How to prepare for state level MBA entrance exams? Expert tips by Ramnath Kanakadandi, T.I.M.E.
Updated on May 1, 2018 - 10:15 a.m. IST by Sreetama Datta

With the major MBA entrance exams already over and results declared, it is time to gear up for the state level MBA entrance exams. MBA aspirants who could not qualify for the cutoffs of top B-schools, still have the opportunity to get admission in one of the top B-schools through state level entrances.


The upcoming MBA state level entrances scheduled during May-June include APICET, TSICET, TANCET MBA, UPSEE MBA, OJEE MBA, JEMAT, Karnataka PGCET MBA, KMAT, HPUMAT etc. In this interview of Careers360, Ramnath Kanakadandi, CAT Course Director, T.I.M.E. shares the preparation strategies for the state level MBA entrance exams.

Ramnath_KanakadandiHaving about two to three months on hand is strongly recommended to take enough mocks to fine tune their preparation and test-taking strategies. Ramnath Kanakadandi, T.I.M.E.

Excerpts from the interview.

Careers360: What are the major state level MBA entrance exams aspirants should aim for?

Ramnath Kanakadandi: The major state-level MBA entrance exams that students take are Maharashtra MBACET, ICET (AP & Telangana), PGCET (Karnataka). In addition to these exams like CMAT and MAT, inspite of being All-India tests, are accepted by many local level colleges and are hence important exams that the students could target. The local/non-local criteria will not be applicable to students apply through these two examinations.


Careers360: What is the minimum duration of preparation which is required for state level MBA entrance exam preparation?

Ramnath Kanakadandi: There can be no such thing as 'minimum duration' as these exams are a test of aptitude (basic intelligence). However, it is recommended that the students start their preparation as early as they can. Having about two to three months on hand is strongly recommended to take enough mocks to fine-tune their preparation and test-taking strategies. Ideally, students should start their preparation about a year ahead of the test so that they can balance their test preparation and their graduate course work.


Careers360: What should be the preparation strategy for three to one month left for the exam?

Ramnath Kanakadandi: Those who have started their preparation well in advance and have completed the basic level of study in all areas to a considerable extent. These students should start taking full-length mocks. The mocks would help identify any chinks in the armour – areas of improvement. Focused preparation in these areas would help them get stronger. One test a week in the last two months will help them build the appropriate test-taking strategy which includes smart question selection, proper allocation of time across sections etc.


Careers360: Would a common preparation suffice or there has to be the specific strategy for each test? If yes, what should be the specific strategy?

Ramnath Kanakadandi: Specific strategy would be needed for each test based on the pattern (sections/time/negative marking) of the tests. The strategy would also depend on the kind of b-school that one is targeting and hence the percentile/score/rank that one aims for. The students' comfort levels with the test areas would also determine the strategy.


Careers360: Please share sectional preparation tips for the areas such as Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation & Reasoning and General Awareness.

Ramnath Kanakadandi: The section wise strategies are given below:

 Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension:

Reading Comprehension:

  • Reading on diverse topics is essential

  • Ensure that after reading, a summary of the article is written – this will improve comprehension and, in case of a general awareness article, retention too.

Verbal Ability: This includes Vocab based questions (Analogies/Cloze test etc), Para Formation Questions and Para completion questions. Building good vocabulary skills is needed for this area, along with good comprehension skills to make the correct and intended sense of the given text.


Quantitative Ability:

List out the areas/topics to focus on: Until the last 3-4 weeks running up to the exam, the students should focus on getting better on all the topics in Quant. Then the focus should be shifted to concentrating on specific areas which would give them the maximum return for their time. Students should have a clear understanding of their comfort level in all Quant topics. Mock-test performances should be analysed at a topic level. The areas where the students have been scoring below par repeatedly and the areas where the scores have been fluctuating should be the areas of focus.

These simple steps are to be followed while preparing

  • Understand the basics concepts of the selected topic thoroughly

  • Write down all the formulae and concepts related to the topic on a chart to use as a ready reckoner

  • Know when a particular formula is to be used

  • Solve at least 30-40 questions from the topic

Logical Ability and Data Interpretation

The questions in LR and DI areas can be cracked only by gaining the necessary exposure to such question types which are seen in the exams. This exposure can be gained only be a continuous practice which is the key to crack these areas. With not much theory seen in these areas, it is essential that students solve as many questions as they can.


General Awareness

While preparing for this section, it would be advisable for students to focus more on issues related to business, economics and politics related to the business environment.

In addition to reading newspapers regularly, it would be advisable for a student to prepare from Manorama & CSR Year Books. Focus on the following chapters.

  • Who is who

  • What is what

  • Science scan

  • Human body

  • Computers

  • Landmarks of history

  • The Universe

Careers360: What should be the time management strategy during preparation and on the exam day?

Ramnath Kanakadandi: While preparation, focus on identifying the weak areas and improving upon them and also on fine-tuning the test-taking strategy. During the test, focus on score maximisation, which is to increase the number of attempts and accuracy. This is to be done by staying away from the difficult questions and not missing the easy questions.


Careers360: What is your advice for the MBA aspirants who are planning to write the state level MBA entrance exams?

Ramnath Kanakadandi: Make sure that you spend your time on what gives you the most return in terms of learning. Do not spend time beyond a point on any area as incremental benefits after a level is very low. Do not neglect any areas – selective preparation is risky and dangerous. All the best!!

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