How to Prepare for MAT exam? | Latest MAT Preparation Tips

  • By Kirti Yadav
  • 22 March 2019

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The Management Aptitude Test, also known as MAT is easily one of the biggest entrance exams for management students in India. It is a 150-minute long test, where candidates have to solve 200 questions in total. With MAT scores, you can take admission to 1000+ colleges in India.

You get four chances per year to accomplish this task, as the exam is held 4 times every year in the months of February, May, September and December. Now let's look at the important MAT preparation tips that you should follow.

mat preparation tips

Quick tips to get started with MAT preparation

Here is a list of quick tips to get you started with your MAT preparation:

  1. Be accurate with the strategy
  2. Decide how you will divide time between preparation & revision
  3. Remember that some topics take regular practice
  4. Keep the exam in mind at all times while preparing
  5. Practice solving questions within the given time-frame 
  6. It is essential to solve previous year’s question papers
  7. For a great score, you should also practice taking mock tests

MAT Exam Pattern

To understand how you can prepare well for the MAT exam, you should first know the exam pattern thoroughly.

MAT exam will be held in paper-based, computer-based and internet-based modes in 2021. You can appear for the exam in either one or two modes. When you appear for the exam in two modes, you get two additional choices while applying for colleges via the AIMA portal. 

2021 MAT Exam Pattern – Overview

An overview of the question paper pattern has been provided below.   

Mode of Exam Paper-Based Test (PBT)Computer-Based Test (CBT) Internet-Based Test (IBT)
Type of Questions Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
Total no. of questions 200
Number of sections 5
Options for each question 4
Sectional time limit NO
Duration of test 150 minutes (2.5 hours)
Marking Scheme 1 mark for every question
Negative marking 0.25 of the total mark

MAT syllabus

The most crucial MAT Exam Preparation Tip is to be thorough with the MAT exam syllabus. There are five sections in the MAT exam that examines the aptitude of a candidate from all levels of intellect, be it quantitative, reasoning or general awareness about the surroundings. These sections are listed below-

  • Language Comprehension
  • Mathematical Skills
  • Data Analysis and Sufficiency
  • Intelligence and Critical Reasoning
  • Indian and Global Environment

MAT Preparation Tips

There are two very important MAT preparation tips that aspirants should never forget. First is the effective management of time. The second is having specific strategies for each section. 

We have elaborated in detail on the two points below to help you with your MAT 2021 preparation.   

Effective Management of Time

You must ensure that you manage your time wisely on the day of the exam. Often students get a low percentile in MAT exam because they fail to answer all the questions and the time run out. Read the following table to get a clear picture of how much time you need to spend on each topic during the MAT exam.


Time (In minutes) Marks

Language Comprehension

30 20-27

Mathematical Skills

40 27-20
Data Analysis and Sufficiency 35


Intelligence and Critical Reasoning 30


Indian and Global Environment 05


Now, let’s understand how should you approach each section individually to prepare effectively for your MAT exam.

Section-wise MAT Preparation Tips

The most effective Preparation Tip for MAT exam is to have a knowledge of the important topics under each section that could be asked in the MAT exam. So, let’s start analyzing each section for your effective MAT exam preparation.

Language Comprehension

The best way to approach this section is by building a solid foundation of the concepts and then applying them to the questions. The simplest Preparation Tip for MAT language comprehension exam is to attain a good command over the English language. This could be done by reading books, newspapers, blogs and watching English movies/series.

The essential areas, from which maximum questions have been asked, are:-

  • Word Analogies
  • Vocabulary, with questions on antonyms and synonyms
  • Rearranging sentences
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Sentence Completion

Mathematical Skills

This is a concept-driven section wherein the candidate’s fundamentals and conceptual clarity is tested. You must practice Mathematics regularly and solve problems on a daily basis. This will not only increase your speed but also accuracy. Also, if you are interested in an MBA in Finance, it will help you brush up your skills. The important topics that you must focus on are given below:

  • Number Systems
  • Percentage, Profit & Loss, Mixtures
  • Averages, Ratios, Interest
  • Time & Work, Time, Speed & Distance
  • Geometry, Trigonometry

Data Analysis and Sufficiency

This section of the MAT exam must be approached in a systematic manner. You must start by building a strong foundation for critical concepts. Then, move on to the practical application of these concepts by solving various questions on the concepts. Ultimately, taking mock tests would help you to further cement the concepts in your mind and save your time during the exam.

Focus areas that fall under this section include:

  • Data Sufficiency
  • Standard DI tools like bar graphs, pie charts, line graphs, data tables
  • Data Comparisons

Intelligence and Critical Reasoning

The questions in this section are also practice-intensive. While preparing for this section, you must follow a simple MAT preparation tip i.e. to solve similar questions taken up from past year papers and mock tests, by applying a lot of short tricks and methods.

The topics focused upon in this section are as follows:

  • Identifying patterns in number sets
  • Relationships
  • Direction Sense
  • Coding, Decoding
  • Verbal Reasoning

Indian and Global Environment

This section is environment sensitive that requires the candidate to be aware of the Indian and Global business and social issues. This is also useful during your MBA GD/PI. You can do this by reading/watching the news on TV, newspaper or the internet regarding the following topics:

  • Current Events & Happenings
  • Banking & Business
  • Sports
  • General Political Information

Some Quick MAT Preparation Tips

  1. Follow a proper time-table
  2. Solve a lot of previous year papers and sample papers for practice.
  3. Prepare and study from self-made notes
  4. Solve the quantitative analysis section using short tricks.
  5. Practice a lot of mock tests
  6. Prepare a good strategy to solve the max number of questions in the least time.
  7. Attempt only those questions where you are 100% sure.
  8. Don’t waste time on a specific question
  9. Keep a positive outlook throughout the exam.

Best Books for MAT preparation

books for mat preparation tips

Data Analysis and Sufficiency

MAT Books Authors/Publishers
Data Analysis and Sufficiency Arun Sharma
How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for MAT Arun Sharma
Data Interpretation: Practice Book for the CAT and Other MBA Entrance Examinations Nishit K. Sinha
The Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation Nishit Sinha
Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency for CAT/XAT/IIFT/CMAT/MAT/Bank PO/SSC Disha Experts
Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency Ananta Ashisha
Data Analysis & Interpretation Data Sufficiency Think Tank of Kiran Prakashan
Accredited Guide to Data Interpretation and Data Sufficiency Ananta Ashisha
Data Interpretation and Data Sufficiency Arihant Experts

Language Comprehension

MAT Books Authors/ Publishers
Verbal Ability & Comprehension for MBA Exams Disha Publications
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Nishit K. Sinha
Word Power Made Easy Norman Lewis
Verbal Ability & Comprehension Disha Publication
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension Gautam Puri
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay
Verbal Ability & Comprehension for CAT/XAT/GMAT/IIFT/CMAT/MAT/Bank PO/SSC Bharat Patodi and Aditya Choudhary
English Comprehension for MAT Disha Experts
English Reading Comprehension RPH Editorial Board
Proficiency in Reading Comprehension Simplifying the “Passage” for You Ajay Singh
Reading Comprehension Ordering of Words Ordering of Sentences Dilip Kushwaha

Mathematical Skills

MAT Books Authors/Publishers
Mathematics for MBA RS Aggarwal
Magical Book on Quicker Maths M. Tyra
Arithmetic and Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Exams R.Gopal
Speed Mathematics: Do it quick, Do it right Rajesh Kumar Thakur C
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Exams RS Aggarwal
Vedic Mathematics: Secrets Skills for Quick, Accurate Mental Calculations Sumita Bose
The Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude Dinesh Khattar
How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude Arun Sharma

Intelligence & Critical Reasoning

MAT Books Authors/Publishers
A Modern Approach to Logical Reasoning R.S.Aggarwal
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Gajendra Kumar
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT Nishit K Sinha
How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the CAT Arun Sharma
Critical Reasoning Guide Crackverbal
General Intelligence and Critical Reasoning for MAT Disha Experts
Koncept of Logical Reasoning Gajendra Kumar
Analytical & Logical Reasoning for CAT & Other Management Entrance Tests Peeyush Bhardwaj

Indian & Global Environment

MAT Books Authors/Publishers
Manorama Year Book Mammen Mathew
The Mega Yearbook Disha Experts
Objective General Knowledge Lucents Publications
General Knowledge 2020 Arihant Publications
The Mega Yearbook 2016: Current Affairs & General Knowledge for Competitive Exams Disha Experts

MAT Preparation at home

You can do MAT exam preparation at home since the difficulty level of the exam is between easy to moderate. Many of the books for the MAT exam are available for download as pdf online. You need to buy the other books or borrow them from a library. 

If you are preparing at home, then you are the master of your schedule, unlike at a coaching centre. So you should stick to the schedule with utmost determination and dedication if you are aiming to score high. 

Though you can study at home, it is advisable to join an online course or a coaching centre, at least a month before the exam, for mock test practice. This will boost your confidence level and give you a fair expectation of how you might fare in the actual examination.  

MAT Preparation Strategy: Overview

MAT preparation strategy varies with the stage of preparation you are in currently. The most important decision to make before deciding on a strategy is whether you are completely new to it or if you already have experience in preparing for management exams. 

If you are new, you need 3 - 6 months to score well on the first attempt. If you are already preparing for CAT/XAT/CMAT, then you can do it in less time. Based on this decision and the time you have for preparation, you can come up with a strategy. 

6 Months Preparation Strategy for MAT

6 months is sufficient time to prepare for MAT:

  • Chalk out a strategy
  • Understand the paper pattern, test structure and marking scheme 
  • Practice mock tests and previous year papers
  • Do topic-wise revision in the last 30 days 

3 Months Preparation Strategy for MAT

Below are the tips to prepare for MAT exam in 3 months:

  • Cover MAT syllabus in 1.5 months
  • Practice MAT mock tests
  • In last 15 days only do to topic-wise revision

1 Month Preparation Strategy for MAT

You can still crack MAT in 1 month if you plan well. For one-month MAT preparation keep the following points in mind:

  • Focus on topics you find easy
  • Practice MAT mock tests
  • Make short notes and revise them everyday
  • Ensure you have basic understanding of all topics

Last-Minute MAT preparation tips

In the last week before the MAT exam, candidates must focus more on revision:

  • Revision of key topics
  • Practice mock tests
  • Don't new topics
  • Revise short-cut tricks

In conclusion, the MAT Preparation Tip that you must focus on is that the MAT exam is designed in such a way that it checks a candidate on core management skills like how to handle stress, time management, knowledge, prioritization and balancing speed with accuracy.

MAT Exam Day tips

MAT aspirants have to execute their preparation on the day of the exam with the highest possible accuracy. It boils down to skills and practice. However, there are a few points that you must remember to follow on the exam day, just to avoid any unwanted complications. We have listed the points below: 

  1. The most important thing is to stay relaxed and focused
  2. Do not forget to carry the admit card with a proper photo ID
  3. Read the exam day instructions on the admit card in advance
  4. Reach the exam hall at least an hour before the exam
  5. Finish preparation early and relax on the night before the exam

How should I start preparing for MAT?

The first step in preparing for the MAT exam is to have a comprehensive strategy based on your current level of preparation and the time available. Once you have the strategy, you need to finish the syllabus, solve the previous year’s question papers and practice taking mock tests.

When should I start preparing for MAT?

If you are new to management entrance exams, try to start at least 6 months in advance. You can also prepare for the exam within 1-3 months if you have the experience of appearing in management entrance tests.

Is one month enough for MAT preparation?

One month can be enough for you if you already have experience with the topics in the MAT exam. In one month, you can easily go through the previous year’s questions and take mock tests to brush your skills and complete your preparation.

Is self study enough for MAT?

Since the difficulty level of the exam is easy to moderate, it is possible to score well with self-study. But self-study requires strict self-discipline since you have a finite amount of time to prepare for the exam. If you have problems with sticking to a schedule, it is advisable to take up a course online or at a reputed coaching centre.  

Useful Resources for MAT Exam: - MAT Admit Card - MAT Result - MAT Exam Pattern

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