A seed of doubt always appears in a fresh aspirant’s mind about the pattern and level of questions in different sections along with the concentration of the various topics in these sections. A broad insight into the comparisons between the two major exams CAT and XAT exam is thoroughly stated here. CAT contains three sections 1. VA (34) 2.LR/DI (32) 3.Quant (34) to be completed in 180 mins with a restriction of 1 hour for each section; whereas XAT is divided into two Papers, 1 and 2. Paper 1 comprises of VA (23), Decision Making (29), and QA &DI (26). As per the changed pattern, the number of questions in Paper 1 will be 78 (to be completed in 170 minutes).
XAT Exam is always considered to be tougher than CAT because of a multitude of reasons. First of all, the overall question framework is much better suited to testing a person's decision making capabilities and requires more advanced reading skills. Logical Reasoning in almost all cases are of higher difficulty level. Data Interpretation is similar to that of CAT. Quantitative Ability is more challenging than that of CAT. You will have to hunt for easier questions and solve them. Decision Making is a section only seen in the XAT.
Traditionally XAT cut offs are of range 40% while CAT has very high cut offs typically in the range close to 50-55%. XAT also has a lot of emphasis on ethical questions which is a norm while CAT has traditional aptitude sections every years. Another major difference is that you can normally look for a shorter solution or a mind game logic in CAT questions; you do not get the same thing going with advanced XAT questions where you might necessarily need to solve using traditional methods.
The most discussed MBA entrance exams further are SNAP and NMAT. SNAP is a popular MBA entrance exam conducted by Symbiosis International University in a pen and paper mode for their management institutes. NMAT is a Entrance exam for admission to all the MBA Full Time courses of NMIMS Mumbai and the PGDM courses of NMIMS Hyderabad and Bangalore. SNAP has Easy to moderate level questions of Quant (40), verbal ability (40) ,Data Interpretation/ reasoning (40) and GK (30) .The time allotted is 120 mins and hence is the main constraint. GK is a major section the exam where static GK dominates. NMAT is a computer based exam conducted by GMAC where each candidate gets a randomly generated exam from a pool of questions. The number of questions, difficulty level and the time limit for each section in predetermined. The Language abilty section contains 32 quest with a time limit of 22 mins, quantitative section with 48 ques with a time limit of 60 mins and the reasoning section with a time limit of 60 mins. SNAP exam covers topics like: Time and Work, Mixtures and Alligations, Ratio and Proportion, Percentages, Time and Distance, Averages and Profit & Loss. As far as Geometry is concerned, Mensuration has been a fairly regular part of the exam. Logical reasoning is probably the most important section of the exam as the questions here carry 2 marks each. The popular areas from which questions are asked are: critical reasoning, deductive logic, analogies, logical reasoning sets, series, visual reasoning, arrangement, blood relations and puzzles. The major areas quizzed by SNAP includes: Static GK, Current Affairs, Brand and Business GK. A lot of emphasis is on Current Affairs questions including-major news stories, awards and prizes, sports event winners and important mergers and acquisitions in the last one year.
All the MBA erntrance exams except CAT has a general Knowledge section. Some exams like IIFT have a section cut off for this particular section and thus play a major role in the selection process of an aspirant. The type of GK questions also varies according to the entrance exams, and thus confuses the aspirants a lot, as how to select particular areas, how to remember the major current affairs etc. For XAT, IIFT and SNAP general awareness section you need to know about all the important sports, literary events happened in the current year. All the major global economic meets happening at different places around the world and the agenda of meeting. Winners of prizes like Nobel prize, booker prize and other major prizes in the different domains. You should look at previous year papers of various exam to understand what they ask for.
The important areas for XAT/IIFT/SNAP/NMAT are as follows:
1. Current heads of major Global / Indian companies.
2. Information on brands and companies as in ‘Dettol is a brand of Reckitt Benckiser’
3. Taglines of major Global / Indian companies
4. Major books released in 2011-12, business related books and business biographies.
5. Current/ 5.Business Affairs – Major economic decisions, mergers & takeovers, etc.
6. Terminologies / 6.Abbreviations – Related to the banking sector, economics & general business.
Overall, summing up, some exams are more speed based like SNAP and NMAT while some are solving based where you need to solve long sets - for example in XAT and IIFT. CAT beautifully sits in between these two extremes.
Enjoy preparation! Everyday you work on your aptitude and soft skills, you make yourself more competitive for CAT.
The difficulty level analysis of the different sections of CAT/XAT/SNAP/NMAT is highlighted in the tabular format below: