12 Entrance Exams other than CAT that MBA Aspirants Should Apply for

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Many of us have heard our peers using a phrase like, “I have decided to pursue MBA because I know it can get me a well-paid job and flourishing career.” But very few of us rationally decide whether doing MBA will actually prove to be beneficial or not?

Also, if I have made up my mind to study MBA, which entrance exam should I prepare for, so that I get admission in some of the most famous MBA colleges in India?

The first and foremost thing is to understand relevance and importance of MBA: Recently, Business Standard conducted a survey whose findings have revealed that in India, MBA remains the most competitive program and receives an average of 40.3 applications per seat. 83% programs have noted an increase in applications from 2016.

This shows that students believe pursuing MBA is a good option and there are many institutes and colleges which prove the point by providing best academic and placement facilities.

As by now you might have convinced yourself, if you are in favor or against MBA. Let’s discuss about the famous entrance exams for getting admission in MBA.

CAT: How difficult is it to qualify?

Common Admission Test, popularly known as CAT, is the largest Management Entrance Exam is the country. This exam is a gateway to get admission in the prestigious Indian Institute(s) of Management and is accepted by many other topnotch b-schools of the country as well.

But CAT has also evolved as the toughest management entrance exam in the country. It is conducted by IIMs, to grant candidates admission in the IIMs itself. However, many top colleges in the country also accept CAT scores. In 2016, around 2.5 lakh candidates applied for the test, and 1.95 lakh candidates appeared in the exam. This number is much higher than other management entrance exams of the country.

So,let’s talk about IIMs. The number of seats in the 20 IIMs is around 4500, and if IIMs call 10,000 students for an interview, they will only select 4500. If taken on a simple straight basis, to get an IIM call, one has to emerge as a person amongst the top 10000 scorers in CAT from around 2 lakh people, which means a percentile of around 95. And this refers to getting a call for interview only, not final selection.Also, if you see that some of the IIMs, probably the newer ones, are not even amongst the best colleges in the country. The IIMs established after 2011 are still considered relatively new and thus are not placed amongst the top-notch institutes. Therefore, leaving only top 7 IIMs amongst the best colleges in the country.

Now let us take a figure of 2500 seats for these IIMs, and assume that they call 5000 candidates for interviews. So now if you want to go in any of the top 7 IIMs, with simple straight calculation, you need a percentile of more than 97.75. Further, there is reservation system in our country, which means that many of the seats are already reserved. So anyhow, to get a seat in a top-notch IIM, you need nothing less than the 99th percentile in CAT.

And getting 99 percentile in CAT is really not an easy job. An average aspirant needs to prepare for at least 6 months to get such a score. Also, then there are Interviews, which also add up to the difficulty. And this is certain that IIM interviews are not easy. You need to have a good amount of knowledge to crack IIM interviews.

Moreover, most IIMs consider Past Academics for admission. So if you were not good at school or college, getting into an IIM is even more difficult for you.

All in all, getting into an IIM is really a tough job and definitely something that not everyone can do.

12 Entrance Exams other than CAT:

First thing that candidates need to know is that IIMs are not the only good colleges in the country. There are some other very good colleges like XLRI, IIFT, NMIMS, SPJIMR and Symbiosis Institutes in which one can get a very good MBA. And more importantly, you can get into these colleges without appearing for CAT. So if you want to do an MBA in these colleges, you can appear in other management entrance exams.

Here is a list of top 12 management entrance exams in the country, except CAT –

Xavier’s Aptitude Test XAT
Indian Institute of Foreign Trade Test IIFT
Symbiosis National Aptitude Test SNAP
Tata Institute of Social Sciences National Entrance Test TISS NET
Common Management Admission Test by AICTE CMAT
IBS Aptitude Test IBSAT
Management Aptitude Test by AIMA MAT
AIMS Test for Management Admission ATMA
Maharashtra Common Entrance Test MAH-CET
Tamil Nadu Common Entrance Test TANCET
Andhra Pradesh Integrated Common Entrance Test AP – ICET

Let us take a look at the details of these entrance exams –

XAT – Xavier’s Aptitude Test

XAT is conducted by XLRI (Xavier’s Labor Relations Institute) every year. This exam is a gateway to admission in XLRI and other Xavier’s Management Institutes. Apart from this, XAT is accepted by around 140 business schools of the country. This makes XAT a very good option for MBA aspirants.

XAT is taken by around 1,00,000 aspirants every year, and thankfully, its cutoff does not go as high as a 99th percentile. The cutoff for XLRI’s Business Management course was 96 last year and for HR course it was 93.

Top Institutes accepting XAT Score:-

XLRI – Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, TA Pai Management Institute, Manipal, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad

IIFT – Indian Institute of Foreign Trade

Indian Institute of Foreign Trade conducts the IIFT Test. Through this test, candidates can get admission in any of the two campuses of IIFT – Delhi, and Kolkata. IIFT Delhi ranks in amongst the top 10 colleges of the country which makes this test an attractive one.

Like most of the management entrance examinations, this test also has Verbal Ability, Logical Reasoning, Data Interpretation, Quantitative Aptitude and General Awareness sections. IIFT 2017 is to be conducted on November 3, 2017.

The popularity of IIFT can be known by the fact that even when only 2 colleges accept IIFT Scores, it is taken by around 30,000 candidates every year. As mentioned above, IIFT Delhi and IIFT Kolkata are the two colleges that accept IIFT scores.


Candidates can get admission in top colleges like NMIMS Mumbai and Bangalore through NMAT. Apart from these two, NMAT is accepted by around 20 more top colleges of the country. NMAT is taken by around 50,000 candidates every year.

What makes NMAT easier is its pattern. Candidates are given a 75-day window in which they can take the NMAT test. Also, candidates can take this test 3 times in a year, which makes this exam an easier one. NMAT does not have negative marking as well.

Top 5 institutes accepting NMAT scores are – NMIMS Mumbai (along with all NMIMS institutes), MISB Bocconi, ICFAI Business Schools, Woxsen Business School, Shiv Nadar University and Alliance University

SNAP – Symbiosis National Aptitude Test

Symbiosis International University has more than a dozen of MBA colleges in the country, all of which accept SNAP scores. SNAP is also taken by around 50,000 students every year.

Also, level of difficulty of SNAP is much easier than CAT and cut-offs are also not as high as CAT. Therefore, SNAP is also an attractive option when you are looking to go for an MBA.

SNAP scores are accepted by 15 business schools that are established under Symbiosis University. Top 5 institutes under SNAP are – SIBM Pune, SCMHRD Pune, SIIB Pune, SIOM Pune and SITM Pune.

TISS National Entrance Test

TISS NET is conducted by Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Through this test, the institution provides candidates admission in all the Post Graduate courses offered by it. TISS does not provide an MBA degree, but it provides an MA degree (famous for HR) which is considered equivalent to MBA. TISS is known for its low fees and excellent placements, which makes it a desired college for many.

Although TISS NET has all common sections like Quantitative Aptitude, Verbal section, Reasoning and Data Interpretation and GK, but is more known for its high-level GK questions. The level of all other sections is much lower than other management exams, and GK is the make or break section for this examination.

TISS NET scores are accepted by only TISS Mumbai. Although around 15000 students take them exam every year for 20 Post Graduate courses offered by the institute, its most famous course – MA in HRM – tends to have 80% of the total applications received.

CMAT – Combined Management Aptitude Test

CMAT is organized by All India Council for Technical Education. The exam was earlier organized twice a year but now it is conducted only once in a year. CMAT is a 3-hour examination and it has a total of 100 MCQs, with 25 each in Sections Quantitative Aptitude, Logical Reasoning, Language Comprehension and General awareness.

CMAT has gained popularity in recent years, with around 55000 people taking the test. Many good colleges have now started accepting CMAT scores for admission and it is certainly becoming a good alternative to CAT.

Top 5 colleges that accept CMAT scores are – JBIMS Mumbai, Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai, KJ Somaya Institute of Management and Research Mumbai, IFMR Changabakkam and BIMTEC Noida.

MAT – Management Aptitude Test

MAT is conducted by All India Management Association. The examination is the gateway to 600 business schools of the country. MAT is a paper-based test in which a candidate has to answer 200 questions in 150 minutes, which are from subjects Quantitative Aptitude, Data Analysis and Sufficiency, Intelligence and Critical Reasoning, Indian and Global Environment and language comprehension.

The good thing about MAT is that it is conducted 4 times in a year, and a candidate can appear in any of these by registering within the specified test. Also, MAT is much easier than CAT.

Top 5 colleges that accept MAT scores are – NIT Warangal, VIT University Vellore, SRM Chennai, MIT School of Business Pune and International School of Business and Media, Pune. Every year, more than 3 lakh candidates appear for MAT test, in all the 4 shifts combined.

ATMA – AIMS Test for Management Admission

AIMS Test for Management Admission is an online national level entrance test being conducted by Association of Indian Management Schools. The test is a gateway to admission in more than 350 business schools in the country.

ATMA is generally held four times in a year. ATMA is 3-hour test in which candidate has to answer 180 questions. The test is divided into 6 sections of 30 questions each, with 2 sections for Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude and Verbal Ability each.

The top 5 institutes that accept ATMA scores are – WeSchool Mumbai, WeSchool Bangalore, NIBM Pune, Christ University Bangalore and NIILM Delhi.

IBS Aptitude Test

IBSAT is an online Aptitude Test which is conducted every year by ICFAI business school. Through this test, candidates can get admission in 9 business schools which are under ICFAI. IBSAT is generally held in the month of December every year.

IBSAT gives more weight to language skills as compared to other management entrance tests. IBSAT has separate sections for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. Also, there are two other sections which are Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation.

The top 5 institutes that accept IBSAT scores are – IBS Pune, IBS Mumbai, IBS Gurgram, IBS Ahmedabad and IBS Hyderabad.


A very good alternative to CAT for students of Maharashtra is MAHCET. MAHCET, elaborated as Maharashtra Common Entrance Test is a state level entrance test being conducted in the state of Maharashtra. The test is conducted by DTE Maharashtra (Directorate of Technical Education, Maharashtra). This test forms the basis of selecting candidates for various postgraduate courses being offered by various colleges in Maharashtra. Some very good colleges like JBIMS, SIMSREE, KJ Somaya and NL Dalmiya accept MAHCET scores, which makes it a valuable test.

MAHCET is taken by around 9000 candidates every year.

The test is generally conducted in March and has 200 questions which are to be answered in 150 minutes. The questions are based on Quantitative Aptitude, Logical Reasoning and Language Skills. There is no negative marking in MAHCET.


TANCET, elaborated as Tamil Nadu Common Entrance Test is a Post Graduate Entrance examination being conducted in Tamil Nadu. This test is conducted by Anna University, on behalf of Government of Tamil Nadu. The test contains 100 multiple choice questions which are to be answered in 2 hours. Apart from MBA, this test is also a gateway to get admission in courses like MTECH, MCA, ME and many other programs.

Around 20000 candidates appear in TANCET for MBA. The Top 5 colleges that accept TANCET scores are – Anna University Chennai, PSG Institute Coimbatore, Sona School of Management Salem, SRM Chennai and ST Joseph Institute Kacheepuram.


Andhra Pradesh Integrated Common Entrance Test is an entrance examination conducted in the state of Andhra Pradesh, to grant candidates admission in MBA and MCA courses. The test is conducted by one of the various universities present in Andhra Pradesh every year, on a rotation basis. The test has 200 questions which are to be answered in 150 minutes. It has 3 sections, Analytical Ability, Communication and Mathematical Ability. The test is a gateway to various top colleges of Andhra Pradesh.

Around 65000 students appear for AP-ICET MBA and MCA courses. Top 5 colleges accepting AP ICET scores are – Andhra University Vishakhpattnam, Nizam College Hyderabad, Pragati College Hyderabad, Sri Krishnadevarya University Anantpur and ST Joseph College Hyderabad.

So, this MBA season, do make sure that you do not risk yourself to only CAT, until unless you are damn sure of scoring a great percentile. Good Luck!

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