CAT, IIFT & XAT - Exams Preferred By All Toppers. How similar/dissimilar is the preparation techniques?

Introduction to the exams

CAT – CAT, also known as Common Admission Test, is a competitive exam that is written by MBA aspirants who are trying to apply to IIMs and various other top B-school around the country.

IIFT – IIFT exam, also known as Indian Institute of Foreign Trade exam, is a competitive management aptitude test that is written by MBA aspirants conducted by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) Delhi, Kolkata, and Kakinada for admission to their MBA International Business Course. 

XAT – XAT, also known as Xavier Aptitude Test, is a competitive national-level management exam that is written by MBA aspirants conducted by XLRI, Jamshedpur for admission to the MBA/PGDM courses. 

The different top colleges that accept each exam are:- 

Top Colleges accepting IIFT
IIFT Delhi
IIFT Kolkata
IIFT Kakinada
Krupanidhi School of Management, Bangalore
Community Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore
Indian Academy School of Management Studies, Bangalore


Top colleges accepting CAT
All IIMsGreat Lakes Institute Of Management, Chennai
Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) New DelhiMICA Ahmedabad
JBIMS MumbaiK J Somaiya Institute of Management Mumbai
Management Development Institute (MDI) GurgaonIRMA Anand
International Management Institute (IMI) New DelhiWelingkar Mumbai
Institute of Management Technology (IMT) GhaziabadLBSIM New Delhi
XIM-Xavier University BhubaneswarFORE School of Management (FSM) New Delhi
IIT BOMBAY MumbaiLoyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA) Chennai
Department of Management Studies (IIT Delhi) New DelhChrist University Bengaluru
TAPMI ManipalBIMTECH, Greater Noida


Top Colleges Accepting XAT
XLRI JamshedpurIndus Business Academy (IBA) Bangalore
XIM BhubaneswarJIMS Rohini, New Delhi
IMT GhaziabadITM Navi Mumbai
MICA AhmedabadIES Management College And Research Centre, Mumbai
Great LakesGlobsyn Business School, Kolkata
TAPMI ManipalVIPS-TC-Delhi School of Business Delhi
K J Somaiya Institute of Management MumbaiGitam School of International Business
FORE New DelhiGITAM Hyderabad Business School
IRMA AnandSCMS Cochin School of Business
LIBA ChennaiCalcutta Business School Kolkata
BIMTECH Greater NoidaIIMS Pune: International Institute of Management Studies
XIME BangaloreDSIMS Mumbai: Durgadevi Saraf Institute of Management Studies
IFIM BangaloreIndira Institute of Management – IIMP
School of Inspired Leadership – SOIL GurgaonVishwa Vishwani Hyderabad
New Delhi Institute of Management – NDIM New DelhiDelhi School of Business, VIPS – Technical Campus
Jaipuria Institute of ManagementEMPI Business School, New Delhi
KIIT School of Management – KSOM BhubaneswarAcharya Bangalore B-School – ABBS Bangalore
Xavier Business School (XBS) KolkataBirla Global University, Bhubaneswar
IPE HyderabadAccurate Institute of Management And Technology
SDMIMD MysoreNational School of Business
VIT Business School (VIT) VelloreGIBS Business School – GIBS Bangalore
ISB&M PuneJaypee Business School – JBS Noida
AIMS BangaloreSGPC’s Guru Nanak Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai
 RSB Chennai: Rajalakshmi School of Business

What do these exams offer?

MBA aspirants will have good knowledge about these exams because they provide a chance for them to apply to the tier 1 colleges around the country. Some of them are IIMs, XLRI, IIFT, and better colleges. Suppose an MBA aspirant who has a passion for HR, he/she will look for admission to XLRI. Or suppose an MBA aspirant who has a passion for International Business, he/she will look for admission into IIFT. Both these colleges offer excellent placement and learning exposure in their respective fields. And these colleges coming under tier 1 offer packages 20+ lakhs which is more than enough for the students passing out with a placement to live a good and successful life following their dreams. The opportunities that are offered by these colleges are almost the same even though they excel in different fields. The fees that the MBA aspirant might have to pay, which is almost similar for tier 1 colleges, will be worth it when he/she calculates the return on investment. Some of the differences that one can perceive are IIMs come under the government while colleges like XLRI and more come under autonomous or non-govt management. Other Tier 1 colleges that accept these exams – SP Jain, FMS, JBIMS Mumbai etc.

There are a lot of colleges that accept CAT and XAT such as – MDI Gurgaon, IMI New Delhi, TAPMI, Great Lakes, IITs offering PGDM/MBA programs. All these colleges also provide great learning exposure and good placements, but a little less compared to Tier 1 colleges. These colleges would offer a placement package ranging from 10-15 lakhs per annum.


Why are these exams important/preferred?

These exams are perceived to be very important because it gives a chance for MBA aspirants to undergo various MBA/PGDM courses from the top universities across India. The learning exposure these colleges provide is of top-class and it helps the aspirant throughout his life, be it career or be it life. The courses are structured in a way that makes the students undergoing these courses capable of handling any obstacles that they might face in their lives. MBA/PGDM courses are not just about academics, even though it is important. These courses provide students with a personality development that not all courses offer in how they structure their courses.

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Words From Our Students

Nihar Mehta
Nihar Mehta
Calls from IIMs, SPJIMR & MDI
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I joined the classroom coaching programme at MBA Pathshala for my CAT preparation. Since the very beginning, Abhijit Sir & Haider Sir guided me in terms of the strategy & the approach required in order to fare well in the exam. They not only stressed on the academics but also pushed me to build my profile aligned with my interests. Post CAT, they gave me ample practice for my GD & PI preparations with sufficient number of mock interviews & regular feedback for improvement. I managed to get calls from IIMs, SPJIMR & MDI. A huge part in this goes to the team at MBAP and I am cannot thank them enough for their contribution.
Ishan Rathod
Ishan Rathod
Calls from IIM I, S, and all New And Baby IIM's.
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MBAP is great place to preparing for MBA-CET,CAT,CMAT and faculty are unbeatable. They are very helpful best part is they give personal attention to each and every students. Most of faculty...who are alumni of IIM and JBIMS. There is more one to one interaction which helped me get better as the exams approached and helped me get calls from IIM I, S, and all New And Baby IIM's. The interview sessions proved to be of great learning helped me convert IIM S
Sanskriti Reja
Sanskriti Reja
Calls from IIMs, XLRI, XIMB
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MBA Pathshala was my first choice for MBA coaching and I'm happy that joined it. The faculty here is great.. they are really good in what they do. They supported me and motivated me during my journey of clearingthe entrances. They are always available for the doubts, extra lectures. they helped me get through my GD-PIs too after the exams. I am thankful to MBAP for helping me to crack CAT and other entrance exams. I got calls from XLRI, XIMB, IIMs, among others. I have converted colleges like KJ Somaiya, TAPMI, IIM Sambalpur, IIM Sirmaur.
Parth Kanakia
Parth Kanakia
Converted SPJIMR
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I joined MBAP for GD, WAT & PI preparation. Received very good training from Abhijit Singh, Haider and other MBAP faculty. Starting from very basics, good knowledge was provided. Mock interviews were conducted on regular basis. I converted SPJIMR and I would definitely recommend students to join MBAP.
Ronit jaiswal
Ronit jaiswal
Calls from IIM-A/B/C & SNAP 98.12%ile
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I wanted to join a coaching where I can get personalised attention and competitive environment. I got both in MBAP. All the preparation was so rigorous that I eventually started giving my best. They conducted mock interviews/GD/WAT with anonymous panels and trust me it was such a confidence booster. I got a call from SCMHRD (SNAP-98.12) However I always wanted to go for IIM and Abhijeet sir felt that and he convinced me to try again and aim for IIM-A/B/C. Here I am back under his mentorship again. In short give your best and they will bring the best out of you. P.S- I'm a working individual. If I can do it then anybody can. Thank you for being such a great mentors.
Maitreya Khanapurkar
Maitreya Khanapurkar
Calls From IIMs
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Best learning experience.Faculties are good and you will get a good support from them till you get admission into a B-School.The shortcut techniques taught will be of great help for you. Doubts will be solved anytime you want. If planning for CAT CET or any entrance exam go for MBA Pathshala. It was of tutors at MBAP I received a call from IMT Ghaziabad.
Yash Dandavate
GMAT Score - 660
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I joined MBAP for GMAT prep and my experience with them was really amazing, from the first day itself the faculties gave personal attention to each student and made sure each student had their own personalised GMAT and CAT prep plans. The Verbal faculty Rohan Kulkarni Sir was amazing, I was very weak in English and verbal section, but through his guidance I scored a V38 (85th percentile) in my GMAT exam. The Quant faculties Abhijeet and Haider Sir helped me develop strategies and short cuts to approach GMAT problems and we're always available for my doubts. Overall it was a great experience and I would reccomend MBAP to everyone for GMAT and CAT prep

What are the different sections in all the three exams?

CAT – The important topics that are covered in this exam are – Quantitative Aptitude, Logical Reasoning, and Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

IIFT – The important topics that are covered in this exam are – Quantitative Aptitude, Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation, Verbal Ability, and Reading Comprehension. Another section is also present in this exam, which is the General Awareness section.

XAT – The important topics that are covered in this exam are – Quantitative Aptitude, Decision Making, Verbal Ability, and Reading Comprehension, and General Awareness.


CAT Syllabus Sectional DivisionWeightage in CAT examSectional Cutoff
Quantitative Ability (QA)34%Yes
Data Interpretation& Logical Reasoning (DILR)32%Ys
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)34%Yes


IIFT Syllabus Sectional DivisionWeightage in IIFT examSectional Cutoff
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension35%Yes
Quantitative Analysis25%Yes
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning30%Yes
General Awareness (GK)10%Yes


XAT Syllabus Sectional DivisionWeightage in XAT examSectional Cutoff
Verbal and Logical Ability26%Yes
Decision Making21%Yes
Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation28%Yes
General Knowledge25%No

In IIFT exam, there will importance to the GK section. While in the case of XAT exam, there will be importance of the GK section in the GD/PI round rather than the exam.

How do toppers prepare for all three exams? How Similar or Dissimilar is exam preparation?

All these exams require proper learning, time management, and dedication for MBA aspirants to crack them. The preparation techniques will be almost the same for each of the exams if the sections are the same. The difference might come for IIFT’s and XAT’s General awareness section and XAT’s Decision Making section. The GA section of these exams requires proper knowledge about what is happening around them. This includes reading newspapers, editorial sections of the newspaper, and more general knowledge that one might get from the internet. Reading newspapers will always help an individual excel in his life because he/she will be up to date on the various issues/problems/debates/regulatory/economic condition and much more. 

The Decision-Making Section of XAT is highly similar to the LRDI section of CAT. It is a mix of questions that will test the person’s knowledge of solving behavioural, managerial, and mathematical questions. It is not a test of the theoretical knowledge that one has, but the basic assumptions and their understanding of real-world problems that are presented in the form of cases in these questions. The MBA aspirant is required to have in-depth data interpretation skills so that he/she can solve the question in a time-based manner. Moreover, these exams purely test the skills of the MBA Aspirants based on time-management and accuracy.

The rest of the common parts such as the QA, VARC, and LRDI sections are prepared by studying the basics first, attempting questions in a time-based manner, analyzing strengths and weaknesses, developing on your weakness, attempting as many mock tests as possible because practice will make the MBA aspirant attempt the exams in a speedy manner and with higher accuracy.


Choosing an MBA/PGDM program is one of the most important decisions that one has to make regarding his career. And it is a very good choice because the course is not just about academics. It provides students with an opportunity to develop their character overall, be sharper in their decision making, handle all obstacles they might have to face in the future, handle the ups and downs of life with their heads up high, be more professional in the approach, has a higher standard of living and much much more. There are a lot of universities across India that provide the opportunities and the exams that were discussed above are the first step to build your career. Do not see these exams as stressful or like it’s taking a toll on oneself, but see it as a golden opportunity. If one makes enough preparation and dedication, be sure to know that it is easy to crack. These exams are all about time management, accuracy, and decision-making. And the skills that these exams ask from a student will always help him in his/her life. All the very best for the future and we hope everybody can achieve what they are dreaming about.