MBA Exam Preparation Strategy – Everything You Should Know About It

MBA Exam Preparation Book

When it comes to MBA exam preparation, one of the most common concerns of MBA Aspirants is how to prepare for multiple entrance exams. It does become quite problematic for many students to prepare simultaneously for multiple entrance tests, while they have their eyes set on one particular exam, which in most cases is CAT. Regardless, everyone takes various exams in order to improve their chances of securing a seat in some reputed management institute, and not lose out on a crucial year.

Hence, it becomes very important to balance your MBA exam preparation to excel in every test that you appear for. On the whole, the basic Syllabus remains the same for all of them, with some difference in a section or two, and the type of questions asked. All these MBA Entrance Exams Have A Quantitative Section, an English section and a section on data interpretation and logical reasoning. They might be named differently, but test you on the same basic concepts.

MBA Exam Preparation Syllabus

Talking about the MBA preparation Syllabus, as mentioned above, almost all the entrance exams have a section that tests your English skills, another section on data interpretation and logical reasoning and a separate section on quantitative ability. Prominent MBA entrance exams other than CAT also have an additional section on general awareness. Below provided is the MBA exam preparation syllabus covering all major entrance tests:

Quantitative Ability

This section will test your knowledge of mathematical concepts like number systems, geometry, mensuration, logarithm, progressions, average, interest (compound and simple), inequalities, permutation and combination, HCF and LCM, coordinate geometry, binomial theorem, ratio and proportion, functions, complex numbers, trigonometry, time and work, percentages, probability, mixtures and alligations, profit and loss, surds and indices, complex numbers, set theory, linear equations, speed time and distance and quadratic equations.

English section (comprising of verbal ability, grammar and vocabulary)

The types of questions asked in this section include fill in the blanks, summary questions, vocabulary based (antonyms and synonyms), verbal reasoning, analogies & reverse analogies, jumbled paragraphs, closed passages, judgements/inferences/facts, Reading Comprehension, sentence corrections, meanings of words, related words, idioms and phrases, secondary shades of meaning, word usage, subject-verb agreement, phrasal verbs, prepositions, use of articles, redundancy, parallel construction, use of modifiers and more.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

While Covering the DI and LR Section during your MBA exam preparation, you must know that you’d be provided data in the form of graphs, charts and tables and asked to interpret it and answer questions based on it. The topics covered in the data interpretation section include pie charts, tables, graphical representations, Venn diagrams, column graphs, bar graphs, tables, line charts, XY charts involving line series, with two or more of these types linked to each other.

In The Logical Reasoning Section you will be asked about topics like matrix arrangements, sequencing, blood relationship tests, ranking tests, analytical reasoning, cause and effects, linear arrangements, statements and assumptions, non-verbal reasoning, statements arguments, symbol based problems, inferences and more.

General awareness

The General Awareness Section which is usually included in various MBA entrance exams other than CAT tests your general knowledge of current affairs, literature, history, business world, national and international economy, personalities, culture, sports, geography, trade, politics and more.

CAT Preparation Strategy

Common Admission Test or CAT is widely considered as the most well-known and important competitive exam in India. Over 2.4 lakh candidates compete against each other to grab one of the 4000 seats available in 20 IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) spread over the country. Considering the kind of competition there is, your CAT preparation strategy should be pretty extensive in order to get a call from any of these 20 IIMs.

If your primary focus is the Common Admission Test (CAT), and you are thoroughly preparing for it, you would have automatically covered 60% of the syllabus of the other entrance exams. The only additional section you will need to prepare will be general awareness, which is covered in entrance exams like SNAP, XAT, IIFT etc.

Other than that, your CAT preparation strategy should include a lot of practice on the mocks and solving question papers of the previous years.

The CAT is normally of 3 hours and is conducted online. There are 100 questions in total, including 75 multiple choice questions (MCQs) with negative marking and 25 non-multiple-choice questions without any negative marking. You are awarded 3 marks for every correct answer and -1 for every wrong answer.

Once you are acquainted with the CAT paper pattern, you must thoroughly cover every aspect of the CAT Syllabus. It’s very important to know that CAT is essentially not a test of your intellect, but your management skills. The exam tests your skills in the following areas:

  • Presence of mind
  • Time management
  • Ability to deliver under stress
  • Concentration and focus
  • Maintenance of balance between accuracy and speed

The only way you can acquire all these skills is through regular practice over a period of time. You will need anywhere from 8 to 18 months to prepare effectively for CAT. Below provided are some points that should become an integral part of your CAT preparation strategy:

  • Get hold of all the relevant study material and join a coaching centre if you think it will help you prepare well.
  • Learn all the basic concepts including English, logical reasoning and mathematics covered in class X and XII
  • Practice using a timer and avoid using calculator, especially for the data interpretation section
  • Rather than solving 20 questions of the same type in one go, solve 4 questions each of 5 different types
  • Get cracking on the mocks as early as you can, however, don’t get disheartened if you score less. The mocks are primarily meant to point out your weaker areas, so you can work on them. You should be taking anywhere from 1 to 3 mocks per week.
  • Once you’re done with the syllabus, focus mainly on the sectional tests and mocks
  • Avoid preparing any new topics in the last 2 months, and strengthen only the ones that you have mastered.
  • Attempt the CAT papers of the previous years.
  • Get good amount of sleep and take regular breaks while not just preparing for CAT, but during overall MBA Exam Preparation

How to prepare for MBA at home

Various MBA exam preparation surveys have confirmed that most of the high percentile scorers in MBA entrance tests believe in self-study, rather than attending exhaustive coaching sessions. As the topics covered in the MBA exam preparation are not rocket science and require you to have a solid understanding of the concepts, you can very well prepare for these exams at home.

Some of the tips you can use to prepare for MBA at home are:

  • Be thoroughly aware of the syllabus of CAT and other entrance exams and get acquainted with your strong and weak areas.
  • Start with the basics and gradually move on to the advanced level questions.
  • Get hold of all the concerned study material and make best use of mock tests and reference books.
  • Rather than wasting a lot of time on theory, get cracking on the questions. Your confidence will increase as you solve more and more number of questions.
  • Be selective about the online study material and books you use.
  • It’s extremely important to be well aware of your weak topics so you can work extra hard on them, and track your progress in those areas.
  • Don’t get stuck on any single topic. If you have already spent a certain amount of time on that topic and still aren’t clear, it would be better to move on to something else and come back to it later.
  • The biggest thing to master in MBA exam preparation is time and accuracy, something that can only be bettered with mock tests and solving of previous years’ question papers.
  • Create a good study atmosphere for yourself and find the right spot where you can spend the required number of hours, without any disturbance.

MBA Entrance Exam Preparation Books

Some of the MBA entrance exam preparation books you can use are:

  • NCERT mathematics books
  • Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT Sarvesh Verma
  • How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT Arun Sharma
  • Quantitative Aptitude for CAT Nishit Sinha
  • Word Power Made Easy Norman Lewis
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension For The CAT Nishit Sinha
  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay
  • High School Grammar and Composition Wren and Martin
  • All kinds of literature books from different genres, for instance, The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho), War & Peace (Leo Tolstoy), First Among Equals (Jeffrey Archer), A Brief History of Time (Stephen Hawking) etc.
  • How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT Arun Sharma
  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT Nishit Sinha
  • A Modern Approach to Logical Reasoning R.S. Agarwal
  • How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT book Arun Sharma

For the General Awareness section you must ideally read the newspaper every day and subscribe to news and current affairs magazines like Business Standard, India Today, Financial Times etc. Read whatever you possibly can on global issues, business development, economy, politics, sports etc. from any reliable source you can lay your hands on.

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