PGDBA-2019 entrance test was conducted on 17 February 2019 for admission to the niche Business Analytics programme jointly offered by Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) and Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IITKgp). Like the previous years, PGDBA-2019 was a Paper and Pencil test.

The test-structure was the same as that of last year and there were four sections, namely Verbal Ability (15 questions), Data Interpretation and Data Visualization (5 questions), Logical Reasoning (5 questions) and Quantitative Ability (25 questions). All questions carried equal weightage of 3 marks and there was a penalty of 1 mark for every incorrect answer. There was no penalty for unattempted questions. Each question had four options. Total time allotted for the test was 3 hours and there was no sectional time-limit.

Section |
Number of questions |
Time |

Verbal Ability | 15 | 180 minutes |

Data Interpretation and Data Visualization | 5 | |

Logical Reasoning | 5 | |

Quantitative Aptitude | 25 |

The VARC section was eminently easy. 10 Reading Comprehension Questions (5 questions each on 2 short passages), 2 Vocabulary questions (confusable words), and 3 Paragraph Jumbles questions (4 jumbled sentences) made up the VARC Section.

The passage on Italy’s low fertility rate was easy to read and the questions were also easy. The passage on ‘trolley problem’ and ethical dilemma was also easy to read and had easy to medium questions. Out of 10 RC questions, at least 7 were direct and easy. The two vocabulary questions were downright easy. None of the three paragraph jumbles also did not pose any challenge. One was easy, and the other two at best of medium difficulty level. All 15 questions could be attempted in about 20 minutes.

However, an attempt of 12 questions in this section in about 15 to 20 minutes, with about 75-80% accuracy would be considered a good attempt.

This section showed slight change in pattern this year. In the previous years, there was one set of five questions in this section. However, this year there were two sets: one set on bar graph (3 questions) and one set on table (2 questions). Both sets were easy and contained a mix of observation and calculation based questions.

Students should have aimed at attempting all the five questions in this section in about 10 minutes.

Like Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning section also showed some variation in pattern with respect to the previous year’s PGDBA exams. In the past, five standalone questions (on both verbal as well as non-verbal reasoning) were asked. However, in PGDBA-2019 exam, there was one set on matrix arrangement with five questions. This set was slightly more twisted than the questions in the previous year's exams. There were no questions on Verbal Reasoning.

Students should have attempted at least 4 of the 5 questions in about 15-20 minutes to maximize the score.

One factor that differentiates PGDBA exam from other exams is the questions on Higher Mathematics (usually covered at 10+2 level). In the previous years, PGDBA exam usually had 12 to 13 questions on Higher Mathematics. However, PGDBA-2019 had 11 questions on Higher Mathematics (calculus and Conics sections) and the remaining 14 questions were on topics covered in CAT and other exams. The questions on Higher Mathematics were dominated by Calculus (7 questions), followed by Conics Sections (2 questions), while the questions on other topics were dominated by Algebra and Modern Mathematics (5 questions each).

Following was the break-up of the questions in the section:

Quantitative Aptitude (25 questions) |
||||

Easy | Medium | Difficult | Total | |

Higher Mathematics (Total 11 questions) |
||||

Limits | 1 | 1 | ||

Differentiation | 3 | 3 | ||

Integration | 3 | 3 | ||

Matrices | 1 | 1 | ||

Conic Sections | 2 | 2 | ||

Infinite Series | 1 | 1 | ||

Algebra (Total 5 questions) |
||||

Higher order equations | 1 | 1 | ||

Inequalities | 1 | 1 | ||

Linear Equations | 1 | 1 | ||

Maxima-Minima | 1 | 1 | ||

Quadratic Equations | 1 | 1 | ||

Modern Mathematics (Total 5 questions) |
||||

AP-GP | 1 | 1 | ||

Functions | 1 | 1 | 2 | |

Permutation-Combination | 1 | 1 | ||

Set Theory | 1 | 1 | ||

Geometry (Total 3 questions) |
||||

Coordinate Geometry | 1 | 1 | ||

Polygons | 1 | 1 | ||

Triangles | 1 | 1 | ||

Numbers (Total 1 question) |
||||

Surds & Indices | 1 | 1 | ||

Total |
5 |
7 |
13 |
25 |

Overall, the level of difficulty of questions on Higher Mathematics was on higher side. Ideal strategy would have been to attempt all CAT-level questions in the section at very high accuracy and attempt as many of Higher Mathematics questions as possible. The questions on Higher Mathematics could be attempted only by those students who had brushed up the concepts of these areas. Students would have definitely found PGDBA workshops and test-pack offered by IMS helpful.

Like in the previous years, PGDBA-2019 exam did not have too many questions with shortcuts. However, that was compensated by the fact that more time could have been devoted to this section as the other sections were on relatively easier side and overall there were 50 questions to be attempted in three hours.

An attempt of about 16-18 questions in about 110-120 minutes would be considered a good attempt.

Overall, PGDBA-2019 was more or less at similar level of difficulty as previous years.

Reports from students suggest that questions on Higher Mathematics are asked in the interview for admission. Students who have performed well in PGDBA-2019 and are expecting a call for the second round of admissions may benefit if they brush up the concepts on Higher Mathematics in the intervening six weeks.