MAT Exam Pattern – MAT Paper Pattern, Marking Scheme, Subjects

MAT exam pattern is based on a pre-defined test structure and specific guidelines issued by All India Management Association (AIMA) which conducts the national level MBA entrance exam. The MAT exam is divided into five sections – each containing 40 questions. The sections include Language Comprehension, Intelligence and Critical Reasoning, Data Analysis and Sufficiency, Mathematical Skills, Indian and Global Environment. The exam is conducted in both PBT (Paper-Based Test) and CBT (Computer-Based Test). After the outbreak of COVID this year, AIMA has come up with Remotely Proctored Internet Based Test (IBT) which students can opt to take the test from home. 

According to the AIMA officials, the IBT mode of test has been launched this year so that candidates can take the test from the safe confines and convenience of their homes. To appear for the test in IBT mode, the examinee will need to have a computer with certain configuration along with webcam as well.  “The examinees should have a computer together with webcam and internet facilities meeting certain specifications. The sanctity and security of the test are effectively maintained through remote proctoring in dual mode i.e., by employing robust Artificial Intelligence (AI) based tools as also human proctors,” an official notification from AIMA read. 

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MAT Exam Pattern – Key Highlights

Key Features  Pattern
Total number of questions 200
Number of test sections5
Total duration of test 150 minutes
Maximum marks for each question1
Total marks 200
Negative marks for wrong answer .25

The five sections of MAT exam paper carry a total of 200 questions altogether. Every section has a total of 40 questions of 1 mark each. There is also a provision of negative marking of one-fourth marks. There is no negative marking for the unanswered questions.

Below is the table with details of section-wise questions and marking pattern. 

Sections in MAT PaperNumber of QuestionsCorrect AnswerIncorrect AnswerMaximum Marks
Language Comprehension4010.2540
Intelligence and Critical Reasoning4010.2540
Data Analysis and Sufficiency4010.2540
Mathematical Skills4010.2540
Indian and Global Environment4010.2540
Total200  200

MAT Exam Pattern – Section-wise suggested time 

The total test duration for MAT exam is two and a half hours. The test takers can devise their own strategies to utilise the testing time to attempt different sections based on the level of difficulty and their strength areas. The test conducting authority, however, advises test takers to optimise time spent on each section so that they can have balanced score across the sections. The AIMA prescribes test takers to divide their test timing as below: 

Section TitleSuggested time limit 
Language Comprehension 30 minutes
Intelligence and Critical Reasoning 30 minutes
Data Analysis and Sufficiency 35 minutes
Mathematical Skills 40 minutes
Indian and Global Environment 15 minutes
Total150 minutes

MAT Exam Pattern – Section-wise break-up

While the first four sections in the MAT exam matches with test sections of other MBA entrance tests like CAT and XAT, it includes an additional section named – Indian and Global Environment. The difficulty level of different section remains easy to moderate as compared to CAT and XAT exams. Let’s go into the details of different sections of MAT exam paper along with a few tips to prepare for the test. 

Language Comprehension

You need a good understanding of the English language and knowledge of Grammar to score well in this section. The questions are not tricky but are related to only the basics of Grammar. You need to have good speed and the knack of language to score well. The time you save in this section can be best utilized in other sections.

Intelligence and Critical Reasoning

You need to be quick in understanding the questions in this section. The best tip for this section is read questions fast and process it well before going to answer options. The questions can be tricky although not very long compared to other sections. In Intelligence and Critical Reasoning section, the questions are also asked in sets. Therefore, this type of questions will require comprehensive understanding of the first statement or details related to the set of questions. Once you understand it well, you can quickly attempt all questions in that particular set. 

Data Analysis and Sufficiency

You will find that the questions in this section are time-consuming. You need a lot of practice to score well in this section. You will find that there are lengthy and time-consuming questions in this section that also require calculations. The questions are in the forms of graphs, tables and charts. You should always plan for spending more time on this section than the other ones. 

Mathematical Skills

Contrary to popular belief, the questions of this section are not tricky or difficult. If your basic concepts are clear and you practice regularly, you can easily do well in this section. You should not spend more than 10-15 seconds on a question which you think will take more than a minute. Instead, you should jump to the other questions to attempt easier questions first. As mentioned earlier regular practice is the key to perform well in this section.

Indian and Global Environment

This section covers questions related to general knowledge of current affairs, who’s who, United Nations, Indian constitution, Business, Economy among other areas. If you have been reading and following news and have read competitive exam magazines regularly, you can easily score well in this section. 

MAT Exam Pattern – How to Prepare?

You must have a comprehensive strategy to crack the MAT. While it is not as difficult as CAT or XAT, you still need regular practice and a well-planned strategy to score well in the exam. Since this entrance exam carries as many as 200 questions, double to that in CAT, you need to be good in time management to maximise your number of attempted questions. The second challenge is that there is negative marking for every incorrect answer. Below is the list of important tips to score well in MAT: 

  1. You should practice regularly for Math 
  2. Read newspapers, periodicals to increase your reading speed 
  3. You should take at least 15-20 mock tests before you appear for the actual test 
  4. Evaluate your performance after each mock test and work on improvement areas 
  5. Understand and analyse your areas of strength and build on them. 
  6. Make a routine and be disciplined in sticking to it. There is no alternative to practice and hard work. 

MAT Exam Pattern – FAQs

✔️ What all are the different modes for a MAT exam?

There are two modes available for appearing in MAT - first is the paper-based test and the second is computer-based test. The AIMA has added an additional mode of exam this year, where students can take the test from their home provided, they have internet connection and a computer with webcam. The MAT exam pattern, however, remains the same irrespective of the test mode.

✔️ How much time do I get during a MAT exam?

The MAT test is of two and half hours. Though, there is no section-wise time restriction, AIMA has prescribed an ideal time frame for different sections of the test. The test takers should devise their own strategy depending on their areas of strengths and weaknesses. It is advisable for test takers to attempt easy question first to optimise their performance in the test.

✔️ What is the marking scheme in MAT?

In MAT exam, you get 1 mark for each correct response. There is negative marking also for the wrong answer. For every wrong answer, test takers lose 0.25 marks. There are no deductions for unattempted questions. So, if you are in doubt, you should better skip the question rather than inviting negative marking.

✔️ What are the different sections in MAT and what is their difficulty level.

The MAT exam comprises 5 sections - Language Comprehension, Intelligence and Critical Reasoning, Data Analysis and Sufficiency, Mathematical Skills and Indian and Global Environment. Each section carries 40 questions. The overall difficulty level of the test is easy to moderate. MAT exam is considered to be easier than other national level MBA entrance exam like CAT, XAT and NMAT by GMAC.

✔️ How many questions are there in a MAT exam?

Answer: MAT exam carries a total of 200 questions divided in 5 sections with 40 questions in each section. You get 1 mark for a correct answer. There is a penalty of -0.25 marks for each incorrect answer. There is no deduction for unattempted question.

✔️ What kind of questions are asked in Intelligence and Critical Reasoning section of MAT exam?

This section carries questions to test one’s reasoning ability. The test-takers need to be careful while approaching the question as the language can be tricky. The questions can range from data analysis, relations between family members to input-output and coding-decoding.

✔️ What kind of questions are asked in Indian and Global Environment section of MAT exam?

In this section, the questions are related to current affairs. To score well in this section, you need to keep yourself abreast of the recent happenings and events related to business, economy, international sports, etc.