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MBA without CAT: Top CAT exam alternatives in 2022

Devaraj Thimmaiyan | April 08, 2022

MBA (Master of Business Administration) is a popular postgraduate degree in India. It holds a sack filled with opportunities that can help you advance in your professional career. It is a two-year programme offered by several prestigious management institutes in India and worldwide.

If you do not clear the Common Admission Test (CAT) for MBA admission, it does not mean the end of your management career. Several more reputable business colleges in India provide MBA without CAT options. Because the questions and structure of the examination can be comparable, passing the other exams would need less work. There are structural variations and variances in difficulty level, but the technique to acing any other MBA test would be similar to the CAT exam.

This article will help you learn about some of the best alternatives to getting an MBA without CAT and related details to help you choose a bright career.

CAT exam eligibility criteria

  • To be eligible for the CAT exam, the candidate must have completed their bachelor’s degree with at least a 50 percent grade point average (for General Category and candidates from the NC-OBC caste). The necessary percentage for SC/ST and DA candidates is 45 percent
  • The university that conferred the degree must be recognised by the MHRD for the degree to be counted
  • If the university uses grades or CGPA instead of marks, learners must utilise the conversion factor provided by the university. If the university does not specify a conversion factor, the CGPA must be converted to a percentage through direct conversion, which means dividing the CGPA obtained by the maximum CGPA attainable and multiplying the result by 100
  • Students who have completed their professional degrees with a grade point average of more than 50% (45% for SC/ST/PwD) are eligible for CAT
  • Students in their final year should have a promotion/pass certificate of the previous year to take part in the CAT

Is an entrance exam necessary for an MBA?

It is not viable to seek admission to the best MBA colleges without taking an MBA entrance test. Furthermore, there is no option for direct MBA admission to top colleges with affordable fees. Thus, it is suggested not to be misled by anybody guaranteeing direct admission to elite B-schools. Many private institutions also offer direct admission to MBA programs based on their various entrance examinations, personal interviews, or the candidate’s graduation grade point average.

Is CAT exam necessary for MBA?

It is not compulsory to take the CAT exam for the MBA. There are many other entrance tests other than CAT for the MBA so you can still pursue your MBA without CAT. You can also apply for those entrance exams.

MBA admission without CAT: What are some CAT exam alternatives in India?

From centralised admission test to institution-wise entrance exams, there are many variants of CAT alternatives available in India. We’ve listed some of them below:

  • MAT – Management Aptitude Test

The Management Aptitude Test is one of the best CAT alternatives and the most popular admission test after the CAT exam. More than 600 MBA institutes accept the MAT scores, making it one of the country’s largest MBA competitive exams after graduation.

  • XAT – Xaviers Admission Test

XAT, another top management entrance exam, is a computer-based  management aptitude examination. The Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) Jamshedpur administers the XAT, which is taken by roughly one lakh applicants each year.

  • IIFT – Indian Institute of Foreign Trade MBA Entrance Test

The IIFT entrance exam is an institute-specific exam. The test is taken to determine eligibility for admission to the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), New Delhi. Currently, National Testing Agency (NTA) conducts this pen and paper exam. 

  • NMAT – Narsee Monjee Management Aptitude Test

NMAT, also known as NMAT by GMAC, is a national level entrance exam for MBA admissions at NMIMS University and other prestigious B-Schools in India and overseas.

  • SNAP – Symbiosis National Aptitude Test

Symbiosis International University administers SNAP, a national-level management admission test. SNAP scores are used for admission to Symbiosis International University’s 15 institutes.

  • CMAT – Common Management Admission Test

CMAT, the country’s second-largest management entrance test, is taken by around 1.5 lakh applicants. All India Council of Technical Education  (AICTE) organises the event. More than 500 MBA colleges around the nation accept the test.

  • MAH CET – Maharashtra Common Entrance Test

MAH-CET is a management admission test at the state level. The Maharashtra Directorate of Technical Education administers the test for admission to different management courses such as MMS, PGDBM, and PGDM at various colleges around the state.

  • GMAT – Graduate Management Admission Test 

It is the most widely accepted exam for MBA admissions worldwide. Globally 9 out of 10 MBA enrollments are made through GMAT score. Also, there are 650 testing centres in 114 countries that administer the GMAT exam.

  • IBSAT – ICFAI Business School Aptitude Test

The IBS Aptitude Test, often known as the IBSAT, is a national level entrance test administered by the ICFAI Foundation for admission to MBA/PGPM programmes. The IBSAT is a two-hour computer-based exam.

MAT Exam Details

MAT full form: Management Aptitude Test

Conducting body: All India Management Association (AIMA)

MAT eligibility: Any Graduate can enrol.

MAT exam pattern: It takes place both offline and online. The test lasts two and half hours. It is divided into five parts, each with 40 questions, for a total of 200 questions. Each part has a time limit of 30 minutes. Every incorrect answer will result in a 14-point deduction.

MAT exam syllabus:

1. Language Comprehension

2. Mathematical Skills

3. Data Analysis

4. Intelligence & Critical Reasoning

5. Indian & Global Environment

MAT exam dates: Feb, May, Sep, Dec. 

MAT exam fee: INR 1550

  • Is MAT easier than CAT?

Yes, the MAT test is much easier than the CAT exam. The CAT test is often more challenging and has a section-time restriction, making cracking even more difficult.

  • Is MAT good for MBA?

The MAT is accepted by over 600 MBA universities in India, making it one of the most popular MBA entry tests. Furthermore, most MBA programmes that accept MAT scores for admission offer several popular, growing and niched specialisations.

CAT vs MAT – Important differences in a nutshell

Let’s take a quick look at MAT exams and how it differs from the CAT:

ParametersMAT examCAT exam
Exam full formManagement Aptitude TestCommon Admission Test
Conducting bodyAIMAIIM
Eligibility criteriaBachelor’s degree with a minimum of 50% markPassing marks required in bachelor’s degree
SyllabusLanguage Comprehension, Mathematical Skills, Data Analysis, Intelligence & Critical Reasoning, Indian & Global EnvironmentVerbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude
Mode of examOnlineOnline
Number of sections5 sections3 sections
Exam duration2.5 hours2 hours
Difficulty levelEasyHigh
Exam feeINR 1,550INR 220

XAT Exam details

XAT Full Form: Xavier Aptitude Test

Conducting body: Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI)

XAT eligibility: candidates with any bachelor’s degree can apply. Final year students can also apply.

XAT exam pattern: The XAT is a computer-based test. The exam lasts three and a half hours. The examination is divided into two sections. Part 1 lasts two hours and twenty minutes.

As a CAT exam alternative, the XAT admission test is the most preferred exam among institutions.

XAT Syllabus:

Part I:

1. Quantitative Ability

2. English Language & Logical Reasoning

3. Decision Making

Part II:

1. GK

2. Essay Writing

XAT exam date: Tentatively January (Please check the official website)

XAT exam fee: INR 1700/-

CAT vs XAT – Important differences in a nutshell

Let’s take a quick look at XAT exam and how it differs from CAT:

DetailsCATXAT
Full formCommon Admission TestXavier Aptitude Test
Conducting bodyIIMXLRI, Jamshedpur
Eligibility criteriaGraduate with 50% aggregate (45% for reserved category candidates) from a recognised universityGraduate in any stream from a recognised university
SyllabusVerbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Quantitative AptitudePart I:Quantitative Ability, English Language & Logical Reasoning, Decision Making
Part II:GK, Essay Writing
Sections34
Exam modeOnlineOnline
Exam duration120 minutes180 minutes
Difficulty levelModerate to DifficultModerate to Difficult
Exam feeINR 2,200 INR 1,800

IIFT – Indian Institute of Foreign Trade

IIFT full form: Indian Institute of Foreign Trade

Conducting body: Indian Institute of Foreign Trade

IIFT eligibility: Any Bachelor Degree holder can apply

IIFT exam pattern: The exam lasts two hours. It is divided into four portions, each of which lasts 30 minutes. The total number of questions ranges between 100 and 140. Questions in Quantitative Ability (20 questions), Data Interpretation (20 questions), and Reading Comprehension (16 questions) will get one mark each. In comparison, Analytical & Logical Reasoning (22 questions) and Verbal Ability (16 questions) will receive 0.75 marks each (20 questions). In addition, 0.50 marks are awarded for general awareness (25 questions). For each incorrect response, 13 points will be deducted.

IIFT exam date: Not fixed

IIFT exam fee: INR 1550/- for General and OBC, INR 775/- for SC/ST/PH

IIFT exam syllabus:  

  • Quantitative Ability 
  • Data Interpretation
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Analytical & Logical Reasoning
  • Verbal Ability

Important differences of IIFT and CAT exam in a nutshell

Let’s take a quick look at IIFT exam and how it differs from CAT:

DetailsCATIIFT
Full formCommon Admission TestIndian Institute of Foreign Trade 
Conducting bodyIIMIIFT
Eligibility criteriaGraduate with 50% aggregate (45% for reserved category candidates) from a recognised universityGraduate in any stream from a recognised university
Sections34
Syllabus Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Quantitative AptitudeQuantitative Ability, Data Interpretation, Reading Comprehension, Analytical & Logical Reasoning, Verbal Ability
Exam modeOnlinePaper & pen-based
Exam duration120 minutes120 minutes
Difficulty levelModerate to DifficultModerate to Difficult
Exam feeINR 2,200 INR 1,800

Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT)

GMAT full form: Graduate Management Aptitude Test

Conducting body: GMAC

GMAT eligibility: A degree from a reputed university is needed. There is no age limit for this exam.

GMAT exam pattern: This computer-assisted test is divided into four sections. Two portions have a time limit of 30 minutes, while the other two sections have a time limit of 75 minutes. The total duration is 3 hours and 30 minutes. 

The candidate must answer the first question; if she/he does, the level of difficulty of the next question will be increased or lowered. Higher difficulty questions get more marks.

GMAT exam syllabus:

1. Analytical Writing Assessment

2. Integrated Reasoning

3. Quantitative Aptitude

4. Verbal Reasoning

GMAT exam date: February, March

GMAT exam fee: INR 15000 to INR 16000/-

CAT vs GMAT – Important differences of GMAT and CAT exam in a nutshell

Let’s take a quick look at GMAT exam and how it differs from CAT:

DetailsCATGMAT
Full formCommon Admission TestGraduate Management Aptitude Test
Conducting bodyIIMGraduate Management Admission Council
Eligibility criteriaGraduate with 50% aggregate (45% for reserved category candidates) from a recognised universityA degree from a reputed university is needed
Sections34
Syllabus Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Quantitative AptitudeAnalytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude, Verbal Reasoning
Exam modeOnlineOnline
Exam duration120 minutes3 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty levelModerate to DifficultModerate to Difficult
Exam feeINR 2,200 INR 15,000 to 16,000/-

NMAT Exam Details

NMAT Full Form: NMIMS Management Aptitude Test

Conducting body: Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)

NMAT eligibility: Minimum three years bachelor’s degree with 50% mark

NMAT exam pattern: NMAT is an online-based exam with a duration of two hours and there is no negative marking for wrong attempts.

NMAT exam syllabus:

1. Language Skills

2. Quantitative Skills

3. Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency

4. Logical Reasoning

NMAT exam date: Not fixed

NMAT exam fee: INR 2000

  • Is NMAT easier than CAT?

NMAT is easier than CAT, and most applicants who study for CAT can easily clear NMAT. The NMAT by GMAC is easier since the emphasis is on completing problems fast and accurately rather than on the strategy used to solve them. 

  •     Is NMAT good for MBA?

NMAT test results are recognised by some of the finest MBA universities, including University affiliated MBA colleges and specialised programmes provided by well-known private B-schools, as it is an independent and reputable exam.

 CAT vs NMAT – Important differences of NMAT and CAT exam in a nutshell

Let’s take a quick look at NMAT exam and how it differs from CAT:

DetailsCATNMAT
Full formCommon Admission TestNarsee Monjee Management Aptitude
Conducting bodyIIMGraduate Management Admission Council
Eligibility criteriaGraduate with 50% aggregate (45% for reserved category candidates) from a recognised universityGraduate in any stream from a recognised university
Sections34
Syllabus Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Quantitative AptitudeLanguage Skills, Quantitative Skills, Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency, Logical Reasoning
Exam modeOnlineOnline
Exam duration120 minutes120 minutes
Difficulty levelModerate to DifficultModerate to Difficult
Exam feeINR 2,200 INR 1,800

SNAP Exam details

SNAP full form: Symbiosis National Aptitude Test

Conducting body: Symbiosis International University

SNAP eligibility: Graduation with 50% marks. Final year students can also apply.

SNAP exam pattern: The test will last two hours. The test is split into four parts, each with a time limit of 30 minutes. The test is objective in nature, with four alternatives for each question. For each correct response, one mark will be granted, and 25 per cent or 0.25 marks will be deducted for each incorrect answer.

SNAP exam syllabus:

  • General English
  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • General Awareness
  • Logical & Analytical Reasoning

SNAP exam date: December

SNAP exam fee: 1750/-

  • Is SNAP easier than CAT?

Yes, the SNAP test is easier than the CAT exam. The SNAP test is one of the most important  CAT alternative examinations. The SNAP test is typically moderate in difficulty level

  • Is SNAP good for MBA?

Yes, SNAP is one of the finest MBA admission exams in India. It is up there with the best B-school admission exams. Taking SNAP allows you to get admission to 23 postgraduate programmes at 15 business schools around the nation.

CAT vs SNAP – Important differences of SNAP and CAT exam in a nutshell 

Let’s take a quick look at SNAP exam and how SNAP differs from CAT:

DetailsCATSNAP
Full formCommon Admission TestSymbiosis National Aptitude Test
Conducting bodyIIM Symbiosis International University administers
Eligibility criteriaGraduate with 50% aggregate (45% for reserved category candidates) Graduation with 50% of marks; final year students can also apply
Sections34
SyllabusVerbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Quantitative AptitudeGeneral English, Quantitative Aptitude, General Awareness, Logical & Analytical Reasoning
Exam modeOnlineOnline
Exam duration120 minutes120 minutes
Difficulty levelModerate to DifficultModerate
Exam feeINR 2,200 INR 1,750

CMAT Exam details

CMAT full form: Common Management Admission Test

Conducting body: AICTE

CMAT eligibility: Candidates with any bachelor degree with 50% marks, and final year students can apply. For reserved candidates, 45% mark is required.

CMAT exam pattern: The test duration is three hours. It has 100 multiple-choice questions separated into four parts, with 25 questions in each section. Four points will be granted for each correct response, while one point will be subtracted for each incorrect answer. There are no negative points for unanswered questions.

CMAT Exam Syllabus:

1. Logical Reasoning

2. Language Comprehension

3. Quantitative Techniques

4. Data Interpretation

5. General Awareness

CMAT exam date: January

CMAT exam fee: INR 1400/- for General. INR 700/- for females and reserved categories.

Important differences of CMAT and CAT exam in a nutshell

Let’s take a quick look at CMAT exam and how CMAT differs from CAT:

DetailsCATCMAT
Full formCommon Admission TestCommon Management Admission Test
Conducting bodyIIMAICTE
Eligibility criteriaGraduate with 50% aggregate (45% for reserved category candidates) Candidates with any bachelor degree with 50%, Final year students can apply. For reserved candidates, 45% is required.
Sections35
SyllabusVerbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Quantitative AptitudeLogical Reasoning, Language Comprehension, Quantitative Techniques, Data Interpretation, General Awareness
Exam modeOnlineOnline
Exam duration120 minutes180 minutes
Difficulty levelModerate to DifficultModerate
Exam feeINR 2,200 INR 1,400

MAH CET Exam Details

MAH CET full form: Maharashtra Common Entrance Test

Conducting bnstitute: Maharashtra State Common Entrance Test Cell

Eligibility: Candidates with any bachelor’s degree with 50% marks can apply. Final year students can also apply. For reserved candidates, 45% marks is required.

Exam pattern: The MAH CET exam paper comprises 200 multiple-choice questions split into four parts. The duration is 150 minutes. There will be questions with five options. There is no time restriction for completing the MAH CET exam paper in sections. Each correct attempt earns one point. In MAH CET, there is no negative marking.

MAH CET Exam Syllabus:

  • Logical Reasoning
  • Abstract Reasoning
  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

Exam Date: March

Exam Fee: INR 800/-.

Important Differences of MAH CET and CAT exam in a nutshell

Let’s take a quick look at MAH CET exam and how it differs from CAT:

DetailsCATMAH CET
Full formCommon Admission TestMaharashtra Common Entrance Test
Conducting bodyIIMMaharashtra State Common Entrance Test Cell
Eligibility criteriaGraduate with 50% aggregate (45% for reserved category candidates) Candidates with any bachelor’s degree with 50% marks can apply. Final year students can also apply. 
Sections34
Exam modeOnlineOnline
SyllabusVerbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Quantitative AptitudeLogical Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude, Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
Exam duration120 minutes150 minutes
Difficulty levelModerate to DifficultModerate
Exam feeINR 2,200 INR 800

IBSAT Exam Details

Full form: ICFAI Business School Aptitude Test

Conducting body: ICFAI

Eligibility: Graduation degree holders are eligible

Exam pattern: The question paper will be divided into four sections. The exam duration is two hours. Comprising 140 multiple-choice questions. One mark will be given for every correct answer, and 0.25 marks will be taken for every wrong answer.

Exam syllabus:

  • Quantitative technique
  • Logical reasoning
  • Language comprehension
  • General Awareness

Exam date: December

Exam fee: INR 1800/-.

Important differences of IBSAT and CAT exam in a nutshell

Let’s take a quick look at IBSAT exam and how IBSAT differs from CAT:

DetailsCATIBSAT
Full formCommon Admission TestICFAI Business School Aptitude Test 
Conducting bodyIIMICFAI
Eligibility criteriaGraduate with 50% aggregate (45% for reserved category candidates) Graduation degree holders are eligible
Sections34
Exam modeOnlineOnline
SyllabusVerbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Quantitative AptitudeQuantitative technique, Logical reasoning, Language comprehension, General Awareness
Exam duration120 minutes120 minutes
Difficulty levelModerate to DifficultModerate
Exam feeINR 2,200 INR 1800

Can MBA be done without CAT?

The business schools in India prefer candidates who clear CAT  exams. However, there are many MBA colleges that don’t require you to take the CAT exam but offer MBA admissions to give you a promising career.

You can do MBA without CAT but keep these things in mind:

  • Before applying for MBA admissions to any college that offers admission without CAT, make sure the college is accredited by the UGC and AICTE. There are various institutions in India that would claim to provide MBA admission without CAT exam. However, they may not be accredited by the UGC or AICTE. In such a case, the college’s degree will be deemed worthless 
  • If you want to earn an MBA without taking the CAT or other entrance tests, try to avoid going through a consultant. Send your question straight to the college or a reputable career counsellor.
  • While applying for MBA admission, ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements as stated on the official website of the desired college.

Benefits of online MBA

  • Learning from a distance would assist you in prioritising work and education without sacrificing one or overshadowing the other. You won’t have to leave one or balance your family’s employment, or the rigorous schedule of office hours, to fit in the timetable of a full-time course.
  • An online MBA allows you to gain a more in-depth understanding of several elements of international business. You will gain information covering the fundamental concepts of business administration at your own pace.
  • By projecting a bigger picture from a knowledge perspective, you will improve the global aspect of your career path. Different points of view on diverse topics will create productive responses to administrative concerns.
  • The worldwide component of an organisation’s management strategies and industry standards will offer credibility to your CV.

Read more – 10 reasons why should you choose an online MBA in India

Online MBA from Manipal University Jaipur

  • Manipal University Jaipur through Online Manipal provides students with the same MBA curriculum as designed by universities.
  • You are not required to relocate to participate in the online Manipal MBA program.
  • Getting your MBA online from Manipal allows you to keep your current job and salary. Aside from the financial advantages, you can gain more work experience and apply what you learn to your job as you learn it.
  • The coursework for the online MBA programme is delivered before the start of the programme, and you can access them at any time and from any location.
  • An online MBA from Manipal University Jaipur is one of the most flexible MBA programmes available. An online MBA programme via state-of-the-art learning management system can be completed from the comfort of your own home, making it easier to complete.
  • Online MBA from Manipal University Jaipur is cheaper than on-campus ones and also offer MBA financing options and scholarships.
  • Manipal University Jaipur admits students to online MBA without CAT exam too. However, they need to clear an aptitude test conducted by the university to take admission.

Eligibility requirement to get admission in MBA at Manipal University Jaipur

  • Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in 10+2+3 years from a recognised university/institution or an equivalent certification recognised by the Association of Indian Universities.
  • Candidates must have a graduating grade point average of at least 50%. (45 per cent for reserved categories)
  • Candidates must pass the online aptitude exam administered by Manipal University Jaipur to be admitted to the MBA programme (part of the application form)
  • Candidates who have obtained a valid score (40 percentile) on any aptitude test need not to clear aptitude test by the university

Conclusion

The CAT exam is a key step toward a good career in management. However, this test is not your only choice. Even if you are unable to crack the CAT exam, don’t worry. Instead, think about the MBA without CAT and pick the best one that fits your goals.

Written by
Devaraj Thimmaiyan
Principal Engineer
Developer

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