Tips to Choose the Right MBA Entrance Exam - 5 Criteria to Check

Confused about which MBA Entrance Exam to prepare for? Take a look at the list of MBA Exams and choose the best exam that is suitable for your career needs. This will help you to prepare in a better way for every management entrance test and get positive results.

Created On: Aug 19, 2021 10:22 IST
Modified On: Sep 27, 2021 15:16 IST
Smart ways to choose the right MBA Entrance Exam
Smart ways to choose the right MBA Entrance Exam

The major problem that students face while preparing for MBA entrance exams is the diversity in the syllabus, set of rules, and exam pattern. Every Management entrance exam has its own set of rules, which sometimes get tricky and hectic for students to prepare a study plan. For example, a candidate preparing for the CAT exam will have to reshuffle his/her preparation plan for SNAP, XAT, or GMAT due to the difference in the exam pattern of each test. So, how to prepare a study plan that suits every management entrance exam? Let’s find out in detail about top management entrance exams and how to prepare for each of the exams:

Why picking the right MBA entrance exam is not easy?

After all, picking the right MBA entrance exam is not as easy as it might seem. There are several criteria that a candidate must keep in mind to seek admission. It is common that different management institutes and B-schools in India accept different MBA entrance exam scores and ranks. This creates a very peculiar problem for MBA aspirants, who would have to prepare for different B-school entrance tests as per their specific formats.

In addition to this, the MBA entrance examinations like CAT, XAT and SNAP, and others ask for a hefty application and registration fees; which also increases the financial burden on the applicants. With the news of the CAT fee hike doing the rounds, it is likely that all major MBA entrance exam fees will be hiked; further increasing the financial liability on the MBA aspirants.

Also Read: CAT 2021 - 11 Must Read books for preparation

Picking the right MBA entrance exam

In order to solve this problem, we have shortlisted three main factors which should help you decide which MBA entrance exam should you appear for to seek admission to MBA/PGDM 2020-22 batch in top B-schools in India. Apart from helping to ease the financial burden, picking the right B-school will also prove to be might help in terms of preparation strategy improving your chances of final selection.

Take a look at a few criteria that will help you get the best MBA Institute by targeting the best MBA entrance exam.

With different B-schools accept scores and ranking of different MBA entrance exams, it is quite obvious that aspirants must pick the test that will help them secure admission to the B-school of their choice. But when dealing with something as competitive as the MBA entrance exam, it is advised that aspirants do not put all their eggs in one basket. Therefore, it is important for MBA aspirants to pick and choose the entrance examinations that are widely accepted by all major B-schools. For instance, the CAT score is accepted by not only the top 20 IIMs but also by other reputed B-schools like SPJIMR, IMT, TAPMI, XIMB. On the other hand, if you are targeting XLRI, Jamshedpur, you should consider taking up XAT as its result is also accepted by over 140 B-schools across the country. One major exception to these two exams would be NMIMS Mumbai, which accepts NMAT by GMAC scores for admission purposes.

So, targeting the right B-school during the application phase would help you not only to streamline your preparation strategy accordingly but also save you from the financial burden of applying for every MBA entrance examination.

Another very important aspect to keep in mind with respect to MBA entrance exams would be the test location and test centres. If the test location/city and the test centre chosen by you are far away, then you might have to suffer in terms of travel time. Also, there have been cases in the past when two or more MBA entrance exam schedules have clashed, which creates a problem for test-takers. Ideally, you should pick the entrance exam for which test centre is available close to your location so that you do not have to spend additional time or money to appear for the test. We have listed exam-wise test centre availability below:


Test Centres / Cities















Examination Date and Application Fee

Meanwhile, when you wish to appear for all the top management exams, it is important to follow the timeline for each exam because the preparation strategy for each exam varies to a certain degree. After appearing in one exam, you will carry some learning home that you would want to apply to another exam to perform better. Time management is one aspect that is important when you start solving question papers in each exam.

Considering the wide window to appear in the NMAT exam, you can choose to take this test after you are done with the CAT exam. Keeping another top institute as an option for a better career is always a good idea and one must not let good options when you can spare time for the preparation.

 Along with the exam date, you must also consider the application fee and can prepare an exclusive budget to apply for various MBA entrances. The application fee for each exam is provided here. You can pay a fee for each of these exams in ONLINE MODE to save yourself from the hassles of visiting the bank branches to get the DD for the requisite amount.

Preparation Strategy

The first and foremost stepping stone to success in the MBA entrances is your focus on the preparation strategy for the exam. Each exam has a specific set of questions in each section. The time limit allotted for the candidates also varies. It is recommended that before you plan to target any specific exam, keep in mind the basic requirements pertaining to the preparation strategy so that it becomes easy to manage time for each MBA entrance exam.

Take a look at the time limit specified for each exam and the number of questions that you are supposed to solve to crack the exam with a good percentile.


Time Limit

Number of Questions


180 minutes



120 minutes



120 minutes



120 minutes



150 minutes



205 minutes



180 minutes


The number of questions that a candidate is expected to solve in a specified time limit also ascertains their efficiency to comprehend the questions. Each of these exams carries negative marking for choosing an incorrect option. So beware of choosing incorrect options if you want to fetch a high percentile.

As discussed above, the financial burden aspect is very important while picking the right MBA entrance examination. Therefore, while CAT which is rightly termed as the mother of all MBA entrance exams; seems to be the right choice when it comes to picking the right one. All top B-schools in India, including the top 20 IIMs, MDI Gurgaon, FMS Delhi, and others accept CAT Score. To be on the safer side, you may also want to take up XAT, as XLRI Jamshedpur only accepts XAT scores. In addition to XLRI, the XAT score is also accepted by over 140 other B-schools in India, which makes it an ideal match.

XAT 2020: Best Books to prepare for the Exam

Therefore, only if you want to target and join any other B-school which doesn’t accept CAT or XAT score you can opt for another MBA entrance examination.

These are the three basic factors that should help you shortlist and decide on the right MBA entrance examination. Some candidates also consider competitiveness while picking a management entrance examination, but under the current scenario, all major B-school exams listed above have an almost equal competitiveness quotient. They are also equally tough to crack. Therefore, we have chosen to ignore those two factors in this write-up.

If you feel any other important factors should also be considered while picking the right MBA entrance exam for admission to MBA/PGDM, let us know through your comments below.

Latest Updates on MBA ENTRANCE EXAMS:

CAT 2021: Find Eligibility Criteria, Important dates, and Exam Pattern

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XAT 2021: Find Eligibility Criteria, Important dates and Exam Pattern

SNAP 2021: Find Eligibility Criteria, Exam Pattern, & Important Dates

NMAT 2021: Find Eligibility Criteria, Exam Pattern, & Important Dates

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