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6 MBA Exams to focus on beyond CAT
July 11 2024

Pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a significant step for many aspiring business leaders and professionals. The journey, however, begins with clearing a rigorous entrance examination. Here, we explore the top six toughest MBA entrance exams globally, renowned for their challenging nature and the high standards they set for all applicants.

1. XAT

Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, organizes the XAT exam once annually to facilitate admission to MBA/PGDM programs. This MBA entrance exam is held in a computer-based mode. Refer to the following table to know the exam pattern of XAT:

Mode of XAT Online 
XAT exam frequency Once a year
Exam paper sections 
  • Decision Making
  • Verbal Ability
  • Decision Making
  • General Knowledge
No. of Questions  100
Exam duration 210  minutes



NMAT is a national-level MBA entrance exam conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). NMAT is held three times a year, and candidates’ best scores in all the attempts are considered for admission. Candidates who qualify for the NMAT exam can secure a seat in MBA institutes in India, South Africa, and the Philippines.

Here is the detail of the NMAT exam pattern:

Mode of NMAT Online 
NMAT exam frequency Thrice a year
Exam paper sections 
  • Language Skills
  • Quantitative Skills
  • Logical Reasoning
No. of Questions  108
Exam duration 120 minutes



SNAP is a national-level MBA entrance exam administered by SIU. Candidates who qualify for the SNAP exam are eligible for admission to 16 Symbiosis institutes offering MBA or PGDM programs. Candidates are allowed to appear for all the SNAP exams. The SNAP result will be declared considering the candidates’ best score in all the attempts. 

The table below shows the exam pattern of the SNAP exam:

Mode of SNAP Online 
SNAP exam frequency Three days in a year 
Exam paper sections 
  • General English
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Quantitative Ability
No. of Questions  60
Exam duration 60 minutes


4. CMAT 

The Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) is another highly renowned national-level MBA entrance exam. National Testing Agency (NTA) conducts CMAT once a year in the online mode. Here are the details of the CMAT exam pattern:

Mode of CMAT Online 
CMAT exam frequency Once a year
Exam paper sections 
  • Quantitative Technique
  • Language Comprehension
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • General Awareness
No. of Questions  100
Exam duration 3 hours



The pattern of MICAT along with the MICAT syllabus is different from other MBA Entrance Exams. Most of the MBA Entrance exams are made up entirely of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs). However, MICAT has a paper pattern that asks objective, as well as subjective questions.

MICAT full form Mudra Institute of Communication Admission Test
MICAT conducting body MICA, Ahmedabad
Level of examination National-level 
Exam frequency Twice a year
Application fee 2100
Medium of MICAT English
Exam duration 2 hours 15 mins
NO. of MICAT test centre 48
MICAT exam section Section A: Psychometric Test

Section B: Descriptive Test

Section C: Aptitude Test



The GMAT is perhaps the most globally recognized MBA entrance exam, required by over 7,000 programs worldwide. Administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), it assesses analytical writing, integrated reasoning, and quantitative, and verbal skills.

Here are the details of the GMAT exam pattern:

Duration 1 hour and 45 minutes
Sections Verbal, Quantitative, Data Insights
Total Number of Questions 64
Quantitative Reasoning 21 questions
Verbal Reasoning 23 questions
Data Insights 20 questions
Analytical Writing Assessment Not included
Focus Skills important to business and management programs: critical reasoning, problem-solving, data analysis, logic, etc.



Clearing these MBA entrance exams is no small feat, requiring dedication, strategic preparation, and a robust understanding of diverse subjects. Each exam presents its own set of challenges, pushing candidates to demonstrate not just academic prowess but also critical thinking, adaptability, and effective time management. For those who succeed, the reward is an opportunity to study at some of the world's most prestigious business schools, opening doors to promising careers in the global business arena.

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Anisha Mukhija

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