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Common Admission Test or CAT and Graduate Management Admission Test or GMAT are two entrance exams that are accepted by Business schools. The GMAT vs CAT is usually confused by most business schools aspirants.

The basic difference between these two is that CAT is a national level exam, whereas GMAT is accepted by worldwide schools. In India, some top universities like SPJIMR, Mumbai, XLRI Jamshedpur, MDI, Gurgaon accept GMAT scores of domestic candidates too. In India, most of the institutes accept GMAT scores for admission to Executive MBA programmes also.

Eligibility Criteria

GMAT: To appear for the GMAT, the aspirant must have a bachelor’s degree in any stream or equivalent from a recognized university. Final year graduation candidates are also eligible to apply. There are no minimum marks required to appear on GMAT.

CAT: To appear in CAT, the aspirant must have a bachelor’s degree in any stream with a minimum of 50% marks or equivalent from a recognized university. The final year Graduate candidates are also eligible to apply for this exam.

Exam Duration

GMAT: GMAT is conducted for 187 minutes.

CAT:  CAT is conducted for 180 minutes.

Difficulty Level

GMAT: GMAT is the toughest MBA entrance exam. It is due to the tough questions which are been asked, but also due to a peculiar marking scheme.

CAT: CAT is well-known, a tough MBA exam. The difficulty level of the questions remains on the higher side every year.

GMAT Score Validity 2022

Exam Fee

GMAT: The GMAT exam fee is USD 250 for all countries.

CAT:  CAT exam fee is Rs 1900 for General and NC-OBC candidates whereas Rs 950 for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Physically Disabled candidates.

Validity of Exam Score

GMAT: The GMAT score is recognized by more than 2100 management institutes across the globe. Its score is valid for admission for up to 5 years.

CAT: CAT score is recognized by all the 20 IIMs and over 1500 management institutes in India. CAT score is valid for admission within one year.

Is GMAT tougher than CAT?

Difference between GMAT and CAT exam

Here is the overview of both the Exams. You can see this and understand their difference-

Features GMAT CAT
Exam Full Form Graduate Management Admission Test Common Admission Test
Conducting Body Graduate Management Admission Council Indian Institute of Management
Validity Global/for five years It is only valid in India for a year.
Eligibility No minimum percentage is required in bachelor’s degree Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 50% marks
Frequency  Can take 5 times in any 12-month period. The difference between two consecutive exams has to be more than 16 days. You can give the test no more than 8 times in a lifetime. Once a year (November end or December beginning)
Mode of Exam Online Online
Sections in the Exam Verbal ReasoningQuantitative ReasoningIntegrated ReasoningAnalytical Writing Assessment Quantitative AptitudeData Interpretation & Logical ReasoningVerbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Number of Sections 4 3
Number of Questions 81 Questions 100 Questions
Exam Duration 187 minutes 180 minutes
Difficulty level High High
Marking Scheme 0-6 for Analytical Writing Assessment1-8 for Integrated Reasoning0-60 for Verbal Reasoning and0-60 for Quantitative Reasoning +3 for the correct answer-1 for incorrect answer  
Exam fees $250 USD General and NC-OBC: Rs 1900 SC/ST/PWD (DA): Rs 950

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GMAT vs CAT syllabus

There is no basic difference in both of their syllabus. But, there is an absence of the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section in CAT. Apart from the AWA section, both exams test Quant, Verbal, and Reasoning skills.

GMAT vs CAT — Verbal syllabus


●      Fill in the blanks         
●      Grammar
●      Para Completion and inference         
●      Reading Comprehension       
●      Verbal Logic   
●      Para jumbles
●      Verbal Reasoning      
●      Syllogisms      
●      Contextual usage       
●      Analogies         
●      Different usage of the same word
●      Antonyms       
●      Sentence completion 
●      Jumbled paragraphs  
●      Foreign language words used in English       
●      Sentence correction  
●      Idioms
●      One word substitution

●      Verb tense
●      Pronoun
●      Subject-verb agreement
●      Modifiers
●      Idioms
●      Parallelism
●      Comparison
●      Inference
●      Assumption
●      Evaluate
●      Strengthen and weaken
●      Boldface
●      Paradox

GMAT vs CAT — Quant syllabus


●      Geometry       
●      Trigonometry 
●      Mensuration   
●      Ratios and Proportion
●      Number system         
●      Work and time
●      HCF & LCM   
●      Profit & Loss
●      In-equations Quadratic and linear equations 
●      Geometric Progression
●      Percentages  
●      Averages       
●      Partnership (Accounts)         
●      Time-Speed-Distance
●      Surds and Indices      
●      Inequalities
●      Logarithms     

●      Number properties
●      Multiples and factors
●      Fractions
●      Decimals
●      Percentages
●      Averages
●      Powers and roots
●      Algebra            Profit and loss
●      Simple and compound interest
●      Speed, time, and distance
●      Pipes, cisterns, and work time
●      Ratio and proportion
●      Mixtures and allegations
●      Descriptive statistics
●      Set theory
●      Probability
●      Permutation and combination
●      Monomials, polynomials
●      Algebraic expressions and equations
●      Functions
●      Exponents
●      Arithmetic and geometric progression
●      Quadratic equations
●      Inequalities and basic statistics
●      Lines and angles
●      Triangles
●      Quadrilaterals
●      Circles
●      Rectangular solids and cylinders
Coordinate geometry

GMAT vs CAT, Difficulty level

We have to admit that CAT is much difficult than GMAT. The reason for this is that GMAT has a well-defined syllabus which makes it relatively easier in terms of preparation whereas, the CAT syllabus is not as well-defined as GMAT, hence the time invested can be more too.

The LRDI section in CAT is said to be very high on difficulty level for the past years, whereas GMAT has the IR section, which is much easier than LRDI in CAT. The quantitative aptitude section of GMAT is slightly easier than CAT.

Although, the Verbal Section of GMAT can be challenging for Indian applicants who are non-native English speakers. Vocabulary used in verbal section questions in GMAT is of the comparatively advanced level. Therefore, for candidates who find English tough to crack, then the GMAT will not be a cakewalk.

GMAT is an adaptive test, that indicates that the difficulty level of your next question depends on your performance in the previous question. Thus, the GMAT is a test of ability, as it constantly adapts and refines the test to your ability level. CAT has an objective level of difficulty for all its examinees.

GMAT vs CAT, which is better

If you have an aim of going abroad and study there, then GMAT is necessary. But, if you are not sure of your MBA college or university, then it is preferable to take both the exam. Here are some of the reasons you should take both tests.

Almost 70% of both the exams have the same syllabus, with an additional 30% investment, you can diversify your options. Quite a few top B-schools including S P Jain, MICA, and T A Pai shortlist their students based on their CAT or GMAT scores. So, if you take both the exams, then, you could send the better of the two scores.

As you know that the CAT score validity is only a year, and you can take only one exam a year. So, if you score badly in CAT, then the GMAT score comes in handy in being able to apply next year without having to take the test again. You could also apply to schools outside India within five years.

GMAT Vocabulary

Freshers can apply to top B schools outside India. The program that you could be applying to will be MIM or MS in Management. These programs admit freshers, and in many schools, these programs admit only freshers.

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