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GENERAL AWARENESS FOR MBA ENTRANCE TESTS

The examination season for admission into the B-schools in India starts in another 10 days – CMAT being the first test to be conducted. With a good preparation for CAT many of us would be comfortable with the traditional sections of Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning and Verbal Ability. However, many of the exams also include General Awareness as a separate section – an area that most of us will have ignored in the course of our preparation. So, it would be worthwhile to look at the patterns of various MBA Entrance tests which use GA as a part of the testing process and identify a preparation plan for the area.

If we observe the area-wise distribution of questions in various tests for the 2012-13 season, we observe that there are wide variations to the weightage of General Awareness in the tests. And an understanding of the nature of questions asked in various exams will naturally guide us towards a preparation plan for each of these tests.

• TISSNET for admission to the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai allocated 40 questions to GA out of the 100 questions in the written test. The questions related to General Awareness were from areas that a candidate desirous of doing a Masters in Social Sciences would be expected to know. The questions were not very difficult and only required a general interest in the area. The questions could be broadly classified into History of various social events, Definition/Meaning of terms related to social issues, various measures for handling the social issues, and Recent events involving a social issue.

• CMAT has a separate section on GA with 25% weightage in the overall test – the questions relate to business and economy, static GK and pretty much everything under the sky. The section tries to cover as many areas as possible with questions on awards and achievements, famous personalities and places, historic events, governance and polity, major domestic and international events, sports, movies and cinema, books and authors etc.

• IIFT Entrance test has 25 questions on GA with a weightage of 12.5% (1/2 mark per question). The test had sectional cutoffs with a minimum 1.6 marks being the requirement in the GA section. The questions are primarily focused on business and economy with a few odd-questions being from areas outside these. Foreign trade is an important aspect in the GA area for IIFT. The test has an affinity for statistics.

• SNAP allocated 40 out of 180 questions to GA. The questions are from a wide range of topics - General Knowledge, Current Affairs, Business Scenario. The nature of the questions is similar to those in CMAT. For the 2012 season, SNAP did not have sectional cutoffs.

• MICAT has questions on GA as a part of the part-I of the first paper (it has 2 papers). The questions are primarily focused on communications, branding, advertising etc.

• XAT conducts two papers as a part of the entrance test – with the second paper having an essay and questions on GA. However, the performance in GA is not used for short listing candidates for the GDPI stage. It may be used during the Interview/final short listing of candidates.

• MAT has a separate section on General Awareness called the "Indian and Global Business Environment". However, the scoring in MAT is on a scale of 800 – GA does not form a part of the scoring. The performance in GA is indicated separately on the scorecard. Most B-schools do not use the performance in the GA area for short listing candidates for the GDPI stage.

• CAT, NMAT and IBSAT do not ask questions on GA as a part of the written exam. The questions may however form a part fo the second stage of the selection process (Group Discussion, Personal Interview and Written Ability Test) for the B-schools using the respective scorecard as a basis for selecting candidates.