The CAT exam (Common Admission Test) is a computer-based MBA entrance test administered by IIMs and other prestigious business schools in India such as IMT, IMI, SPJIMR, FMS, NITIE, JBIMS, Management Development Institute (Gurgaon), etc. Nearly two Lakh candidates appear for the CAT exam annually but only 5000 seats are offered by the IIMs in India. The ratio of candidates appearing to the available seats is around 1:53 and hence, the fear of not clearing the exam despite all the hard work is unavoidable. 

If you have been unsuccessful in passing the CAT exam, it is not the end of your management career. Various other reputed management schools in India offer exceptionally good courses and training in business and management. This includes MBA entrance tests such as XAT, NMAT, MAT, CMAT, SNAP, IIFT, MAH-CET, IBSAT. Below are the full forms of these entrance tests. 

  • XAT – Xaviers Admission Test
  • SNAP – Symbiosis National Aptitude Test
  • MAT – Management Aptitude Test
  • CMAT – Common Management Admission Test
  • NMAT – Narsee Monjee Management Aptitude Test
  • IIFT – MBA Entrance Test
  • MAH CET – Maharashtra Common Entrance Test
  • IBSAT – ICFAI Business School Aptitude Test

While CAT is conducted for IIMs and other well-known MBA schools mentioned above, XAT, administered by XLRI Jamshedpur is a criterion for admissions to XLRI, SPJIMR, IMT, XIMB and 150 other business schools in India. 

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If you are unable to crack the CAT exam, the alternative MBA exams could help you to pursue your management career in India. Besides, as you’d already be prepared for the CAT exam, cracking the alternate exams would be possible with a lesser effort since the questions and format of the paper might be similar. Although there could be structural changes and differences in difficulty level, the approach to acing any other MBA exam would be similar to CAT. However, if you feel management is not your cup of tea, there are several other career options that you could try. This includes:  

  • Alternate Management Exams
  • Executive MBA
  • Bank Exams
  • Luxury Brand Management
  • Chartered Financial Analysts

It is true that the CAT exam is an important milestone for a promising career in the management field. However, this exam is not the only option you have. Hence, even if you have failed to crack the CAT exam, don’t feel disheartened. Instead consider the above options and choose the best that aligns with your dreams. 


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