How to prepare for NMAT 2021

NMAT 2021 is a computer adaptive national level MBA entrance exam taken by 75000-80000 applicants every year. There are several ways in which you can prepare for NMAT 2021  but choosing the most effective strategy of all is the real deal. As it is a highly competitive management exam in nature, it is essential to start planning how to prepare for NMAT 2021 starting right now. A well-planned approach is what would keep your head above the water as an aspirant and direct you to your dream college, NMIMS Mumbai.

Before understanding how to prepare for NMAT, it is important to delve into and understand the NMAT Exam. For the first timers, it will be easy enough to understand why NMAT is one of the most widely taken examinations in India and how to prepare for it with a calm and a focused mind.

NMAT 2021 - An Overview

NMAT (NMIMS Admission Test) is a computer-based management entrance exam conducted by GMAC (Graduate Management Admissions Council) leading admission to the AICTE approved PGDM programmes at NMIMS Mumbai,XIMB and other highly ranked institutions across the country. NMAT is taken by many domestic as well as international candidates every year. It is conducted in a 75-day window in a flexible mode. Registration for the same is expected to begin from the first week of July 2021 and is expected to go on till the first week of October 2021.

To understand how to prepare for NMAT, ensure you are up to date with the latest notification regarding exam dates and exam syllabus. Also, it will be advantageous if you analyze previous year NMAT examinations which can single handedly give you an idea of how to prepare for NMAT. Read on to learn more about NMAT in detail and how you should prepare for it. The total application fees to apply for NMAT is Rs 2000. The cutoff of NMIMS is 90%ile and candidates have the option of retaking NMAT twice to improve their current rank & score.

Also Check: NMAT 2021 notification

NMAT 2021: Paper Pattern

The NMAT by GMAC™ exam is adaptive in nature, which means that the difficulty level of your next question will depend on your performance in the previous question. If your answer would be correct, the next question would be of higher difficulty level. If you struggled to find the right answer, the question would be easier than the previous one.

The total number of questions, difficulty levels, and the time limit for each of the sections is decided beforehand and are the same regardless of when and where the test is conducted. Candidates have a choice of selecting the order/sequence of the test sections. Here are some details regarding the structure of the exam

Language Skills:

  • There will be 32 questions in this section
  • You will be given 22 minutes to complete this section
  • The score range for this section varies between 0 to 96

Quantitative Skills:

  • There will be 48 questions in this section
  • You will be given 60 minutes to complete this section
  • The score range for this section varies also between 0 to 144

Logical Reasoning

  • There will be 40 questions in this section
  • You will be given a time limit of 38 minutes
  • The score range for this section also varies also between 0 to 120

Also note,

  • It is a computer-adaptive test
  • The duration of NMAT exam is 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • The difficulty level of the questions is easy to moderate.
  • A total of 108 questions need to be answered within 2 hours
  • There is no negative marking scheme for the examination. Due to this a candidate has a benefit of attempting the entire examination
  • A candidate can select the order/sequence of the sections
  • A candidate is allowed a maximum of 3 attempts for NMAT.
  • There needs to be a gap period of 15 days between 2 successive attempts.
  • You need to clear the overall and sectional cut offs while preparing for NMAT
  • Your final score needs to set a target score of 210-220 or above for NMIMS Mumbai to consider your application.

NMAT 2021 Syllabus

NMAT is a diverse examination. It is very difficult to prepare for NMAT without knowing the complete syllabus. As per the latest notification released by GMAC, the syllabus will be as follows:

  • Language Skills: Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, Grammar
  • Quantitative Skills: Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Mensuration, Modern math and data interpretation.
  • Logical Reasoning: Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Reasoning

GMAC usually releases an official guide for NMAT with the NMAT exam syllabus mentioned in it. It is modified every year. One thing is for sure, that even with such a vast and similar CAT syllabus, cracking NMAT is relatively simpler than cracking CAT.

More info available here

11 ways to structure your overall NMAT Preparation Strategy

The best time to get cracking with NMAT preparation is now, as there are less than two months left for the registration to start. Also, the first and the foremost step to prepare for NMAT is to have a clear-cut timetable and be consistent in whichever preparation technique you choose to pursue.

Here are a few effective tips compiled by us to gauge your NMAT prep

  • Understand the exam pattern:
    Before beginning your preparation, the first thing that you should do is go through the exam pattern and the detailed syllabus. The best option would be to write down the syllabus and solidify it in your memory. After writing down the syllabus, segregate the syllabus into different portions. Each portion should contain some topics. You can do the segregation based on your familiarity with the topics or any other criteria.
  • Segregate the syllabus into strong and weak topics
    After writing down the syllabus, segregate the syllabus into two columns I.e strong topics and weak topics. Each portion should contain some topics. .
  • Online Crash Course or self-study
    With less than 2 months remaining for NMAT exam, it is critical that you choose your preparation mode, once and for all. Self-study is a great option if you are an experienced aspirant or well-versed with the important concepts. However, if you face frequent problems in solving the questions, going for an online NMAT crash course is a wiser option rather than sulking in confusion over the preparation.
  • Have a sought-after preparation strategy
    Being confused and messed up when it comes to NMAT preparation is okay for a while. But after a certain amount of time, it is necessary for you to “get a move on”. Sitting with rose colored spectacles will not yield the result you long for. Aspirants need to draft a systematic strategy depending on when to work on a subject, practice sample questions or start taking mock revisions.
  • Strengthen your weak concepts
    It is natural for us as candidates to be an expert in solving questions related to one section and be completely unfamiliar with questions related to other topics. Do not trip in the favor of overconfidence. It might backfire on the day of examination. Try to foster all your attention towards your weak concepts. It is advisable to begin with solved examples. Afterwards, go ahead and practice using the handout given at the end of every chapter. Also, make it a point to solve last 5 years’ NMAT question papers for better self-understanding and grip. Take the help of your mentors, peers, fellow aspirants or internet if it gets tough at any point of time
  • Strengthen your fundamentals
    Know that the toppers of every management examination is brilliant when it comes to the basics. Brush up your 8-10th standard basics to score better. This is important as you need to have a fundamental understanding of core sections as a base to build on. The basics should be copious and well-considered.
  • Solving last 5-year's NMAT papers
    Also, make it a point to solve last 5 years’ NMAT question papers for better self-understanding and grip. Take the help of your mentors, peers, fellow aspirants or internet if it gets tough at any point of time
  • Revise 8-10th std basics and analyzing your performance regularly
    Know that the toppers of every management examination are brilliant when it comes to the basics. This is important as you need to have a fundamental understanding of core sections as a base to build on. The basics should be copious and well-considered. Also, analyzing your performance is as important as performance itself. Make it a point to practice 10 or more questions related to concepts you learnt the last time before moving on to the next topics.
  • Consult the right and relevant study material
    The right kind of books would help you split a disparity between what should be studied and what should be skipped. Many a time aspirant flips out while seeing the syllabus, knowing not that there is always a well-defined procedure to begin the NMAT preparation. You should never hit it somewhere in the middle and then keep going back and forth. Consulting the right guide would help you streamline your strategy in accordance with the exam syllabus.
  • Refer to NMAT by GMAC official guide to navigate your preparation
    It is a challenge to stay focused with the preparation for two whole months, with a plethora of distractions squirming left and right. Formulate your NMAT score projections by keeping a check of how far you have come in the preparation celluloid. NMAT by GMAC official guide is one such tool that will help you diagnose your preparation with respect to your preferred approach. The guide is inclusive of Important dates, Registration guidelines, Syllabus, important Concepts, Solved examples and NMAT level practice questions
  • Learn the tricks of the trade
    Resort to shortcut tricks and strategies to solve a question. This will leave you with extra minutes to solve lengthy problems. You do not need to jot down each step of the problem. Train your mind to perform mental calculations and find the answer. Also, prepare a sheet of all the questions that had been repeated for a few years in NMAT and important formulae. Quickly scan through them and memorize the concepts. This will help you a lot on the D-day. In a section where the number of questions is larger than the allotted time, speed comes in handy.
  • Mocks to analyze your current performance
    When you reach Towards the end of the preparation cycle, try devoting as much time as you can to mock tests. Be in a relaxed state of mind while preparing for the examination through mocks as it is a buildup of your stamina to sit through a 2-hour long examination and focus. Keep a stress-free mind while preparing for NMAT as a stress-free mind works wonders. You would be able to make out which questions you should practice that will yield more marks.

How to prepare for NMAT- Section-wise Preparation Strategy

NMAT can only be aced by an aspirant who has strong hold over language skills, quantitative skills and logical reasoning skills. In lieu of this, it is important to devote equal parts of time towards every main section so that you stay confident during the examination. The NMAT score is expected to range from 200-220. Here is a personalized section wise strategy curated for NMAT aspirants:

Language Skills

In this section, you must solve 32 questions within a time span of 32 minutes. The difficulty level of the questions is easy to moderate. You can easily attempt 20-23 questions These questions mainly require speed solving as it has a greater number of questions than the allotted time.

Topic-wise Distribution of language section

Section Topics

Number of questions

Reading Comprehension

8-10 (2 or 3 passages of 400 words each)

Vocabulary based questions (FIB, Analogy, Antonym and Synonym)


Propositions and confusable questions


Parajumbles and sentence correction


Preparation strategy for Language section

Here is how you can prepare for this section:

  • Read, Read and Read: Have a daily run through of articles related to psychology, technology, sociology etc. Start small on the reading part but finish strong. Keep a fine balance between quick reading and your comprehension skills.
  • Manage your time: Time management is one of the most critical factors when it comes to preparing for this section of NMAT. You need to break down your syllabus first, followed by solving basic and easy questions which would set your foundation.
  • Do a SWOT analysis: You need to go with your natural instincts while solving . Identify your areas of strength and areas where you need to harbor improvement. Answers can be close ended and almost like each other. Try to eliminate the deceiving options and choose the one you would eventually arrive at.
  • Practice daily mocks: After you feel confident and complete the syllabus related to VA, start taking frequent mocks in order to analyze your performance
  • Improve your vocabulary: Build your vocabulary by subscribing to online vocabulary enhancers and "word of the day" alerts. Learn a word’s usage, synonyms and antonyms. Learn prefixes and suffixes meaning methods, they will help you a lot in answering various vocabulary-based questions.

Best Books to refer for language section

  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT'- Arun Sharma & Meenakshi Upadhyay
  • 'Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT' - by Nishit K Sinha
  • 'Word Power Made Easy' - by Norman Lewis
  • 'High School English Grammar & Composition' - by Wren & Martin

How to prepare for NMAT

Also read:NMAT 2020 Previous year analysis

Quantitative Skills: -

In this section, there will be 48 questions that a candidate needs to solve in 60 minutes. The difficulty level of the questions is again easy to moderate and so, solving at least 25-30 questions will fetch you a decent percentile (90-95%).

Topic-wise Distribution of Quant section

Section Topics

Number of questions

Arithmetic, Number System




Logarithms and Progressions,

Permutations and Combinations, Probability


Data Sufficiency


Data Interpretation

16 questions (4 sets)

Preparation strategy for quant section

Here are some preparatory measures that you can keep in mind while preparing for NMAT quantitative skills section:

  • Take a note to improve your calculation speed
  • Practice high school mathematical concepts and master them
  • Solve case studies related to Data Interpretation
  • Avoid using a calculator for the purpose of solving numerical problems.
  • Focus more on topics such as Geometry, Profit and Loss, Speed and Distance, successive percentage, Ratio & Proportion
  • Refer relevant learning material and attend regular lectures
  • Earmark 2-3 mocks for every week for thorough revision.

Best Books to refer for quant section

  • ‘How to prepare for Quantitative for the CAT’ - by Arun Sharma, published by MGH Education
  • ‘Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT’ – by Nishit K.Sinha, Published by Pearson ‘The Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude for competitive exams’
  • Quantitative Aptitude for competitive examinations by R.S Aggarwal

Logical Reasoning: -

In this section, there will be 40 questions that a candidate needs to solve in 38 minutes. The questions based on NMAT Exam 2021 Syllabus topics in this section will be asked to draw inferences from the statements, choose between strong and weak arguments, identify assumptions hidden within harmless-looking statements and even arrive at decisions considering the given information. Here is how you can prepare for NMAT 2021 Logical reasoning:

Topic-wise Distribution of Reasoning section

Section Topic

Number of questions

Arrangements, selections

8-10 (2-3 sets)

Critical reasoning


Family tree, blood relations, directions


Coding Decoding, Input Output


Statement Assumption Conclusion, course of action


Set theory, Puzzles and visual reasoning


Preparation strategy for Reasoning section

Here is how you can prepare for NMAT 2021 Logical reasoning:

  • Focus on Pictorial representations of data
  • Improve your own prediction analysis
  • Read the questions carefully
  • Start timing yourself. Make sure to practice LR questions with a timer.
  • Take your time and practice everyday
  • Avoid assumptions
  • Pay special attention to words like 'all', 'some', 'none' when you read facts in the question. Also, be attentive to other worlds like 'only', 'other than' and ‘unless’ that specify facts and help candidates to draw inferences.
  • Try to eliminate the deceiving options and choose the one you would eventually arrive at.

Best Books to refer for Reasoning section

'Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT' - by Nishit K Sinha (Published by Pearson) 'How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the CAT' - by Arun Sharma (Published by McGraw Hill)

Expected cut off for NMAT 2021


Difficulty level

Expected Cut off

Language Skills

Easy to Moderate


Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation 

Easy to Moderate 

( DI – Lengthy)


Logical Reasoning




Easy to Moderate


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FAQs regarding How to prepare for NMAT 2021

Ques: What will be the cut off for NMAT 2021?

Answer: Usually, NMAT cut off stays around 210. NMAT 2019 cut off for NMIMS was 207. One must aim to target at least a score of 250+ to attest their NMIMS Mumbai admission call.

Ques: Is NMAT by GMAC guide worth purchasing?

Answer: It is advisable to have at least one point of reference for NMAT. NMAT official guide consists of multiple aspects of the exam as described in detail above. It is extensive in terms of type of questions that are incorporated across all the sections and previous year question papers.

Ques: Is NMAT a speed-based test?

Answer: NMAT test deliverance is a combination of speed and strategy. You should target the questions that you want to answer first to maximize your scores and manage time simultaneously, even though there is no negative marking

Ques: What would be the NMAT 2021 marking pattern?

Answer: A candidate will get +3 for every right answer and no deduction of marks for incorrectly answered questions.

Ques: Is it safe to solve the entire NMAT paper?

Solving a paper and attempting a paper are two different things. As there is no deduction of marks for wrong answers, you should definitely attempt all questions. However, you need to decide which question you should solve first in order to extract maximum accuracy. This requires a well defined strategy.

Ques: Is NMAT easier than CAT?

Answer: In terms of complexity, definitely. NMAT is easier than CAT on multiple levels. NMAT is a speed-based exam, whereas CAT is an accuracy-based exam. NMAT allows you to control the order of the section and NMAT accepting colleges allows you to retake NMAT twice after the initial attempt in case you are not satisfied with your score.

Ques: Is NMAT computer adaptive?

Answer: Yes, NMAT is now a computer adaptive test, like GMAT. It offers an individually designed test to all the candidates and the difficulty of the test depends on their performance in the test. This means if they answer a question correctly, the next question will be of a higher difficulty level. But, if they answered it incorrectly, the next question will be a bit easier.

Ques: Does NMIMS grant admission only on the basis of NMAT score?

Answer: Not really. The final rank consists of the NMAT score and the GD-PI score. Having a good NMAT score increases your probability of getting shortlisted for further admission rounds. But the composite score is calculated by factoring in your academic marks, gender, work experience (30% weightage) and NMAT score (70% weightage).