CAT, GMAT, SNAP and what have you… The mind boggles at the range of aptitude examinations, but are you aware of the Management Aptitude Test (MAT), which is a boon for management students in India?
Usually conducted every quarter by the All India Management Association or AIMA as it is popularly called in the months of September, December, February and May, MAT invites more than 2.5 lakh students annually offering them an opportunity for admission in over 450 management institutes spread across the country. All institutes participating in MAT are either AICTE approved or affiliated to a University. Unlike other aptitude tests, which are conducted annually, the repeated periodicity of MAT is its USP.
This management test was the first to be awarded the ISO 9001:2000 certification, thus ensuring a steady growth in the number of Indian institutes who accept its scores. MAT is a national level entrance test approved by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. It is conducted in all major cities in India and in leading select cities abroad. The MAT is an objective type test with multiple-choice answers. It is important to note that wrong answers lead to negative marking, which in turn will cut down your overall score. Candidate can choose any one of the two options to take the test:Paper Based Test Or Computer Based Test. The next paper based test is on December 1, 2013 while the Computer-based test is on December 7, 2013.
The test is split into five sections: Language Comprehension, Mathematical Skills, Data Analysis and Sufficiency, Intelligence and Critical Reasoning and Indian and Global Environment. “The test is based on the format of GMAT which gives the student an option to sit for the test according to his or her convenience. Its frequent occurrence is its major strength,” said an official spokeperson at AIMA.
Being conducted so often, MAT allows lower-end colleges to get a continuous stream of applicants who are measured by total marks and percentiles, thereby enabling them to fill their batches. It also gives students an avenue to apply to several colleges, which are not very difficult to get into and hence have a fair number of back-up options. The English and Maths section are the easier sections, and so is Reasoning. But going by the reading habits of students today, the Global Awareness or the GK/ Current Awareness section is perceived to be the toughest.
“Examinees have to tackle about 200 objective-based questions in two and a half hours. MAT scores are valid for a year and students also have the option of improving their scores by attempting the test a second time if need be,” informs the official. When you are attempting the test, it is advised that you give less time to the GK/awareness section. Once you are through with all the sections, tackle the GK section and you will find that you can go at brisk pace since the questions are not tough. Of course this will be the case if you have studied hard and are up to date on your general knowledge and current affairs. This also means that you have to do a lot of reading —magazines and newspapers are recommended. Since the aspect of negative marking of 25 percent exists, you need to be watchful and wise, and formulate a strategy to qualify the cut offs for each section. Hence, a decent level of preparation would suffice for this objective. For the other sections, it is important that you practice as many problems as you can. But it is also important that you don’t repeat the mistakes time and again. Once you identify a mistake, you must certainly ensure that you understand the concept thoroughly. In addition to this, you must prepare a timetable to help you allocate your time in the best way possible.
As far as evaluation is concerned, MAT scores are sent by AIMA to member institutes who then send interview/Group Discussion (GD) calls to students on the basis of their requirements. The system is completely fool-proof and very transparent.
Experts advise aspirants to not only read newspapers on a daily/regular basis but say they should browse through various competitive magazines and journals which are either weekly or fortnightly in nature, as well. Watching talk shows and interviews of prominent business professionals and politicians helps in gaining a different perspective while preparing for your MAT entrance. Try writing at least one page a day on any given topic. This will help you become articulate as well as give clarity to your thoughts.
Those who are scared of the GD, are advised to form an informal group with like-minded people who will help you speak individually and in groups. Don’t be too formal or too friendly; try to maintain professional decorum. Attend mock interviews. It will help you understand your drawbacks and improve on them. Seek feedback on your communication from a mentor who is well read or has worked in a formal business set-up and can give you relevant suggestions. For cracking MAT, it is really essential for you attempt and score in each section. It should always be kept in mind that scoring very high in one section and very low in the other will affect your overall percentile. So, to have a balance is very essential. Besides MAT, there are a plethora of management aptitude tests. These include
The Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA) has two types of programmes that are offered, Post-Graduate Programme in Communicatins Management (PGPCM) and Professional Development Programmes. These are short duration programmes for working professionals from the industry. Candidates who are short-listed from the CAT/ XAT/ GMAT are subsequently required to appear for MICAT
The admission process for the PGPCM involves three steps: In first stage candidates are shortlisted using CAT or GMAT scores. This is followed by the MICA test (MICAT) in February/March. The third stage includes a group discussion and a personal interview. The MICAT is designed to assess a candidate’s skills in analytical and divergent thinking and written communication. MICAT centres are Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.
The Xavier Admission Test (XAT) is a national level admission test conducted by the Xavier Labour Relations Insitute (XLRI), Jamshedpur to select students for admission to management courses. There are 35 other management institutes that select students on the basis of XAT for postgraduate degree programmes in management. It is a two-hour objective paper consisting of multiple-choice questions and an essay paper. The test is divided into three sections namely Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability, Quantitative Ability, Reasoning and Data Interpretation and General Awareness. XAT also tests your composition skills through an essay, which is not part of CAT. Eligibility is a three-year Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in any discipline recognised by the Association of Indian Universities as eligible for postgraduate studies in Management. The exam is conducted in about 31 cities across the country.
The Symbiosis National Aptitude Test (SNAP) is the written test required for admission into the Symbiosis Post Graduate Institutes that are affiliated to the SIEC Deemed University or approved by AICTE. Its score is used to shortlist candidates for the Group Discussion, Personal Interview. SNAP is conducted under the aegis of SIEC Deemed University and held in 29 cities. The test is an objective one and has 165 questions.
Anyone with a three-year Bachelors degree (or equivalent) in any discipline recognised by the Association of Indian Universities is eligible for the test.
The Narsee Monjee Institute of Management and Higher Studies (NMIMS) was established in 1981 by the order of the University of Mumbai. NMIMS conducts its own admission test known as the National Management Aptitude Test or NMAT. The programmes on offer by the institute are a full-time MBA (core programme), a full-time MBA in pharmaceuticals management, capital markets, global business, retail management, services management and a management programme for executives.
IBSAT is an online aptitude test conducted by the ICFAI Foundation For Higher Education University (a deemed University as per UGC act 1956), for students seeking admission to the MBA/ PhD programs of IBS Hyderabad. IBSAT is based on CBT (Computer Based Test) format and consists of multiple choice questions. IBSAT is for 2 hours duration and is aimed to test the applicant’s ability in quantitative techniques, data interpretation, data adequacy, vocabulary, analytical reasoning and reading comprehension. The ICFAI University, Dehradun, The ICFAI University, Jaipur and IBS Campuses at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune accept IBSAT 2013/ GMAT (2010 onwards)/ CAT 2013 scores for admission to MBA program offered by IBS Dehradun and IBS Jaipur and PGPM (Post Graduate program in Management) program offered at IBS Ahmedabad, IBS Bangalore, IBS Gurgaon, IBS Kolkata, IBS Mumbai and IBS Pune.
The Tamil Nadu Common Entrance Test for admission into Anna University and its affiliated institutes — Anna varsities of Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli and Tirunelveli comes out with a detailed notification. n
NOTE: Dates should be rechecked nearer the time for any changes.
Assessment helps measure…
- Problem Solving – the ability to evaluate information, interpret data and react appropriately to changing situations.
- Planning and Organising – the ability to develop long-range plans and short-term activities.
- Management Responsibility – the extent to which you feel responsible for and in control of work performance and job advancement.
- Communication – the ability to present information formally and informally in written and oral contexts.
- Supervisory Skills – your skill level in planning and overseeing the work of subordinates and managing work flow.
- Administrative Skills – your ability to implement and monitor actions, distribute information etc.
- Business Control – the skill in and concern for controlling expenses, reducing costs, reviewing budgets etc.
- Managerial Potential Index – reflects a candidate’s overall ability to successfully perform management tasks.