In philosophy, the study of knowledge is called epistemology, and the philosopher Plato famously defined knowledge as “justified true belief.” There is however no single agreed upon definition of knowledge, and there are numerous theories to explain it. When it comes to studying or preparing ‘General Knowledge / Awareness’ for a competitive exam, there are some broad based theories or guidelines which a student can use. I hope you understand that preparing for General Awareness is not an exact science like mathematics and will never be. On most occasions, you can use previous papers like a sample set and then hypothetically postulate as to what is important to the exam-setter. Sadly, CMAT does not give us that opportunity as it is happening for the first time. But, if one looks at other MBA exams like IIFT & SNAP which ask for General and / or Business Awareness, a pattern seems to emerge.



Depending on the amount of time a student has or rather he is willing to spend on GA, the list below can come in handy:

  • People in news
  • National affairs
  • International affairs
  • Awards and Prizes
  • Sports
  • Books and Authors


I have a few suggestions, which are quite generic, to prepare for the topics mentioned above:

  • Read a newspaper regularly (Avoid TOI, pick up The Hindu)
  • Read couple of business magazines (Business Today, Business World)
  • Like Facebook pages which keep on updating interesting news and trivia.
  • Participate in online general / business awareness quizzes
  • Have a weekly session with your friends in which you discuss major happenings of the week
  • Quite a few websites maintain a database of what is happening in the world. It would be a good idea to go through them.
  • Get a book on the general / business awareness. (In my personal opinion – Manorama Yearbook & Biz World are good for this)



Given above are the broad-based suggestions that are applicable to any exam that tests General Awareness. Now let us look at few specifics for CMAT:


  • The General Awareness section will have 25 questions.
  • Each question will be of 4 marks each.
  • For every incorrect answer 1 mark will be deducted.
  • The total time that you should spend on the section is approximately 20 minutes.


Let me elaborate a little on the last point. I fully understand that the time allocated is less than a minute for every question. This might raise a few doubts in your rational head: Is that going to be enough? Am I undermining the importance of the GA section? Don’t get me wrong – I believe GA is a very important section in which a student can score really well. All I am trying to say is that you should not spend too much time on it. Most of the questions that are asked in the GA section are typically of the nature – “either-you-know-it-or-you-don’t” category. In these questions, you don’t need to calculate anything. In these questions, you don’t need to go through long text to figure out what is going on. In these questions, either you know the answer or you don’t. You cannot think and figure out who the Vice-President of India is. (It is Hamid Ansari in case you forgot) If you are still not convinced that 20 minutes is enough time to do this section, I recommend that you have a look at few sample papers and estimate how much time you actually need to go through the ‘General Awareness’ section.


The questions in General Awareness CMAT can be broadly divided into two categories:

  • Direct Questions
  • Match the following questions


Let us look at couple of examples of each of them:


1. What does AMFI stand for?

a) Association of Market Financers in India

b) Association of Mutual Funds – International

c) Association of Mutual Funds in India

d) Association of Market Funds in India


2. What does SEBI stand for?

a) Stock Exchange Board of India

b) Securities and Exchange Board of India

c) Securities Extended Board of India

d) Securities and Exchanges Bureau of India


3. Match the following Navratna companies to their respective key personnel.


Company Chairman / MD
a) Coal India Ltd 1. B C Tripathi
b) Gas Authority of India Ltd 2. R K Upadhyay
c) Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd 3. N C Jha
d) Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd 4. B PrasadaRao


a) a – 3, b – 1, c – 2, d – 4

b) a – 1, b – 3, c – 4, d – 2

c) a – 3, b – 1, c – 4, d – 2

d) a – 1, b – 3, c – 2, d – 4




4. Match the organisation with its purpose


Organization Purpose
a) NABARD 1. Umbrella body of chambers of commerce
b) FICCI 2. Bank for rural development
c) ASSOCHAM 3. Corporate Financial Advisory and Consultancy
d) IFCI 4. Association of business organizations in India

a) a – 2, b – 4, c – 3, d – 1

b) a – 1, b – 3, c – 4, d – 2

c) a – 2, b – 4, c – 1, d – 3

d) a – 1, b – 3, c – 2, d – 4



As you can see from above, the direct questions test your knowledge about one-specific data set whereas the match-the-following require a deeper understanding. Not only that, match-the-following kind of questions take more time in solving them. The point that I wish to highlight is that in match-the-following questions is – you don’t need to get all the data sets. Just find out the one that you are sure about and start eliminating options. You will save a lot of time if you follow the above-mentioned strategy.


The answers to the above four questions, which are from Biz World, are: C, B, C and C.


Hope this article was helpful to you and get you started on your General Awareness for CMAT preparation.



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Ravi Handa holds a B. Tech and M. Tech degree in Computer Science from one of the most prestigious Engineering colleges in India - IIT Kharagpur. In the last 7 years, he has trained and coached thousands of students via his website Handa Ka Funda. He also runs a comprehensive online CAT Coaching course

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