What beyond CAT? Best alternatives

By Editorial

IIMs have only 8000 seats and the number of applicants that take the CAT exam is huge. As a result, not everyone will get to enroll in an IIM to pursue their studies. You must also know that institutions like XLRI, TISS, and IIFT are better than the newly established IIMs in India. Hence, we have compiled a list of entrance exams that you can take to get admitted in some of the top business institutions in India. 

AIMA-MAT (Management Aptitude Test)

Management Aptitude Test (MAT) is organized by the Centre for Management Services (CMS) which is a division of All India Management Association (AIMA).

The exam is organized four times in a year (February, May, September, and December).

The MAT score is valid for a period of one year. The registration form is priced at Rs. 1200.

Any graduate from any discipline can sit for the test. Even final year degree course candidates can sit for the exam too. 

MAT consists of multiple-choice questions in an objective test format. The candidate can take the test in either a computer-based test or as the paper-based test. Both formats are of two hours duration.

AIMS Test for Management Admissions (ATMA

ATMA is a test that has received the approval of the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India. This test is conducted for admitting students on the national level to MBA, PGDM and other postgraduate programs.  The scores have one-year validity. 

ATMA will also be organized online from 2020. The application form is priced at Rs. 950.

A graduate in any discipline from a recognized university can take the test. 

The test consists of 180 questions in six sections. Each section has been timed separately. The duration of the test is 3 hours. The questions in the test revolve around Analytical Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal skills. A candidate will receive 1 mark for a correct answer and 0.25 marks deduction for an incorrect answer. 

CFAI Business Studies Aptitude Test (IBSAT)

Conducted by the ICFAI Group, IBSAT is an aptitude test that is held for the candidates wanting to enroll themselves in management programs. The test is conducted all over India and the application form is priced at Rs 1200. 

Any graduates from any discipline with 50 percent marks can appear for this exam.

The test is a two hours test consisting of multiple-choice questions. A candidate’s skills in data interpretation, vocabulary, reading comprehension, analytical reasoning skills are examined with this aptitude test. 

Indian Institute of Foreign Trade Test (IIFT)

A written test is conducted by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) for those candidates who want to get admitted to the International Business course at this institute. They have two campuses in New Delhi and Kolkata. They also plan to set up a campus in Uganda.

IIFT is an autonomous institute by the Government of India. 

The test is held in different cities in India. The application form costs Rs. 1500 (Rs.750 for SC/ST/PH candidates).

To sit for the exam, you must have passed Bachelor’s degree in any discipline. 

The test is of two hours and consists of multiple choice objective questions. It has sections like logical reasoning, English comprehension, general knowledge and awareness, and quantitative analysis. Candidates are selected based on the performance in the written test. Then they have to appear for group discussion, interviews, and essay writing to get finally selected for the course.

Symbiosis National Aptitude Test (SNAP)

SNAP is usually a combined written exam for those students who want to get admission to PG institutes under Symbiosis International University.

The application form costs Rs. 1550. Candidates have to pay Rs. 1000 as application fee for applying to each separate institute.

You can take the exam if you are a graduate with fifty percent marks.

The two hours long SNAP test is an objective exam. For each incorrect answer, 25 percent marks are deducted.


Conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur, the XAT score is accepted by 77 institutes in India. 

The test is conducted on behalf of the Xavier Association of Management Institutes. 

XAT is conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur on behalf of the Xavier Association of Management Institutes (XAMI). XAT score is accepted by 77 institutes across the country. The test is conducted in 38 cities in India and four cities abroad. 

The application form and the information bulletin costs Rs 850. 

If you are a graduate in any discipline, you can apply for XAT.

The test consists of three sections namely verbal ability and logical reasoning, analytical reasoning and decision making ability, and quantitative ability and data interpretation. One can apply for three programs at the most. If you apply for multiple courses, you will have to appear for multiple interviews and group discussions too.


Tata Institute of Social Sciences organizes an entrance exam for enrolling students to their Masters's programs. The test is held in different exam centers in India. A candidate can apply for three programs at the most. 

The application fee for one program costs Rs. 820, two programs is Rs. 1640 and for three programs is Rs. 2460.

A graduate in any discipline can take the test.  

The Written Test consists of two parts and is for a duration of 45 minutes.

Part I 

Common Objective Test for all the programs and consists of 3 sections: General Awareness, Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Ability, and Verbal Reasoning.

Part II is the "Program-Based" test which is for a duration of 60 minutes for all the courses.

After the written test, Group Discussion and Personal Interview are held before the candidate is selected for any course.


Read also: 7 Smart Approaches to Crack CAT in Three Months!!


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