Launched by the All-India Council for Technical Education and aimed at reducing the burden of multiple entrance tests on b-school aspirants, the Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) is the biggest management entrance test in the country after the Common Admission Test. It is the only test for admission to MBA programmes in AICTE-approved institutions and university departments of all the states, and one of the five tests for PGDM programmes for 2013-14. Held twice a year, the next edition of CMAT is scheduled for September 26 to September 30, 2013, in two shifts at 62 locations in India and five locations in foreign countries.
Through CMAT, MBA aspirants can double their chances of making it to the merit list of b-schools approved by the AICTE because the best score out of the two CMAT exams will be taken into account for admission.
Each candidate is eligible to appear for both the editions of the computer-based test in a year. The admission for 2014-15 will be done based on CMAT scores of tests conducted in September 2013 and February 2014.
The three-hour CMAT is a multiple-choice test, delivered in four sections. The actual test contains 100 questions, 25 in each section. Four marks are awarded for the correct answer and one mark is deducted for wrong answer. Candidates who are in the final year of their bachelor’s degree programme or who have appeared in the final-year examination from a recognised university are eligible to appear.
With more than 3,000 schools accepting its scores, CMAT gives students an opportunity to secure one of the nearly four lakh seats in b-schools across the country. Some of the major institutes that accept the CMAT score for admission into their post-graduate programmes in management include Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai; Sydenham Institute of Management Studies and Research and Entrepreneurship Education, Mumbai; KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai; LN Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Mumbai; Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, Delhi, Jamia Millia Islamia and Delhi Technological University. CMAT results are expected to be declared on October 20, 2013, on the website www.aicte-cmat.in.
According to Ramnath Kanakadandi, course director, Triumphant Institute of Management Education, New Delhi, “Going by the feedback received from the test takers of the previous editions of the test, general awareness and verbal ability sections were reported to be difficult than what was expected by the candidates.”
What’s it all about
The section on language comprehension comprises 25 questions. “Critical reasoning tends to be a major test area, at varying levels of difficulty. So, revise concepts pertaining to critical reasoning (especially on identifying argument structure and argument elements, and inference-based questions). For the rest of the English language part, revise concepts pertaining to reading comprehension, sentence correction, and vocabulary-based questions. Questions in these areas have been easy and thorough revision would help students score high in these questions. As it is a three-hour test, students have time to read carefully and analyse the content, and must do so, since the choices can be close,” says Kanakadandi.
What is primarily required is an active participation in the reading of the text, which does not stop with just reading and understanding but goes beyond the peripherals, and asks /answers questions that are related to the text. Do not underestimate the importance of a short passage in simple language.
For the section on quantitative techniques and data interpretation, a thorough preparation on basic concepts would help. “For the section on logical reasoning (LR), one has to prepare on all the reasoning topics like linear arrangement, circular arrangement, selections , distribution puzzles, comparisons, binary logic, cubes, Venn diagrams, deductions and connectives. In LR, one needs to understand that sometimes data may not be sufficient to figure out the complete solution, but would be sufficient to answer the given question,” adds Kanakadandi.
The other areas of reasoning, including number series, coding and decoding, symbols and notations, blood relations, direction sense, input-output, calendars and clocks should also be prepared.
For preparation on general awareness, in addition to reading newspapers regularly, it would be advisable for a student to go through general knowledge yearbooks.
Vijay Kalyan Jha, senior vice president (academics), Career Launcher Educate Ltd, says “Time is not much of a constraint in CMAT. You do not require more than 15 minutes to attempt 25 questions on general awareness and hence you are left with more than 165 minutes for the 75 questions of the remaining three sections. In the quantitative techniques and data interpretation section, almost 80% of the questions are from arithmetic. Not more than three questions in this section are from data interpretation. In the language comprehension section, you get a lot of questions on critical reasoning. Reading comprehension passsages are very short and you do not get more than one question on any passage. In the general awareness section, most of the questions are on static facts and, hence, they check on how much have you read in the last 15 years.” One should ideally be looking at the following break-up to score more than 300 marks: quantitative techniques and data interpretation section (above 90), logical reasoning (above 90), language comprehension (above 70), general awareness (above 50). CMAT requires focused preparation because it is very competitive with close to 1.5 lakh candidates taking the test in February 2013.