10 important things to do for CMAT

Tips on how to ace these exam


If you want to get into a top B-school, a good score on the Common Management Admission Test – more commonly known as the CMAT – can go a long way. It is not the only factor in the admissions process, but a high score will only make your application package stronger.

But the test known as the gatekeeper of the MBA is no pushover. Preparation needs to take place over a good number of months in order to give yourself the best chance of success. So, with that in mind, here are 10 tips on how to ace CMAT.

1. Consistency over intensity

It is not only necessary to learn and know all the concepts and tricks; it is also essential to be confident and quick in using them. This means doing quick calculations in the quant section. To improve this skill it is better to have shorter, daily training sessions rather than cramming during the weekend.

2. Create a learning diary

The number of questions that are asked in CMAT questions are limited. Therefore a good method to improve and reduce your ‘white areas’ is to keep a learning diary. This means one should write down every unknown question (or also questions that took you too long to answer) and try to understand the correct answer and concept behind them. If you do this during your preparation you will see that, in time, your list of weaknesses will become shorter and shorter.

3. Set an exponential CMAT preparation timetable

It goes without saying that you need to leave enough time and plan effectively during CMAT preparation. Furthermore, I recommend that you take an exponential approach in preparation time planning; the closer you get to your test date, the more time you should plan for CMAT preparation.

4. Train to use paper during CMAT Preparation

Many test centers offer only paper for calculations and sketches during the test. This can lead to irritation for those not accustomed to using an erasable overhead marker – especially left-handed people, who often tend to smear their notes. Knowing this, you should practice this during your preparation phase in order to avoid as many surprises on test day as possible.

5. Do not overestimate CMAT mock results

The mocks that are available on your dashboard are cited by many sources as a good way to train in real test conditions. This is absolutely true, but one should not overestimate the results one gets from these mock tests, since they are not adapted to real empirical, standardized test results. So use them, but do not consider yourself ready when you have reached your target score in these tests.

6. Give lots of CMAT mocks

One can get good CMAT mocks from many sources. The good thing about mocks, it helps you too face all types of questions, & makes you familiarized which the surrounding & also with the stress you have with time management.

7. Practice educated guessing

A good method in dealing with CMAT questions (especially in the verbal section) to which you are not absolutely certain of the answer is ‘educated guessing’. This means to quickly rank the four possible answers in order of their suitability and exclude wrong answers. One can save time by quickly eliminating two or three wrong answers and then guess out of the rest. Of course, a proper evaluation is better, but sometimes time constraints render this something of a luxury.

8. Focus on your weaknesses… but in a measured way

One should always know the CMAT test areas in which one is weakest. Nevertheless, a big mistake is to focus only on one weakness for too great a period of time, since General knowledge can also be forgotten easily and quickly. A good method can be to set a certain base level of mock questions in each category to do on each day. In the category in which you need to sure up your knowledge, additional questions and time should be planned on top. Therefore you can improve on weaknesses without risking losing focus on other areas.

9. Try to overshoot your target CMAT Score

Even if you don’t necessarily need a 350+ CMAT score for your MBA application – maybe only 320 or 300 – it is still wise to overshoot during preparation in order to more or less safely reach your required score. Your preparation should target a CMAT score of at least 50 higher than you ‘need’. It is not uncommon for test takers to score 30 marks more or less than they were expecting, depending on their individual physical and mental state on the test day and the questions they face.

10. Set time milestones during the CMAT mocks

One of the most common worst case scenarios during the CMAT test is the test taker running out of time towards the end. One of the major problems is that most candidates do not recognize that they are falling behind until it’s too late. It is hard to compensate wisely in this situation, meaning that takers are forced to take rapid and wild guesses. A simple tool to avoid this scenario is to set and stick to certain milestones. For instance in the quant section, candidates should know immediately that with 180 minutes in hand, GK section should be given only 10-15 mins, while for other sections allot at least 45-50 mins. This strategy lets you know very early that you might be behind schedule and therefore gives you the chance and enough remaining questions to react. Don’t do guesswork, since CMAT has negative marking of -1, thus avoid attempting unsure questions.

All the Best!!!