What Is the CMAT Exam?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn about the Common Management Admission Test, what you need to qualify to sit for it, how to prepare, and what type of questions will be asked.

A candidate sitting at her desk concentrating during an entrance exam.

The Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) is a three-hour aptitude exam to choose suitable students for admission to management programmes. The National Testing Agency (NTA) administers the CMAT for admission to MBA/PGDM courses.

The CMAT receives approximately 70,000 applicants each year. In 2023, 75,209 candidates registered for the examination, with 58,035 taking it [1]. Scoring well on the CMAT is essential to secure entry into a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Postgraduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) programme and begin the education necessary for lucrative career options. 

First, it helps to gain a strong understanding of what this exam is and why it matters.

What are the benefits of taking the CMAT exam?

One benefit is the number of MBA colleges in India that accept the CMAT. The difficulty level is moderate, so it doesn’t require deep study. Another benefit is that women and reserved category candidates get a reduced cost on the application fee.

As of 2023, the non-refundable fee to take the exam for males was ₹2000, and the cost for females and reserved category students was ₹1000 [2]. 

Eligibility requirements 

The eligibility criteria, as listed by the NTA, are as follows: 

  • The candidate must hold a bachelor’s degree in any discipline or be in their final year of study

  • You must have proof of Indian citizenship

  • No age restriction

Application requirements 

To take an exam, you must submit an online application. According to the NTA, the candidate must do the following to ensure successful submission. It’s best to have everything before you begin the application. You’ll need valid government-issued identification (ID) showing your date of birth. Additionally, you need to submit: 

  • Government identity details, such as your Aadhaar Number (last four digits) or election card (EPIC), passport number, or other valid ID

  • Education qualification

  • Any photo ID can be in colour or black and white but needs to show 8 per cent of your face. Do not wear any masks in the photo

  • A clear signature scanned into a JPEG format

  • Bank account details for payment 

  • A valid email address

  • A passport-sized photograph

Some application requirements could change. Reviewing the application packet for the next testing date once the NTA release is required. When applying, you need to select the location where you want to take the exam. CMAT test centres hold the exam in 124 cities across India, and you can choose up to four to ensure seating availability.  You cannot change the location once you submit. 

Before completing the final submission, ensure you’ve filled out all required areas and included any requested information. Otherwise, NTA could reject your application.  

CMAT syllabus 

For the CMAT, you’ll answer 100 questions in the categories of language comprehension, logical reasoning, general awareness, and data interpretation.

The 2023 exam had 20 questions per section for 80 points per section and an overall test score of 400.  You can retake the CMAT when NTA offers it, typically once or twice a year. If you’re keen on applying for an MBA, you could consider other available exams after checking with the schools you want to apply to for their acceptance criteria. For example, the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a globally recognised exam that can help you get into an MBA programme abroad.

Appearing for the test

On the day of your test, you must bring your admit card or the CMAT test centre can deny you access to the exam. You need to have the actual card. You cannot submit copies. 

Be sure to be at the CMAT test centre at your scheduled time. You can’t bring a mobile phone or other electronic devices (smartwatches, etc.) into the testing area. Some centres will have a locker for your coat and personal belongings, but just in case, leave all electronics at home or in your vehicle. 

You will have a form of identification other than your admit card. Acceptable ID includes:

  • Aadhar card

  • PAN card

  • Passport

  • Driver’s licence

  • College/University ID card

  • Voter card 

How to prepare for the CMAT? 

Consider taking mock tests covering each area on the exam. You can find free practice tests online and review previous years’ tests to understand how the questions are formulated. 

By establishing a test-taking strategy, you can be better prepared and confident. You’ll take the exam at your chosen testing centre, and complete the test on a computer. Your strategy should first include answering the questions you’re sure of and returning to those you’re less confident answering. Allow yourself time to review your answers. Practise this strategy when taking mock tests. 

After the test

Once the test has closed, the NTA will post the exam answer key at an announced time. Anyone who took the test can challenge an answer if they feel it’s incorrect. The NTA charges a fee for the challenge but refunds the fee after accepting the challenge. 

The NTA posts final scores on its website. The exam’s scoring works as follows: 

  • Correct answers are worth four marks 

  • Each incorrect answer costs one mark 

  • You don’t lose any points for unanswered questions

Next steps 

Considering a degree in management? Explore the MBA in Business Analytics programme offered by O.P Jindal Global University on Coursera. You can complete this accredited degree online in 24 to 36 months while building a strong cross-functional foundation in management. See if a career in management is right for you with Principles of Management, which you can complete in as little as three weeks.

Article sources


Careers360. “CMAT Result 2023 (Declared): Direct Link To Download Score Card, https://bschool.careers360.com/articles/cmat-result.” Accessed October 28, 2023.

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