Many candidates aspire to appear for CAT to get into IIMs and believe that CAT is the only gateway for MBA admissions to India’s top b-schools. But the twist is that CAT is not the only exam that can get you into top b-schools; there are several other entrances for admission to MBA programme in some of the premier institutes in the country.

In India, more than four lakh candidates give entrance exams for admission to Management courses in top b-schools. MBA is no longer just a traditional course with only Marketing, Finance and HR as the core specialisations. With changing time, the MBA programme has evolved and many new specialisations have emerged such as IT Management, Construction and Project Management, Banking and Financial Services Management, Telecommunications Management, Strategy Management and Entrepreneurship Development Management, etc., which are attracting candidates from all other domains to MBA.

For enrolling to MBA programmes in top b-schools, CAT is the first priority for a majority of management aspirants. However, there are plenty of options besides CAT that can help candidates enrol into a top college.

Some of the most popular entrance exams considered equivalent to CAT by many b-schools for MBA admissions are:

  • GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test)
  • XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test)
  • MAT (Management Aptitude Test)
  • CMAT Common Management Admission Test
  • ATMA (AIMS Test for Management Admission)
  • NMAT (NMIMS Management Aptitude Test)
  • SNAP (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test)
  • IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade)

Students can give these exams to pursue a management course in their dream b-school. These exams may not follow the exact pattern of CAT exam, but they are quite similar, as all these exams have basic three sections:

  • Quantitative aptitude
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Verbal ability and Reading comprehension

However, in addition to these fundamental sections, most exams include GK (General Knowledge) and essay writing questions as well. So, the candidates need to be well versed in GK with knowledge of updated current affairs and work on their writing skills. 

MBA entrances vary in terms of the mode of taking the exam.  CAT exam is only computer based, but some of the above-mentioned exams give candidates the opportunity to choose their mode of exam — pen- and paper-based exam or computer-based exam. 

The eligibility criteria for these exams are similar to CAT as all of them are conducted for admission to master’s degree programmes. 

  • Candidate must be graduate from a recognised university
  • Candidates can belong to any stream — Commerce, Arts, Science, Engineering, Medical, Law. etc.
  • Candidates must have scored 50% or above in their UG degree
  • Students who are currently in their final year or have already given the final exams and awaiting their exams result are also eligible to give these MBA entrance exams
Entrance ExamsFull FormFrequency in a yearDate of Exams for 2020(Tentative)
GMATGraduate Management Aptitude TestFive times in a yearAppointment dates from April 20, 2020 to June 15, 2020
XATXavier Aptitude TestOnce First week of January 2021
MATManagement Aptitude TestFour times in a yearSeptember 20, 2020
CMATCommon Management Admission TestTwiceJanuary 2021
ATMAAIMS Test forManagement AdmissionFive times in a yearFebruary 9, 2020
NMATNMIMS Management Aptitude TestOnce, but can retake exam within stipulated exam datesOctober 4 – December 17
SNAPSymbiosis National Aptitude TestOnce Third week of December 2020
IIFTIndian Institute of Foreign TradeOnce December 2020

The MBA admissions are typically multi-stage processes and giving these exams are just the first stage to get shortlisted for next rounds. Later, the candidate must compete in GD (Group Discussion), PI (Personal Interviews) and WAT (Written Ability Test) to finally get enrolled in an MBA programme. Hence, students must not think that CAT exam is the only option available to them. These exams are also equally valuable & important and must be attempted by every candidate.So this was an overview of some of the exams that candidates can give for MBA admissions to popular b-schools. Remember, these exams are also very tough and considered equivalent to CAT, so candidates must study and practice hard to clear these exams.
For more details on MBA exams you can visit, where the information in available in detailed level.


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