Know the structure of the CMAT exam

Know the structure of the CMAT exam

Know the structure of the CMAT exam
Dilip Chaulagain

If you plan to pursue a postgraduate management course in India, the Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) is an essential exam you must crack. The National Testing Agency (NTA) conducts the CMAT exam to assess your aptitude, reasoning, and general awareness skills. To crack this exam easily, it's essential to understand its structure and pattern thoroughly. This blog will delve into the CMAT exam's structure and provide tips to ace it. So, let's get started!


The Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) is a national-level entrance exam conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission into various management programs, including MBA, PGDM, and other postgraduate management courses. The exam is conducted once a year, and it evaluates the candidate's aptitude, reasoning, and general awareness skills.

How difficult is CMAT Exam Preparation?

The difficulty level of CMAT exam preparation varies from person to person, depending on their strengths, weaknesses, and preparation strategy. However, CMAT exam preparation can be manageable with proper planning and consistent effort.

The CMAT exam syllabus includes arithmetic, algebra, geometry, logical reasoning, verbal ability, reading comprehension, and general awareness. To prepare for the exam, you must have a good command of the basic concepts and practice regularly.

How to Prepare for CMAT? Step-by-Step Planning

Preparing for the CMAT exam can seem daunting, but you can succeed with proper planning and consistent effort. Here is a step-by-step planning guide to help you prepare for the CMAT exam.

Step 1: Understand the CMAT exam pattern

Before you start your preparation, it's essential to understand the CMAT exam pattern. The exam consists of four sections - Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Language Comprehension, and General Awareness. Each section has 25 questions, and you have 3 hours to complete the exam.

Step 2: Make a study plan

Create a study plan that includes a timetable for each section, topics to be covered, and the required hours for each topic. Allocate sufficient time for each section and ensure that you cover the entire syllabus. Divide your study plan into daily, weekly, and monthly goals to track your progress.

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Step 3: Get the suitable study material

Get suitable study material, such as books, previous year question papers, and online resources, to prepare for the exam. Choose study material that covers the entire syllabus and is in sync with the exam pattern.

Step 4: Practice mock tests

Practice mock tests regularly to assess your preparation level, improve your speed and accuracy, and get familiar with the exam pattern. Analyze your mock test results to identify your strengths and weaknesses and work on them accordingly.

Step 5: Focus on the basics

Focus on the basics and ensure that you have a strong foundation of the concepts. Start with easy questions and gradually move to more difficult ones.

Step 6: Stay updated with current affairs

Regularly stay updated with current affairs by reading newspapers, magazines, and online news portals. This will help you score well in the General Awareness section.

Step 7: Take breaks and stay motivated

Take breaks between study sessions, practice relaxation techniques, and stay motivated. Keep reminding yourself of your goal and stay positive throughout the preparation.

CMAT Exam Pattern

The Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) is a computer-based exam that assesses the candidate's aptitude, logical reasoning, language comprehension, and general awareness skills. The CMAT exam pattern is as follows:

  • Duration: The exam is for 3 hours or 180 minutes.
  • Sections: The exam consists of four sections:
  • Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Language Comprehension
  • General Awareness
  • Total Questions: There are 100 questions, with 25 questions in each section.
  • Marking scheme: Each question carries 4 marks, with a negative marking of 1 mark for each incorrect answer.
  • Sectional time limit: Each section has a sectional time limit of 30 minutes, and once the time is up, you cannot go back to the previous section.
  • Exam mode: The exam is conducted online mode.

The section-wise details of the CMAT exam pattern are as follows:

  1. Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation: This section tests your mathematical skills, including arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data interpretation. The questions are of moderate difficulty level.
  2. Logical Reasoning: This section tests your logical and analytical skills, including blood relations, coding-decoding, puzzles, syllogism, etc. The questions are of moderate to excellent difficulty levels.
  3. Language Comprehension: This section tests your reading comprehension and language skills. It includes questions on grammar, vocabulary, sentence correction, etc. The questions are of moderate difficulty level.
  4. General Awareness: This section tests your knowledge of current affairs, general knowledge, and business-related news. It includes questions on politics, economy, sports, science and technology, etc. The questions are of moderate to excellent difficulty levels.

CMAT Syllabus

The Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) syllabus covers various topics in four sections: Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Language Comprehension, and General Awareness. Let's take a closer look at each section's syllabus:

Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation:

  • Arithmetic: Percentages, Profit and Loss, Simple and Compound Interest, Time and Work, Time, Speed and Distance, Ratio and Proportion, etc.
  • Algebra: Linear Equations, Quadratic Equations, Functions, Inequalities, Sequence and Series, etc.
  • Geometry: Lines and Angles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals, Circles, etc.
  • Data Interpretation: Tables, Pie Charts, Bar Graphs, Line Graphs, etc.
  • Logical Reasoning:
  • Analytical Reasoning: Blood Relations, Coding-Decoding, Direction Sense, Seating Arrangements, etc.
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning: Series, Analogies, Classification, etc.
  • Verbal Reasoning: Syllogisms, Statement and Assumptions, Statement and Conclusions, etc.

Language Comprehension:

  • Reading Comprehension: Passages, Synonyms, Antonyms, Para jumbles, etc.
  • Grammar: Error Spotting, Sentence Correction, Parts of Speech, etc.
  • Vocabulary: Synonyms, Antonyms, Analogies, Idioms and Phrases, etc.
  • General Awareness:
  • Current Affairs: National and International events, Politics, Economy, Science and Technology, etc.
  • Business and Economics: Finance, Marketing, Trade, Company information, etc.
  • Static GK: History, Geography, Culture, Awards and Honors, etc.

Planning your CMAT Preparation: Choose Your Mode

Once you have familiarised yourself with the CMAT exam pattern, changes, and syllabus, planning your CMAT preparation is time. One critical factor is whether to opt for CMAT coaching or self-preparation. It's essential to carefully weigh both options' pros and cons before deciding. If you choose to go with coaching, select the best CMAT coaching institute. Even the best coaching may have limitations, so consider finding an expert coach for specific topics requiring more attention. Some of the top CMAT coaching institutes include TIME, CL, and IMS. For those with busy schedules, CMAT online coaching is also an effective option that provides cost-effective and time-efficient preparation, along with ample practice opportunities.

CMAT Exam Preparation: Recommended Books

The right set of books can significantly contribute to your success in the CMAT exam. Whether you prefer offline or online materials, a well-crafted study plan and the right set of books can help you achieve your goals. To help you with your preparation, we have compiled a list of the best CMAT preparation books recommended by toppers:

Books for Language Comprehension Section (VARC)

  1. "How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT" by Arun Sharma & Meenakshi Upadhyay
  2. "Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT" by Nishit K Sinha
  3. Latest RC passages and practice questions provided by study centres like TIME, and CL, among others
  4. Editorial and short articles published in English newspapers
  5. "Word Power Made Easy" by Norman Lewis
  6. "High School English Grammar & Composition" by Wren & Martin

Books for Quantitative Techniques and DI

  1. "How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT" by Arun Sharma (Published by McGraw Hill)
  2. "How to prepare for Quantitative for the CAT" by Arun Sharma (Published by MGH Education)
  3. "Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT" by Nishit K. Sinha (Published by Pearson)
  4. "The Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude for competitive exams"
  5. Quant study modules by TIME, CL, IMS

Books for Reasoning

  1. "Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT" by Nishit K Sinha (Published by Pearson)
  2. "How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the CAT" by Arun Sharma (Published by McGraw Hill)

Books for Current Affairs (GK)

Current Affairs (GK) is an introductory section for CMAT preparation, covering all essential topics and events at the national and international levels. To prepare for GK in CMAT, you should gather the CMAT Exam GK material. Neglecting GK in CMAT preparation can hinder your chances of admission to top AICTE-approved MBA/PGDM programs such as JBIMS, K J Somaiya, GIM Goa, Great Lakes, and others.

This section can be divided into three parts, with each part given due weightage:

  • Conventional GK available in books
  • Current GK is based on reading newspapers and periodicals
  • Business and Economics GK, covering changes in fiscal and monetary policies, CRR, repo rate, devaluation, and up-valuation of the rupee.

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