CAT VS GMAT- The Difference?

Published On: August 18, 2022

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and The Common Admission Test (CAT) exam is the stepping stone in your journey to your dream B School. Before approving or rejecting your application, the leading business schools worldwide and in India check your GMAT, CAT score, academic performance, job experience, and other necessities.

The GMAT is a global entrance exam accepted by around 2300 business schools and around 7000 management programs. On the other hand, the CAT is a national exam accepted mainly by B-schools in India.

Another essential point to note when considering GMAT vs CAT is that the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) conducts GMAT. They are the owner and administrators of the GMAT. In contrast, the CAT was developed and is administered by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

Which Exam to Take

GMAT score is accepted by B-Schools worldwide; therefore, the applicant has more options, such as Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford, among others, adding to its value. IIMs and other Indian B-Schools usually accept CAT scores. However, applicants should know that CAT is Indian -education-centric, so if looking to get admission to one of the Indian B-Schools, CAT is the appropriate exam.

Validity and Examination Fee

The GMAT is a global examination conducted yearly and valid for 5 years. It is conducted 5 times a year, with an overall limit of 8 times in one’s lifetime. It is an online examination with a registration fee of $250. A candidate cannot take the examination before a gap of 16 days has passed between the previous exam date. The CAT examination, on the other hand, is conducted only once a year and is valid for one year; therefore, there is no room for flexibility. It is an online examination with a registration fee of ₹2000.

Format of the Test

GMAT is a computer adaptive test. It indicates that it is adjusted to the level of difficulty based on your performance of the initial question. For example, if you answer the first question with less difficulty, your next question will be relatively more challenging. The level of difficulty will keep changing and increasing according to your ability. On the other hand, if you cannot answer the question, your next question will be easy. Coming to the CAT’s format, it is linear. CAT questions are picked randomly from a question bank, and you have the option of not answering the question.

Sections and No of Questions

There are 4 sections in the GMAT exam: Verbal Reasoning (VR), Quantitative Reasoning (QR), Integrated Reasoning (IR), and Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). There are around 80 questions to be attempted. There are 3 sections in the CAT exam: Quantitative Aptitude, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. There are around 100 questions to be attempted.

Which Section is Given More Importance?

The GMAT focuses on analytical skills and verbal reasoning. The CAT focuses on interpreting data and quantitative analysis. However, applicants need to realise that the companies recruiting MBAs are looking for people with good communication skills, critical thinking, and leadership skills

Relative Difficulty

The GMAT has a very well-structured syllabus and question paper; thus, it is easier to prepare for it than for CAT. As a result, it is feasible to score 700+ on the GMAT with dedicated preparation in a couple of months. In contrast, the CAT syllabus is not very well defined, and thus more preparation time is required compared to the GMAT.

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