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NMAT Exam Pattern 2021 (Revised): Check Section-wise Test Pattern, Marking Scheme, Difficulty Level, Syllabus

NMAT Exam Pattern 2021 has been released by GMAC on the official website. NMAT by GMAC exam pattern underwent a few changes in 2020 and the same remain valid for NMAT 2021.

  • 108 questions divided equally between all 3 sections of NMAT Syllabus, i.e., Language Skills, Quantitative Skills, and Logical Reasoning will be asked. So, each section will have 36 questions.
  • The sectional time allotted is 28 minutes for NMAT Language Skills section, 40 minutes for NMAT Logical Reasoning, and 52 minutes for NMAT Quant section.
  • NMAT 2021 will be conducted by Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) over a 75-day test window from October 14 to December 27, 2021, and candidates can appear thrice for the exam as GMAC provides the facility of 2 retakes when the exam window is open. Check NMAT Sample Paper PDFs
  • Out of the three NMAT attempts, the best one is considered for evaluation. Candidates need a clear understanding of NMAT exam pattern to prepare well for the exam. Check NMAT Preparation Strategy and Tips

NMAT Exam Pattern Key Changes

NMAT Exam Pattern 2021: Key Changes

NMAT paper pattern underwent a few changes the previous year. GMAC made some important changes to NMAT exam pattern in the year 2020, and these modifications will continue to be in force for NMAT 2021 exam. Mentioned below are the key changes in NMAT test pattern:

  • The number of questions has been reduced from 120 to 108.
  • Each of the 3 sections of NMAT exam will have 36 MCQs
Section Number of Questions
2021 2020 2019
Language Skills 36 36 32
Logical Reasoning 36 36 40
Quantitative Skills 36 36 48
  • NMAT testing window increased from 75 to 88 days.
  • The time allotted for:
    • NMAT Language Skills section increased from 22 minutes to 28 minutes
    • NMAT Logical Reasoning section increased from 38 to 40 minutes
    • NMAT Quantitative Skills section reduced from 60 to 52 minutes

Check NMAT Official Preparation Guide

NMAT Exam Pattern 2021 Highlights

NMAT Exam Pattern 2021 Highlights

Particulars Details
Mode  Online - Computer Based Test
Duration 120 minutes or 2 hours
Sectional Time Limit Yes
Number of Sections
  • Quantitative Skills
  • Language Skills
  • Logical Reasoning
Nature of Questions Objective (MCQs)
Number of Answer Choices 5
Number of Questions 108 questions
Total Marks 360 marks
Marks Awarded +1 for every correct answer
Negative Marking No
Medium English
NMAT Sectional Weightage

Sectional Weightage in NMAT 2021 

GMAC introduced certain changes in NMAT exam pattern in 2020 and as per the updated paper pattern for NMAT 2021, the sectional weightage is tabulated below:

Subjects Marks Allotted (Range) Number of Questions
Language Skills 12-120 36
Quantitative Skills 12-120 36
Logical Reasoning 12-120 36
Total 36-360 108
NMAT Sectional Exam Pattern

Section-wise NMAT Exam Pattern 2021

Section Time Allotted Types of Questions
Language Skills 28 minutes Fill in the blanks, Para Jumbles, Error Detection, Sentence Completion, Para Completion, RC Passages
Quantitative Skills 52 minutes Mensuration, Arithmetic, Trigonometry, Algebra, Geometry, Data Interpretation (DI)
Logical Reasoning 40 minutes Statements-Assumptions-Arguments, Critical Reasoning, Puzzles, Ranking, Seating Arrangement, Syllogisms, Blood Relations
Total 120 minutes (2 hours) -
NMAT Language SKill Pattern

NMAT Exam Pattern 2021: Language Skills

As per the official notification, the Language Skills section of NMAT 2021 Exam comprises 36 questions. A candidate will have to complete this section within 28 minutes and then move to the other section. The score range for the same varies from 12-120, depending upon the types of questions asked and the overall preparation of the candidates.

  • This section checks the Candidate's command of the English Language which is really important to get a seat in any B-School. A candidate who is well-versed in English can easily get admission to a top-level college.
  • As the time duration of this section is 28 minutes which is the least as compared to the other two sections. So, candidates should practice solving various Mock Tests well in advance in a time-bound manner.
  • It is crucial to understand various topics under the Language Skills Section which are asked in the exam. Various topics under English Skills are mentioned below:
    • Para Forming
    • Sentence Completion
    • Analogies
    • Reading Comprehension
    • Error Identification Prepositions

Since the above-mentioned topics constitute basic level English, candidates should consult some good grammar and comprehension books. Apart from that, one can also solve some mock papers to get further insights into the kinds of questions asked in NMAT 2021 Exam. Remember, practice is the key here!

Check Language Skills Preparation for NMAT

NMAT Quantitative Skills Pattern

NMAT Exam Pattern 2021: Quantitative Skills

The Quantitative Skills Section comprises 36 questions and the time limit to solve them is fifty-two minutes. As this section constitutes mathematical calculation, the candidate must learn certain shortcut tricks to solve various math problems, otherwise, it would be difficult to complete this section on time.

The score range for Quantitative Skills varies from 12-120. Please remember that the questions asked in the exam are taken from a pool of questions. It means a candidate who is well-versed with the concepts will get questions aligning with his knowledge, so the questions may be a bit difficult. But it is advised to focus on the exam preparation rather than worrying about what kind of questions will be asked during the exam!

A detailed list of topics under Quantitative Skills that need to be studied are mentioned below:

  1. Arithmetic
  2. Data Interpretation Caselets and Tables
  3. Number Properties
  4. Probability and Algebra
  5. Data Sufficiency
  6. Data Interpretation Charts and Graphs

As the majority of the topics comprise Xth-XIIth standard mathematics, candidates should prepare from those books accordingly. It is the scoring section if certain tricks are implemented to various problems. No doubt, it is a bit time-consuming but shortcut tricks will help to save time, and thus, one can score well. Smart work and patience are the keys here!

Check NMAT Quantitative Skills Preparation

NMAT Logical Reasoning Pattern

NMAT Exam Pattern 2021: Logical Reasoning

Logical Reasoning constitutes 36 questions and the score range for the same range from 12-120. The time duration to solve this section is 40 minutes. Various topics that are mentioned under Logical Reasoning are given below:

  1. Analytical Puzzle
  2. Critical Reasoning
  3. Deductions
  4. And other topics that can be covered under Logical Reasoning

From the above-mentioned sub-topics, it is clear that the syllabus of Logical Reasoning is not well-defined as other topics can also be included under this section. So, candidates should prepare but not restrict their preparation to the above-mentioned topics. Thus, it is advisable to check out a few mock papers and ask for guidance from your seniors who have already appeared in the exam.

As there is leverage to attempt the test even at the comfort of your home, candidates should only focus on preparing for the NMAT Exam. It isn’t impossible to crack! One just needs to be consistent and solve as many Mock Test papers as possible. And you are good to go!


NMAT Marking Scheme

NMAT 2021 Marking Pattern

As per NMAT by GMAC Exam Pattern, the following points regarding NMAT marking scheme are noteworthy:

  • 120 minutes will be provided to answer 108 questions.
  • 1 mark will be awarded for every correct response for all objective-type questions
  • There will be no negative marking
  • No marks will be deducted for unanswered questions
Name of the section Number of questions Marks per question Scaled Score Range
Logical Reasoning 36 1 12-120
Language Skills 36 1 12-120
Quantitative Skills 36 1 12-120
Total 108  - 36-360
NMAT Syllabus

NMAT 2021 Syllabus

Section Topics Covered
Language Skills Para Jumbles, Sentence Completion, Idioms & Phrases, Antonyms & Synonyms, Reading Comprehension, Error Identification, Preposition use in sentences
Quantitative Skills Arithmetic, Data Interpretation, Caselets, Tabular DI, Number Properties, Probability, Algebra, Data Sufficiency, Data Interpretation based on Charts and Graphs, Trigonometry, Mensuration, Geometry
Logical Reasoning Analytical Puzzles, Critical Reasoning, Logical Deductions, Syllogisms, Blood Relations, Statement & Assumption, Inference, Arrangement, Ranking, Direction sense

Check detailed NMAT 2021 Syllabus

NMAT Exam Analysis

NMAT exam is usually of moderate difficulty level. Given below are an analysis of the difficulty level and the number of ideal attempts based on the previous years’ NMAT paper analysis:

Section Difficulty Level Good Attempts
Quantitative Skills Moderate 24-27
Language Skills Easy-Moderate 25-28
Logical Reasoning Moderate 22-25
Total Moderate 75-84
Check detailed NMAT Paper Analysis for previous years
NMAT, CAT, SNAP Pattern Comparison

CAT vs XAT vs SNAP vs NMAT: A Comparative Analysis of Exam Pattern

Mode of Exam Computer Based Test Computer Based Test Computer Based Test Computer Based Test
Number of Questions 100  100  60 108
Total Time Duration 180 minutes 180 minutes 60 minutes 120 minutes
Type of Questions MCQs MCQ and Subjective Type MCQs MCQs
Marking Scheme +1 mark for a correct answer +3 mark for a correct answer +1 mark for a correct answer +3 mark for a correct answer
- 0.25 mark for an incorrect answer No Negative Marking for subjective questions - 0.25 mark for an incorrect answer - 1 mark for an incorrect answer
Beyond 8 unanswered questions, 0.05 marks will be deducted for each unanswered question. -1 mark for every wrong answer in objective questions
Sectional Time Limit None 1 hour for each section None None
Sections Verbal & Reading Comprehension Verbal and Logical Ability Analytical & Logical Reasoning Language Skills
Quantitative Ability Decision Making Quantitative, Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency Quantitative Skills
Data adequacy and logical reasoning Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation General English: Reading Comprehension, Verbal Reasoning, Verbal Ability Logical Reasoning
General Knowledge

NMAT by GMAC Preparation Tips

  • Go through NMAT Exam Pattern thoroughly to understand the types of questions, sectional weightage, marking pattern, and difficulty level.
  • Prepare a well-thought study plan and complete NMAT Syllabus accordingly to ensure optimum preparation and revision.
  • For the Quantitative Skills section, the revision of important formulas and concepts is a must to score well in the exam.
  • Take regular intervals during NMAT preparation to avoid anxiety and stress. It will also help you increase retention power.
  • For the Language Skills section, it is recommended to develop a habit of reading and practice grammar concepts every day.
  • Solving Mock Tests is the key to cracking NMAT 2021 exam. Try to attempt at least 2 NMAT mock tests per week and analyze your performance in it. 
  • Practice Previous Year NMAT Question Papers to increase your efficiency and improve performance.

Check detailed NMAT Preparation Tips, Strategy, and Study Plan

NMAT Preparation Books 2021

Candidates must check the list of best books for NMAT 2021 exam preparation as per the revised exam pattern and syllabus.

Section Recommended NMAT Books Author/ Publisher
Language Skills Word Power Made Easy Norman Lewis
How to Prepare for VARC for the CAT Meenakshi Upadhyay & Arun Sharma
Logical Reasoning A Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning R S Aggarwal
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT Nishit K Sinha
Quantitative Skills Quantum CAT Sarvesh K Verma
How to Prepare for QA for the CAT Arun Sharma
NMAT Exam Pattern FAQS

NMAT Exam Pattern 2021 FAQs

Ques. Will there be any negative marking in NMAT 2021?

Ans. No, no marks will be deducted for incorrect answers and unattempted answers. Hence, the students are advised to attempt every question in NMAT 2021. This will increase their chances of getting the desired scores.

Ques. Is there any sectional limit in NMAT 2021?

Ans. Yes, there is a sectional limit in NMAT 2021. According to the recent changes, the candidates are required to answer the Language section within 28 minutes. In the section on Quantitative Skills, the candidates will be given 52 minutes. However, the questions need to be completed in 40 minutes in the Logical Reasoning section. The students can increase their speed by attempting as many NMAT Mock Tests as possible.

Ques. In which language will NMAT 2021 be conducted?

Ans. NMAT 2021 will be conducted in English Language only. No candidates are allowed to opt for any other language in the application form of NMAT. However, before appearing for the exam, the candidates are required to check their eligibility criteria. 

Ques. How much time will be given to answer questions in NMAT 2021?

Ans. The candidates need to solve the 108 questions in NMAT 2021 within 120 minutes. No extra time will be provided to the students for attempting the question paper. However, apart from that, there will even be a sectional time limit in the exam. 

Ques. Which type of questions will be asked in NMAT 2021?

Ans. NMAT 2021 consists of MCQ-type questions. The students are advised to select one choice out of the five options given within the specified time limit. To improve speed and accuracy, it is suggested that students attempt as many previous year NMAT question papers as possible. 

Ques. In which mode will NMAT 2021 be conducted?

Ans. NMAT 2021 will be conducted in an online Computer Based Test Mode. The exam will consist of 108 questions, which need to be solved in 120 minutes. For every correct answer, one mark will be awarded to the candidates, and no marks will be deducted for incorrect answers. 

Ques. How many sections are there in NMAT 2021?

Ans. NMAT consists of three sections namely, Language Section, Quantitative Skills, and Logical Reasoning. All three sections need to be completed within the specified time. In case the candidate runs out of time in one section he won’t be able to compensate that from the next section. Before appearing for NMAT 2021, candidates must focus on developing proper time management skills. 

Ques. Is it allowed to switch from one section to another while giving NMAT 2021?

Ans. The candidates have the liberty to choose the section to attempt first. However, they can’t switch midway. The candidates are required to complete one section at a time and within the specified limit in NMAT 2021.

Ques. Can one give NMAT 2021 from home?

Ans. The authorities have released notification for NMAT 2021. This year too the exam will be conducted in an online proctored test mode and also at the examination centers. The candidates need to visit the official website for the latest updates regarding NMAT 2021.

Ques. What will be the difficulty level of NMAT 2021?

Ans. Based on the previous year’s analysis, it is expected that the difficulty level of NMAT 2021 will be moderate. The candidates need to gain conceptual clarity to solve any kind of question and also to secure the desired scores. 

Ques. What are NMAT test fee, rescheduling fee, and retake charges?

Ans. As per mba.com/nmat, the test registration fee is INR 2300. Regarding the rescheduling and retake fee, then these are INR 1100 AND INR 2300 respectively.

Ques. What is the marking scheme of NMAT by GMAC exam as per the latest paper pattern? 

Ans. Each correct answer gets three marks. It is the same for all three sections. There is no negative marking and no marks will be deducted in case of unattempted questions.

Ques. What is the difficulty level of NMAT exam in comparison to other MBA entrance tests like CAT and XAT?

Ans. The difficulty level of the exam is moderate. Candidates can score great scores if they prepare sincerely for the exam. The difficulty level of NMAT isn't the same as the CAT exam but it is still advised to be consistent with your preparation and practice mock test papers as much as possible. This will help to avoid any silly mistakes during the exam and improve your score.

Ques. As the syllabus of Logical Reasoning Skills is not well-defined, what topics one needs to prepare while appearing for NMAT 2021 Exam?

Ans. It is true that the syllabus of Logical Reasoning Skills isn’t well defined but still this section can be covered in a smart way. Apart from the above-mentioned topics, other important topics that can be covered while preparing Logical Reasoning are Sitting Arrangements, Syllogisms, Blood Relations, Family true, Puzzle, and mirror images. Candidates can also consult an authorized book on the topic of Logical Reasoning and align their preparation accordingly!

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


Topic-wise question distribution is fixed or random in the NMAT exam?
abhishek upadhyay

Hello Prahasti, greetings from Collegedunia. The division for the number of questions per section is the same, however, the questions for the topic may vary.

Can we switch between sections during the NMAT exam?
abhishek upadhyay

Hello Shiya, greetings from Collegedunia. Yes, you are allowed to switch among the sections during the NMAT exam.

Is it mandatory to clear the sectional cut-off in the NMAT exam?
abhishek upadhyay

Hello Ammar, greetings from Collegedunia. Yes, it is mandatory to clear the sectional cut-off to be eligible for NMAT Counseling.

do we have to go to clg's site to register seperately and pay even after filling nmat form in which that clg is selected..!?
Hi Cherry, Yes You can register yourself on the College official website.
how to select exam dates? Please help

Hi mansi, To get information regarding the selection of exam dates you mat check this link:- Scheduling.

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