Difference between GMAT and CAT

Every year MBA aspirants often face a tough predicament to choose between GMAT and CAT, the topmost management entrance tests for seeking admission in top tier business schools. Applicants have a tough time in choosing between the two tests and are often in a state of dilemma when it comes to opting for either GMAT or CAT. It is a crucial decision for them because clearing these difficult tests with a high percentile opens a wide array of opportunities for the aspirants. In India, the test scores of both the exams are accepted by all the top B-schools including the IIMS, XLRI, ISB, etc.

In this article, we shall cover some key points of difference between GMAT and CAT and take you through an extensive process of test preparation for the grueling MBA programme. So before we take a plunge in guiding you through the preparatory steps, it is important for you to know how GMAT and CAT are different from each other and explore every possible option to discover which test is the right choice for you.

One of the basic differences between GMAT and CAT is that the GMAT is a computer adaptive online test which is accepted by business schools globally, whereas the CAT is a national level entrance test which is widely accepted in India and a few foreign universities for admission to their MBA or MiM programs. The GMAT is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) which can be taken up to 8 times in total.

The GMAT score is valid up to 5 years and is accepted by both Indian and international B-schools of repute. Particularly, the GMAT scores of NRI/Foreign candidates are accepted for admission in top Indian B-schools. Some of these institutes include IIMs(Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Indore, Lucknow), ISB Hyderabad, S.P.Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai, IMT Ghaziabad, XLRI Jamshedpur amongst others. Nevertheless, these top tier B-schools accept both GMAT and CAT scores of domestic candidates for executive management programs.

Although both GMAT and CAT assess the quantitative aptitude, verbal ability and logical reasoning skills of an applicant, the two tests are poles apart from each in various aspects. In this article, we shall look into some major differences between GMAT and CAT syllabus, exam pattern, eligibility criteria, exam frequency, exam fee, difficulty level, etc. Let’s explore in detail.

GMAT Vs CAT: Key Points of Difference

Points of Difference GMAT CAT
Full Form Graduate Management Admission Test Common Admission Test
Administering Body GMAT is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). CAT is administered by one of the Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) on a rotational basis. In 2018, the CAT exam was conducted by IIM Calcutta.
Eligibility Criteria There is no minimum cut-off percentage required to appear for this test. Although there is no upper age limit set by GMAC, the applicant must have completed at least 18 years of age and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in any stream or equivalent from a recognized university. Students pursuing the final year in graduation are also eligible to apply. An aspirant must have completed a Bachelor’s degree in any stream with a minimum of 50% marks or equivalent from a recognized university. Students pursuing the final year in graduation are also eligible to apply.
Exam Syllabus GMAT is a computer adaptive online test which evaluates a candidate on the basis of his/her Quantitative Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, Verbal skills and Analytical Writing Assessment. In the CAT syllabus, the topics include Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning.
Exam Duration The duration of the GMAT exam is 3 hours and 7 minutes(without breaks). The duration of the CAT is 3 hours. This implies that a candidate can devote one hour for each section.
Exam Frequency GMAT is held multiple times in a year. An applicant can book an exam slot per his/her convenience and retake the exam up to five times in a 12-month calendar year. The CAT exam is held only once in a year. The application process of CAT 2019 will begin from July’19 and the exam will be held in December 2019.
Exam Pattern The question paper pattern of GMAT is usually multiple choice questions from four different sections namely Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Ability, Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment. CAT has three sections in its exam pattern namely, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning. It consists of both multiple choice questions as well as a few key-in answer sort of questions.
Difficulty Level GMAT is considered one of the most difficult management entrance exams, particularly due to the marking scheme. The total GMAT score is marked between 200 and 800 and candidates need to score 6-51 for Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning, 1-8 for Integrated Reasoning and 0-6 for Analytical Writing Assessment. In India, CAT is well-known to be a tough exam. Every year the difficulty level of the questions are touching new heights. The total score of the CAT exam is 300 marks. There is negative marking for each wrong answer, but no negative marking for those questions which are left unanswered.
Exam Fee The cost of the GMAT exam is US$250 around the world. The cost of the CAT exam is ₹1,800 (US$25) for General category candidates and ₹900 (US$13) for SC/ST/DA (PWD) category candidates. The rates are subject to revision at the discretion of the governing body.
Score Validity The GMAT score is valid for 5 years for securing admission in management institutes across the globe. The CAT score is valid for one year only as it helps candidates to get admission in B-schools across India and a few foreign universities.

You Might Also Like to Read: How to Register For GMAT 2019

However, it is a well-known fact among management aspirants that both GMAT and CAT are tough to crack. In India, there are thousands of MBA aspirants who appear for GMAT or CAT every year. Domestic candidates who wish to pursue a graduate management program such as MBA or PGDM need to prepare adequately for the competitive tests to score well in the entrance test.

For candidates who are fresh out of their degree colleges or are in their final year of graduation can register for either of the tests and kick start their preparation to score a high percentile in either of the tests which they wish to take up. They have to be extra cautious about the GMAT Vs CAT difficulty level and take extra care to choose the test which is best per their requirement. Experienced professionals need to set aside some extra time for preparation and plan at least 3-4 months before taking up the test of their interest to pursue a management degree from a reputed B-school.

Stay tuned with BYJU’S to get the latest updates and notifications regarding the GMAT and CAT exam. Good luck with your preparation!