (https://www.shiksha.com/mba/cat-exam). I hope this will help you.

Q:   How to prepare for CAT?

A:
Preparing for the Common Admission Test CAT can be a challenging task, but with the right approach and study plan, it is possible to succeed. Here are some tips on how to prepare for CAT: 1-Understand the Exam Pattern and Syllabus: Start by understanding the exam pattern and syllabus of CAT thoroughly. The exam consists of three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability. 2-Make a Study Plan: Once you understand the exam pattern and syllabus, make a study plan that works best for you. Allocate time for each section, and include time for revision, practice tests, and solving previous year's question papers. 3-Strengthen Your Basics: CAT is a test of your fundamental concepts in Mathematics, English and Logical Reasoning. Hence, focus on building a strong foundation by revising and practicing the basic concepts. 4-Read and Analyze: To improve your Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, start reading newspapers, magazines, and books regularly. Analyze the content, style, and tone of the passages to gain a better understanding of the language. 5-Practice Regularly: Practice is the key to success in CAT. Solve as many practice tests and previous year's question papers as possible to get familiar with the exam pattern and build your speed and accuracy. 6-Time Management: CAT is a time-bound exam, and time management is crucial. Practice solving questions within the stipulated time frame to build your speed and accuracy. 7Join a Coaching Institute: If you find it challenging to prepare for CAT on your own, consider joining a coaching institute that offers specialised coaching for CAT. They will provide you with a structured study plan, guidance, and practice tests to help you prepare for the exam. Remember, consistency, and dedication are key to success in CAT. Keep practicing and working hard, and you will achieve your goal.

Q:   How can I prepare for CMAT?

A:
To prepare for CMAT exam you need to do two things. Cover the exam syllabus and practice mock tests. After you decide to appear for CMAT the first thing you should do is check the CMAT syllabus. Make a list of topics that you are familiar with and topics that you have never studied before. Start with topics that you are unfamiliar with as those topics will take time. Move to easier topics after that. Do practice sample questions after completing each topic to know how to apply concepts to a problem. Once you have completed the CMAT syllabus, move to the next phase of preparation, I. e. practicing mock tests and sample questions. Dedicate about 40-45 days in practicing CMAT mock tests, to gain not only speed and accuracy but also control on the topics. You should also join online study groups to take help from mentors and peers in exam preparation. Doubt clearing sessions are very helpful in exam preparation. Also stick to CMAT books as recommended by experts. Some of the books you need to refer are: 1. The Complete Reference Manual for CMAT by SK Sinha, S Satyanarayan and JS Rana 2. How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT by Arun Sharma (Mc Graw Hill Education) 3. Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis 4. High School English Grammar by Wren & Martin English 5. How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma (Mc Graw Hill Education) 6. How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the CAT by Arun Sharma (Mc Graw Hill Education). .

Xavier Aptitude Test or XAT is the gateway to XLRI Jamshedpur, MDI, IMT, LIBA, BITS Pilani, XISS, KJ Somaiya, MICA, BIMTECH, IRMA, XIMB, etc.

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Q:   Is the CAT syllabus difficult?

A:

Yes, the difficulty level of CAT syllabus is very high as compared to other MBA entrance exams. However, if you prepare well and follow the CAT exam pattern well, you will be able to score well. Besides having an understanding of the CAT syllabus 2024, candidates also need to be well aware of the CAT exam pattern before they start preparing for the exam. The CAT exam pattern was revised in 2021 and the number of questions were reduced from 76 to 66. The structure of CAT 2022 and CAT 2023 was the same. The syllabus is still tougher than other exams.

The most important things to keep in mind are:

  1. CAT exam mode is online
  2. Each question carries three marks 
  3. There is negative marking of minus one mark for wrong attempts

The section-wise distribution of questions and difficulty levels as per the latest CAT exam pattern are listed below:

  • Quantitative Ability (QA) - 24 questions, difficulty level - moderate to high 
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) - 20 questions, difficulty level - moderate 
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) - 22 questions, difficulty level - moderate. to high

Q:   How to prepare for the ATMA exam?

A:
The ATMA is a management entrance test that makes you eligible for admission to more than 700 institutes. To prepare for the ATMA exam, you can follow the following strategy suggested by experts: 1. Using the ATMA syllabus as a guide, make a list of the subjects that the study materials must cover. 2. Create a study plan and choose your reading materials accordingly. 3. Make notes of the topics that are more important. 4. You can join online study groups or search for a mentor if you need assistance. 5. Set a time limit for each section to allow for thorough practice. 6. Start reading newspaper and magazine editorials to prepare for the verbal skills section. 7. For the quantitative section, study the mathematical concepts and formulas from your 10th-grade math books. 8. Spend the last month practicing for the mock ATMA tests and assessing your progress with every mock test. To access the expert's section-by-section plan, click this link: https://www.shiksha.com/mba/atma-exam-preparation.

Q:   Can I prepare for ATMA exam in one month?

A:

Preparing for the ATMA in one month requires a structured plan. In the first two weeks, understand the exam pattern, syllabus, and identify weaknesses through a diagnostic test. In the third week, focus on quantitative, verbal, and analytical reasoning skills. Strengthen basic concepts and practice time management. Week four is crucial for simulated exam conditions; take full-length mock tests, analyze mistakes, and revise key concepts. Prioritize weak areas and enhance vocabulary. In the last days, ensure relaxation, review test-taking strategies, and maintain a positive mindset. While intensive, this condensed plan can be effective with consistent effort and strategic focus on identified weaknesses. Regular mock tests and targeted revision will be essential for building confidence in the limited timeframe.

Q:   Is CAT exam tough for an average student?

A:
CAT is a speed based test which is designed to assess a candidate's analytical aptitude, logical reasoning skills, data interpretation and English comprehension. Now, it may sound tough, but these are the skills which we are taught in school so there is nothing new to learn. What is required is to learn these subjects at advanced level. If you are an average student but have studied Science or commerce in Class-12 and graduation, you will find a lot of familiar topics in Data Interpretation, Quantitative Aptitude and Logical Reasoning. All you will need is brush up the basics and practice the concepts on advance level problems. However, since the competition is so high in CAT and less than 95 percentile can break your dream of joining a top college like IIM, the preparation for CAT requires a lot of focus, dedication, discipline and diligence. If you can do that, despite being an average student, you can crack the CAT exam.

Q:   If I am preparing for CAT, do I need to prepare separately for IIFT?

A:
Hello, Most of your task is done for IIFT if you are preparing for CAT. Difficulty level for both the exams is at par. The only difference is the General Knowledge section which can be easily covered by Reading newspapers on a daily basis. Ensure to solve mock papers for IIFT to get a look and feel of how the pattern is, what the difficulty level of the exam is. Focus on your CAT preparation and IIFT preparation will follow. Remember, do not try to put your leg into both the paper as far as preparation is concerned. Just focus on your CAT preparation. Try to complete your syllabus well before time so that you have time to agile yourself to set for IIFT also. Hard work and smart work will definitely make your way for both of the entrance exams.

Now that you know the MBA colleges for which CAT, MAT, XAT and CMAT scores are valid, you can decide which exam to target this season. The wise thing to do is appear for all four or more entrance exams so that you can secure a seat in a good MBA college, as the admission criteria does not include only entrance exam score. Candidates have to face Group Discussion (GD), Written Ability Test (WAT) and Personal Interview (PI), as well. 

Also Read: MBA Admission 2024: Check Application Deadline and Process of Top B-Schools

CAT Full Form and Highlights 

The full form of CAT is Common Admission Test. The exam is valid for admission to over 1,200 MBA colleges in India. CAT is conducted by the Indian Institute of Management and considered the toughest MBA entrance exam. Read key highlights of CAT exam 2024 below:

CAT Features 

CAT Details 

Conducting institute

IIM

Exam level

National

Exam frequency

Once a year

Exam mode

CBT

Exam duration

2 hours

CAT 2024 exam date

24-Nov-2024

Registration Dates

First week of August to third week of September 2024

Eligibility 

  • Graduation with 50 % aggregate (45 % for SC/ST students)
  • Final year graduation students are also eligible to apply

Number of applications

3.30 lakh (in 2023)

Exam fees

INR 2,300 (General category) and INR 1,150 (Reserved category)

CAT syllabus

  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) 
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Quantitative Ability (QA)

CAT pattern

66 MCQs and non-MCQs

No. of test cities

150

Exam purpose

Admission into IIMs, SPJIMR, FMS, MDI, IMT and over 1,200 B-Schools in India

Course offered

MBA/PGDM

Exam helpdesk no.

1-800-210-1088 (Toll Free)

Exam website

 https://iimcat.ac.in

Also Read:

MAT Full Form and Highlights

The full form of MAT is Management Aptitude Test. It is considered an easy exam. The greatest benefit of MAT is that one can choose the month as well as the mode in which one wants to appear for it. Read key highlights of MAT 2024 exam below:

MAT Features 

MAT Details 

Conducting institute

All India Management Association (AIMA)

Exam level

National

Exam frequency

Multiple times a year

Exam mode

CBT, PBT and IBT

Exam duration

2.5 hours

MAT exam schedule

19-May-2024 (IBT 1)

24-May-2024 (IBT 2)

31-May-2024 (IBT 3)

26-May-2024 (CBT)

02-Jun-2024 (PBT)

 

MAT registration dates

16-May-2024 (IBT 1)

21-May-2024 (IBT 2)

28-May-2024 (IBT 3)

19-May-2024 (CBT)

28-May-2024 (PBT)

Eligibility 

  • Graduation in any stream from a recognised university
  • Final year graduation students are also eligible to apply

Number of applications

40,000 (approx.)

Exam fees

INR 2,100 (INR 1,200 additionally for second test mode)

MAT syllabus

  • Language Comprehension
  • Data Analysis & Sufficiency
  • Mathematics (Quantitative Aptitude)
  • Intelligence and Critical Reasoning
  • Indian & Global Environment

MAT pattern

200 questions in MCQs format

No. of test cities

35-40

Exam purpose

Admission to 800 MBA Colleges in India (approx.)

Course offered

MBA/PGDM

Exam helpdesk no.

011 - 24645100 / 011 - 24617354 / 011 - 43128100

Exam website

https://mat.aima.in/

Also Read:

XAT Full Form and Highlights

The full form of XAT is Xavier Aptitude Test and it is conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur annually every year on first Sunday of January. XAT is of moderate to high difficulty level. Read key highlights of XAT exam 2024 below:

XAT Features 

XAT Details 

Conducting institute

XLRI, Jamshedpur

Exam level

National

Exam frequency

Once a year

Exam mode

CBT

Exam Duration

3 hours

XAT exam date

05-Jan-2025

Registration Dates

Second week of July 2024 to First week of December 2024

Eligibility 

  • Graduation in any stream from a recognised university
  • Final year graduation students are also eligible to apply

Number of applications

1.35 lakh ( in 2023)

Exam fees

INR 2,000

XAT syllabus

  • Decision Making
  • Verbal & Logical Ability
  • Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation
  • General Knowledge

XAT pattern

100 questions in MCQ format

No. of test cities

73

Exam purpose

Admission to XLRI and 800 MBA colleges

Course offered

MBA/PGDM

Exam helpdesk no.

18002674008

Exam website

https://xatonline.in/

Also Read:

What is the difference between CAT and XAT? What is the difference between CAT and MAT? What is the difference between CAT and CMAT?

CMAT Full Form and Highlights

The full form of CMAT is Common Management Admission Test. It is conducted by the NTA and valid for admission to all government institutions for MBA and PDGM programmes. Many private institutes also accept CMAT score for admission. The CMAT 2024 exam will be conducted in May 2024, date for which is yet to be announced. Read key highlights of CMAT exam 2024 below:

CMAT Features 

CMAT Details 

Conducting institute

National Testing Agency

Exam level

National

Exam frequency

Once a year

Exam mode

CBT

Exam Duration

3 hours 30 minutes for optional paper

Exam schedule

May 2024

Registration Dates

29-Mar-2024 to 18-Apr-2024

Eligibility 

  • Graduation in any stream from a recognised university
  • Final year graduation students are also eligible to apply

Number of applications

95,000

Exam fees

INR 2,000

CMAT syllabus

  • Quantitative Techniques & Data Interpretation
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Language Comprehension & Verbal Ability
  • General Awareness
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship (optional paper)

CMAT pattern

100 questions in MCQ format

No. of test cities

124

Exam purpose

Admission to 1300 MBA colleges

Course offered

MBA/PGDM

Exam helpdesk no.

0120-6895200

Exam website

 https://www.nta.ac.in

Also Read:

Other Top MBA Entrance Exams

Given below is the list of some other popular MBA entrance exams you can explore and consider applying for admission a B-School of your choice: 

MBA Entrance Exams

MBA Entrance Exams Full-Form

IIFT Exam

Indian Institute of Foreign Trade Entrance Exam

KMAT

Karnataka Management Aptitude Test

IBSAT

ICFAI Business School Aptitude Test 

IRMASAT

Institute of Rural Management Anand Social Awareness Test

MICAT

MICA Common Aptitude Test

MAH CET

Maharashtra MBA Common Entrance Test

NMAT by GMAC

Narsee Monjee Management Aptitude Test by GMAC

SNAP

Symbiosis National Aptitude Test

TANCET

Tamil Nadu Common Entrance Test Exam

List of all MBA entrance exams

Check Cut offs of top MBA entrance exams and predict calls from IIMs and other Top MBA Colleges. Check Fees, Placement Reviews, Admission, Shortlist Criteria and eligibility of all MBA Colleges by clicking the link below:

Predict IIM & Non IIM Calls

FAQs on CAT, MAT, XAT, CMAT

Q: What is the eligibility criteria for CAT, MAT, XAT, CMAT?

A: The basic eligibility criteria for CAT, MAT, XAT, CMAT is graduation. For CAT candidates must have scored at least 50 per cent in aggregate (45 per cent for SC/ST/PwD candidates) in graduation from a recognised university. Candidates having professional degrees such as CA/CS/ICWAI are also eligible for these exams. Final year graduation students can also apply.  

Q: What is the difficulty level of CAT exam?

A: CAT exam is of moderate to high difficulty level. Candidates have to solve 66 question in 120 minutes but there is a sectional time limit of 40 minutes per section, which makes the exam a bit difficult as there is a pressure of completing each section on time. Apart from that, the CAT question paper usually have tough or tricky questions.

Q: What is the difficulty level of MAT exam?

A: MAT exam is easy. Candidates can crack MAT with three or four months of preparation of Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude and General Knowledge. MAT is the easiest MBA entrance exam of all and one can attempt it multiple times in the same academic year. 

Q: What is the difficulty level of XAT exam?

A: XAT is an exam whose difficulty level is usually moderate to high. The question paper comprises tough Reading Comprehension and Decision Making passages, which test the candidate’s comprehension as well as analytical abilities. Sometimes, the Quantitative Aptitude questions also turn out to be tough and calculation intensive. Moreover, candidates have to write a 250 word essay in the XAT exam which is evaluated for Personal Interview shortlisting.

Q: What is the difficulty level of CMAT exam?

A: CMAT is a moderate difficulty level exam. It has 100 questions to be solved in three hours. There is no sectional time limit. Candidates have to choose the right answer from the give options. The questions are asked from Logical Reasoning, Data Interpretation, English Comprehension, Quantitative Aptitude, General Knowledge. Innovation and Entrepreneurship was added as a section in 2021. Since it is a new section less study material is available for it. Candidates may find it difficult to crack CMAT. 

Q: Which top MBA colleges accept CAT score for admission?

A: All the IIMs accept CAT score for MBA admission. Apart from IIMs, the top colleges that accept CAT score for admission include MDI Gurgaon, FMS Delhi, IMT Ghaziabad, SPJIMR Mumbai, IMI Delhi, GLIM Chennai, BIMTECH, IIT-DoMS, LIBA, GIM Goa and many more.

Q: Which top MBA colleges accept XAT score for admission?

A: Top MBA colleges that accept XAT score for admission include XLRI Jamshedpur, Amrita School of Business, Xavier University Bhubaneswar, Doon Business School Dehradun, IMS-Noida, Indus School of Business Gurgaon, IIMT School of Management (ISM), Gurgaon, FORE School of Management, New Delhi, JK Lakshmipat University, Jaipur, Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH) Noida, Prin. L.N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research Mumbai, MICA Ahmedabad, IRMA Anand among others.

Q: Which top MBA colleges accept CMAT score for admission?

A: Top MBA colleges that accept CMAT score for admission include SIMSREE, JBIMS, Amrita School of Business, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, TAPMI, Jaipuria Noida, LM Thappar School of Management, BM Munjal University, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Tezpur University, Shri Ram Institute of Management among others.

Q: Which top MBA colleges accept MAT score for admission?

A: Top MBA colleges that accept MAT score for admission include Amity Business School, Noida, Christ University Bengaluru, BIMTECH Greater Noida, SIESCOMS Navi Mumbai, Jagan Institute of Management Studies (JIMS), Rohini Delhi, Indus Business Academy, IPE Hyderabad, Institute of Public Enterprise, ITM Business School, Navi Mumbai among others.

Q: What should be the preparation strategy for CAT, MAT, XAT, CMAT?

A: Candidates preparing for CAT, MAT, XAT, CMAT must prepare subjects like Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude and General Knowledge. XAT has an additional section Decision Making. CMAT too has an additional section Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

Q: What is the fees of CAT, XAT, CMAT, MAT?

A: Application fee for MBA entrance exam is to be paid at the time of form submission. The fee amount to be paid are:

  • CAT: INR 2,400 (INR 1,200 for Reserved category)
  • XAT: INR 2,300
  • MAT: INR 2,100
  • CMAT: INR 2,000 (INR 1,000 for Reserved category, women and transgender)
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Vipra Shrivastava
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Vipra is a massive Breaking Bad fan. When not watching crime drama series, she spends time in updating the list of places she wants to visit and people she wants to meet, but she is happiest in the company of dogs. ... Read Full Bio

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