By Gautam Puri
Management Aptitude Test (MAT) is yet another opportunity for candidates seeking admission to MBA and allied programmes in over 600 B-Schools across India.
Few things that set MAT apart from other entrance exams — are level of difficulty of the paper, candidate’s speed while attempting the paper and the need to score a really high percentile.
It is common knowledge that the level of difficulty of the paper is probably the lowest among all the MBA entrance exams. This makes it really important for students to attempt more number of questions in order to get a good percentile. This brings me to the point that how an exam like MAT is a test of the candidate’s speed of picking the right questions and solving them. There is a dire need for an extremely high percentile in MAT to be able to make it to the top B-schools since not many elite colleges accept the MAT score
The MAT exam consists of 200 questions to be attempted in 150 minutes. The 3 fundamental things that must be kept in mind are:
Proper Time Management
The MAT paper comprises 5 sections. In order to make the most of the time, the candidates should divide the total time across these five sections and make a note of it mentally. For example, it should not take more than 10 – 15 minutes to wind up the Indian and Global Environment section. The student must make it a point to cease their pursuits in a particular section once its time is up. This self-control is the key to a balanced score across all the sections.
The Sequence of Attempting the Sections
Beginning with the section in which the student is most comfortable with is the correct way to get into the groove. Generally, the Language Comprehension section of this exam isn’t usually a big challenge. You could start off with it and wind it up as early as possible. From there you could move on to the Mathematical Skills section or Data Analysis & Sufficiency section which might require some time. This should be followed by the Intelligence and Critical Reasoning section. Though, everything said and done, sequence of sections while attempting is a matter of personal taste and proficiency.
The Art of Choosing the Questions
With so many questions to be answered in a matter of 150 minutes the art of leaving a question, if you’re unable to solve it, pays rich dividends. The test of a good exam temperament is in understanding the fact that getting stuck on one tough question with hopes of cracking it can ruin the momentum.
Overall, like any other exam playing to your strengths and letting common sense prevail over everything else (especially in the reasoning section) will help you score high in MAT.
The top colleges that accept MAT scores are Great Lakes Chennai, BIMTECH Greater Noida, TAPMI, Sydenham and few more. Generally a percentile above 98 would be required to get a call from the these B-schools. At a percentile below a 94 – 95 the student is suddenly left with options which aren’t really as tempting as the student would want.
Gautam Puri is Co-Founder, Career Launcher & IIM B Alumni