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PGDBA 2023 Analysis

26 March, 2023

PGDBA-2023 Analysis

March 26, 2023 – 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

PGDBA-2023 entrance test was conducted on 26th March 2023 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). In some centers there were some technical glitches because of the Computer Network and Server used and that is why the examination started late by around 15 minutes.


Structurally there was no change in the exam pattern this year. Verbal Ability (15Qs) and Logical Reasoning (5Qs) were merged in a single section (Section-A) of 20 Qs. Following was the structure of the exam:

Section No. of questions Level of difficulty Time
Verbal Ability +

Logical Reasoning

15 Easy 180 minutes
5 Easy
Data Interpretation and Data Visualization 5 Medium
Quantitative Aptitude 25 Difficult

Marking scheme: Surprisingly there was no mention of points to be awarded for correct answers anywhere in the examination (last year it was 3 marks), but, it was clearly mentioned that the  penalty for incorrect answers will be -1 and there is No penalty for unattempted questions.


As per the feedback received from students, Section-B (i.e. Data Interpretation and Data Visualization) of PGDBA-2023 was one notch more difficult than PGDBA-2022, although the other two sections were of the same difficulty level. We believe that a score of about 98 – 100 should be enough to secure a call for the interviews for the general category of students .

Sectional Analysis


Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning Section (20 questions)

The  VARC part was of easy difficulty level. 10 Reading Comprehension Questions (5 questions, each on 2 short passages), 2 Vocabulary questions (Fill in the Blank), and 3 Jumbled Paragraph questions (4 jumbled sentences) made up the VARC part of the section.

There were two RC passages – one was about how insects use different stimuli like sound, smell, etc. for navigations  and another one was from the domain of Philosophy. Both the passages were easy to read and comprehend. However, one question in each set was inferential but the others were straightforward. The questions in the passages were mostly in the easy to medium difficulty range. Out of the 10 RC questions, around 8 were easy. From the vocabulary questions, the fill-in-the-blank questions were easy.  None of the three paragraph jumbles posed any challenge. All three were easy as one could easily identify the beginning statement and should have been attempted. Students should have attempted 12 to 13 questions in this section in about 25 to 30 minutes.

The Logical Reasoning part had one set of 5 puzzles based on Grouping and Conditionalities. The question says that  some people went to a museum which has 5 halls numbered 1 to 5. One can visit the halls in two different orders. Different people spend different amounts of time in different halls and the amount of time spent to move from one hall to another has also been mentioned. Different Hall-ticket prices have been given in the question. There were no questions on Verbal Reasoning or any standalone question. The set was tricky and time-consuming but it can be solved. Students should have attempted at least 3-4 questions in about 20 minutes to maximize the score.

Overall, the Verbal Ability + Logical Reasoning section should have been allotted around 45 to 50 minutes. An attempt of 16 to 17 questions out of 20 within this time frame would be considered a good attempt.


Data Interpretation and Data Visualization Section (5 questions)

All the five questions in this section were standalone questions.  Two questions were based on tables and the other 3 had different types of charts (Horizontal Bar Graph, Line Graph on income disparity, and 4 Pie charts on monthly expenditures). The Table based questions use both your reasoning as well as calculation skills, whereas the diagram based questions use mostly your observational skill and analytical acumen. The set based on Table that deals with “quantity of iron ore extracted and sold” was the easiest among all. The language used in this section was a bit tricky. Students should have aimed at attempting all the 5 questions in this section in about 15-17 minutes.


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 usually had exactly 14 questions on Higher Mathematics. PGDBA-2023 had as many as 12 questions on Higher Mathematics (calculus, Conics sections, etc) and the remaining 14 questions were on topics covered in CAT and other MBA entrance exams. The questions on Higher Mathematics were dominated by Limits and Continuity (4 Qs), Conics (2 Qs), Integration (2 Qs)  as well as advanced functions (2 Qs). The questions on Higher Mathematics also involved 1 question matrices and determinants and 1 question on Binomial Expansion. The questions on other topics were dominated by Algebra (3 questions) and Trigonometry (3 questions). One question from PnC seems to be erroneous.

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

Quantitative Aptitude (25 questions)
Easy Medium Difficult Total
Higher Mathematics 0 3 9 12
Modern Mathematics 2 2 2 6
Algebra 1 1 1 3
Trigonometry 1 1 1 3
Coordinate Geometry 0 1 0 1
Total 4 8 13 25


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

Easy Medium Difficult Total
Limits and Continuity 0 1 3 4
Conics 0 1 1 2
Integration 0 1 1 2
Advanced Functions 0 0 2 2
Binomial Theorem 0 0 1 1
Matrices and Determinants 0 0 1 1
Total 0 3 9 12

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-2023 exam did not have too many questions with shortcuts. However, that was compensated by a couple of really easy questions and 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 16-17 questions in about 110-120 minutes would be considered a good attempt.


Overall, PGDBA-2023 matched the same difficulty level as that of the previous year exam. Section-A and Section-C maintained the same difficulty level but Section-B was one notch more difficult than the previous year.

Reports from students suggest that questions on Higher Mathematics are asked in the interview for admission. Students who have performed well in PGDBA-2023 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.