Is CAT Compulsory For MBA? What Are The Best MBA Entrance Exams Other Than CAT?

Is CAT Compulsory for MBA?
Is CAT Compulsory for MBA?

The short answer is NO. Taking CAT is not compulsory for pursuing an MBA. The candidates trying to get into the IIMs must take the CAT mandatory, as the IIMs will not accept the scores of the MBA entrance exam other than the CAT. There are many other MBA entrance tests other than the CAT exam, which scores are accepted in many prestigious MBA colleges in India. The MBA Entrance tests other than CAT, which includes XAT, MAH CET, TISSNET, IIFT, NMAT, GMAT, CMAT, SNAP, etc., are some of the most popular MBA entrance tests that accept in the prestigious B-schools such as XLRI Jamshedpur, JBIMS Mumbai, JBIMS Mumbai, TISS Mumbai, IIFT Delhi, SIBM Pune, etc. One can take any of these exams besides the CAT to get into these Institutes.

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Having a good score does not decide your MBA admission to these colleges. Candidates must have some additional qualities to get an MBA admission which includes academics, work experience, Extra-circular activities, etc. Let us see what aspects make a strong MBA application.

What Does A Strong MBA Application Look Like?

Entrance Test Scores

Many b-schools require a good MBA entrance score to get admission to MBA programmes. A high score on your entrance test can help your aptitude for the MBA program.


Your past academics are the most important factors during your MBA admission process. There will be some specific weightages for your past academics, which are used in finalising your composite score, which is used to shortlist the candidates for the personal interview process.

Prior Work Experience

Many MBA colleges prefer candidates with relevant work experience for admission to their MBA programs. Usually, the candidate’s work experience is preferred to be around 3 to 5 years. This experience should demonstrate your leadership and problem-solving skills.

Extracurricular Activities

Participating in some extracurricular activities, such as volunteering, leadership roles, sports, etc. These can demonstrate your well-roundedness and commitment to your community.

Top MBA Entrance Exams In India Other Than CAT

For students looking to pursue an MBA, it is essential to be aware of the top MBA entrance examinations in India. The following are some of the most prestigious MBA entrance tests that you can apply to pursue an MBA, along with their exam patterns and the list of colleges that accept the respective test scores.

XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test)

XAT is one of the top MBA entrance exams, and it is conducted by the XLRI Jamshedpur. The XAT exam is also one of the most popular entrance exams in India. The difficulty level of the XAT is similar to the CAT exam. The XAT score is also accepted in many MBA institutes for their admission process. Now let us have a look at the XAT 2023 exam pattern in detail.

XAT 2023 Exam Pattern

Section Questions
Verbal and Logical Ability 26
Decision Making 21
Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation 28
Total 75
General Knowledge 25
Essay Writing Test 1

Top MBA Colleges Accepting XAT

XAT score is also accepting many top MBA institutes such as XLRI Jamshedpur, XIMB, IMT, XIME, TAPMI, GIM, Great Lakes, FORE, etc.

IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade)

The IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade) conducts the IIFT exam every year for entrance into the MBA International Business Program in IIFT Delhi, IIFT Kolkata, and IIFT Kakinada (new campus). These institutes admit candidates into its Global MBA/ MBA (International Business), the flagship programme of the institutes. Every year around 70,000 students appear for this IIFT examination. This exam tests the candidate’s aptitude skills, and the exam pattern is as shown below.

IIFT 2023 Exam pattern

Section name questions Marks per Question Total marks Negative Marks
Quantitative Ability (QA) 25 3 75 -1
Logical Reasoning (LR) & Data Interpretation (DI) 30 3 90 -1
Verbal Ability (VA) 19 3 57 -1
Reading Comprehension (RC) 16 3 48 -1
General Knowledge & Awareness 20 1.5 30 -0.5
Total 110 300

Top MBA Colleges Accepting IIFT

The IIFT score will only accept in the IIFT campuses as mentioned earlier IIFT(Delhi, Kolkatta & Kakinada).

SNAP (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test)

SNAP is a national-level management entrance exam conducted by Symbiosis International University. It is a postgraduate entrance examination conducted by Symbiosis International (Deemed University) for admissions into the 26 MBA programmes offered at its 15 institutes. The students can take this exam 3 times. The admission of students into the institutes that fall under Symbiosis International University. 

This exam is designed to test the candidate’s General English, Quantitative, Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency, and Analytical & Logical Reasoning.

SNAP Exam Pattern

Section name questions Marks per correct answer Total marks
General English: Reading Comprehension, Verbal Reasoning, Verbal Ability 15 1 15
Quantitative Ability(QA), Data Interpretation (DI) & Data Sufficiency 20 1 20
Analytical & Logical Reasoning 25 1 25


60 60

Top MBA Colleges Accepting SNAP

SIBM Pune, SCMHRD, SIIB Pune, SIBM Bengaluru, and all 12 other Symbiosis colleges.

CMAT (Common Management Admission Test)

Common Management Admission (CMAT) is a popular national-level MBA entrance examination conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA). The CMAT tests the ability of candidates in areas such as Language Comprehension, Quantitative Techniques, Logical Reasoning, and General Awareness. Each year there are over 1.5 lakh students take the test.

CMAT 2023 Exam Pattern

Sections Questions Maximum Marks
Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretations 20 80
Logical Reasoning 20 80
Language Comprehension 20 80
General Awareness 20 80
Innovation & Entrepreneurship 20 80
Total 100 400

Top MBA Colleges Accepting CMAT

All the AICTE-approved Institutes/departments/Universities/Colleges. Some top colleges include JBIMS, SIMSREE, Great Lakes Institute of Management, K J Somaiya Mumbai, Welingkar Mumbai, PUMBA, GIM Goa, Jaipuria, N L Dalmia etc.

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MAH-CET (Maharashtra Common Entrance Test)

MAH-CET, also known as MBA/MMS CET, is an MBA entrance exam conducted by the Directorate of Technical Education, Maharashtra, for admission to various management courses such as MBA, MMS, and PGDM in various institutes across Maharashtra. The MAH-CET scores are accepted by more than 300+ MBA colleges in India.

MAH-CET Exam Pattern

Section name questions Maximum Marks
Quantitative Aptitude 50 50
Logical Reasoning 75 75
Abstract Reasoning 25 25
Verbal Ability/ Reading Comprehension 50 50
Total 200 200

Top MBA Colleges Accepting MAH-CET

One of the top MBA institutes in India, JBIMS, also known as the CEO factory, will accept the MAH-CET scores for its MBA admissions. And also other top colleges such as SIMSREE, Welingkar, PUMBA, Dalmiya, SIES, etc.

NMAT (Narsee Monjee Management Aptitude Test) by GMAC

NMIMS Management Aptitude Test (NMAT) is also one of the popular MBA entrance exams. The NMAT is organized by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). The candidates can appear for the exam upto a total of three times, and the best of three scores will be considered for admission. The facility of taking the test from home in a remotely proctored mode has also been provided due to the Covid pandemic situation.

NMAT Exam Pattern

Section questions Time limit Score range
Language skills 36 28 Mins 12-120
Quantitative skills 36 52 Mins 12-120
Logical Reasoning 36 40 Mins 12-120
Total 108 120 Mins 36-360

Top MBA Colleges Accepting NMAT

Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) Mumbai, SPJIMR-PGMPW Program, SDA Bacconi Asia Centre, etc.

TISSNET (Tata Institute of Social Sciences National Entrance Test)

Tata Institute of Social Sciences National Entrance Test (TISSNET) is a popular entrance exam conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, for all the Master’s programmes offered in TISS-Mumbai, and all its campuses across the country (Tuljapur, Hyderabad, Guwahati etc. 

TISSNET Exam Pattern

Sections questions Total marks
General Awareness 30 30
Mathematics and logical reasoning 30 30
English proficiency 40 40
Total 100 100

Top MBA Colleges Accepting TISSNET

The TISSNET score will accept by the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) Mumbai and all its campuses.

SRCC-GBO (Global Business Operations)

SRCC Global Business Operations (GBO) Exam is a management entrance exam for the Post Graduate Management Program offered by the Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), Delhi University. The exam gives an opportunity to the candidates to pursue PGDM in the Global Business Operations program at SRCC, Delhi University.

SRCC-GBO 2023 Exam Pattern

Section name questions Marks per correct answer,
Total marks
Time Limit
English Comprehension & Language Ability 40 4 Marks for Correct ANswer
Quantitative Ability 40 -1 for Incorrect ANswer
Logical Ability 40 4 Options per qstn
Data Interpretation 40  
Total 160 640 Marks Total 2 Hours

MAT (Management Aptitude Test)

Management Aptitude Test (MAT) Exam is also a popular MBA entrance exam in India. It is a national-level MBA entrance exam conducted by the All India Management Association (AIMA) to offer admission to different management programmes across the country. The exam is held 4 times a year (February, May, September, and December).

MAT 2023 Exam Pattern

Section Name Number of Questions
Language Comprehension 40
Intelligence and Critical Reasoning 40
Data Analysis and Sufficiency 40
Mathematical Skills 40
Indian and Global Environment 40
Total 200

Top MBA Colleges Accepting MAT

SDMIMD (Mysore), Jaipuria Institute of Mgmt., BIMTECH (Greater Noida), JIMS, NDIM (New Delhi Inst. of Mgmt), and 400+ MBA colleges across India.

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