PGDBA 2021 - Test Analysis

PGDBA-2021 entrance test was conducted on 7th August 2021 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).


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-2021 was at a similar level of difficulty as PGDBA-2020. We believe that a score of about 110 should be enough to secure a call for the interviews for the general category of students.

Sectional Analysis

Verbal and Logical Ability Section (15 questions)

The VARC section was of medium difficulty. 10 Reading Comprehension Questions (5 questions, each on 2 short passages), 2 Vocabulary questions (fill in the blanks), and 3 Paragraph Jumbles questions (4 jumbled sentences) made up the VARC Section.

The passage on ‘In-house workforce’ was more challenging primarily because of some confusing answer choices. The difficulty level of questions ranged from medium to difficult. Unlike this, the passage on ‘Social and Economic issues in Latin American countries’ was very easy to read; all the questions were direct and could be quickly answered. Out of the 10 RC questions, at least 6 were easy. Out of the two FITB questions, one was straightforward while the other one was a bit complex mainly due to the vocabulary involved. Regarding the three paragraph jumbles, two of these were straightforward and should have been attempted by everyone; the third paragraph jumble was challenging and time-consuming.

A well-prepared student should have attempted around 10 to 12 questions in about 20 to 30 minutes with 75-80% accuracy.

Data Interpretation and Data Visualization Section (5 questions)

Like last year, all the five questions in this section were standalone questions based on different graphs (2 line graphs, 1 pie chart, 1 bar chart, 1 stacked bar graph). The questions involved mostly observations and 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 Numerical Puzzle and Arrangement having 5 questions in this single set. 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.

Quantitative Aptitude Section (25 questions)

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 had 16 questions on Higher Mathematics. However, PGDBA-2021 had as many as 11 questions on Higher Mathematics (calculus and Conics sections) and the remaining 13 questions were on topics covered in CAT and other MBA entrance exams. The questions on Higher Mathematics were dominated by Calculus (6 questions), followed by Conics Sections (2 questions). The questions on Higher Mathematics also involved 1 question on Matrices and 2 questions on Advanced Functions. The questions on other topics were dominated by Algebra (4 questions), Modern Maths (4 questions), and Geometry (3 questions). There was no question from Arithmetic in this section.

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

Quantitative Aptitude (25 questions)
Surprisingly one parajumble question from Verbal Ability appeared in Quant by mistake.
Easy Medium Difficult Total
Higher Mathematics 1 0 10 11
Algebra 2 0 2 4
Modern Maths 3 1 0 4
Geometry 2 1 0 3
Numbers 1 1 0 2
Total 9 3 12 24

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

Easy Medium Difficult Total
Differentiation 0 0 1 1
Integration 0 0 4 4
Conics 0 0 2 2
Advanced Functions 0 0 2 2
Matrices 0 1 0 1
Limits 0 0 1 1
Total 0 1 10 11

Overall, the level of difficulty of questions on Higher Mathematics was on a 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, the PGDBA-2021 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 a relatively easier side and overall there were 50 questions to be attempted in three hours.

An attempt of about 17-18 questions in about 110-120 minutes would be considered a good attempt.


Overall, PGDBA-2021 was at a similar level of difficulty as the previous year, mainly due to questions asked on Higher Mathematics were mostly difficult.

Reports from students suggest that questions on Higher Mathematics are asked in the interview for admission. Students who have performed well in PGDBA-2021 and are expecting a call for the second round of admissions may benefit if they brush up the concepts on Higher Mathematics before the interviews.


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