CAT is undoubtedly the most sought-after entrance exam in the country. However, there are several other exams besides CAT that a student can and must write. These are important because not all the B-schools use CAT as the sole criteria for selecting candidates.
Here’s why candidates must write other exams.
~ There are other top B-schools, apart from IIMs, which do not use CAT score but require you to write their own exams. For example, XLRI Jamshedpur uses XAT; SIBM Pune uses SNAP; Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies uses NMAT, and so on.
~ It helps to diversify risks. If a candidate does not have any other option beside CAT, he/she will be under a lot of pressure to crack the entrance exam. If anything goes wrong, he/she will have no other option left.
~ There are minor differences in the patterns of these exams, including the areas tested and the difficulty level. It helps to identify the test that best suits candidates’ areas of strength, so they can focus on them.
For example, if a student is good at general awareness, then he/she will do well in SNAP, TISS, and IIFT. For a candidate who does not have a very strong background in Math, TISS would again be a good exam to sit for. CMAT is an exam that is ideally suited for those who find CAT too difficult.
~ Many of these exams are conducted after CAT. This means that for a student starting his preparation a little late, there are a few extra months for him/her to prepare. Some of these are conducted as late as January, which means you get one-and-a-half months extra to prepare.
But for all these exams, awareness and adequate preparation are essential, as these test patterns are different from that of CAT’s. Let us look at the major Other Management Entrance Tests or OMETs, which will be conducted this year.
XAT is the second most popular management entrance examination after CAT. Conducted by XLRI, Jamshedpur on behalf of Xavier Association of Management Institutes, XAT scores are used by more than 100 institutes across India. XLRI is one of the top-5 B-schools in the country, according to latest rankings by various independent agencies. XAT is usually conducted in the first week of January.
Tata Institute of Social Sciences — National Entrance Test, as the name suggests, is TISS, Mumbai’s entrance exam. If you have wondered which the best college to get in without a lot of effort is, then TISS is the institute to aim for.
The difficulty level of the questions is low. What it expects from you is a genuine interest in the field you wish to do an MBA in. TISS, however, does not award MBA or PGDM degrees. Instead, it gives you a Masters degree in your chosen specialisation.
The list of specialisations range from human resource management and industrial labour, to social entrepreneurship and globalisation and labour.
Symobiosis National Aptitude Test is conducted by the Symbiosis society as a first entry requirement for all the B-schools under Symbiosis International University. It has 19 B-schools under its umbrella — three general management ones and the others are sectoral or specialised MBAs.
The list of institutes includes SIBM Pune, SCMHRD Pune, SIBM Bangalore, and SIIB Pune among others. The exam is considered a must for all MBA aspirants, thanks to this eclectic mix of colleges that uses the scorecard as a part of its selection processes.
NMAT is conducted by GMAC (the body that conducts GMAT), and is for admission into Narsee Monjee Institutes of Management Studies, located in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. It offers general MBA, banking, capital markets and HRM, and the test considered by about 20 other B-schools in the country.
Institute of Rural Management Anand this year is using both CAT score and its own entrance test results, which was on “Issues of Social Concern”. It is a test on general awareness on the issues regarding social sector.
One needs to know current affairs with a special eye on social issues and rural India to tackle this paper. Governmental policies like “inclusive growth” and related issues may play an important role here.
From its launch in 2011 as a one-stop test for admission into all the AICTE approved B-schools in the country, Common Management Admissions Test has come a long way. The exam is popular especially at the state level, as a lot of state entrance exams such as RMAT, GCET, and MPMET were scrapped in its favour.
Management Aptitude Test is conducted by All India Management Association four times a year — in February, May, September and December — in both paper-pencil as well as computer-based format.
Even though the paper has a section on general awareness, the score in this section is rarely used by any B-school for shortlisting candidates for the GDPI process.
All the best!