IBA Admission Test

Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka, uses a unique admission process to select its BBA and MBA students. The IBA admission test is quite different even from the admission tests of other Dhaka University departments. This is because the test is designed to test your “aptitude” instead of your “academic knowledge.”

How is the IBA admission test structured?

For both the BBA and MBA admissions, IBA divides its admission process into two parts

1. Written examination

2. Viva.

The Written examination is a total of 2 hours (120 minutes) long and is divided into two parts 

1. MCQ section
2. Writing section.

The MCQ section usually has 75 questions (sometimes 80) from three areas – 

1. English, 
2. Mathematics and 
3. Analytical Ability. 

There are 30 questions in the IBA English section, 30 questions in the Mathematics section, and 15 questions (sometimes 20) in the Analytical Ability section. 

You get a total of 90 minutes for the entire MCQ section (which is less than 1.5 minutes per question!).

 You are free to distribute your 90 minutes among the sections as you, please.

At the start of the exam, you are given 1. Question booklet and 2. OMR sheet.

The question booklet contains the MCQ questions and space for the writing tasks. The OMR sheet is for the answers to the MCQ questions. You must copy the answers to the MCQ questions in the OMR sheet (because this section is not checked by the examiner!). Your answers to the MCQ questions are checked electronically from your OMR sheet.

You have to write your essays within the space given in the booklet. You will not be given any extra space or sheets for your writing tasks, so you have to be careful about your use of space! The Writing section is checked and marked by the examiner (usually professors of IBA, Dhaka University). The OMR sheet is taken away at the end of the 90 minutes, and the Question booklet is taken away at the end of the exam (after 2 hours).

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OMR sheet

In the MCQ section, you can start with any question you want. But remember that you have to also transfer your answers to the OMR sheet within these 90 minutes! You will not be given any extra time to write your name or finish copying your answers to the OMR sheet.

So it is usually wise to spend around (including transferring your answers to the OMR sheet) 30 minutes for the English section, 40 minutes for the Mathematics section, and 20 minutes for the Analytical Ability section. But you are free to distribute your time across the sections as is best suited to you!

English, Mathematics, Analytical Ability, and Writing section

In the English section, you are tested on basic grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension. The content (syllabus) is up to Class 10 (O level) English.

In the IBA Mathematics section, you are tested on basic arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. Again, the content (syllabus) is up to Class 10 (O level) Mathematics, and you will not need advanced mathematics like calculus. You are NOT allowed to use a calculator for the admission test.

 Finally, the Analytical Ability section tests your logic and reasoning skills. There is, of course, no syllabus for this.

You get 1 mark for each correct answer in the MCQ section. 0.25 marks are deducted for each incorrect answer. So it is not a wise idea to “guess” the answers to too many questions!

The Writing section is 30 minutes long and has writing tasks using English (mostly) and Bengali. The writing tasks are usually essays and paragraphs, in either language. Usually, there are 3 different writing tasks in the Writing section.

Viva (interview)

Those who pass in the Written Examination, are shortlisted and called for Viva (interview). On the day of the Viva, you are given another small Writing Task. You have to pass this Writing Task too. 

Later in the day, you will face an interview in front of a panel (group of IBA professors). The interviewing panel may choose to discuss your Writing Task from the morning. 

The interview usually lasts from 5 to 15 minutes, and your interview performance is also scored. This score is added to your score from the Written section to make the final standings and final shortlist.

There is NO waiting list for IBA BBA or MBA admission. Only the candidates from the final shortlist are offered a place. If somebody on the final shortlist gives up their place and does not take admission, their spot is left empty.

What are the differences between IBA BBA and MBA admission tests?

In short, there is no difference in the content or structure between the IBA BBA and IBA MBA admission tests. The content that is tested, the question structure, and the time given are the same in both admission tests.

Since students who sit for BBA admission are taking a similar admission test at a younger age than those sitting for MBA admission, the BBA admission test is generally considered to be harder and more competitive.

What other universities use this format of examination?

Although when IBA BBA first started this admission test format, it was the only one of its type in the country, this has been the standard testing format in North America (United States and Canada).

Students who have finished high school (Class 12) in North America and want to enter into a bachelor’s program (like BBA) sit for the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT).

Students who have finished a Bachelor’s degree and want to enter into a Masters’s program (like MBA) or Ph.D. program in North America take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). Both the SAT and GRE test your language and reasoning skills, and are very similar to the IBA admission tests.

Nowadays, most private universities (like NSU, and BRAC) and the business schools of many public universities (like BUP, and JU IBA) use this format for their admission tests.

Although the difficulty of the questions, the amount of competition, and the passing marks for each section vary across these different admission tests.

Who can sit for the exam?

The circulars for the IBA BBA and MBA admission tests are published on IBA’s website (https://www.iba-du.edu/) around October – December each year.

The admission tests are also held around this time. Both the BBA and the MBA admission tests are held only once every year.

The requirements (GPA and grades) for eligibility to sit for these tests are published in the exam circular.

IBA BBA does NOT allow “second-timers” (people sitting the exam for a second time) to sit for the BBA admission exam, just like the other undergraduate departments of Dhaka University.

To sit for the BBA admission exam in any year, you must have completed your HSC or A levels in that year.

For example, to sit for the BBA admission test in 2021, you must complete your HSC or A levels 2021. Usually, around 6,000 students sit for the IBA BBA admission test.

However, IBA MBA does allow “second-timers” to sit for the MBA admission test.

For SSC and HSC-passed applicants, usually, the eligibility requirement is a minimum total GPA of 7.5/10, with neither GPA being less than 3.5/5. For O and A level passed applicants usually the eligibility requirements are a minimum of 5 subjects in O levels and 2 subjects in A levels, with a minimum of 4 B grades and 3 C grades across the 7 subjects.

The requirements are published in the exam circulars and may vary from year to year. For applicants with a Bachelor’s degree, the usual eligibility requirement is a minimum CGPA of 2.5/4.

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