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Understanding Idioms and Phrases for Management Exams

Author : Palak Khanna

Updated On : September 11, 2023


Summary: Idioms and Phrases for Management Exams are important sections in the top management exam like IPMAT. This article walks you through understanding Idioms and Phrases for Management Exams.

Idioms and phrases for management exams are prominent topics that must be covered for several management exams. Usually, this section accounts for 4 to 5 questions, which helps increase your final score.

As a result, experts advise starting the exam preparations by preparing for idioms and phrases for management exams. The IPMAT exam pattern reveals that idioms and phrases significantly impact the marking scheme, so it becomes essential to clear this section with good scores.

There are several idioms and phrases for management exams that you should be familiar with before the exam that are explored in this article. 

Understanding Idioms and Phrases for Management Exams

If you aspire to score well in the upcoming management exams, you should be well-versed with relevant idioms.

The following table consists of the essential phrases and idioms asked in the top management exams like CAT, IPMAT etc. 



Ant in Your Pants

To be excited, anxious or nervous

Cat Nap

A short sleep

Cat’s Got One’s Tongue

One who does not speak due to shyness

Clam Up

One who becomes quite suddenly

Dropping like Flies

Dying up Quickly

Dog Days

Sweltering days

Eager Beaver

An enthusiastic person

Have a Cow

Get extremely upset

Hold your horses

Directly from the original source

Riding a High Horse

Arrogant and Unyielding mood

Look a gift horse in the mouth

Find a fault with the gift that is received

Pig Out

Eat a lot of something

In the dog house

In trouble with another person

Until the cow comes home

For a very long time

Black Sheep

An odd member of the group

Dark Horse

A candidate who wins unexpectedly

A bull in China’s shop

A person who inflicts damage

Check: IPMAT Mock Test Series

In management exams, understanding the meaning of idioms and phrases can be essential to achieving a good score.

Knowing the meaning of these speech figures can help you understand the context better and answer the questions correctly.

Idioms and Phrases for Management Exams: Meaning and Usage

  1. At the helm

    • Meaning: In charge or command of a situation or group.
    • Usage in Management: A CEO is often at the helm of a company, making key decisions to guide its direction.
  2. Bottom line

    • Meaning: The final total of an account or balance sheet; the primary or most important outcome.
    • Usage in Management: Managers often focus on the bottom line to ensure the profitability of a project.
  3. Thinking outside the box

    • Meaning: Thinking creatively or from a new perspective.
    • Usage in Management: Innovative solutions in business often come from thinking outside the box.
  4. Low-hanging fruit

    • Meaning: The easiest tasks or problems to solve.
    • Usage in Management: Managers might prioritize the low-hanging fruit in a project to demonstrate quick wins.
  5. Get the ball rolling

    • Meaning: To start a project or initiative.
    • Usage in Management: When launching a new campaign, it's crucial to get the ball rolling with clear communication and initial tasks.
  6. In the same boat

    • Meaning: In the same situation or facing the same challenges.
    • Usage in Management: During organizational changes, employees might feel they are all in the same boat, facing uncertainty together.
  7. Play hardball

    • Meaning: To act aggressively or ruthlessly in order to achieve one's objectives.
    • Usage in Management: In tough negotiations, a company might decide to play hardball to get the best deal.
  8. Burn the midnight oil

    • Meaning: To work late into the night.
    • Usage in Management: Before a product launch, the team might have to burn the midnight oil to ensure everything is ready.
  9. On the back burner

    • Meaning: To prioritize something at a lower level; to deal with something later.
    • Usage in Management: Not all projects are of equal urgency, so some might be put on the back burner while immediate concerns are addressed.
  10. The bigger picture

  • Meaning: The overall, broader view of a situation.
  • Usage in Management: While focusing on day-to-day operations, managers should also consider the bigger picture to align with the company's long-term vision.

ipmat results

ipmat results

What is Idiom? 

An idiom is a phrase or expression with a figurative meaning distinct from its literal meaning. Idioms can be confusing because they often don't make sense when taken literally.

For example:

The idiom "it's raining cats and dogs" means it's raining heavily, not that cats and dogs are falling from the sky.

Phrases are similar to idioms in that they combine words with a figurative meaning that differs from the literal meaning of the individual words.

Check: IPMAT Application Form

For example:

"Face the music" means accepting the consequences of one's actions, not facing some music literally.

When taking a management exam, it is important to understand the meaning of idioms and phrases to answer questions correctly. Recognizing when an idiom or phrase is used in a question is important.

Check: IPMAT Eligibility Criteria

For example:

"What do you think the phrase 'biting off more than you can chew' means?" requires an understanding of the idiom to answer correctly.

The best way to understand idioms and phrases is to become familiar with common ones. Reading books, newspapers, and other materials that use idioms and phrases can help you to become familiar with them. Additionally, there are many resources online that can help with understanding the meaning of idioms and phrases. 

Check: IPMAT College Predictor

How to practise Idioms and Phrases for Management Exams?

Here are simple steps to follow in order to ace understanding Idioms and Phrases for management exams.

1. Read

Read a variety of books and articles that contain idioms and phrases. Pay attention to the context in which they are used, and take notes.

2. Memorize

Make flashcards or use other memory techniques, such as mnemonics or visualization, to help you memorize the idioms and phrases.

IPMAT mock test

IPMAT Mock test

3. Practice

Use the idioms and phrases in conversations, writing and speaking exercises, and other activities. This will help you become more familiar with them and learn how to use them in different contexts.

4. Test yourself

 Take practice exams or quizzes on idioms and phrases. This will help you identify which ones you need to work on and which you understand better.

Check: IPMAT Preparation Strategy

5. Study

Review the idioms and phrases you’ve learned and ensure you understand the context in which they are used. This will help you understand how to use them effectively in management exams.

Check: IPMAT Previous Year Question Papers With Solution PDF


In summary, understanding idioms and phrases for management exams can be critical for admissions into top management colleges. Becoming familiar with common idioms and phrases can help you better understand the questions' context and answer them correctly, thus helping you score overall excellent marks.

Check: 3 Savvy Ways to Solve Syllogism Questions for IPMAT

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the use of studying idioms and phrases for the management exams?

What is the meaning of the idiom Ant in Your Pants?

How many idioms should I prepare before writing the management exams?

What is the meaning of the idiom Look a gift horse in the mouth?


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