PGDBA-2020 entrance test was conducted on 16th February 2020 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). For the first time, PGDBA-2020 was an online test.

Following was the structure of the exam:

Section |
Number of questions |
Level of difficulty |
Time |

Verbal Ability | 15 | Medium | 180 minutes |

Data Interpretation and Data Visualization | 5 | Easy | |

Logical Reasoning | 5 | Easy | |

Quantitative Aptitude | 25 | Difficult |

Marking scheme: 3 marks for correct answers, penalty of 1 mark for incorrect answers. No penalty for unattempted questions.

As per the feedback received from students, PGDBA-2020 was one notch more difficult than PGDBA-2019. However, as the number of test takers is expected to increase, the percentiles required for getting a call for the next round of admissions is likely to be higher. As a result of both these factors, we believe that a score of about 100-105 should be enough to secure a call for the interviews for the general category of students, which is slightly less than the cut-off for the last year.

The VARC section was of medium difficulty. 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 ‘Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ was a bit difficult to read due to its use of technical language. The difficulty level of questions ranged from medium to difficult. Unlike this, the passage on ‘Individualism vs Collectivism’ was very easy to read and had easy questions. Out of the 10 RC questions, at least 6 were easy, and most of them were inference-based questions. The two vocabulary questions were of easy to medium difficulty. None of the three paragraph jumbles posed any challenge. Two were easy, and the remaining one was, at best, of medium difficulty.

An attempt of 12 questions in this section in about 20 to 30 minutes, with about 75-80% accuracy would be considered a good attempt.

Unlike previous years, when this section had set based questions, all the five questions in this section were standalone questions based on different graphs. The questions involved simple calculations. Students should have aimed at attempting all the 5 questions in this section in about 10-15 minutes.

**Logical Reasoning Section (5 questions)**

There was one set on Matrix Arrangement having 5 questions in this section. There were no questions on Verbal Reasoning or any standalone question. The set was rather simple and students should have attempted all the 5 questions in about 10-15 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 11 to 13 questions on Higher Mathematics. However, PGDBA-2020 had as many as 16 questions on Higher Mathematics (calculus and Conics sections) and the remaining 9 questions were on topics covered in CAT and other MBA entrance exams. The questions on Higher Mathematics were dominated by Calculus (7 questions), followed by Conics Sections (3 questions). The questions on Higher Mathematics also involved 3 questions on Higher Geometry (i.e. the questions on Triangles and Trigonometry involving the concepts that are not covered at CAT and other MBA entrance exams. The questions on other topics were dominated by Algebra (5 questions).

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

Quantitative Aptitude (25 questions) |
||||

Easy | Medium | Difficult | Total | |

Higher Mathematics | 2 | 0 | 14 | 16 |

Algebra | 3 | 1 | 1 | 5 |

Modern Mathematics | 2 | 0 | 0 | 2 |

Geometry | 1 | 1 | 2 | |

Total | 8 | 2 | 15 | 25 |

Detailed break-up of the questions on Higher Mathematics was as follows

Easy | Medium | Difficult | Total | |

Differentiation | 1 | 0 | 3 | 4 |

Integration | 0 | 0 | 3 | 3 |

Conics | 0 | 0 | 3 | 3 |

Higher Geometry | 0 | 0 | 3 | 3 |

Matrices | 1 | 0 | 1 | 2 |

Infinite Series | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1 |

Total | 2 | 0 | 14 | 16 |

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-2020 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 14-15 questions in about 110-120 minutes would be considered a good attempt.

Overall, PGDBA-2020 was one notch more difficult than the previous year, mainly due to more questions asked on Higher Mathematics.

Reports from students suggest that questions on Higher Mathematics are asked in the interview for admission. Students who have performed well in PGDBA-2020 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.