How to Select Study Material & Coaching Centre for MBA Preparation

How to Select Study Material & Coaching Centre for MBA Preparation

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How to Select Study Material & Coaching Centre for MBA Preparation
Bijay Poudel

Cracking competitive MBA entrance exams like CAT, XAT, NMAT requires thorough preparation and smart time management skills – both during the preparation phase and on the actual exam day. One of the keys to ensuring top performance is understanding the syllabus and exam pattern thoroughly.

Read More: MBA

While the specific sections and weights may vary across different MBA entrance tests, most of them comprehensively evaluate a candidate's skills in the following core areas:

Quantitative Aptitude: This section tests a candidate's numerical and mathematical ability through questions on Numbers, Algebra, Geometry, Mensuration, Permutation & Combination, Probability, etc.

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning: These sections assess a candidate's logical reasoning skills through questions based on interpreting data presented in various forms like tables, graphs, and charts, as well as through logically vexing questions.

Verbal Ability: This section evaluates a candidate's command of the English language through questions on reading comprehension, para jumbles, grammar, vocabulary, fill-in-the-blanks, etc.

Some MBA entrance tests may additionally have sections that test general knowledge, business awareness, writing skills, and other areas.

Before initiating your MBA prep, it's highly recommended to attempt at least one previous year's paper for your target exam to get clarity on your current level vis-a-vis each topic and identify your strengths and areas of improvement.

To Join or Not to Join MBA Coaching Classes?

One of the biggest dilemmas candidates face is joining coaching classes for MBA entrance prep or going the self-study route. The decision concerns how much time you can allocate for the prep.

Coaching programs involve committing to fixed hours of classroom sessions with an instructor. So, whether you are a working professional or a student, joining a coaching program mandates that you balance it well with sufficient self-study time outside the coaching classes.

If you have the determination and discipline to self-prepare comprehensively and effectively using quality study materials and online resources, you can opt for self-study. However, if you need external guidance and structured coaching to stay on track, joining a reputed coaching program can be immensely beneficial. Whichever route you choose, plan your schedule carefully to accommodate both coaching (if applicable) and dedicated self-study time.

Also Check Out: How to Select Good Business School for Executive MBA?

Selecting The Right Study Materials for MBA Entrance Preparation

Paid Coaching Institute Study Resources

If you take the self-study route for your MBA prep, choosing the right set of books and materials is crucial to avoid getting overwhelmed by too many resources or using sub-standard ones.

A good starting point can be referring to some of the most popular and comprehensive books published by expert authors like:

  • Arun Sharma & Sarvesh Varma for Quantitative Aptitude
  • R.S. Aggarwal for Logical Reasoning
  • Norman Lewis' Word Power Made Easy for Verbal Ability

You can also invest in comprehensive MBA entrance test preparation materials from reputed coaching institutes. While these paid resources are expensive, they offer the advantage of being meticulously structured and designed to provide in-depth learning of concepts, techniques, and practice.

Most coaching institutes offer the following resources:

  • Comprehensively explanatory textbooks for all core topics
  • Previous years' question papers and mock test series
  • Recorded video lectures and online learning materials
  • Regularly updated Question Banks with solutions

Excellent Free Online Studying Materials

In addition to paid materials, you can leverage a wealth of free online resources for your MBA prep, like video lectures, ebooks, previous years' papers, mock tests, etc. However, ensure you rely only on authentic and high-quality free resources from credible sources to avoid getting misguided.

Many leading MBA coaching institutes also offer free sample materials, video lessons, and partial mock test series, which can help supplement your paid study resources.

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Three-Phase Approach to MBA Entrance Exam Preparation

An efficient MBA preparation plan can be broadly broken down into three stages:

Concept Building

The first phase should develop a strong conceptual foundation across all core topics by comprehensively studying textbooks, watching video lessons, etc. This phase focuses on truly understanding and internalising concepts rather than mechanical memorization.

As you progress through understanding concepts topic-wise, continue practising subject-wise questions to reinforce your learning.

For Verbal Ability prep, reading extensively from various sources like newspapers, editorials, novels, etc., helps build comprehension and vocabulary skills.

Intensive Problem-Solving Practice

Once you have a solid grasp of concepts, the next phase should involve intensive practice by answering many questions across all topics and papers from previous years.

Continuous practice allows you to identify your weak areas, develop strategies to optimise solution times, and understand the application of concepts. Always ensure you revise previously learned concepts in parallel while practising new ones.

Simulating Real Exam Conditions

Appearing for full-length mock tests that simulate the exam pattern and timings is arguably the most crucial part of your MBA prep. Mocks help:

  • Build accuracy and speed
  • Manage time effectively per section
  • Understand optimal section-wise strategy
  • Identify gaps and improvise techniques

The ideal time to start taking mocks is around 5-7 weeks before your target MBA exam to allow sufficient practice under real test-like conditions. Subscribe to a reputed coaching institute's comprehensive and updated mock test series.

After each mock:

  • Analyse deeply - review questions you got incorrect or guessed.
  • Understand your areas of strength/weakness.
  • Improvise your timing and accuracy.
  • Approach accordingly.

Also Check: MBA/ PGDM Admission Process & Eligibility Criteria


What are the core topics covered in MBA entrance examinations?

The core topics typically include Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Verbal Ability. Some exams may also include sections on General Knowledge, Business Awareness, and Writing Skills.

Is it necessary to join MBA coaching classes for preparation?

It depends on individual preferences and circumstances. While coaching classes offer structured guidance, self-study can also be effective with dedication and quality study materials.

How can I select the right study materials for MBA entrance preparation?

Look for comprehensive textbooks authored by experts in each subject area, such as Arun Sharma & Sarvesh Varma for Quantitative Aptitude or Norman Lewis for Verbal Ability. Additionally, consider investing in paid resources from reputed coaching institutes for structured learning.

What is the recommended approach for preparing for MBA entrance exams?

A three-phase approach is often recommended: Concept Building, Intensive Problem Solving Practice, and Simulating Real Exam Conditions through full-length mock tests. This helps develop a strong conceptual foundation, hone problem-solving skills, and familiarise oneself with the exam format and timing.

Where can I find free online resources for MBA preparation?

Many credible sources offer free resources such as video lectures, ebooks, and mock tests. However, it's important to ensure the quality and authenticity of these resources before relying on them for preparation. Leading MBA coaching institutes may also provide free sample materials and partial mock test series.

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