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Important MBA exams
May 03 2024

Important MBA exams- CAT/NMAT/XAT 

IIM administered CAT is the most popular entrance exam for MBA in India as over 1,200 MBA colleges select candidates for admission based on marks obtained in this exam. Following CAT, the second most popular MBA entrance exam is the NMAT conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). The third most popular MBA entrance exam is XAT which is conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur. XAT score is accepted by over 800 MBA colleges in India.  

What should I appear?

Every exam I different or difficult is a myth. All exam papers are 80-100% similar. There is a delta difference in the syllabus only. 

1. CAT exam

A comprehensive understanding of the CAT syllabus is crucial for effective exam preparation. The official CAT notification provides insights into the paper pattern and the test format, along with the CAT exam date. Candidates intending to appear for the CAT exam 2024 should understand the essential details of the CAT syllabus for an MBA.

Here are the important highlights of the CAT Exam syllabus for the MBA:

CAT Exam syllabus sections
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
Number of questions from each section of CAT Exam syllabus VARC- 24 questions


DILR- 20 questions

QA- 22 questions

Total number of questions 66
Type of questions Both MCQs and non-MCQs
Section-wise exam duration 40 minutes per section


53 minutes 20 secs for PwD candidates

Total marks  198


2.  NMAT 

NMAT is an MBA entrance exam that is conducted on a national level by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). Approximately 75,000 candidates take the NMAT exam every year. To take the NMAT exam, candidates must schedule the test within 70 days starting from August 2024.

Exam name NMAT by GMAC
Conducting Body Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)
Exam Level National level
Frequency Once a year 
Attempts allowed Up to 3 attempts within the 70-day exam window
NMAT exam mode Computer-Based Test (CBT) 
  • Language Skills
  • Quantitative Skills
  • Logical Reasoning
Duration 120 minutes
Language English
No of questions 108 Questions
No. of test centers and cities 73 test cities
NMAT registration fee INR 2,800 (indicative)
Course offered MBA/PGDM
Exam purpose Admission at India’s top business schools (e.g., NMIMS, SPJIMR, XIMB, ISB, LM Thapar, VIT, ICFAI, SDA Bocconi, etc.)
NMAT official website nmat.org
Exam helpdesk number 0120 4397855


 3. XAT

The Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) is a national MBA admission exam administered by the Xavier Labor Relations Institute (XLRI) in Jamshedpur on behalf of the Xavier Association of Management Institutes (XAMI). XLRI has been conducting XAT at the national level for the past 70 years to identify the best-qualified candidates for its management programs. XAT results are approved for admission to MBA/PGDM programs at 11 XAMI member institutes, 83 associate institutes, and 600+ additional B-schools, making it one of the most difficult entrance tests.

 Conducting  Body

 XLRI, Jamshedpur

 Exam Level


 Exam  Frequency

 Once a year

 Exam Mode


 Exam  Duration

 3.30 hours

 Exam  Syllabus

Decision Making

Verbal & Logical Ability

Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation

General Knowledge

Essay Writing


 100 questions in MCQ format



 Exam Fees

 INR 2,000 (all categories)

 Exam  Purpose

 Admission to 1,000+ MBA colleges

 Course  Offered


 No. of test  takers

 Nearly 98,000

 No. of Test  Cities

 79 (in 2023)

 Exam  Helpdesk  No.


 Exam  Website




Do not focus on 1 examination only. The goal should be to get admission into the top 50 B-schools in the country. Think like so, increase your probabilities by giving yourself more options and appear for all the exams.  

 Also read:

CAT preparation

How to increase accuracy in mocks

CAT exam pattern

Get mentored by experts

Anisha Mukhija

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