MAT 2020 Preparation Tips, Important Topics, Books and Section-wise Tips

    Anam Shams Anam Shams
    Content Curator

    Every year thousands of students prepare for MAT (Management Aptitude Test). It is conducted 4 times in a year in the months of February, May, September, and December to provide prospective students admission to more than 600 B-Schools. Candidates are tested on 5 sections i.e. Language Comprehension, Intelligence and Critical Reasoning, Data Analysis and Sufficiency, Mathematical Skills, Indian and Global Environment over a span of 200 questions. There are 40 questions in each section and candidates have a time limit of 150 minutes to answer the entire exam. Check Detailed Exam Pattern

    Latest:  MAT Application Form for IBT Mode has been released by AIMA. Interested candidates should Apply Now!

    Read the following article to get to know more about the preparation strategy you can utilize for MAT 
    Concept basedPractice intensiveEnvironment driven
    Certain questions of Mathematical skills and language comprehension are conceptually driven. Start you preparation by  building fundamental topics conceptually. Intelligence and critical reasoning, data analysis, english proficiency requires practice of questions. Practice across questions requiring application of key concepts.Awareness of national-international current affairs in general and environment awareness in particular is required.

    MAT Preparation Strategy

    MAT 2020 Preparation Strategy

    The very first thing you should do before you proceed for MAT preparation is to understand the MAT Exam Pattern which comprises of 5 sections with 40 questions each. There is no sectional time limit and the entire paper has to be completed in 150 minutes. Along with the exam pattern you should be aware about the time limit within which you should complete your sectional attempts and save your time to attempt questions from other sections.

    Know MAT 2020 Exam Pattern

    Total number of questions200
    Total Marks200
    Number of Sections (5)Language Comprehension
    Intelligence and Critical Reasoning 
    Data Analysis and Sufficiency 
    Mathematical Skills 
    Indian and Global Environment 
    Duration of Exam150 MInutes
    Medium of examEnglish
    Type of QuestionsObjective
    Number of Answer Choices4
    Mode of examOffline and Online
    MAT Marking Scheme+1 for correct answer and -0.25 for incorrect answer

    Check Best Books to Prepare for MAT

      MAT Sample Paper Banner

      Time Management to ace MAT 2020

      Time table should be prepared in such a way that each section gets equal attention to have a balanced score.

      The following table will give you a fresh idea of time balancing and the best percentile:

      SectionTime (in minutes)Merit DeterminationMarksLevel of Difficulty
      Language Comprehension3025%20-27Moderate
      Mathematical Skills4025%27-20Difficult
      Data Analysis and Sufficiency3525%21-28Moderate
      Intelligence and Critical Reasoning3025%19-26Moderate
      Indian and Global Environment05010-15 Moderately Difficult

      Note: The score for ‘Indian and Global Environment’ is included in the MAT Scorecard but it is not added to the final total percentile. 

      Mode of Preparation: Coaching or Self Study

      • Depending upon the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate and amount of guidance needed, mode of preparation should be decided.
      • MAT coaching institute can guide with preparation material and test series. Coaching can be taken as regular classes, Weekend classes or online mode.
      • Candidates who are working professionals can opt for online coaching in order to save time. Online coachings are cost effective and less time consuming.
      • Self study is the best preparation strategy for MAT exam if candidates have a moderate level of preparation. Mock test can help to overcome weak sections.
      • Candidates should go through the exam pattern and syllabus and accordingly make a schedule.
      • Self study should be monitored by attempting mock tests and previous year question papers.

      30 Day Preparation Plan

      30 Day Plan for MAT 2020 Preparation

      The following table represents a 30-days plan for preparing for MAT exam. The columns define each of the topics covered in MAT Syllabus. An aspirant should practice the defined set of topics for at least 1 hour each to obtain a valid MAT scorecard.   Check MAT Syllabus

      DaysLanguage ComprehensionMathematical SkillsData Interpretation and AnalysisCritical ReasoningIndian and Global Environment
      Day 1Verbal ReasoningHCF & LCMPie ChartCritical ReasoningCompany punch lines
      Day 2SyllogismsPercentagesPie ChartVisual reasoningGeography
      Day 3Vocabulary 50 wordsRatios and proportionsGraphsSequencingCurrent Affairs
      Day 4Mock Test
      Day 5Using the same word with a different meaningQuadratic and linear equationsGraphsCritical ReasoningGeography
      Day 6Contextual UsageWork and TimeBar GraphsVisual reasoningHistory
      Day 7Vocabulary 50 wordsWork and TimeBar GraphsSequencingCurrent Affairs
      Day 8Mock Test
      Day 9AnalogiesGeometryLine ChartsCoding and DecodingHistory
      Day 10One word substitutionGeometryLine ChartsAssumption-Premise-ConclusionBusiness
      Day 11Vocabulary 50 wordsGeometric ProgressionPie ChartAssumption-Premise-ConclusionCurrent Affairs
      Day 12Mock Test
      Day 13AntonymsTime-Speed-DistanceColumn GraphsStatements and AssumptionsBusiness
      Day 14IdiomsProfit and LossColumn GraphsStatements and AssumptionsScience
      Day 15Vocabulary 50 wordsGeometric ProgressionLine ChartsIdentifying valid inferencesCurrent Affairs
      Day 16Mock Test
      Day 17Fill in the blanksAlgebraVenn DiagramAssertion and ReasonsBooks and authors/ Awards
      Day 18Odd man outAlgebraVenn DiagramIdentifying ReasonsSports/ Politics
      Day 19Vocabulary 50 wordsAlgebraBar GraphsLinear ArrangementsCurrent Affairs
      Day 20Mock Test
      Day 21Jumbled ParagraphsAveragesGraphsLinear ArrangementsCompany punch lines
      Day 22Sentence CompletionNumber SystemPie ChartMatrix ArrangementsSports/ Politics
      Day 23Vocabulary 50 wordsPartnership (Accounts)Bar GraphsMatrix ArrangementsCurrent Affairs
      Day 24Mock Test
      Day 25Sentence CorrectionPercentagesColumn GraphsFamily treeBooks and authors/ Awards
      Day 26Foreign language words used in EnglishVectorsVenn DiagramFamily treeGeography
      Day 27Vocabulary 50 wordsWork and TimeLine ChartsCause and effectCurrent Affairs
      Day 28Mock Test
      Day 29Reading ComprehensionTime-Speed-DistanceVenn DiagramCause and effectHistory
      Day 30Reading ComprehensionGeometryBar GraphsCritical ReasoningCompany Punch Lines

      The mock tests can be taken every day to enhance the speed of solving questions. And on the exam day, the question paper will seem another practice test. 

      MAT 2020 Preparation Books

      MAT 2020 Preparation Books

      Books and study material for MAT will guide candidate to start their preparation. There are many books available at stores and online for MAT. the best ones will strengthen your fundamentals and clarify the concepts. Given below are some of the reference books for MAT 2020, that are considered by toppers-

      List of Best Books for MAT preparationAuthor’s namePublisher
      How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CATArun Sharma & Meenakshi UpadhyayMcGraw Hill
      Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CATNishit K SinhaPearson
      Mission MBA MAT GuideBS Sijwali and Tarun GoyalArihant Books
      Word Power Made EasyNorman LewisPocket Books
      Study package for MATArun SharmaMcGraw Hill
      A Modern Approach to Logical ReasoningR.S. AggarwalS. Chand & Co.
      Complete Guide for MAT and Other MBA Entrance ExamsDeepak Agarwal, Mahima AgarwalDisha 
      MAT Score AcceleratorDisha ExpertsDisha Publication
      How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CATArun SharmaMcGraw Hill
      How to prepare for Quantitative for the CATArun SharmaMcGraw Hill
      Quantitative Aptitude for the CATNishit K.SinhaPearson
      Manorama Year BookK. M. Mathew, Mammen MathewMalayala Manorama Group
      Regular reading of The Hindu, ToI, India Today, Sports week etc.--
      MAT Books

      MAT Section-wise Books 2020

      The following table shows the subject-wise books name along with their author name:

      Subject NameBook NameAuthor Name
      Mathematical SkillsQuantitative Aptitude Quantum CATSarvesh Verma
      Quantitative Aptitude for the CATNishit Sinha Trishna
      A complete manual for the CATKnowledge System
      Data Interpretation and SufficiencyHow to prepare for Data Interpretation for MATArun Sharma
      Data Analysis & Interpretation Data SufficiencyThink Tank of Kiran Prashan
      Language ComprehensionCAT Verbal Ability & Reading ComprehensionGautam Puri
      Mastering for Verbal Ability for CATAjay Singh
      General AwarenessFace to Face MAT with 19 yearsBS Sijwali and Tarun Goyal
      MAT 18 years topic-wise solved paperDisha Experts
      Intelligence & Critical ReasoningLogical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for CATGajendra Kumar & Abhishek Banerjee

      Practice Mock Test and Sample Papers

      • Attempting MAT with speed and accuracy is important. Developing this mock test and sample papers is a task of utmost importance. It will provide an idea of expected topics, difficulty level of questions, shortcuts and tricks.
      • Sectional and full length mock test should be given. Mock test and online series give an idea of preparation level to the candidate and analyse the strengths and weaknesses. Check Mock Test Papers.

      MAT Preparation Tips for Language Comprehension

      Language Comprehension aims to test a candidate’s English language skills including Grammar, Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension and other Verbal Ability areas. The difficulty level of topics in Language Comprehension section in MAT Syllabus is not very high. The exam has moderate to difficult level questions with an overall difficulty level on the moderate side. The Language Comprehension section with 40 questions in MAT carries maximum 40 raw marks out of total 200 marks with 20% weightage in the total marking scheme. To excel in the Language Comprehension section you need to form a regular reading habit, enhance your vocabulary skills and attain the ability to analyze and reflect data. 

      Language Comprehension Covers the following areas:


      While preparing for Comprehension, you can follow the tips mentioned below:

      1. To crack the Language Comprehension candidates need to choose the right topic in the reading comprehension section and understand the main idea of the passage. If the candidate understands the concept of the passage, answering questions related to it becomes easy.
      2. Search for structural words like Similarly, additionally, moreover, though, however, thus etc. so as to get the right meaning of the sentence and hence the passage.
      3. Time Management is very important, try to manage time while reading the passage so that less time is consumed while answering the questions.
      4. The candidates must regularly read newspapers, books, novels, magazines to improve English proficiency and vocabulary.
      5. Underline the words that you don’t understand and find their meaning in the dictionary. Also look for their synonyms and antonyms.
      6. Practice MAT sample papers and reading comprehension as much as you can.

      MAT Preparation Tips for Mathematics Skills

      The section of numerical/mathematical abilities tests students’ Mathematical skills. If a candidate has clear concepts of the basics, he/she can easily score 100% in this section. Candidate can solve the questions using the various memorized formulas, good and effective mathematical techniques and various short cut methods. Candidate should practice a lot as it is the only key to crack this section of MAT 2020. 

      MAT 2020 Important Topics for Mathematical Skills

      Out of the total question asked in this section most of the questions will be asked from the topics: Arithmetic followed by Geometry. From Arithematic section, Profit and Loss questions have the maximum weightage. Given below is the table which clearly shows key areas which a candidate should focus upon:


      Here are some tips to crack the mathematical skills section: 

      • Start the paper by solving the questions of least difficulty and then move to moderate and most difficult questions. This will help you solve the section in the stipulated time period. 
      • Try to avoid lengthy and complicated calculations.
      • Make little or no use of calculators while preparing for the exam. This will reduce your speed in solving questions.
      • Keep a note of all the important formulas and memorize the same. The formulas should be revised every day.
      • Dedicate 1 to 2 hours every day for the preparation of this section.
      • Consider the opinions and tips given by MAT appeared candidates  
      • As MAT has the provision of negative marking, so candidate should highly avoid making random guess.
      • Time management is an important factor to be considered. It plays a very crucial role while attempting the questions from this section.

      MAT Preparation Tips for Data Analysis & Sufficiency

      Data Analysis and Sufficiency section of MAT (Management Aptitude Test) tests the aspirant’s ability to analyze situations and make decisions. For the May session of MAT, it is important for candidates to prepare well, therefore, tips to prepare for Data Analysis and Sufficiency section have been shared below. 

      • Read all the questions very carefully before attempting the questions in the paper of your choice.
      • Candidates are advised not to assume any information. You must always use the facts and figures given in the question.
      • For securing good marks, one should always practice questions in the form of charts or pictures.
      • First, you should solve the questions that you can easily solve because this section contains all easy, medium, and difficult level questions.
      • One should save time for difficult level questions because they consume more time and require higher concentration.

      The following table shows the list of topics along with number of questions and their difficulty levels:

      TopicNumber of QuestionsDifficulty level
      Data Sufficiency5Easy
      Data Caselette5Difficult
      Line Graph5Easy – Moderate
      Bar Graph, Expenditure and Profit5Easy – Moderate
      Multiple Graph5Easy
      Pie Chart5Difficult
      Data Comparison5Easy
      Quantitative Comparison5Easy

      MAT Preparation Tips for Intelligence & Critical Reasoning

      The complete syllabus of this section is listed below:

      Seating ArrangementsAssertions-reasons
      Coding-decodingCritical & visual reasoning
      Constrain based arrangementsFacts-Inference-Judgement (FIJ)
      SyllogismCause & effect
      Proposition based followed by either deductive or inductive argumentStrong & weak arguments
      SetsTrue – false
      Venn diagramsMatrix
      Matching PuzzlesLinear arrangements
      Blood relations-family treeSeries
      Statements – AssumptionsBinary logic
      CalendarsClocks & Analogy
      Team formation

      How to Crack Critical Reasoning Section in AIMA MAT 2020

      The questions included in Intelligence and Critical Reasoning section of MAT question paper are completely logical by nature. This section has 40 multiple choice objective type questions of 1 mark each. Provision of negative marking is followed, 1/4 marks will be deducted for each wrong answer.

      It is very important for candidates to read and understand the type of questions asked before attempting the answer. Students are advised to practice this section daily and solve at least one mock paper regularly. Candidates are instructed to remember and follow few mantras to excel in this section. Here are few important tips that are beneficial for the appearing candidates.

      1. Read and understand the question thoroughly before answering, to avoid the possibility of negative marking.
      2. As there will be many statements based questions, look at the questions very carefully and understand each statement before attempting it.
      3. This section will have questions of different difficulty levels ranging from difficult-moderate-easy. Start with the questions you find easy.
      4. Always avoid making guesses and assumptions since it is imperative to use valid and verified facts and figures to avoid deduction of marks.
      5. Time management is very crucial in this type of examination and the candidate must know how to do it. 
      6. The best way to gain expertise in this section is through practice. Practice mock test papers daily to improve the speed of attempting the questions.

      There are few topics in Critical Reasoning which need special attention and these topics cover a good number of questions holding about 10-15% of marks.


      MAT Preparation Tips for Indian & Global Environment

      The Indian and Global Environment section contains questions from general and current awareness topics as well as events dating to a year ago. Business, politics, sports, awards and distinctions, books, anything could be a part of this section. Students who have had a decent reading habit in the past one year or so of their MBA entrance examination preparations, would not find too much of difficulty in attempting questions from this section.

      Like the other sections, this section also has 40 question of 1 mark each. 15 minutes should be the standard time that a candidate must spend on this section. Some helpful tips to prepare for this section are:

      1. Questions in this section cover topics related to general knowledge and current affairs.
      2. Refer to magazines, newspapers and articles related to indian government, international developments, business, sports.
      3. Watch news on television and youtube, this will help remember facts for a long period of time.
      4. Download news and current affairs apps on mobile to stay updated on the latest happenings.
      5. Develop a basic understanding of banking and business sector.

      Toppers Preparation Strategy

      MAT Toppers Preparation Strategy

      Ketan Anand scored 99.28 percentile in MAT.

      He emphasizes on having conceptual clarity which will help gain speed and accuracy. He took coaching from bullseye and attempted number of mock test and solved previous year question papers to keep a track of his performance. Analyzing mock test are necessary as per Ketan. One key thing which Ketan emphasized upon was choosing the paper-based mode(PBT) over computer-based test (CBT). In the PBT MAT exam you can see all the questions at once, which helps in managing time in the longer run. Marking the answers on an OMR sheet is easier and faster than marking the answers using a mouse.

      Ashish Patial secured 99.99 percentile in MAT. He was a working professional and studied for 9-10 hours on weekends and holidays. 

      He suggests that attempting mock test explores the loopholes in preparation and time management. since quants was his forte he focused on language comprehension and data analysis.“Despite facing the shortage of time, in the last two years, I studied way more than I studied in the last 22 years of my life. If I could not study on a particular day due to overwork and my busy schedule, I studied for 9-10 hours on holidays and weekends.” says Ashish.  

      Ankit Kumar, 23 years old, cracked the MAT exam when he was in the final year of his five years integrated course. He scored 99.99 percentile and topped the exam. 

      This was his 1st attempt at MAT exam. He opted for JBIMS or SIMSREE, Mumbai for pursuing MBA in Finance or Operation. “I decided to appear in MAT Feb 2020 exam only after attempting the CAT exam in which I did not score well. During the 2 months period, I never looked back and focused on the regular study of a minimum of 2 hours. I focused more on the Aptitude section..” commented Ankit. 

      How to Crack MAT 2020 without Coaching?

      It is a myth that cracking MAT without coaching class is impossible and it definitely needs to be busted. Many MBA aspirants join coaching classes as they are under the impression that their tutor will somehow magically make them achieve an excellent MAT result. Well, the onus for it actually falls on you and you alone.

      • Understand MAT Exam Format and Pattern Well: Before you start prepping for MAT, the first thing you should do is to understand the basic structure of the exam. Applicants must become familiar with MAT Exam Pattern as it clearly outlines the sections, duration, number of questions and the scoring mechanism. This will provide you with a perspective as to what you are exactly dealing with.
      • Collect the Right Study Material: Students who go to coaching classes have access to tailor-made preparation material for each section. You need not get worried by this as there are ample of good books available in the market or on the internet. Choose the best MAT preparation books and remember to purchase a book having all the previous years’ papers.
      • Make Mathematics your BFF: It is a common belief that Indians are good at Math, so it is suggested that you begin your preparation with the Quant section. This is a good idea as it will help you to get in the habit of studying. Getting the questions right will also boost your confidence. After understanding concepts, start solving question papers. This will give you an idea about the topics, the standard expected and the skills required. For solving the questions, apply conventional methods first. As the material becomes familiar to you, start applying short- cuts to improve speed. There are certain kinds of questions in MAT that are generally not asked in other MBA entrances, focus on them. Make your own notes of the formulae and memorize them. Glance over the questions and skip those that are time-consuming.
      • Read, Read and Read: Read novels, English newspapers and watch English news channels to improve your vocabulary and reading skills. By doing this, you will be able to kill 2 birds with a stone. Making reading a habit will prepare you for the LC section as also make you aware of the current events happening around you for Indian & Global Environment section. A general tip that works for LC is reading questions before reading comprehension; it becomes easier to find the answers. Pay attention to Grammar rules and usage as it plays an important role.
      • Analyze Previous Year Papers: A number of 100th percentile scorers prepare for MBA entrances only through mock tests or previous year papers. Preparing through mocks, sectional and topic-specific tests and making changes to the approach is an effective way of studying. A habit of solving 1 or 2 mocks every weekend and then analyzing these can work wonders. All the questions– incorrect, correct or un-attempted should be analyzed properly. 
      • Find a Mentor: Since you have not joined any coaching class, it is essential for you to find a mentor. This mentor can be anybody- your college professor, your seniors or your peers who have first-hand experience with regards to MAT. Their guidance can prove helpful if you have any difficulties. They can also provide you with good study material and notes.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      MAT 2020 Preparation FAQs

      Ques. How to prepare for MAT?

      Ans. Firstly, understand the pattern and syllabus for MAT, analyse your weak and strong points and prepare a time schedule accordingly. Cover the syllabus and practice regularly by mock test and previous year question paper.

      Ques. How many hours should I dedicate for MAT?

      Ans. Preparation Hours depends on the level of your conceptual clarity. If fundamentals are strong, and you are aware of the exam pattern and syllabus thoroughly then 3-4 hours daily will suffice. If you are a beginner then little extra effort will be required.

      Ques. How much time is needed to cover the MAT syllabus?

      Ans. MAT has 5 sections to be covered up, if you have given any management exam earlier and acquainted with the syllabus then 3-4 months are sufficient. In case you are a beginner then 6- months are required to cover the syllabus and score well.

      Ques. Is it enough to prepare from a single book for MAT?

      Ans. Requirements of Books and Study material vary from section to section. Some sections can be prepared with limited material. MAT syllabus is vast, hence candidates should refer to the best books in the market. Several online sources are also helpful for mat preparation.

      Ques. Can i self-prepare for MAT?

      Ans. Of course, there are numerous candidates who clear MAT by self-study. Start by gaining a sound knowledge of syllabus and exam pattern, gather required study material and accordingly make a time table. Make use of the online resources and study material to the fullest. Rely on Mock test to constantly judge your performance and growth.

      Ques. What are some time management tips for MAT?

      Ans. 200 questions are to be solved in 150 minutes in MAT. It requires a lot of speed and accuracy, hence time management is a necessary skill to be developed. While preparing Mock test help develop speed. During exam do not stick to one question and spare time for revision.

      Ques. Is joining a coaching institute necessary for MAT preparation?

      Ans. The convenience of joining a coaching center is they provide updates and relevant study material for MAT. also, the time schedule prepared by coaching institute is according to important topics and syllabus. Candidates just have to follow that.

      Ques. Is online coaching viable for MAT preparation?

      Ans. Online coaching is a suitable option for working professionals preparing for MAT. it saves time and is more cost effective. There are several free online resources and websites providing study material and guidance for MAT.

      Ques. How does improving general knowledge helps in MAT?

      Ans. Indian and global environment is one of the sections in MAT exam. Though the marks of this section is not included in preparing final score and merit list, but certain B schools undertake the score for interview round.

      Ques. Do candidates in their final year of graduation face difficulty in preparing for MAT?

      Ans. That is not the case, aspirants in their final year of graduation are in touch with their studies, hence they can simultaneously prepare for graduation exam and MAT. graduation marks should not be compromised as they are considered in the final selection to B schools.

      Ques. How should I prepare for mathematical skills if weak in maths?

      Ans. Start by preparing the basic concepts and fundamental topics. Develop a habit of practising questions daily and learn the tricks to solve the questions. A good percentile in math can be scored if mock test and previous year question papers are referred regularly.

      Ques. Can I take MAT, if my English is not that fluent?

      Ans. MAT does not require fluency in english, decent command over grammar and vocabulary will help score well in MAT. This can be brushed up by reading newspapers, articles, and english news and youtube channels.

      *The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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      Payal Jha

      Know more about MAT Examinations for MBA

      20 May, 2020 00:20
      Tarigonda Aishwarya

      can i find any vedios for preparation

      26 Aug, 2019 00:20
      Shobhna Chaturvedi

      Hi Aishwarya, you may refer to the following websites for online classes on MAT:

      • Cracku
      • Oliveboard
      • Gradeup
      • Mbauniverse etc.

      26 Aug, 2019 12:53
      Monojit Dey

      I am confused while filling the MAT form selecting the city 1 and city 2, i stay in Bangalore can i select Bangalore for the both the options.

      30 Aug, 2018 00:20
      Akansha Expert

      Hi Monojit, No you can fill different suitable city for the Entrance exam.

      30 Aug, 2018 15:02
      Jhilmil Yadav

      Instead of solving lots of mock papers, try get your aptitude strong. If you can do good in aptitude section, you would be able to score high. I am from tech background and my foundation in mathematic helped me to get a good score which then helped me get admission at Thapar School of Management. Now I am placed at Reliance and I am love my job. That's why try your best to score good in aptitude section and everything will work out well for you.

      30 May, 2018 13:07
      Shivani Tiwari

      Thanks for the tip.

      31 Jul, 2018 15:54
      Roshni Chakraborty

      how to prepare for the current affairs part?

      06 Nov, 2018 14:59
      Sarthak Mahajan

      Hi Roshini, To prepare for current affairs and general awareness section, you must read magazines, newspapers and watch news channels.

      15 Dec, 2018 14:22

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