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EXPERT SPEAK

Q: How should a student prepare to ace the Management Aptitude Test?

A: Generally in any management aptitude / admission test, the basic components assessed are language skill, numerical ability and logical reasoning. This is also true in the case of MAT. It is an objective-type test with multiple answer options. In the normal course where there is no constraint of time, a candidate will be able to solve or attempt correctly many of the questions. However, under the constraint of time and in the context of negative marking, a candidate will have to make a realistic decision as to which questions he could attempt in the first instance.

Then he or she should be able to zero in on the correct answer. The candidate need not necessarily solve all those questions in totality, but should be able to identify the correct option by eliminating the wrong answers. It is therefore necessary for candidates to have adequate practice in attempting such questions under the constraint of time. It means that objective-type questions will have to be practised or attempted within the given time frame. To this end, it is also necessary that there should be absolute clarity of concepts.

Q: What sort of preparation is required?

A: A student has to practise answering objective-type questions with time limitations. The objective of MAT is to test the knowledge application level of candidates with a bachelor degree. However, the level of numerical skills has been kept at the school level as MAT is not an achievement test but an aptitude test. Candidates with general comprehension and intelligence will be able to score well in the test if they practise the answers regularly.

Q: What sort of percentile should a student aim at to get into good colleges?

A: MAT is a standardised test. Subsequent to the test, the scaled scores are made available to the candidates and to the institutes. AIMA does not prescribe cutoff scores for admission to any B-school. Cutoff scores are decided by the individual B-school based on the number of candidates applying to that institute. Many of the popular institutes have a cutoff MAT composite score exceeding 700. The term “popular” has been used based on our observations about the number of candidates opting for a particular institute.

Q: What is the standing of a student who has qualified in the MAT exam vis a vis one who has qualified in the CAT exam?

A: Any test as such does not mean anything until it is accepted for admission by the B-school. CAT is conducted by top institutes like the Indian Institutes of Management. As the entry into IIMs is limited, it gives the impression that CAT is very difficult. It is a matter of supply and demand. Under MAT, the number of seats is quite large as there are 400 participating institutes. Therefore, the probability of getting admission by taking MAT is higher. By design, the MAT score is not to be compared with the scores of other tests. The MAT score cannot be derived from scores of other tests. Differences, if any, among different administrations of MAT are compensated by the statistical process of equating scores. MAT is not intended to be parallel to any other tests offered by other testing agencies.

Q: Is there any limit on the number of attempts at MAT?

A: There is no restriction on the number of attempts.

Q: What subjects should a student concentrate on to do well in MAT?

A: MAT is an objective-type test designed to ascertain the aptitude of the candidates to undergo a postgraduate programme in management. Aptitude is the potential of an individual to perform subsequent to proper training. Therefore, MAT is designed to identify the potential. It has been tested and perfected over two decades. It has five sections, each having 40 questions. Altogether 200 questions are to be attempted in 150 minutes.

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