NMAT Exam Pattern 2020

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Updated on
January 19, 2021

NMAT Exam Pattern: Overall & Sectional Composition, Scoring pattern, Weightage, NMAT Vs other exams 

Latest Update: GMAC has reopened NMAT exam 2020 dates from February 2 to February 8, 2021. The exam will be conducted in a changed pattern in two different testing modes – Computer based test at exam centres and online proctored test from home. Candidates can opt for either of the two testing modes. Last date to apply is January 31, 2021. Key details about the additional NMAT testing window and exam pattern are as below:


NMAT by GMAC 2020-21: Revised Testing Window- Key Dates, Test Taking Options
Following are the key dates and test taking options available to take NMAT exam in the additional Testing Window:

NMAT Exam Activity
Important Dates
NMAT Exam Registration Re-opens
January 18, 2021
NMAT Exam Registration Fee
Last Date to Apply for NMAT exam
January 31, 2021
NMAT Exam Start Date
February 2, 2021
Last date to take NMAT exam
February 8, 2021
Rescheduling the Test Taking Date Starts
January 18, 2021
Last date to Reschedule the Exam date
January 29, 2021
Fee for Rescheduling the exam
Eligibility to Apply
1. New candidates who did not apply earlier
2. Candidates who have not exhausted all the three attempts/retakes earlier during Nov 4 to Jan 30
Options Available to choose exam mode
1. Online Exam at Test Centre; Or
2. Online proctored exam at home  

Key Features of Additional NMAT Testing Window:

  • Candidates who already have an account but could not register earlier, can use their existing account and complete the registration. There is no need to create a new account.
  • Both exam at test center and online proctored exam at home option will be available for candidates to choose preferred exam mode.
  • Slots will be available on specific dates within this window for online testing and seats will be booked on first come, first served basis
  • Slots will be available across all test centers in India only
  • Only one exam attempt will be allowed within this exam delivery window
  • Registration & Application Fee is INR 2300 plus taxes for main attempt or retake attempt during January 18, 2021 to January 31, 2021
Who can not appear in Additional NMAT Exam Window?
Candidates who have used all three attempts for the NMAT by GMAC exam for the testing year 1st July 2020 – 30th June 2021 cannot register for the additional window This means the candidates who have taken the main attempt as well as the two re-takes, cannot avail this opportunity  


GMAC, the NMAT conducting body, has released the NMAT exam pattern for the convenience of the test takers to understand the changed structure of NMAT exam, and prepare accordingly. NMAT 2020 exam pattern is very much changed from last year. After following similar pattern during last 5 years, NMAT by GMAC 2020 exam pattern has changed. However, the exam will remain a computer based test and will be conducted in two different testing modes with MCQ types of questions divided into three sections. The NMAT by GMAC exam takers can apply for admission to B-Schools in India, Philippines, South Africa and Nigeria.  

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NMAT 2020: Exam in Two Testing Modes
To meet the COVID-19 challenges, GMAC will conduct NMAT 2020 in two different testing modes and has offered option to the test takers to choose the preferred testing mode while applying for the exam. The two testing modes are:

  1. NMAT 2020 at Test Centres: You can take the NMAT by GMAC exam  at a Test Center with social distancing norms,
  2. Online Proctored Exam from Home: Candidates can also take online proctored exam from the comfort of their home

Key Changes in NMAT 2020 Exam Pattern
This year NMAT exam pattern has been substantially changed. The exam will have fewer number of questions as compared to last year. All the questions will be equally divided into three sections with a changed time limit for each section. Following are the key changes in NMAT Exam Pattern 2020 as compared to last year:

NMAT Exam Components
NMAT 2020
NMAT 2019
NMAT Testing Mode
Two Testing Modes
1. Computer based exam at test centers
2. Online Proctored Exam from Home
Single Testing Mode
Computer based exam at test centers
Changes in Registration Window
Sep 14 to Nov 20, 2020
July 2 to Oct 3, 2019
Changes in Testing Window
Nov 4, 2020 to Jan 30, 2021
Oct 4 to Dec 17, 2019
Total Question in NMAT
Change in total Questions/allotted time in Language Skills Section
  36 Qs in 28 Mins
  32 Qs in 22 Mins
Change in total questions/allotted time in Quantitative Skills Section
  36 Qs in 52 Mins
  48 Qs in 60 Mins
Change in total questions/allotted time in Logical Reasoning section
  36 Qs in 40 Mins
  40 Qs in 38 Mins

Moderate Difficulty Level Exam
The NMAT by GMAC exam pattern is of moderate difficulty level. NMAT Exam 2020 will also not have negative marking. The NMAT test takers can expect a good score in NMAT exam.

One of the key attractions in NMAT paper pattern is the facility to retake the NMAT exam in case the NMAT exam score in first attempt is not satisfactory. You can view your results in 48 hours of appearing in the exam and then decide to apply to business school or retake the test depending on your comfort with the results you’ve obtained. 

NMAT 2020 Exam Pattern 
There are three sections in NMAT exam pattern 2020. The sections are Language Skills, Quantitative Skills and Logical Reasoning. The NMAT Exam Pattern also prescribes that all the three sections in NMAT exam are individually timed. Besides there is no negative marking in NMAT by GMAC 2020exam pattern.         

NMAT by GMAC Exam Pattern 2020: Sectional composition
NMAT paper pattern has three sections. The number of questions in each section of NMAT 2020 paper pattern are equal. Earlier they used to be different. The NMAT paper pattern expects you to attempt the sectional questions within the allotted time limit which is different for each section. Below are shared the key components, number of questions and allotted time in NMAT pattern 2020:

Section Name
Number of questions
Allotted time in minutes
Language Skills
Quantitative Skills
Logical Reasoning

Scaled scores in NMAT Exam 2020
Questions in the NMAT by GMAC exam are selected from the question pool for each examinee based on his or her performance on the questions previously answered. The questions a candidate receives are targeted at his or her ability level; therefore, a high- scoring candidate generally receives a more difficult sample of questions than a low- scoring candidate. The NMAT by GMAC exam is scored by first obtaining the candidate’s final ability estimate based on the probabilistic model approach of modern exam theory, and then transformed to a scaled score ranging from 12 to 120.

NMAT Exam Pattern 2020: Salient Points

  • Computer Based Test at Exam Centres: One option is to take NMAT 2020 exam as online computer based test at test entres
  • Online Proctored Exam from Home: Other option is to take NMAT 2020 from convenience of home as internet based online proctored based test
  • MCQ format: All the questions in NMAT 2020 exam pattern are of Multiple Choice type (MCQs).
  • 108 questions: NMAT exam pattern 2020has 108 questions. Earlier the exam had 120 questions
  • NMAT 2020 Time Duration: The total time allotted in NMAT by GMAC exam pattern 2020 is 120 minutes (2 hours) to attempt the complete test despite total questions in the exam have been reduced.
  • Choice of order of sections: One of the unique features in NMAT 2020 exam pattern is that Test taker can choose order of sections. However, NMAT pattern strictly expects you to follow the same order,once the order of the sections is selected.
  • Individually timed sections: In the revised NMAT exam pattern 2020, each of the three sections in current NMAT patternis individually timed and the candidates have to attempt the questions in the respective section within the allotted sectional time limit.
  • No negative marking: The NMAT 2020 exam pattern is without any penalty of negative marking. So, instead of skipping a question in the question paper, you can use your calculated guess and mark the answer without the fear of a penalty for a wrong answer as there is no negative marking.
  • Moderate difficulty exam: The difficulty level is not so high in NMAT by GMAC exam pattern 2020as that of IIMs-CAT and XLRI-XAT exams
  • Uniform Marking scheme: Another important feature of NMAT exam pattern 2020 is uniform marking system. Each correct answer is awarded +1 mark and there is zero marking for un-attempted question. The scaled score for each section, in the range of 12 to 120 with a total scaled score for all the three section coming between 36 and 360, awards equal sectional weightage  
  • Facility to review answers: As per the NMAT Exam pattern, the NMAT Test takers must review answers of each section within the allotted time before moving to another section of the exam, as once the candidate closes out of a section, he/she may not come back to the section
  • 3 Attempts allowed:  This is the biggest benefit of NMAT by GMAC exam pattern. You can take the NMAT by GMAC three times in a given admission cycle. This gives you the opportunity to improve your score
  • Choice of Self-scheduling NMAT by GMAC: The NMAT by GMAC is one of the few national exams which offer you the liberty to choose your test appointment date, time and test center location.

NMAT 2020 Exam Day Guide


Documents & Time

  1. On NMAT by GMAC exam day, arrive at the test centre at least 45 minutes prior to your test time. 
  2. Bring the Confirmation email from GMAC (this can be shown on your mobile or taken as a printout) 
  3. Bring your Admit Card Hard Copy 
  4. Bring One valid Photo ID and another Signature ID in original for example Passport, PAN Card, Voter's ID, Aadhaar Card, Debit/Credit Card, Driver's License

Carry ID & Photograph

  1. Carry the Admit Card to the test centre and get it signed by the test administrator at the designated place on the day of the test
  2. If you are opting to retake the exam you must retain the ‘same’ Admit Card that you carried for the first / previous attempt (signed and stamped by the test administrator). 
  3. You will be required to produce the ‘same’ Admit Card and will have to get it signed and stamped at the test centre where you appear, for you to retake the exam. 
  4. You may or may not get the same test centre as allotted to you for your previous attempt(s).
  5. B-Schools may ask you to present a signed Admit Card to verify that you have completed the NMAT by GMAC exam
  6. Check that your printed photograph on your Admit Card is clearly visible. 
  7. If the photo is blank or not clearly visible, contact the NMAT help desk on mail to update the photo
  8. Retain the signed Admit Card until your admission process is complete. 

Before Start of NMAT Exam
After you are seated at your designated computer system you need to take following steps: 

  • Computer will display welcome screen, after which you will see a Non-Disclosure Agreement screen. You must click on 'Yes' at the screen in order to proceed with the test.
  • If you click on “No, I do not Accept” deliberately or by mistake, you will be prompted to change the option and if you still click on “No, I do not Accept”, your test will end You will not be able to resume the test that day under any circumstances. 
  • Test centre staff will not be able to reverse the acceptance and you will lose the test attempt and forfeit the test fee 


How to Attempt the NMAT Exam
NMAT by GMAC exam allows you to select your preferred section order, which means you can choose the order of NMAT exam sections At the end of each section, you will be presented with a Review screen to identify the questions that you have left incomplete or flagged for review while attempting the test. You can go directly to specific questions by clicking on the number on the Review screen.  


Each of the three sections has individual section timings and you have to answer and review the questions of the particular section within the allotted time  In case you complete the section (answering and reviewing) before the section time expires, any balance of time will not be added to the next section(s) The next section has its own time allocation and you must complete the section in the allotted section time. 


NMAT Exam Pattern 2020 V/s CAT
NMAT by GMAC exam pattern 2020 and IIM- CAT have many similarities which give the opportunity to the candidates to synchronise their sectional and overall exam preparation. Still NMAT pattern has a few dissimilarities as compared to CAT:

NMAT Exam Pattern 2020
IIM- CAT 2020
Total questions
Overall time limit to attempt the exam
 2 hours
2 hours
Type of questions
All MCQs
46-52 questions are MCQs, rest Non-MCQs
Answer options for MCQs
Marks awarded for each correct answer
Negative marking
No negative marking
MCQs with 1/3 negative marking; No negative marking for Non-MCQs
Exam difficulty level
Comparatively high
Number of sections
Name of section-1 with number of questions
Language Skills-36
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension- 22-24
Name of Section-2 with number of questions
Logical Reasoning-36
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning -20-22
Name of Section-3 with number of questions
Quantitative Skills-36
Quantitative Ability-22-24
Facility to choose order of sections
Yes, but once chosen has to follow
No, has to follow pre defined sectional order
Individual Sectional time limit
Yes, varying time limit of 28 minutes to 52 minutes
Each section with 40 Minute time limit
Top MBA colleges accepting exam score

NMAT Pattern Vs XAT
Similarities and dissimilarities in NMAT by GMAC exam pattern and XLRI XAT exam are more yet many similar points in both the exam pattern help the test takers to prepare for them simultaneously:

NMAT Exam Pattern 2020
Total questions
Overall time limit to attempt the exam
2 hours
3 Hours
Type of questions
All MCQs
All MCQs
Answer options for each MCQ
Marks awarded for each correct answer
Negative marking
No negative marking
75 MCQs with 1/4 negative marking; No negative marking for 25 MCQs in GK Section
Exam difficulty level
Number of sections
Total 4 sections
3 (Main sections Counted for Percentile calculation)
1 (GK section score not counted for percentile calculation)
Name of section-1 with number of questions
Language Skills-36
English Language & Logical Reasoning- 26
Name of Section-2 with number of questions
Logical Reasoning-36
Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation- 28
Name of Section-3 with number of questions
Quantitative Skills-36
Decision Making-21
Name of Section-4 with number of questions
General Awareness-25
Facility to choose order of sections
Yes, but once chosen has to follow
Any question from any section within overall time limit
Individual Sectional time limit
Yes, varying time limit of 28 minutes to 52 minutes
Top MBA colleges accepting exam score
Short name
Exam Pattern

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