In this blog, we will learn about all the major Management Entrance Tests in India that an MBA aspirant can prepare for to enter some of the most prestigious B-schools like the Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) that are nothing short of a dream for most MBA aspirants. But before we dig into the entrance tests and important details that you might need to know about them, let’s first establish the “WHY” part of it. Why do you need to prepare for such challenging exams? What is so special about these Top B-Schools?

Any dream, be it big or small, is always backed by a purpose. Without a purpose, there’s no meaning to it. However, during our 20s, we’re often bombarded with plenty of information from around us, be it from our family, our college/work atmosphere, or our peers. More often than not, we’re highly influenced by what our friends are planning to do and hence, inevitably land up being stuck in the rat race. So if you’re aiming for an MBA degree in the top B-schools, you must know why exactly you’re doing so and how it would help you in shaping your future. Doing an MBA just for the sake of having a degree, and establishing your name in society or among your peers would be an understandable reason to proceed with, but surely not good enough. 

You must be wondering why such an issue needs to be discussed so extensively here. The reason is very simple. MBA is a rigorous journey. The curriculum is built in a way that is meant to shape you into world leaders. So, you should realize that even standing at the starting point of the MBA race (which means entering a top B-school) will require an extensive selection process, the first step of which is their entrance exams. Management Entrance Exams are here to test whether you have what it takes to survive the rigor of an MBA curriculum. Especially top B-schools like IIM ABC are known to have extremely challenging curriculums that have produced managerial experts who went on to become Founders, CEOs, world-renowned authors, etc., and are leaders in their respective fields. 

“Pressure is what turns coal into diamonds!” Top B-schools like the prestigious IIMs, XLRI, FMS, ISB, etc are looking for pieces of coal that would survive that level of pressure and ultimately be able to turn into diamonds. That ability is tested through the MBA entrance process which includes two major stages- the entrance exams and the GD-PI-WAT process which stands for “Group Discussion, Personal Interview and Written Ability Test”. To ace all these stages a candidate needs to be strong-headed, extremely determined, and thoroughly prepared through at least 6-12 months of proper and consistent preparation (unless you’re a born genius). And to maintain that level of dedication, determination, discipline, and consistency you need to have a “STRONG WHY” to help you get back up when you fall, which is more often than not, inevitable! Hence, you must understand why exactly you want to pursue an MBA, what motivates you, and how an MBA would help you in achieving your career and life goals.

Now that you know why you want an MBA degree and how exactly it will help you shape your future, you’ll now have to focus on how and where exactly you should be pursuing an MBA. To enroll in an MBA program at a particular B-school, you must first pass the entrance exam. The more prestigious and reputed an institute is, the more competition you’ll have to face. India has numerous well-known management institutes that act as gateways to dream opportunities. Each of these Top B-schools have their own entrance exams which we will look into briefly in this blog. To get a detailed report about each of these entrance exams, please click the links provided below each of them.


Management entrance exams in India have gained significant popularity among students aspiring for an MBA degree. With numerous exams to choose from, such as CAT, XAT, NMAT, SNAP, and more, it can be overwhelming for both students and their parents to navigate this complex landscape. In this article, we will provide you with valuable information about these exams, including the following details:

  1. Application fees
  2. Difficulty levels
  3. Number of applicants 
  4. Exam dates
  5. Official Websites
  6. Colleges that accept their scores for admission. 

Let’s first look at the list of top MBA entrance exams in India:

  1. CAT
  2. XAT
  3. SNAP
  4. NMAT
  5. MICAT I & II
  6. CMAT
  7. MAT
  8. IIFT

CAT (Common Admission Test)

Let's start with the Common Admission Test (CAT), which is considered one of the most prestigious national-level management entrance exams in India. Conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) once every year, CAT attracts about 2.5+ lakh applicants each year. The exam is known for its high difficulty level, testing candidates' aptitude in various areas such as quantitative ability, verbal ability, data interpretation, and logical reasoning. CAT usually takes place on the last Sunday of November, so make sure to mark your calendars!

XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test)

Next up is the Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT), another prestigious national-level management entrance exam conducted by  XLRI, Jamshedpur. XAT is renowned for its unique exam structure, including sections on decision-making and general knowledge. The exam is known to be challenging and is highly regarded by many top B-schools in the country. XAT is typically held in January and is, more often than not, considered a second chance at securing admission at a Top B-school namely XLRI and other top B-schools, for those who might’ve been disappointed during CAT.

NMAT (Narsee Monjee Aptitude Test)

Moving on, we have the NMAT by GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council). NMAT provides a flexible testing window, allowing candidates to choose their preferred date and time slot. This computer-based exam assesses candidates' abilities in language skills, quantitative skills, and logical reasoning. NMAT's popularity has been on the rise due to its candidate-friendly approach and acceptance by numerous prestigious B-schools. NMAT allows its candidates to take the exam both online, in the comfort of their homes, and offline, in exam centers as well. The level of difficulty in NMAT is much lower than CAT and XAT making it one of the most preferred management entrance tests by MBA aspirants. 

SNAP (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test)

Another management entrance exam worth mentioning is the Symbiosis National Aptitude Test (SNAP), conducted by the Symbiosis International University. SNAP, just like the others discussed above, evaluates candidates' analytical and logical reasoning, general English, and Quantitative aptitude. What makes SNAP different and arguably a bit more challenging than its counterparts like NMAT, is its duration. SNAP has 60 questions and a total duration of 60 minutes, leaving only 1 minute per question which reiterates the fact that a top B-school aspirant must include and ace three main areas of focus in their exam-taking strategy namely- question selection, accuracy, and speed.  The exam is known for its moderate difficulty level and is accepted by various institutes affiliated with Symbiosis International University. SNAP is typically conducted in December, allowing students to round off the year with their MBA preparations. Like NMAT, the level of difficulty in SNAP is also much lower than CAT and XAT. To top it off, SNAP also provides candidates an opportunity to improve their performances through three attempts out of which the best score would be considered for the further selection process.

IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade)

Initially, the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade used to conduct its entrance exam called IIFT for admission into its MBA-IB program. However, in August 2023, the institute announced its decision to consider CAT 2023 scores for their 2024 admission process. Yet, it is advised that candidates keep an eye on their official website in case any major announcements are made regarding their selection procedure.

IIFT Official website:

TISSNET (Tata Institute of Social Sciences National Entrance Test)

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) had been conducting its own entrance exam called TISSNET for its admission process. However, in November 2023 they released two major announcements declaring the change in their admission process.

Notification 1: On November 14, 2023, Tata Institute of Social Sciences(TISS) released the following: “The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), has decided that admission for the forthcoming Academic Session 2024-25 for all its Postgraduate Programmes will be based on the CUET (PG)-2024 scores, except for the following programs, which will consider CAT scores.

  • Master of Arts in Human Resource Management & Labour Relations
  • Master of Arts in Organisation Development, Change and Leadership

All additional details, updates, and notifications, as applicable, will soon be accessible on the Institute's admissions website.”

Notification 2: However, this announcement was not well-received as CAT applications were closed in September 2023. Soon after, on November 17, 2023, the institute released another notification stating that the CAT 2023 score would not be considered for any part of their admission process. Instead, TISS will accept only CUET PG 2024 scores for their 2024 admission process, for all the M.A. Programs. Owing to such frequent changes, it is strongly advised that candidates keep an eye on their official website in case any other major announcements are made regarding their future selection procedures.

TISS Official Website:

CMAT (Common Management Admission Test)

Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) is a business aptitude test conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission to MBA/PGDM courses. CMAT is the third most popular MBA entrance exam in India after CAT and XAT. About 70,000 candidates appear for the CMAT every year. CMAT score is accepted by about 1,300 B-schools (government and private) in India including Great Lakes Institute of Management, JBIMS, SIMSREE, K J Somaiya Mumbai, Welingkar Mumbai, and PUMBA. The CMAT question paper consists of 100 questions from Quantitative Techniques & Data Interpretation, Logical ReasoningLanguage Comprehension, General Awareness, and Innovation and Entrepreneurship. 

MAT (Management Aptitude Test)

Management Aptitude Test or MAT is a national-level entrance exam conducted by the All India Management Association (AIMA) for admissions to MBA/PGDM courses at 800+ B-schools in India. The exam is conducted in multiple sessions in four phases – February, May, September, and December. 

It is conducted in offline (Paper Based Test or PBT), online (Computer Based Test or CBT), and remote proctored (Internet Based Test or IBT) modes. MAT fees, exam pattern, and syllabus for all three modes are the same but admit card and exam dates are different. Candidates can take multiple attempts in any mode of their choice. However, they have to register for each session separately. The score of the last MAT test will be taken into consideration for admission. 

MICAT I & II (Mudra Institute of Communications Admissions Test)

These are just a few examples of the management entrance exams available in India. Each exam has its unique features and attracts a diverse pool of candidates. It's important to thoroughly research and understand the exam pattern, syllabus, and eligibility criteria before choosing which exams to appear for.

When it comes to the application process, candidates are required to register online and pay the respective exam fees. The application fees vary for each exam, so it's advisable to keep an eye on the official websites for accurate and up-to-date information. Additionally, it's essential to keep track of the exam dates and stay updated with any changes or notifications.

Management entrance exams like CAT, XAT, NMAT, SNAP, and others play a crucial role in shaping the future of aspiring MBA students in India. These exams not only test candidates' aptitude but also provide an opportunity to showcase their skills and knowledge to top B-schools. By understanding the details and nuances of each exam, students can make informed decisions and embark on a successful MBA journey. So, start preparing, stay motivated, and let your MBA dreams soar high! 

Again, please make sure you cross-check all the exam announcements made on their respective official websites in case any changes are made in the future.