Don’t depend on CAT 2017 only: Apply for XAT, SNAP or NMAT and choose the best

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Updated on October 5, 2017
If you have applied or missed to apply for CAT 2017, you should opt at least for one or more than one MBA entrance exams like XAT 2018, SNAP 2017, NMAT 2017 to keep your MBA admission chances open in XLRI, SPJIMR, IMT, NMIMS, Symbiosis, XIMB, and other top B-schools
Take more exams with CAT 2017
Experts suggest that it will be good if you have more MBA admission options instead of limited ones, so know the facts and analyse why you should not be satisfied by applying only for CAT 2017

If you have applied for CAT 2017, you should also opt at least for one or more than one MBA entrance exams like XAT 2018, SNAP 2017, NMAT 2017 to keep your MBA admission chances open in good B-schools. On the other hand if you have missed to apply for CAT 2017, you should avail the opportunity not to miss your application for other exams as equally good B-schools would accept XAT, SNAP and NMAT scores to short list you for next round of admission.

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3 reasons: Why you must appear in XAT & SNAP with CAT
One of the biggest advantage this year is that almost all the MBA entrance exams for admission to MBA 2018-20 will be online computer based tests.  While CAT, NMAT are being conducted as computer based tests for the last many years, XAT and SNAP will be held as online computer based exams for the first time for admission to 2018-20 batch. This brings more similarity in navigation process, exam taking experience. Instead of marking answers on OMR sheet, the candidates will have to insert their answers with a mouse click.

Experts suggest that it will be good if you have more MBA admission options instead of limited ones, so know the facts and analyse why you should not be satisfied by applying only for CAT 2017.

There are 3 big reasons shared by the CAT/XAT preparation expert and mentor Prof S K Agarwal

Reason-1: Equally Good B-schools available with XAT, SNAP, NMAT
Success in CAT 2017 will offer you admission to IIMs but not to XLRI which is as good a B-school as any IIM and will accept only XAT scores. SPJIMR Mumbai, IMT Ghaziabad, TAPMI Manipal, XIM Bhubaneswar also accept XAT exam scores in addition to CAT exam scores.

The 15 Symbiosis institutes accept only SNAP 2017 scores. SIBM Pune and other Symbiosis institutes are most sought after B-schools. The learning and placement at these B-schools is equally good. Accordingly,  dependence only on CAT 2017 is not sufficient.

NMAT 2017 (Now NMAT by GMAC) will give you an opportunity to do MBA from NMIMS Mumbai. NMIMS does not accept CAT/XAT/SNAP exam scores and shortlists the candidates on the basis of NMAT scored.

Details about the last date to apply, application fee of leading MBA entrance exams which can give you an opportunity to get admission in top B-schools are shared below:

Exam Name Last date to apply & Date of Exam Registration & Application fee and process Top MBA colleges Application Process
CAT 2017

September 25, 2017;
November 26, 2017

Rs.1800/- pay online 20 IIMs, FMS, SPJIMR, MDI, IMI, IMT, TAPMI, XIMB Closed
NMAT by GMAC 2017

October 14, 2017;
Oct 5 to Dec 18

Rs.2000/- plus taxes-pay online (Late fee included) NMIMS, VIT Vellore, XIMB Open with late fee
SNAP 2017

November 24, 2017;
December 17, 2017

Rs.2065/- pay online
(Includes GST)

SIBM Pune, SIBM Bangalore & other 13 Symbiosis colleges Open
XAT 2018

November 30, 2017;
January 7, 2018

Rs.1650/- pay online XLRI, SPJIMR, IMT, XIMB, BIMTECH, TAPMI Open

Reason-2: Single exam-no opportunity to improve score
If you have applied and decided to appear only in CAT 2017 and are not able to score high sectional and over all percentile as prescribed by IIMs, the admission opportunity to top IIMs and to SPJIMR, IMT is also lost.

IIMs have prescribed a minimum qualifying CAT 2017 percentile in the range of 70 to 85 sectional and 80 to 90 overall to become eligible for shortlisting for final admission round. If you score very high percentile in the 2 sections but miss the qualifying percentile even by a fraction in 3rd section, you will not be shortlisted by any of the 20 IIMs. Now you stand nowhere. At that time you would think, ‘Had I applied to other exams also, I would have the opportunity to get a very good B-school.’

Read IIMs Admission Criteria for PGP 2018-20

So, if you apply to XAT 2018, you will have an added advantage to get into XLRI, along with improving your score for SPJIMR, IMT and others. The better of CAT and XAT score will be considered for admission by number of B-schools. So keeping the admission option open in other B-schools without losing the admission opportunity is very much necessary, says the expert.  

Reason-3: Similar Exam pattern, preparation strategy not much different
If you analyse the CAT 2017, XAT 2018, SNAP 2017, NMAT 2017 exam pattern, you will find similar test components and sections with similar exam syllabus topics on the basis of which questions are formed in each exam.

However, each exam has its some unique features in terms of sectional composition, level of difficulty, time duration, number and type of questions, scoring pattern, negative marking among others. If we analyse the similar test sections in different exams and the different sectional composition with level of difficulty, it will be easier to understand that to a large extent similar preparation strategy can lead to crack the other exams apart from enriching you with diverse experience and offering with more admission chances in different B-schools.

Since there are different sections also in respective exams and each section may have different difficulty level, the strategy to prepare for each such section has to be devised.

Exam CAT 2017 XAT 2018 SNAP 2017 NMAT 2017
Section-1 Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension Verbal & Logical Ability General English: Reading Comprehension, Verbal Reasoning, Verbal Ability Language Skills
Section-2 Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Decision Making Ability Quantitative, Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency Quantitative Skills 



Data Interpretation & Quantitative Ability Current Affairs Logical Reasoning
Section-4 -- General Awareness Analytical & Logical Reasoning --
Section-5 -- Essay Writing -- --

Which exam is more difficult?
Although each exam whether it is CAT, XAT, SNAP or NMAT, has higher and lower difficulty levels, none of them is too easy or too difficult. One or other section in each exam is slightly more or less difficult. Besides, one who is well prepared finds the exam relatively easy and if the question is from your well studied topic, it is always easy.

The best way to understand how difficult or easy is the MBA entrance exam, we need to solve previous test papers, attempt Mocks. Still, if we try to rate the level of difficulty of these exams, we can place them in following order:

Name of exam

Expected overall Level of difficulty
Low=1; Medium=2; High=3

Sections rated highly difficult How to know the exact LoD of each exam
IIMs’ Common Admission Test (CAT) 2017 2 to 3 Data Interpretation; Logical reasoning; RC Attempt official CAT mock here
XLRI-Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) 2018  2 to 3 Decision making, Data Interpretation, Logical Ability, part of Quant, GK Solve Previous XAT papers
NMAT by GMAC 2017 1 to 2 Logical Reasoning, Part of Quant and part of Verbal Take Mock
SNAP 2017 1 to 2 Verbal reasoning, Data sufficiency, Reasoning Solve previous test papers

Prof S K Agarwal, Verbal Ability expert on CAT/XAT/SNAP preparation suggests the candidates not to miss any important MBA entrance test and draw their plan to apply now. MBA aspirants should register and apply without waiting for the last date to NMAT 2017, XAT 2018 and SNAP 2017 as there are number of B-schools who will accept these exam scores.

Like their peers, all MBA aspirants eye the top B-schools for admission. However to finally convert the call in top rated B schools like IIMs, XLRI, SPJIMR, JBIMS, FMS, MDI, IMT, apart from a good volume of needed preparation, you need excellent academics and a good percentile score in each section of MBA entrance exam to cross the cut offs.

If you are seeking admission to MBA 2018 and wish to pursue it from one of the top B-schools in India, next 2 months are very crucial for you. Out of the 5 top MBA entrance exams, CAT and IIFT have already closed their registration process, the other important ones now are XAT, SNAP and NMAT

You have to draw your plan which exams you should appear, how to prepare for each of them as every exam is different in one or other way and get shortlisted to succeed in your mission MBA 2018.

Stay tuned to for more updates on MBA Exams for admission 2018

Read also:

MBA/PGDM Admissions 2018 Open - Important Dates
For your benefit, has listed important MBA/PGDM Admission Application Deadlines. Check now: 

XLRI – XAT 2018
Application to XAT is open till November 30 without late fee and till December 15 with late fee
MDI Gurgaon
Application for PGPM 2018-20 at MDI Gurgaon is open till November 24, 2017
IMI New Delhi
Application for PGDM 2018-20 at IMI New Delhi is open till December 4, 2017
Application to NMAT by GMAC and for MBA admission at NMIMS, is open till October 3
IMT Ghaziabad
Application for PGDM 2018-20 at IMT Ghaziabad is open till November 24, 2017
XIM Bhubaneshwar
Application for MBA 2018-20 at XIM Bhubaneswar is open till December 8, 2017
SCMHRD, Pune – SNAP 2017
SNAP 2017 registration is open till November 24, 2017
Great Lakes Chennai and Gurgaon
Application for PGPM 2018-19 at Great Lakes is open till November 30, 2017 for cycle-1 and till January 24, 2018 for cycle 2. The application for 2 years PGDM 2018-20 is open till Feb 25, 2018​
LIBA Chennai
Online Application for PGDM 2018-20 at LIBA is open till January 31, 2018 at a cost of Rs.1500/-
IBSAT 2017
Application to IBSAT 2017 is open till December 12, 2017
CIMP Patna
Application for PGDM 2018-20 at CIMP is open till March 2nd week, 2018
Online & offline Application for PGDM 2018-20 at SDMIMD is open till February 28, 2018 with application fee of Rs.1250/-
SOIL Gurgaon
Application for PGP 2018-19 at SOIL is open till February 25, 2018
SIBM Hyderabad – SNAP 2017
To apply to SIBM Hyderabad, you should apply to SNAP 2017 to be conducted by SIU Pune on December 17, 2017 and apply to SIBM-H also in the SNAP application form
SIBM Bengaluru
To apply to SIBM Bengaluru, you should apply to SNAP 2017 to be conducted by SIU Pune on December 17, 2017 and apply to SIBM Bengaluru also in the SNAP application form


Take CAT 2017 Mock Full LengthTo assess your preparation in revised CAT 2017 exam pattern with 100 questions.
CAT Previous Year Question Papers, Answer With Solution:
CAT 2008    |    CAT 2007    |    CAT 2006    |    CAT 2005   |    CAT 2004
Section 1: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension CAT 2017: Quiz 1 CAT 2017: Quiz 2
Section 2: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning CAT 2017: Quiz 1 CAT 2017: Quiz 2
Section 3: Quantitative Ability CAT 2017: Quiz 1 CAT 2017: Quiz 2