How to Ace at Your MBA Entrance Exams?

MBA Entrances are a gateway to enter into a premier management institute. Most of the candidates start their exam preparation in the final year of their graduation as it requires six to seven months of dedicated efforts to crack your dream college. Most of these entrance exams assess your aptitude and verbal analytical skills.

Firstly, to get into a Business-School, realize that there are more than one competitive exams that you have to choose from.

Following is a list of top MBA entrance exams that you can look for.

  1. Common admission test(CAT)

  2. Graduate Management Admission Test(GMAT)

  3. Xavier’s Aptitude Test(XAT)

  4. Management Aptitude Test(MAT)

  5. Common Management Admission Test(CMAT)

  6. Maharashtra- Common Entrance Test(MAH-CET)

*NOTE: The list given above is not exhaustive, there are more university specific entrance exams as well. 

Choice of one or multiple entrance tests is based on the following criterion.

  1. Choice of college

  2. Number of colleges accepting that score

  3. Difficulty and competitiveness

After selecting an appropriate exam for yourself, the next step is to start preparing.

Here in this blog we are going to focus on preparation strategy for the MBA entrance exams, so that you can carve out a suitable study plan for yourself.

Firstly, we have put together some sectional preparation tips that can help you look at how to proceed with your preparation.

Sectional Preparation

  1. Quantitative Aptitude

Quantitative Aptitude is probably the most challenging part of MBA entrance preparation.It assesses the analytical skills along with logical and problem solving skills of a student. This section covers a vast syllabus and carries a sizable chunk of these exams.

Preparation Strategy for Quantitative Aptitude Section

  • Solve previous year papers: Syllabus for these exams is not very clearly defined, so to start with solve 4-5 previous year papers and get an idea about the importance of each section

  • Divide syllabus into smaller subheads: Try to make a clear impression of the syllabus by dividing it into major subheads, for instance look at the diagram given below

  • Have a target percentile in mind: Keep evaluating how far or near you are to that target after a certain level of preparation.

  • Take one topic at a time : Read a topic and dig deep into the basic concepts till it makes sense to you.

  • Fix your preparation material: After attaining a certain level of clarity about the exam, finalize your study material and try not to deviate from it. Selected books that you can consider for self preparation are:

  1. Quantitative aptitude by Arun Sharma

  2. Quantitative Aptitude by Arihant publications

There has been a myth that the Quantitative aptitude or mathematics section is for geniuses. The level of mathematics section for these exams is upto X level only and clear understanding of fundamentals and practice is all that is required.

  1. Data Interpretation and Logical reasoning

Data Interpretation: is a calculation intensive section. It consists of graphs, tables and charts followed by a number of questions, which require analyses of the information carried through these graphics.

Logical Reasoning: Questions from this part assesses your mathematical and logical abilities. This section contains categories like seating arrangement, blood relations, mapping routes and more that force you to use the wits of your brain.

Logical reasoning and data interpretation section is based on experiential learning that is learning by doing rather than theoretical learning. Practicing a number of diverse questions for this section will help develop a clear understanding.

To prepare yourself in this section, you can try a three step approach:

  • Step1:  Don’t jump on CAT or GMAT questions directly before trying your hands on basic questions of each topic. 

Here, the idea is to develop familiarity with each topic.

Try to solve these questions without using pen and paper. This will develop on your approximate calculations, which speeds up the solution process.

  • Step 2: Now that you are familiar with the topics go for Data interpretation and logical reasoning book for CAT or GMAT level. 

Plan and prepare topics one by one.

Practice at least 300-400 questions in total.

  • Step 3: At this level you are well versed with the pattern of questions, all that is left is a little more practice and speed improvement.

Here also try to analyze easy, medium and tough questions.

Key to score a 99% percentile in examinations like CAT is to pick up the right questions.

Don’t waste your time on questions you cannot figure out in maximum 2 minutes.

  1. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

This section can be divided into Reading Comprehension which covers two-third of all VARC questions and remaining one-third covering parajumbles, summary questions and odd-one out sentences.

One of the reasons for students losing marks in this section is their own neglect. In the process of preparing for mathematics based questions they often overlook the importance of the VARC section.

Quantitative aptitude and logical reasoning sections can have a more consolidated and structured preparation but for the VARC section you have to patiently work on your English language skills in a step by step manner.

Following are a few suggestions that you can incorporate in your preparation schedule for the VARC section:

  1. Since, Reading Comprehension is the major part of this section, practice at least one passage a day.

  2. Keep on increasing the difficulty level as you proceed further

  3. Keep a time track to improve your speed and comprehension ability.

  4. Along with practising, give adequate time to reading. Read books that engage you, maybe novels, biographies or story books.

  5. Try reading newspaper editorials, they are a great way to improve to add to your knowledge base.

Though grammar and vocabulary questions are not asked directly, they are essential to solve most of the questions from this section. Add new words to your vocabulary, say 2-3 words everyday and you will see a great difference in a month’s time.

5 Tips to ace your MBA Entrance Exams

  1. Read the Exam first, before reading for the Exam.

  2. Structure your preparation in a systematic way, so that it does not become overwhelming for you.

  3. Assign separate timings and days for revision. Entering the exam hall without adequate revision can be a disaster.

  4. Do not avoid your physical health. We all know that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. Practice physical exercises daily and eat healthy food.

  5. Keep the day before the exam as light as possible, do not practice much. Go out, take a walk, calm your nerves. Prepare stuff you need for the exam beforehand to avoid last minute rush.

Not just for a Business-School entrance exam, but for any competitive exam the key is to break your preparation into bits and pieces. Walk through your plan and focus on one thing at a time.This will avoid creating panic and will help improve your efficiency. If you have a vision, Success is just a few steps away.

All that it takes is time and consistent efforts in the right direction.

The major issue that students have to deal with is the haphazardness created around a competitive exam. Finding a suitable study plan is of utmost importance to maximize one’s chances of getting into a top B-School.