The selection process for the Top B-Schools in India typically comprises of two stages.
The first stage is usually a 2 to 3 hours (CAT-2015 was of 3 hours) online or written (depends on the exam) examination that tests the students on various skills (English, Math, General Awareness and Business Awareness) through multiple-choice questions with negative marking for wrong answers. CAT-2015 saw the introduction of non-MCQs for the first time in its history, and the same carried no negative marks for wrong answers. English and Maths are further subdivided into different areas:
CAT (Common Admission Test), is the gateway to the IIMs, the most prestigious management institutes in India. The CAT score is also used as a basis of admission at some other leading management institutes like S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR), Management Development Institute (MDI), Nirma Institute of Management, Fore School of Management, T.A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI) and K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies. The application procedure, however, for each of these institutes is different. CAT is usually held in the month of November and tests the aspirants on their English (Verbal and Reading Comprehension skills), Math (Quantitative Ability), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning) skills. The areas are clearly demarcated into sections. The number of sections and their composition vary from year to year. Hence the structure of the CAT is not certain.
XAT is the common entrance test for the Xavier group of institutions; XLRI, XIMB and XISS. Apart from these institutes, several other reputed institutes like S.P.Jain, LIBA and GIM also take XAT score. Usually conducted in January, the exam tests the aspirants on their General Awareness, Business Awareness and Essay writing skills, apart from their English and Math skills.
CET (Common Entrance Test for Maharashtra) is for admission into the management institutes of Maharashtra and includes reputed institutes such as Symbiosis and Jamnalal Bajaj. The aspirants are also tested on their Visual and Verbal reasoning skills apart from the English and Math skills.
NMAT (Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies), IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi), and TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai) conduct some of the other college-specific written tests.
The second phase of the entrance examination is conducted for those who are short-listed on the basis of their performance in the first stage. The institutes use various methods to assess an aspirant’s communication skills as an individual as well as within a group, motivation levels, written ability, ability to handle stress, clarity on career goals and objectives, awareness etc. This is typically done through Personal Interviews, Written Ability Test and Group Discussions. Some institutes like XLRI conduct only Personal Interviews.
The final selection of a candidate is usually based on the cumulative scores achieved during the Written Examination and the Personality Assessment stages in addition to some other factors such as past academic record, work-experience and extra-curricular accomplishments.
Getting a good score in CAT is not enough, you have to face the selection process as well. MBAGuru helped me in preparing for WAT and PI for good knowledge and confidence, GD sessions helped us very much. The PI sessions helped me to analyze where I was lacking and how to face an interview in which I was weak. Their guidance and support helped me to face the interviews and GDs with utmost confidence.