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GMAT Vs. CAT: Which is Better?

Written by  Piyush Bhartiya, MBA

Published on Mon, May 7, 2018 6:46 AM   Updated on Mon, December 16, 2019 6:45 AM   13 mins read

Source: linguamarina

The CAT stands for Common Admission Test. It is a computer-based test that is taken for taking admission in a graduate management program. The GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test is a type of Computer Adaptive Test (CAT). GMAT requires knowledge of grammar, algebra, geometry, arithmetic.

GMAT VS. CAT Difference:

Common Admission Test and Graduate Management Admission Test are the two most popular entrance tests for management. Scores of both the entrance test are accepted by all the top schools, including top institutions like IIM.

Basis of DifferenceGMATCAT
Conducting BodyConducted by GMAC and is accepted universally for MBA and finance programs in all leading universities. Several Indian B-Schools have now started considering the GMAT for admissions. No such cut off rule. You score should match the university requirements.Conducted by IIMs across India and is accepted by mostly Indian B-Schools.
Number of AttemptsYou can give GMAT five times, each at a gap of 16 daysYou can appear for the test only once a year.
Pattern ChoiceSection selection choice offered.One section pattern followed.
Test Fee$250= INR 16705INR 1600
ScoresGMAT Verbal and Quant Section scores can be known after the test. The official result takes up to three week's time.One fixed date for results.
ValidityGMAT scores are valid for five years.CAT scores are valid for only one year
AcceptabilityAccepted in India as well as abroad (USA, UK, Singapore, etc.)Accepted in India, mainly for IIMs.
Skills testedAnalytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative and Verbal AbilityQuantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, and Verbal Ability.
Test Duration210 Minutes180 minutes
Selection ProcessGMAT score requirements differ with countries and universities.CAT test cutoff, followed by Group Discussion or Writing Test and Personal Interview, another cut off and then the admission list comes out.

GMAT VS. CAT difficulty:

GMAT Vs. CAT both has a high difficulty level when it comes to the MBA entrance exam. Both the exams are the main gate to enter the good and renowned institutes of an MBA.

The difficulty level of CAT and GMAT exam:-

  • In CAT, questions from verbal ability and reading comprehension, data interpretation and logical reasoning were asked.
  •  In GMAT, questions from analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning are asked.
  • The total no. of applicants in the CAT exam is almost 2.44 applicants in 2019, which is highest in the past ten years, which makes it more difficult as it increases the competition.
  • Both the exams have a large number of questions to solve, but they have comparatively less time to solve it.
  • The exam fee is also high for applying in both the exam, which is also a factor of difficulty level.

GMAT VS. CAT Which is easy?

Both the exams are difficult at their place, but when it comes to comparison, GMAT is easier as compared to CAT. GMAT is super easy when it is being compared with the CAT. GMAT can be cracked even without tuition or coaching, but for CAT, it is hard to score good marks without anybody’s guidance.

Why GMAT is easier:

  • You can give GMAT exam five times in a year while in CAT we have only one opportunity to give the exam,
  • You just need to have a bachelor’s degree for appearing in GMAT, but for CAT minimum 50% is required in a bachelor’s degree.
  • The exam pattern is also easier as compared to the CAT exam.
  • For CAT, you can’t get the past papers, as the test has become online, but for GMAT, the official guides are available that contains actual past GMAT questions.
  • GMAT is much more standardized than CAT. You will not find many surprises.

GMAT(Graduate Management Admission Test):

The GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test. GMAT is a type of Computer Adaptive Test. GMAT has been started in the year 1953, around 66 years ago. The goal of GMAT was to develop a standardized test to help business schools in selecting qualified applicants. More than 7000 programs at approximately 2300+ graduate business schools around the globe accept the GMAT as part of the selection criteria.

GMAT Exam:

THE GMAT Exam is an Adaptive Computer test that assesses the candidate’s analytical, writing, verbal, etc. in standard written English. The test is taken with the motive of selecting qualified students to get admission into a graduate management program such as an MBA and a Masters’s in finance-related courses in renowned institutions.

  • The cost of giving the GMAT exam is USD 250.
  • The GMAT exam happens five times in a year.
  • The time allotted for the GMAT exam is 3 hr 30 mins.
  • This exam is most popular for taking MBA courses outside India.

GMAT Syllabus:

GMAT is a test that takes place for 3 hr 30 mins with a maximum score of 800 points. The GMAT exam is divided into four sections that are analytical writing, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative aptitude, and verbal reasoning sections with different score ranges. GMAT mainly focuses on writing skills rather than opinion. The syllabus of GMAT includes:

  • Geometry 
  • Algebra
  • Arithmetic
  • Ratio proportions properties of integers
  • Permutations and Combinations
  • Exponents and Roots
  • Linear Equations
  • Parallelism
  • Countable Vs. Uncountable

GMAT Preparations:

For GMAT, one should start preparing for the exam at least six months before the exam. According to most test-takers, the minimum timeline for preparing for the exam is eight weeks if one is familiar with the GMAT exam content. One should follow the below points to prepare well for the GMAT exam:

  • Review and study one section of the test at a time.
  • Review basic math skills.
  • Practice and try to solve previous year papers to learn time management because time management is critical to complete the GMAT exam.
  • Try writing and solving methods to maintain the speed of solving papers.
  • Try to give at least 6 hrs of the time for preparation with full concentration.

GMAT Exam Dates:

GMAT Exam happens five times in a year. For GMAT, there are no fixed official dates, and one can choose dates according to their preference and convenience at the nearest center. In GMAT Exam, one can retake the exam after 16 years if they are not satisfied with their performance. GMAT exam date for the academic year 2019 is as follows:

  • Last date in Mumbai- November 22
  • Last date in Gurgaon- last week of November

GMAT Registrations:

 To register for the GMAT Exam, you can register six months before the exam or the latest by 24 hrs before the exam. The candidates have the freedom to give the exam anytime throughout the year as per their preference. The most important thing to notice is that the candidates can give their next attempt only after 16 days of the first attempt. Here are the steps to register for the GMAT Exam:

  • The candidate should visit the official website of GMAT, i.e.,
  • Candidates need to create their account
  • They need to fill their details like Name, address, etc.
  • In the next step, candidates need to provide their academic and work details.
  • Then they have to verify and submit their details.
  • The next step is to schedule their exam.
  • Select the date and time as per your preference.
  • The last step is to pay the registration fee.

GMAT Books: 

Books are the most important part of the exam. Books help in forming the perfect strategy and enable us to practice the right set of questions. It also contains answers to all the questions with detailed explanations. You need to get good and latest edition books which will help you to prepare well for the exams. There are various resources from where you can get GMAT books and start your preparation. GMAT books are available online also. Top books for GMAT exam are as follows:

  • The official guide for GMAT review
  • Manhattan GMAT strategy guides
  • Kaplan GMAT prep plus
  • Kaplan GMAT Math workbook
  • Manhattan GMAT sentence correction strategy guide

GMAT Sample paper:

Preparing for the GMAT exam is not that easy; the aspirants need to be focused, hardworking, and should follow a strict study plan to score well. Candidates can prepare well from various resources that are available online and offline.

Link for GMAT Question Paper:


GMAT Eligibility:

There are various eligibility criteria for GMAT. The basic criteria for the GMAT exam are the age limit and Language Requirements. According to the GMAC, any individual irrespective of their gender, age, nationality, religion, academic background can appear for the exam. Other eligibility criteria are:

  • The minimum age limit for appearing in the GMAT exam is 18 years.
  • Candidates that fall in the age group to 13 to 17 can also appear for the exam if they have the written approval or consent by their parents or guardian
  • Fluency in the English Language is a must for the candidates.
  • Differently-abled candidates can also appear for the exam.

GMAT Score Range:

The GMAT total scores have calculated the combination of the verbal and quantitative scores. Aspirants must note that GMAT scores are GMAT total scores and not individual section scores. Three factors determine one’s score, and they are the number of questions you answer correctly, the number of the question you answer and how difficult is the question you answer.

  • Total GMAT scores range from 200 to 800.
  • Two-thirds of test takers score between 400 to 600.
  • The range for verbal and quantitative scores is 0 to 60.

CAT(Common Admission Test):

CAT stands for Computer Admission Test. CAT has been started in the year 1950. It is a computer-based exam that is given by students to take admission to renowned institutions of the graduate management program. Before 2009, CAT was a paper-based test that is conducted on a single day for all candidates. On May 1 2009, it was announced that CAT would be a computer-based test. CAT has been conducted by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) from 2014 onwards.

CAT Exam:

CAT Exam or the Common Admission Test is a computer-based MBA entrance test that is taken with the motive of selecting intelligent and qualified students for taking admission to renowned institutions of management like IIM. CAT is a highly competitive exam, and lakhs of students appear every year for the exam.

  • CAT exam happens once in a year.
  • The time duration for the CAT Exam is 3 hrs.
  • CAT exam happens once in a year.

CAT Syllabus:

The CAT exam is one of the toughest and most competitive exams in the world. The CAT Exam consists of 100 questions which are divided into three sections. The sections include questions from verbal ability and reading comprehension, data interpretation and logical reasoning, quantitative aptitude, etc. syllabus of CAT includes the following topics:

  • Synonyms Antonyms
  • Grammar or English Usage
  • Correction in Sentence
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Jumbled paragraph
  • Analogies 
  • Verbal reasoning

CAT Preparations:

As we already know that CAT is one of the toughest exams, hence the preparation for CAT is to be done seriously to score well. Candidate should keep a record of the timing that they spend on completing each mock. They should treat each mock like the final CAT exam. The other tips for preparation are mentioned below:

  • Go through the entire CAT syllabus and exam pattern.
  •  Focus on the topics you are weak at.
  • Make sure you study 6 to 7 hrs daily.
  • Complete your preparation ten days before the exam so that you have time for preparation.
  • Practice for managing time too.

CAT Exam Dates:

The CAT exam happens once in a year. Students don’t have extra attempts in a year if they are not satisfied with their previous attempts. They can appear next year if they want to try again. The dates for the academic year 2019 are:

  • The date for the year 2019 CAT exam is Wednesday, November 24, 2019.
  • CAT 2019 Exam duration remains of 3 hours.
  • CAT Exam 2019 will have MCQ’s questions more than 72 and 28 or less Non-MCQ’s type of question.

CAT Registration:

Every year there are lakhs of students who register for CAT examination. This year it has been found that there are2,44,169 people who registered for the CAT examination, which is 3831 more than the previous year. Following is the step to register for CAT exam:

  • The first step to register is to visit the official website and fill their details like Name, phone number, email address, etc.
  • After registration, candidates will get CAT User ID and password at their registered mail.
  • Candidates can use this information to log in and fill the form of the CAT Exam.
  • Next step is to upload documents, pictures and select the preferred center for exam
  • The last step is to pay the registration fees.

CAT Books:

Many books are available online and offline for the preparation of the exam. The selection of the best book is the most important and crucial part of CAT preparation. The books include an abroad study plan, timetable, and mock tests series. Some students opt to do self-study while others prefer to study at coaching centers. Top books of CAT Exam are as follows:

  • CAT Data Interpretation &logical Reasoning book by Gautam Puri.
  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT by Nishit K. Sinha
  • Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency by Ananta Ashish
  • How to prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT by Arun Sharma.

CAT Sample Paper:

Sample papers are one of the best things to boost CAT preparation. It guides us with the right pattern with the right questions about the paper. The sample paper also helps us in managing time for the exam.

 Link is the previous year sample papers of CAT: 

Source: MBA Universe 

CAT Eligibility:

As CAT is one of the most important and toughest exams of India, hence there are a lot of students who work hard day and night to score well in the exam and get admission in good and topmost institutions of India. Eligibility criteria for CAT exam are listed below:

  • A candidate must hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 50% of the marks.
  • The candidate from SC/ST/DA categories needs at least 45% of marks.
  • Some universities must have awarded the degree.
  • There is no age limitation to appear for the CAT exam.

CAT Score Range:

The score of the CAT Exam is presented in the percentile form, which indicates an individual position. There is no specific way where you can get the exact score of CAT. The scoring formula was implemented after IIM’s introduced the computer-based mode of CAT.

  • The CAT paper comprises 100 questions where three marks art given for each right answer.
  • There is one negative mark for each wrong answer.
  • There are 34 questions for quantitative ability, 34 questions for verbal ability and reading comprehension, and 32 questions for data interpretation and logical reasoning.

Also Visit:-

  1. GMAT- Everything you need to know
  2. GMAT Syllabus
  3. GMAT Registration
  4. GMAT Results and Scores
  5. GMAT Dates
  6. GMAT Test-Centres
  7. GMAT Practice-Papers
  8. GMAT Preparation-Tips
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About the Author & Expert


Piyush Bhartiya

Author • MBA • 20 Years

Piyush values education and has studied from the top institutes of IIT Roorkee, IIM Bangalore, KTH Sweden and Tsinghua University in China. Post completing his MBA, he has worked with the world's # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group and focused on building sales and marketing verticals for top MNCs and Indian business houses.

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