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Many people want to pursue an MBA from a reputable institution, but they are conflicted

about which entrance exam to take: the GMAT or the CAT. Both of these examinations

evaluate candidates depending on their aptitude level. The exam structure and marking scheme of these exams have noticeable differences, owing to differing philosophies

underlying the development of both exams.

If you want to make a name for yourself in business and gain admission to a prestigious MBA program, you must understand GMAT vs CAT! This article will clear the air in your

head about it and point you in the right direction for your future. Continue reading to learn about the differences between the GMAT and the CAT, as well as the student populations

that each attracts.

Key Factors


  • GMAT eligibility criteria: A bachelors' degree in any discipline or equivalent from a recognized university is required to take the GMAT. Candidates in their final year of study are also able to apply. There is no minimum score required to take the GMAT.

  • CAT eligibility criteria: To be eligible for the CAT, an applicant must have a bachelors' degree in any stream with a minimum of 50% aggregate marks or equivalent from a recognized university. Candidates in their final year of study are also able to apply.

Mode of Exam

  • GMAT: The GMAT is given throughout the year, and candidates can reserve a test window from the calendar at their leisure. The candidate may also retake the exam five times within a year. Any candidate is permitted a maximum of eight attempts in his or her lifetime.

  • CAT: The IIMs only administers the CAT once a year. The CAT application procedure begins in August, and the exam is held in the last or first week of November.

Exam Pattern

  • GMAT: The GMAT question paper consists of multiple-choice questions from Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Data Insights. There is a time limit for each section, but the candidate can answer each section in whatever order they want.

  • CAT: The CAT exam is given online for three hours in two slots on a set date. Candidates have to follow the question paper's chronology, which means they cannot answer the section of their choice or return to a completed question skipped previously. The CAT question paper is made up of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and a few key-in response questions.

Exam Syllabus

  • GMAT: The GMAT evaluates a candidate on Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Data Insights.

  • CAT: Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning (DILR), Verbal Ability, and Reading Comprehension are all topics covered in the CAT syllabus (VARC).

Difficulty Level

  • GMAT: The GMAT is the most difficult MBA entrance exam. Not only because of the difficult questions but also because of the unusual marking scheme. However, because the GMAT is an adaptive test, it is simpler to get into an excellent college.

  • CAT: The CAT is a difficult MBA exam. The difficulty level of the questions continues to rise year after year. Getting into a good B-school with a CAT score less than 95 percentile is difficult. Because there are no repeated attempts in CAT, candidates must drop a year to improve their scores.

Marking Scheme

  • GMAT: The GMAT features an unusual scoring system. Candidates are graded on a scale of 205 to 805. Candidates are graded 60-90 in Data Insights, 60-90 in Verbal Reasoning, and 60-90 in Quantitative Reasoning. A high GMAT score can open avenue for significant scholarships!

  • CAT: Until 2019, the CAT was a 100-question exam, but in 2020, the number of questions was lowered. The CAT exam in 2021 included 66 questions with three marks for correct answers. For each incorrect response, one point is deducted. The total CAT score is 198. With CAT, no significant scholarships are available.

Exam Fee

  • GMAT: The GMAT exam costs USD 250 in all countries.

  • CAT: The CAT exam fee is INR 2,200 for General and NC-OBC applicants, and INR 1,100 for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, and Physically Disabled students.

Validity of Exam Score

  • GMAT: GMAT scores are accepted by over 2,100 management colleges worldwide. The GMAT score is valid for up to five years.

  • CAT: All 20 IIMs and over 1,100 management institutes in India recognize the CAT score. The CAT score is only valid for one year.

Relative Difficulty Comparison

Because the GMAT has a well-defined syllabus and question categories, it is easier to

prepare for GMAT as compared the CAT. With 90-120 hours of focused preparation, it is possible to achieve 655+ on the GMAT.

On the other side, the CAT course is less well defined, necessitating more preparation time than the GMAT. In general, the verbal section of the GMAT is more difficult for Indian test takers who are non-native English speakers than the CAT. The CAT quantitative component is more demanding than the GMAT.

How to choose between GMAT vs CAT?

The following criteria should assist you in picking between the GMAT and the CAT.

● Determine your career objectives (International Exposure and Work Opportunities vs.


● Program Selection (Executive, Full-time 1 year, Full Time 2 years)

● Preference for Location (India v. Abroad)

● Investment vs. Return

● Scholarships Available

● Along with a 99%ile CAT score, candidates need to have high scores in their Xth & XIIth and a high CGPA in bachelors and masters to secure an admission in top IIMs. To secure an admit to global schools, no such requirement is to be fulfilled.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, the GMAT stands out as the better alternative between GMAT and CAT due

to its larger global acceptance, lower opportunity cost, and higher return on investment, as well as its expanding admittance to executive MBA programs at IIMs and a few other

Indian B-schools.

However, if you want to get into a regular two-year MBA program at IIMs, the CAT may be your only option.


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