CMAT 2024 Vs NBSAT 2024: Which MBA Entrance Exam Fits Your Ambition? Cracking MBA Admission Tests

CMAT 2024 Vs NBSAT 2024: Which MBA Entrance Exam Fits Your Ambition? Cracking MBA Admission Tests

Hey! Deciding which MBA entrance exam to take can be a bit overwhelming, right? I totally get it. If you’re eyeing an MBA in 2024 and wondering whether to go for CMAT or NBSAT, We have  got some insights that might help you make up your mind.


In the ever-evolving landscape of management education, the gateway to securing a spot in a prestigious MBA program lies in navigating the intricate maze of entrance exams. As 2024 unfolds, the arena of MBA entrance tests in India is buzzing with activity, presenting both daunting challenges and exciting opportunities for aspirants. This is a world where every mark counts, every question can be a turning point, and choosing the right exam can set the trajectory for your career.


For MBA aspirants, the decision is more than a choice between exams; it’s about aligning with the ethos that resonates with their career aspirations. Do they seek the broad-reaching implications and diverse opportunities that CMAT offers, or the focused, industry-specific approach of NBSAT?


In this comprehensive guide, you will learn the nuances of CMAT and NBSAT, uncovering their patterns, syllabi, preparation strategies, and what sets them apart in the competitive world of MBA admissions. Whether you are an MBA hopeful aiming for the stars or a curious mind exploring your options, join us in unraveling the secrets of these two pivotal exams that could be your stepping stone to management glory.

NBSAT Overview

  • Full Form: Narayana Business School Aptitude Test
  • Level: National
  • Exam Fees: INR 1,000 (All categories)
  • Eligibility: 60% aggregate in 10th, 12th, and Graduation
  • Purpose: Admission into Narayana Business School
  • Courses Offered: MBA+PGPCE, PGDM Dual Specialisation, PGDM Quantitative Finance, PGDM Data Science & Business Analytics

NBSAT Highlights

  • Exam Pattern: Online Proctored Exam with Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Syllabus: Quantitative Techniques, Data Interpretation & Data Adequacy, Vocabulary, Analytical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension
  • Duration: 120 minutes
  • No Negative Marking: Incorrect answers do not attract penalties.

Admission Process

  • Eligibility Criteria: Graduates from any recognized university with a 60% aggregate. Final year candidates and those with specific educational backgrounds for certain PGDM programs are also eligible.
  • Registration Process: Online application through the NBS portal.
  • Selection Criteria: Based on Statement of Purpose (SOP), NBSAT Score, Academic Achievements, Work Experience, and Personal Interview.

Key Dates for NBSAT 2024

  • Registration Opens: 18-Dec-2023 for NBSAT II
  • Exam Dates: 04-Feb-2024 for NBSAT II.

Unique Features of NBSAT

  • NBSAT is designed as an alternative to other management entrance exams like CAT, CMAT, XAT, etc.
  • It offers a comprehensive assessment across various domains critical to management studies.
  • Narayana Business School is ranked among the top 10 private business schools in India.

CMAT Overview

  • Conducting Body: National Testing Agency (NTA)
  • Frequency: Annually
  • Mode: Online Computer-Based Test
  • Medium: English
  • Sections: 5 (Language Comprehension, Quantitative Techniques & Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, General Awareness, Innovation & Entrepreneurship)
  • Questions: 100 Multiple Choice Questions
  • Total Marks: 400
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Negative Marking: Yes, 25% for incorrect answers

CMAT Key Highlights

  • Eligibility: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent. No minimum aggregate marks required.
  • Exam Pattern: Divided into five sections, each with 20 questions.
  • Syllabus: Includes Quantitative Techniques, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Language Comprehension, General Awareness, and optional Innovation & Entrepreneurship.
  • Preparation Tips: Analyze previous year papers, stay updated with current affairs, and improve English vocabulary.

Important Aspects

  • Registration: Expected to begin in the second week of February 2024.
  • Admission Cutoffs: Lower than CAT, with simpler questions.
  • Score vs Percentile Analysis: A score of 201-280 can fetch a percentile of 81-89. For top institutes like JBIMS, GIM Goa, etc., a score above 280 and a percentile above 95 is required.

NBSAT VS CMAT - An Updated Guide And Comparision Between MBA Entrance Exams


Now, let’s talk NBSAT. This one’s specific to Narayana Business School and it’s like a tailored suit – it fits just right if NBS is where you see yourself. The test is more focused and industry-specific. It’s also an online test but shorter than CMAT, and guess what – no negative marking! So, you can take a few educated guesses without worrying too much.


NBSAT, designed by Narayana Business School, stands out for its focus on assessing skills directly relevant to the dynamic world of business management. With a registration fee of INR 1,000, it is accessible to a wide range of aspirants. The eligibility criterion of a 60% aggregate in academics ensures a high standard of candidates.


CMAT, conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), is a well-recognized entrance exam for numerous MBA institutions across India. It’s known for its comprehensive testing pattern, covering a broad spectrum of subjects.

Exam Pattern And Syllabus

NBSAT: A Focused Approach

  • Exam Pattern: NBSAT is an online proctored exam focusing on Quantitative Techniques, Data Interpretation & Data Adequacy, Vocabulary, Analytical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension.
  • No Negative Marking: This exam does not penalize for incorrect answers, encouraging candidates to attempt all questions.
  • Duration: The test is conducted over 120 minutes.


NBSAT’s syllabus, comprising Quantitative Techniques, Data Interpretation & Data Adequacy, Vocabulary, Analytical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension, is tailored to assess skills crucial for business management. The online proctored exam format and the absence of negative marking make it a unique choice for students.

CMAT: A Broader Perspective

  • Frequency and Mode: Conducted annually, CMAT is an online computer-based test.
  • Exam Pattern: It comprises 100 multiple-choice questions across five sections – Language Comprehension, Quantitative Techniques & Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, General Awareness, and Innovation & Entrepreneurship.
  • Marking Scheme: Each correct answer earns 4 marks, with a 25% negative marking for incorrect answers.
  • Duration: The exam spans 3 hours.


CMAT covers Language Comprehension, Quantitative Techniques & Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, and General Awareness. With a negative marking scheme, it challenges students to be precise and accurate.

Syllabus And How To Prepare

NBSAT: Focused and Industry-Relevant


  • Syllabus: Concentrates on areas directly relevant to business management, aligning with the contemporary needs of the industry.
  • Preparation Strategy: Emphasizes understanding of business concepts, analytical skills, and reading comprehension.

CMAT: Comprehensive and Challenging


  • Syllabus: Covers a broad range of topics, requiring aspirants to have a well-rounded knowledge base.
  • Preparation Tips: Candidates are advised to focus on previous year papers, current affairs, and a strong foundation in English and Mathematics.

Eligibility and Accessibility

NBSAT: Ensuring Quality through Eligibility

NBSAT maintains a high standard of applicants through its eligibility criteria, ensuring that students with a strong academic background are considered. This focus on quality is a testament to Narayana Business School’s commitment to excellence.


CMAT’s eligibility criteria are more inclusive, allowing a larger pool of candidates to apply. This makes CMAT a popular choice among a diverse group of MBA aspirants.

Exam Frequency And Reach

NBSAT: Exclusive and Specialized

NBSAT is conducted specifically for admission to Narayana Business School’s MBA and PGDM programs, making it a specialized exam for those targeting these prestigious programs.

CMAT: Non Specialized

As a national-level exam, CMAT offers opportunities to a wide range of MBA colleges across India, making it a versatile choice for students looking at multiple institutions.

Preparation and Difficulty Level

NBSAT: A Balanced Approach

NBSAT’s balanced difficulty level and the absence of negative marking make it an appealing option for students who are focused on showcasing their strengths without the fear of penalty for wrong answers.

CMAT: A Rigorous Test

CMAT’s inclusion of negative marking and a broader syllabus makes it a more rigorous test, challenging students to prepare extensively.

Why Choose NBSAT In 2024?

Choosing NBSAT in 2024 opens the door to Narayana Business School, renowned for its specialized MBA and PGDM programs. These programs are meticulously designed to cater to the evolving needs of the business world, ensuring that students are not just educated but transformed into industry leaders. Here’s a glimpse into the unique programs that NBS offers, making NBSAT the preferred choice for many aspirants:

1. PGDM Dual Specialization

The PGDM Dual Specialization at Narayana Business School is a transformative two-year experience designed to equip students with expertise in two crucial business domains. This program stands out for its dynamic and adaptable curriculum, accredited by AICTE, and offers over 16 specializations including Marketing, Finance, HR, IT, Operations, and General Management. It nurtures future leaders and entrepreneurs, enhancing both academic and professional expertise. The program’s unparalleled approach, combined with world-class teaching, prepares students to excel in the global business arena.

2. PGDM Data Science and Analytics

The PGDM in Data Science & Business Analytics program is tailored for the burgeoning field of business analytics. It provides a deep understanding of core business principles, data analytics techniques, machine learning algorithms, and statistical modeling. The program also focuses on data visualization techniques to master predictive analytics. Students learn to master critical languages and tools used in Data Science and Business Analytics, including MS Excel, Python, R, MongoDB, MySQL, Hadoop, MATLAB, Power BI, and Tableau. This program positions graduates at the forefront of the analytics revolution, making them highly sought after by top companies.

3. PGDM – Quantitative Finance

The PGDM in Quantitative Finance program is designed for those interested in the intricate world of global finance. It offers hands-on experience in real-world financial scenarios and prepares students to navigate the complexities of global financial markets. The curriculum covers a wide range of topics, including computational finance, asset management, financial engineering, and risk management. This program is ideal for students with backgrounds in Economics, Finance, or STEM, passionate about crunching numbers and excelling in quantitative finance.


The MBA + PGPCE program at Narayana Business School is an innovative blend that goes beyond traditional MBA confines. It combines a GTU-Affiliated MBA with a comprehensive 18-month Post Graduate Program in Corporate Excellence (PGPCE). This program bridges the gap between academics and industry needs, offering practical tools alongside theoretical knowledge. With three core modules and over 30 value-added courses, it stands out as a top destination for globally recognized MBA education. The program is designed to forge robust industry networks and hone vital skills for the corporate world.


These programs at Narayana Business School are not just about academic excellence; they are about transforming students into industry-ready professionals with a global perspective. Choosing NBSAT in 2024 opens up opportunities to be part of these innovative and industry-aligned programs, setting the stage for a successful and dynamic career in the business world.


At NBS, education extends beyond the confines of traditional learning. The vibrant campus life, student-led clubs, and mentorship programs foster holistic growth, ensuring comprehensive development of each student. With a selective acceptance rate, NBS prides itself on fostering excellence and setting students on a path towards academic brilliance and professional success.

Join The Elite At NBS

By choosing NBSAT, you’re not just selecting an entrance exam; you’re stepping into a world of premier education and unparalleled opportunities. NBS’s rigorous selection process, combined with its innovative and industry-relevant programs, makes it a beacon for those aspiring to excel in the business world. Are you ready to be part of this transformative journey?

Conclusion: Your Path, Your NBSAT, Your Choice

Your choice really boils down to what you want from your MBA journey. If you’re aiming for a wide array of colleges and love a challenge, CMAT is your go-to. But if Narayana Business School is calling your name and you want something more specialized, NBSAT is the way to go.


The decision between NBSAT and CMAT is more than a choice of exam; it’s a choice of path. NBSAT is your gateway to the specialized and esteemed MBA programs at Narayana Business School, offering a curriculum and environment tailored to future business leaders.


Remember, both exams have their perks and quirks. It’s about what aligns with your career goals and where you see yourself thriving. Good luck, and here’s to making the choice that lights up your MBA path!

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NBSAT VS CAT: Top MBA Entrance Exam In India 2024-26, Check Eligibility, Exam Dates And Admission Process

NBSAT VS CAT: Top MBA Entrance Exam In India 2024-26, Check Eligibility, Exam Dates And Admission Process

Comparison Of NBSAT Vs Other MBA Entrance Exams: Full Guide (Preparation Tips Inside)

The year 2024 will witness numerous management aspirants vying for admission into top MBA programs across the country. Two prominent entrance exams that will dominate the landscape are NBSAT (Narayana Business School Admission Test) and CAT (Common Admission Test). Let’s compare these exams to understand their key differences and help you make an informed decision.

1. Exam Structure and Format:

  • NBSAT: NBSAT is a proctored online test with a duration of 120 minutes. It consists of objective-type questions covering topics such as quantitative techniques, data interpretation and data adequacy, vocabulary, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension. 


  • CAT: CAT is also a computer-based test, divided into three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA). CAT is known for its challenging questions and requires a strategic approach to time management.

2. Acceptance By Institutions:

  • NBSAT: NBSAT is exclusively conducted for admission to Narayana Business School. Clearing NBSAT opens doors to various MBA programs offered by the institute. 


  • CAT: CAT scores are widely accepted by numerous prestigious management institutes across India, including the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). CAT provides a gateway to a broader range of MBA programs and institutes.

3. Competition And Difficulty Level:

  • NBSAT: As NBSAT is conducted for admission to a specific business school, the competition is relatively lower compared to CAT. However, it still attracts a pool of talented candidates aiming for admission to Narayana Business School. 


  • CAT: CAT is renowned for its high level of competition and difficulty. It is attempted by a vast number of students across the country, including those aspiring for admission to premier management institutes like the IIMs. CAT requires extensive preparation and a strong grasp of fundamental concepts.

4. Program Specializations:

  • NBSAT: NBSAT offers a range of MBA and PGDM programs with specializations like PGDM Data Science & Analytics, PGDM Quantitative Finance, PGDM Dual Specialization, and MBA + PGPCE. These specialized programs cater to the specific career goals of students. 


  • CAT: CAT does not provide specific program specializations. Instead, it serves as a gateway to MBA programs offered by various institutes, allowing students to choose their preferred specialization during the admission process.

5. Focus On Specific Business School:

  • NBSAT: NBSAT is designed to assess candidates specifically for admission to Narayana Business School. It evaluates their suitability for the institute’s programs and ensures a good fit between the candidate and the educational environment. 


  • CAT: CAT assesses candidates’ aptitude for management education without being specific to any particular business school. It provides a more general evaluation of a candidate’s skills and abilities for pursuing an MBA.

Why Pursue MBA?

The decision to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) is a significant one, often driven by a combination of personal and professional aspirations. Following the statement, choosing the right factors to select the best MBA college holds equal significance. Here are some compelling reasons to consider this transformative journey:

  • Level Up in Your Career: 


While on-the-job experience is invaluable, an MBA program offers a structured and comprehensive approach to business education. It can fast-track your learning process, equipping you with a holistic understanding of business operations. With an MBA, you not only validate your leadership skills but also signal to potential employers your readiness for higher roles. This can lead to access to more challenging projects, a broader client base, and increased responsibilities.


  • Financial Growth: 


An MBA can significantly enhance your earning potential. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), MBA graduates often command higher salaries, with a reported median salary of $115,000 at US-based companies. This financial growth is not just about the immediate post-MBA phase but extends throughout one’s career.


  • Fortify Your Business Skills: 


MBA programs are meticulously designed to instill a wide range of business skills. From strategic thinking and innovation to effective communication and leadership, graduates are equipped with skills that are highly valued in the corporate world. These skills not only make you a valuable asset to any organization but also prepare you for entrepreneurial ventures.


  • Broaden Your Business Perspective: 


One of the unique aspects of MBA programs is the diversity they offer. Interacting with peers from different industries, functions, and even countries can significantly broaden your business perspective. This global exposure is further amplified by international seminars, courses on cross-cultural business, and global immersion programs offered by many B-schools.


  • Networking Opportunities: 


The connections you make during your MBA can last a lifetime. From classmates and faculty to industry experts and alumni, the network you build can open doors to numerous opportunities in the future. This network is not just about job referrals; it’s about learning from diverse experiences, collaborating on ventures, and even finding mentors who can guide you throughout your career.


  • Specializations: 


While an MBA offers a broad understanding of business, many programs also allow students to specialize in areas aligned with their career goals. Whether it’s finance, marketing, operations, or business analytics, these specializations can give you an edge in specific industries or functions.

Types Of Entrance Exams

When it comes to pursuing an MBA in India, there are several entrance exams that aspirants can take. These exams are gateways to some of the most prestigious business schools in the country. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most prominent MBA entrance exams:


CAT (Common Admission Test):

About: CAT is the largest MBA entrance exam in India, conducted annually by one of the older IIMs. It’s the primary gateway for admission into the 21 IIMs and over 500 other top MBA colleges in India.

Key Dates: Registration for CAT 2023 was from August 2 to September 21, 2023, and the exam was conducted on November 26, 2023.

Exam Details: CAT 2023 had 66 questions divided into three sections: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability.


XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test):

About: Conducted by XLRI Jamshedpur, XAT is an important entrance exam for admission to over 150 MBA colleges in India.

Key Dates: Registration for XAT 2024 was from July 15 to November 30, 2023, and the exam was scheduled for January 7, 2024.

Exam Details: XAT 2024 is a computer-based test with questions covering areas like Verbal and Logical Ability, Decision Making, and Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation.

IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade) Exam:

About: Previously, IIFT conducted its own entrance test for its MBA (IB) program. However, from 2024 onwards, IIFT has decided to accept CAT scores for admissions, making the IIFT entrance exam redundant.



About: NMAT is a national-level MBA entrance test leading to admission in top MBA colleges like NMIMS Mumbai, SPJIMR, ISB, and over 30 other institutes and universities in India.

Key Dates: Registration for NMAT 2023 was from August 1 to October 12, 2023, with the exam being conducted from October 10 to December 19, 2023.

Exam Details: NMAT 2023 is a computer-based test with 108 questions spread across three sections: 

Language Skills, Quantitative Skills, and Logical Reasoning.


On the contrary, there are other career options that do not require CAT exams or CAT scores. 

MBA Entrance Exam Preparation Tips (Updated)

Preparing for an MBA entrance exam is a journey that requires dedication, strategy, and a clear understanding of the end goal. With the increasing competition and the vast syllabus that needs to be covered, it’s essential to have a structured approach to ensure success. Here are some tailored tips to help you ace your MBA entrance exams:

Understand the Exam Pattern and Syllabus:

  • Before diving into preparation, familiarize yourself with the exam pattern. For instance, the NBSAT exam is an Online Proctored Exam with MCQ which measures abilities in Quantitative Techniques (QT), Data Interpretation & Data Adequacy (DI & DA), Vocabulary, Analytical Reasoning (AR), Reading Comprehension (RC). Knowing the weightage of each section can help you allocate your time and resources effectively.

Choose The Right Study Material:

  • Rely on trusted sources and recommended books. Websites like MBAUniverse offer insights and updates on the latest exam patterns and syllabi. Online platforms and coaching classes provide mock tests, which are crucial for understanding the exam format and improving speed and accuracy.

Create A Study Schedule:

  • Allocate specific hours each day for your MBA preparation. Consistency is key. Dedicate more time to topics you find challenging and regularly revise the ones you are confident about.

Practice Regularly:

  • Regular practice is the key to success. The more you practice, the better you get at solving questions within the stipulated time. Mock tests simulate the actual exam environment and help in time management. Analyze your performance after each test to identify areas of improvement.

Stay Updated:

  • For exams that have a General Knowledge or Current Affairs section, it’s essential to stay updated with the latest news and events. Regularly read newspapers, magazines, and follow reliable news sources online.

Join A Study Group:

  • Study groups can be beneficial. Discussing and teaching concepts to peers can reinforce your understanding. Group studies also provide diverse perspectives on solving a particular problem.

Stay Healthy And Positive:

  • Physical health plays a crucial role in ensuring mental agility. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep can significantly impact your preparation. Stay positive and believe in yourself. Avoid unnecessary stress and take regular breaks to relax and rejuvenate.

Seek Guidance:

  • If you’re stuck or confused about a particular topic, don’t hesitate to seek guidance. It could be from a teacher, a peer, or online forums.

    Remember, it’s essential to clear your doubts at the earliest to maintain the flow of your preparation.

Revise Regularly:

  • Regular revision ensures that you retain information for a more extended period. Make short notes or flashcards for quick revisions.

Parting Thoughts: Stay Away from Last-minute Cramming:

Avoid picking up new topics just before the exam. It can create unnecessary stress and confusion.Trust your preparation and stay calm. A relaxed mind performs better than a stressed one.


Ultimately, the choice between NBSAT and CAT depends on your specific preferences and goals. NBSAT opens a plethora of career opportunities of various fields with its specialized courses. If you aspire to join Narayana Business School and are interested in their specialized programs, NBSAT is the ideal choice. On the other hand, if you aim for a broader range of MBA programs and institutes, CAT offers a wider scope. Consider factors such as competition, program specializations, and the reputation of the institute before making your decision.

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