How to prepare for MBA entrance exams

Master in Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most sought after management degrees across the globe due to its high importance in the corporate world.
An MBA helps students to develop their skill set and overall professional development in various fields of study like finance, marketing, human resource, international business etc.
From the point of view of employers, an MBA graduate is very valuable due to the way it prepares you, and that value is reflected by the salary they offer.

How to prepare for MBA entrance exams

Acquiring an MBA degree is quite a task for students, including getting admission into a reputed college for the course. Every reputed college offering an MBA has a rigorous screening method, first step of which being competitive entrance exams. These exams are designed to assess the logical aptitude of students to make sure they are deemed fit to take on the course.

Some of the most prestigious colleges like Indian Institute of Management, Faculty of Management studies, Xavier School of Management etc. set their cut offs very high with respect to such entrance exams.

IIMs set their cut offs around 90-95 Percentile every year, similar is the case for other prestigious management institutes of the country. Some colleges like XLRI, Narsee Monjee, Symbiosis have their own entrance exams which, again, require very high performance in such exams. These cut offs make it crucial for students to make sure their preparation for these exams are on point and bullet proof.

Some tips to prepare for such exams are listed below.

Coaching Centres

Using classes and material provided by coaching centres have proved to be effective in terms of preparation for the exam. These coaching centres focus particularly on preparing students for the exam, keeping in mind not only the areas of study but also execution and personality development required to perform well in group discussions and personal interviews.

It largely depends on the individual’s preferred mode of studying, be it self study or coaching centres. However, if time is a constraint or due to lack of effective resources, it is advised to join a professional coaching centre.

Test Yourself

According to the testimonies of students who have scored very well in past exams, it is highly important for aspirants to take as many mock tests as possible towards the end of their preparation. These mock tests help aspirants build confidence and explore new questions as set by the particular exams. These mock tests can be found online or provided by coaching centres.

Focus on Accuracy and Speed

Exams having a negative marking scheme in place make it important to focus on the accuracy of the attempted questions. It is important to maintain balance between accuracy and speed, compromising with either will harm your scores in the exam.


Practice is key for sections like Quantitative aptitude and Verbal ability due to the requirement of quick, effective solving and efficient reading comprehension. It is suggested to allot some time everyday to practice some of these techniques in order to develop speed and comfort.

For exams with questions on Current affairs and General knowledge, it is advised to start reading the newspaper everyday for a few months prior to the examination. Reading the newspaper for even 15 minutes a day can go a long way. It is also suggested to do some research and understand the nature of such questions by studying previous year papers.

Developing short cuts and different methods of solving questions would be advisable to save time and improve performance. These techniques can be developed on your own depending on your preference or by browsing through different techniques online and choosing the ones that fit best.

It is important to give each section similar amount of emphasis while preparing for the exams to ensure the highest possible score.


As suggested by some candidates who have performed well in prior exams, it goes a long way to associate yourself with other aspirants as it allows you to see the preparation from different points of view and allow for constructive exchange of ideas.

Some of the most popular MBA entrance exams accepted by a variety of colleges are:-

  • CAT: The Common Admission Test conducted by the Indian Institute of Management is one of the most popular admission tests for students seeking admission in a college for management programs like MBA. CAT scores are widely accepted by Indian management colleges and it is considered to be one with the highest level of difficulty.

It is a three hour exam divided into three one hour sections, namely Quantitative Aptitude, Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation, Verbal Ability.

  • GMAT: The Graduate Management Admission Test is a globally accepted admission test for management courses. The GMAT scores are accepted widely by Indian universities as well as universities abroad. With a total score of 800, candidates are required to get score at least 710 for admissions into top tier universities and around 600 for middle tier universities.

It is a 3 hours 30 minutes long test, prepared to assess a candidate’s analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal and reading skills.

  • CMAT: The Common Management Admission Test is a national level management entrance test conducted by All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). The CMAT score is accepted by all AICTE Approved Universities and Institutions.

It is a three hour computer based test with sections like Quantitative Technique, Logical Reasoning, Language Comprehension and General Awareness.

  • XAT: The Xavier Aptitude Test is a national level management aptitude test conducted by XLRI every year. The scores of XAT are accepted by more than 100 institutes for admission in management courses like MBA.

It is divided into four sections, namely Quantitative Ability, English Language and Logical Reasoning, Decision Making, GK and Essay. The exam is computer based.

Some other Management Aptitude tests include:-

  • SNAP
  • MAT
  • NMAT
  • IIFT

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