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CMAT vs. CAT Exam

The CMAT is a three-hour computer-based online test that is administered by the NTA to assess a candidate’s aptitude in areas such as quantitative techniques, reasoning, language comprehension, general awareness and innovation & entrepreneurship. All AICTE-approved universities recognise the CMAT score. The CMAT 2022 exam pattern consisted of 100 multiple-choice questions divided into five sections: Language Comprehension, Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, General Awareness, and Innovation & Entrepreneurship. This year, unlike last year, the 5th section, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, was mandatory to attempt. Please refer BYJU’S CAT College Predictor tool.

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Of all the management entrance exams, the CAT Exam is considered to be the premier exam, and the difficulty level keeps increasing year after year. It is the dream of every management aspirant to pursue an MBA degree from the IIMs and top management institutions through the CAT Exam. Most IIMs have set the CAT Exam score as the one and mandatory requirement. Some other IIMs accept the GMAT Exam scores, which are applicable to foreign nationals. The CAT Exam tests a candidate’s verbal, quantitative and reasoning skills. The difficulty level of the exam ranges from moderate to difficult. Others include the CMAT, XAT, and other exams. The CMAT is far easier to pass than the CAT, and CMAT scores are accepted by the majority of B-Schools in the country.

Differences: CMAT vs CAT

The two most common management admission tests are the Common Admission Test (CAT) and the Common Management Admission Test (CMAT). The CAT and CMAT scores are accepted by the majority of management schools. However, there are major differences between the CAT and the CMAT, especially in terms of the question paper’s complexity.

  • Due to the paper’s challenging questions, the CAT is considered one of India’s most difficult competitive tests. The CMAT paper, on the other hand, consists of problems that are straightforward and less difficult to solve. The CAT paper’s overall difficulty level ranges from medium to high.
  • It takes 120 minutes to finish the CAT exam. It takes 180 minutes to finish the CMAT exam. The CAT paper has a 40-minute sectional time limit for each section. CMAT candidates are exempt from such restrictions.
  • The CAT includes tough questions that take a long time to answer, in addition to the sectional time limit. Despite having an additional section compared to the CAT, the CMAT can be completed without additional pressure.
  • The sectional percentile is used by the most prestigious universities that accept the CAT for shortlisting purposes. A candidate must put in a lot of effort to achieve a high percentile.
  • The CAT takes place far earlier than the CMAT. Since the CAT and CMAT syllabuses are similar, applicants preparing for both tests may find that studying is smoother.
  • Due to the paper’s challenging questions, the CAT is considered one of India’s most difficult competitive tests. The CMAT paper, on the other hand, consists of plain, easy-to-answer questions.
Features CMAT CAT
Acronym The Common Management Admission Test Common Admission Test
Level of Competition National Level Entrance Exam National Level Entrance Exam
Exam Date April 9, 2022 November 27, 2022
Organising Body NTA

Until 2009: All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

Exam Mode Computer Based Test Computer Based Test
Application Fee General Male: 2000/-

General Female: 1000/-

General – EWS/ OBC- NCL candidate: 1000/-

Transgender: 1000/-

General category – 2300/- Reserved categories – 1150/-
  • 50% Marks For General Category
  • 45% for SC/ST/PWD category
  • Final year students awaiting results can also apply
  • Bachelor’s degree with at least 50% for General Category
  • 45% for reserved categories
  • Work Experience not mandatory
Age Limit No Age Limit No Age Limit
Registration Dates February – March July – September
Type of Questions MCQ Questions
  • MCQ (Multiple-Choice Questions)
  • Non-MCQ (TITA)
Total No.of Questions 100 (25 from each section) 66
Exam Medium English English
Difficulty Level of the Exam Moderate Moderate-Difficult
Time Duration 120 minutes (2 hours) 180 minutes (3 hours)
Sectional Time Limit No Sectional Time Limit 40 minutes
Syllabus of the Exam
  • Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Language Comprehension
  • General Awareness
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
  • Quantitative Ability
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
Negative Marking +3 for every Correct Answer

-1 for Incorrect Answer

+4 for every correct answer -1 for incorrect answer
Exam Frequency Once a year Once a year
Course for admission MBA/PGPA MBA/PGDM/ PGP/ PGPA
Top Colleges Accepting CMAT and CAT score
  • Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology & Management
  • Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon
  • Jagan Institute of Management Studies
  • Birla Institute of Technology – Mesra
  • Xavier Business School, Xavier University
  • Welingkar Institute of Management, Mumbai
  • Lovely Professional University
  • Great Lakes Institute of Management – Chennai
  • Xavier Institute of Social Service, Ranchi
  • NL Dalmia Institute of Management
  • Goa Institute of Management
  • K J Somaiya Institute of Management
  • The University of Pune, Dept of Management Sciences
  • Amity University – Noida
  • Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology – KIIT
  • Alliance University – Alliance School of Business
  • IIM Ahmedabad – Indian Institute of Management
  • Indian Institute of Management Calcutta
  • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
  • Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
  • IIM Kozhikode – Indian Institute of Management
  • Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi
  • IIM Indore – Indian Institute of Management
  • IIM Lucknow – Indian Institute of Management
  • XLRI Xavier School of Management
  • IIT Kharagpur – Vinod Gupta School of Management – VGSOM
  • Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) Management


  • The CMAT (Common Management Aptitude Test) was initially administered in February 2012, and the AICTE continued to administer it in 2018. The NTA now administers the exam once a year.
  • There are 100 questions in total, divided into five groups of 20 questions each. The time restriction is three hours or 180 minutes. Each incorrect response results in a negative marking. For each correct answer, 4 points will be awarded. The time restriction for CMAT is 180 minutes.
  • The CMAT is divided into five sections, each with 20 questions and there is no sectional time limit.
  • Quantitative approaches and data interpretation, logical reasoning, language understanding, general awareness, and entrepreneurship and innovation are among aspects included in the CMAT.
  • The total number of questions is 100 in CMAT. There was no additional time for the 5th part that was introduced. Each of the five sections has 20 questions. There is no sectional time limit for the CAT Exam. The National Testing Agency (NTA) administers the CMAT test on behalf of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). Despite having two more sections than the CAT, the CMAT can be completed quickly.

Key Factors to Consider before Taking the CMAT Exam

  • Understand everything there is to know about the CMAT Exam Syllabus and the updated CMAT Exam Pattern.
  • Examine the CMAT syllabus carefully.
  • The foundation of securing better marks is conceptual clarity and strengthening your fundamentals. By sharpening the basics and gaining conceptual clarity, your performance and level of confidence will increase substantially.
  • The first stage in CMAT preparation is to create a study plan and a strategy. Every applicant must make a study schedule, devote time to it, and strictly stick to the plan. Schedule time based on the complexity of the portions and time taken for preparation. Monitor your progress at each set point to see if you’ve adhered to your study plan.
  • Take many CMAT practice tests and mock examinations. Prior to the exam, aspirants will be able to take a practice test on the official website. This will allow you to assess your performance and improve your weak areas. These assessments will allow the candidate to become more familiar with the areas that need improvement. It will also give them an idea of their areas of strength. Make a list of the types of questions you are familiar with and confident enough to answer accurately. This will increase your accuracy and reduce the possibility of negative marking
  • Emphasise on completing the CMAT course much before the exam date, as this will give you plenty of time to revise and attempt mock tests and practice sets.
  • Candidates should practise the previous year’s question papers to familiarise themselves with the exam pattern as much as possible. Candidates should practise these questions to get a sense of the different types and varying levels of difficulty of the questions presented.

Candidates must be aware of the best books for CMAT preparation and conduct extensive research on them. Examine the reviews, talk with CMAT experts, and then select the best CMAT preparing books.

The following table gives you an overview of the commonalities between the CMAT and CAT Exam:

Section CMAT CAT
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Quantitative Ability
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
General Awareness
Innovation & Entrepreneurship

CAT Exam

  • CAT is an all-India online entrance exam for IIMs and other top Indian business schools. The Common Admission Test, or CAT, is one of the most prominent management admission exams in the country, owing to the acceptability of scores in the majority of institutions. The scores are accepted by the IIMs and top B-schools in the country. To get into the IIMs and premier institutions, it is necessary for candidates to get a percentile exceeding 90%.
  • The difficulty level of the exam keeps increasing every year due to the massive increase in the number of management applicants. However, the exam can be cracked seamlessly through dedicated preparation and hard work.
  • The exam is divided into three sections: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability. More than 2.30 lakh candidates had registered for the CAT exam in 2021 despite the Covid-19 pandemic. It is one of the most prestigious, all-India-level management entrance examinations conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management.
  • Due to the pandemic, the CAT Exam pattern was drastically altered in the year 2020. The number of exam sessions has increased from two to three. The duration of the CAT exam decreased from three hours to two hours in 2020. Despite the pandemic’s surge in 2021, 2.30 lakh candidates applied for CAT, while more than 2.27 lakh candidates applied for CAT in 2020.
  • For the CAT Exam, no official syllabus has been issued. The CAT syllabus is made available on the internet based on previous years’ paper patterns and past trends. The CAT Syllabus consists of both MCQs and TITA questions.
  • The Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section consist of questions about Seating Arrangement, Syllogisms and Venn Diagrams, Clocks & Calendars, Puzzles, Data Sufficiency, Tables, Caselets, Blood Relations, Data Charts, Data Tables, Bar Graphs, Venn Diagrams, Seating arrangement, Team formation, Clocks & Calendars, etc.
  • Assumption and Binary Logic Graphs Related to Number System, Basic Arithmetic Probability Profit, loss, and Discounts Permutation & Combination Geometry & MensurationTime, Speed, and DistanceSimple Interest and Compound Interest Time and Work Algebra, Trigonometry, Logarithms, and Sets, Arithmetic, Modern Math, Number SystemAlgebra, Mensuration, Trigonometry and Geometry are some of the topics in Quantitative Ability (QA).
  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) consists of Long & Short Passages, Jumbled Paragraphs, Para-summary, Odd Sentences Reading Comprehension, Cloze Passages, etc.
  • Although the CAT is a tough exam, thorough and focused preparation can help you to crack it. The ideal time to start preparing for the CAT exam is six to eight months prior to the exam. The following are some important points to be noted before the start of CAT preparation.

Key Factors to Consider before Taking the CAT Exam

  • A solid comprehension of the CAT exam syllabus is essential since it will aid you in creating a study strategy and determining how much time you should devote to each section.
  • Candidates must choose the correct preparation methodology, whether self-study or preparation through the best CAT coaching, at the start of their CAT preparation. Consistent practice and sheer determination are all that are required to ace the exam smoothly.
  • In addition to completing mock exams and practice tests, it is vital to analyse the questions and assess the errors and issues encountered. As the exam approaches, candidates must ensure that they take at least one practice test every two days.
  • Time management and accuracy are the key factors that will fetch you a better percentile.
  • Strengthen your basics, formulas and shortcuts. Note them as you learn new concepts which will aid in revision.
  • Practise a variety of questions of varying degrees of intensity.
  • Aspirants must choose their questions carefully. You are not required to attempt all the questions that are presented to you. As a result, there’s a chance you’ll end up with a lot of negative markings.
  • Once you finish each topic, attempt the sectional mocks and topic tests available. This will increase your speed and make you feel more confident.


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