One of the major entrance tests for admission to management programmes across more than 600 B-schools, the next edition of the Management Aptitude Test (MAT) will be conducted on September 7 and September 13, 2014. It was approved as a national-level test by the human resource development ministry in 2003. MAT scores are also accepted by PGDM institutes across the country as per a Supreme Court 2013 ruling.
Conducted four times a year in February, May, September and December, MAT is offered in the offline as well as the online version. The number of participating institutes usually vary in each edition of the test. All participating institutes in MAT are approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) or the Distance Education Council (DEC) or university affiliated colleges or university departments.
The minimum qualification for the test is graduation in any discipline such as BA, BSc, BCom and BTech from any recognised university. Final-year students are also eligible to take the test provisionally.
Aspirants who go for the online version can choose the date and time slot, which depends on availability. There are 200 questions to be answered in 150 minutes. The question paper is divided into five sections (40 questions each) — language comprehension (LC); data analysis and sufficiency (DI); mathematical skills (QA); intelligence and critical reasoning; and Indian and global environment (GK).
According to John Williams, academic head, CL Educate, Bangalore, “The GK section is not considered in merit scores. A score of 700 or more is considered good for admission to a good B-school. However, those scoring lower than this also stand a chance for admission. The language comprehension and mathematical skills sections are relatively easy. The DI/DS section requires a candidate to devote time. Solving 160 to 170 questions with 90% accuracy should be enough to get a great score.”
Though most management entrance exams are conducted in the online mode, the number of students opting for the computer-based version of MAT is fewer. “There are only about 10% takers for the online version of MAT as the rest go for the paper-pen mode. Approximately 2 lakh students take the MAT annually. The number of test takers for MAT has also gone up this year and this can be linked to the good placements offered by B-schools. So far, 300 institutions have registered for the September edition of MAT,” says Wing Commander V S Bejoy, director, Centre for Management Services, All India Management Association, the body that conducts the test.
On the advantages of MAT over other management entrance tests, VS Bejoy says, “MAT is administered four times a year. While scores of exams like the Common Admission Test (CAT) and Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) are accepted by close to 100 B-schools, MAT scores are accepted by 600 institutions in a year. It is available both in the offline as well as online version. The results are also available within three weeks and students are given proper scorecards.”
With nearly two weeks remaining for the test, experts suggest that students should start planning for the D-day. “Students should attempt the reasoning section first, then move to DI or verbal and quantitative aptitude in the end. Quant is the most scoring section, but it takes time to solve. All 40 reading comprehension questions should be attempted. Those going for the online version must take four to five full length mock tests. Candidates can also go for sectional tests to improve their preparation for particular sections,” says Vijay Jha, senior vice president, CL Educate. Students must also avoid the most common mistakes. “Remember to mark the final answers on the OMR sheet and not on the question paper first. This could disturb the order while you are marking the answers finally on the OMR sheet and also take extra time. Aspirants should also avoid marking the remaining answers randomly in case there is time left as there is negative marking,” adds Williams.
MAT sections and number of questions