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Common Admission Test versus other MBA exams; how you must tackle all

Prepping up for NMAT, TISSNET and XAT too? Here’s how you can master all

Mission MBA Updated: Nov 21, 2016 20:37 IST
Gautam Puri
In CAT, accuracy is the game changer, say experts.
In CAT, accuracy is the game changer, say experts.(Imagesbazaar)

B-school aspirants are just a few days away from some of the most prestigious B-school entrance exams. While the NMAT exam is already underway, IIFT and CAT are just two weeks away, and that too within a week of each other. This will then be followed by CAT, TISSNET (Tata Institute of Social Sciences National Entrance Test) and XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test), in that order. While there is over 80% overlap in the type of question, each of these six MBA entrance exams (CAT, IIFT, XAT, NMAT, SNAP and TISSNET) is different in terms of the structure of the paper. MBA aspirants need to be aware of these distinct features and must strategise accordingly. For now, let’s discuss the NMAT, IIFT and the CAT, which would be the focus of MBA aspirants at this point in time.

To begin with, for the students planning to write the NMAT exam, it is important to know that NMAT is purely a speed test with 120 questions to be solved in 120 minutes. However, with no negative marking and with the cut off being close to 210, students should look at attempting 80 questions properly with 85% accuracy. Try to make an informed guess about the 40 questions. This would mean that you have a good probability of getting a few right. NMAT, this year, has tested students on DI and verbal reasoning. Thus, students are advised to focus on the same. The strategy for the three sections should be:

1.In English usage, attempt the vocabulary and grammar questions first and then attempt the RC passages.

2.In reasoning do not waste time on any question that you are not comfortable with, just mark any choice as the answer and move on.

3.In QADI, the 32 QA questions should be attempted first since they are easy, the 16 questions in DI sets are either difficult to understand or take up a lot of time due because of calculations.

As is the norm an overall score of 210 with sectional scores of 55 in EU, 65 in reasoning and 72 in QADI should fetch an interview call from NMIMS Mumbai, the premier institute under the NMAT Banner.

Moving over to IIFT, to be held on November 27, students must focus on their strengths and work on a score maximising strategy. Students should know DI in IIFT has always been very calculation-intensive and should work out their own strategies to deal with this. DI will most probably be coupled either with LR or quant, both of which are quite simple as compared to CAT. The LR is even simpler than what one might experience in NMAT while the quant section is similar to that of CAT. Students need to aim at maximising their score in logical reasoning, verbal and quant. While the RCs are lengthy they have direct questions and students should spend time reading them. A score of 50+ is usually sufficient for moving to the interview stage.

In CAT, accuracy is the game changer. The strategy of DILR and VARC sections should be similar – scan the sets/RCs in the first five minutes and pinpoint which ones you would want to attempt in order of priority. Quant needs to be taken as it comes – attempt the question if it’s from your area of strength, move on if not. If it is apparent that it is an easy paper, the aim should be to attempt 75+ questions with an accuracy of 80%+. In CAT 2015, QA and VARC were easy whereas LR and DI were on the tougher side. Even a considerably lower attempt of 14-16 questions in LRDI section, with cent percent accuracy, got the students a sectional percentile of 97+. If the LOD of DILR turns out to be similar, then you should aim to score 45+ to get a percentile of 97+. However, if the LOD reduces then the aim needs to be to score 55+ to obtain the same percentile. Students are advised to join CL at a free pre-CAT webinar, to be held three to four days before CAT to get a few more pointers regarding the same.

It must again be highlighted that these exams are a test of the aspirants’ temperament rather than his or her knowledge. It is extremely important for aspirants to take sufficient number of mocks of each of these exams to get acquainted with the exam pattern.

The author is co-founder, Career Launcher.