GMAT vs CAT: What is the Difference between CAT and GMAT?  Image
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GMAT vs CAT: What is the Difference between CAT and GMAT?

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Yocket Editorial Team
29 mins read
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MBA is by far the most sought-after Masters’ degree in the contemporary world. Employers adore it, and students are enthralled by it. Every year, thousands of ambitious individuals apply to various MBA programs.

The Common Admission Test (CAT) and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) both are two of the most popular management admission exams, with results accepted by all of the major B-schools, including the IIMs. GMAT is easier than CAT or vice versa. Many times, aspirants get perplexed when it comes to knowing the differences between CAT and GMAT. Therefore, this article is an attempt to help you gain insights on GMAT vs CAT based on different scenarios.

  Table of Contents 

  1. What is the Difference between CAT and GMAT? 
  2. GMAT vs CAT: Difference between the Overall Pattern 
  3. GMAT vs CAT: Differences in Sections, Numbers and Types of Questions 
  4. GMAT vs CAT: Eligibility Criteria  
  5. GMAT vs CAT: Syllabus and Marking Scheme 
  6. GMAT Section Wise Exam Pattern 
  7. GMAT vs CAT: Fee Structure 
  8. GMAT vs CAT: Competition and Level of Difficulty 
  9. Is GMAT Tougher than CAT? 
  10. GMAT vs CAT: The Final Verdict 
  11. Frequently Asked Questions about GMAT vs CAT 

What is the Difference between CAT and GMAT? 

So, what is the difference between CAT and GMAT exam? 

The key difference between CAT and GMAT is that the latter is a global exam and helps you pursue your master’s abroad along with Indian B-Schools. CAT on the other hand, is a national exam and is accepted only by Business schools in India.

Check Out: MBA Programs Waiving-Off GMAT in 2022! 

GMAT vs CAT: Difference between the Overall Pattern

Let us move on to analyse the GMAT and CAT difference by analysing the overall pattern of both the exams. 

Basis of Difference

CAT

GMAT

Full Form

Common Admission Test

Graduate Management Admission test

Conducting Authority

Indian Institutes of Management

Graduate Management Admission Council

Accepted by

Indian Business Schools only

Global and Indian Business Schools

No. of times conducted in a year

Once

Round the Year

Validity of the score

One Year

Five Years

No of Attempts Allowed

No restrictions

Eight in a lifetime

Mode of Exam

Online

Online & Offline

Duration of the Exam

2 hours (40 Minute for each section)

3 hours 7 minutes (two optional 8-minute break can be availed)

No. of Sections

Three

Four

Exam Sections

 

  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Integrated Reasoning 
  • Analytical Writing Assessment

Total No. of Questions

76

80

Type of Questions

MCQ as well as non-MCQ

MCQ as well as non-MCQ (different for each Section)

Total Marks

228

800

Fee Structure

General category: Rs 2,000

SC, ST and PwD category: Rs 1,000

250 USD 

GMAT vs CAT: Differences in Sections, Numbers & Type of Questions

GMAT vs CAT difference lies in the pattern of the question paper, in terms of the sections, time limit, types of questions asked, etc. Let us understand how: 

CAT

  • Each section of the CAT exam has a time limit, and the time limit varies according to the sections.
  • Candidates are given the option of choosing amongst three combinations of the order in which they can attempt the CAT Exam.
  • Candidates receive 3 marks for correctly answered questions and negative marking of 1/3 for incorrectly answered questions. 

Let us understand the complete pattern of the CAT exam: 

Sections of Exam (in that order)

No. of questions

Time Limit

Multiple Choice Questions

TITA (Type in the answer questions)

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

26

40 minutes

18

8

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning 

24

40 minutes

18

6

Quantitative Aptitude

 

26

40 minutes

18

8

Total

76

120 minutes

54

22

GMAT

  • Each section of the GMAT exam has a time limit, and the time limit varies according to the sections.
  • Candidates are given the option of choosing amongst three combinations of the order in which they can attempt the GMAT Exam.
  • The sections for Integrated Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning are computer adaptive, i.e., the questions cannot be skipped, the page cannot be returned, and the answers once marked cannot be changed.
  • Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections consist of multiple-choice questions.
  • Analytical Writing Assessment consists of an essay question.
  • Integrated Reasoning consists of non-MCQs.
  • There is no negative marking in the GMAT Exam. 

Suggested: How to Prepare for your GMAT Exam?  

Let us understand how the GMAT pattern works: 

Section

Number of Questions

Time Limit

Question Types

Analytical Writing Assessment

1 question

30 Minutes

Analysis of an Argument and Issue Essay

Integrated Reasoning

12 questions

30 minutes

Non- MCQ

Quantitative Reasoning

31 questions

62 minutes

MCQ

Verbal Reasoning

36 questions

65 minutes

MCQ

Total

80

187 minutes

-

GMAT vs CAT: Eligibility Criteria 

A common difference between CAT and GMAT is the eligibility criteria. Let us understand the eligibility criteria for each of these exams below: 

CAT

In order to appear for CAT, candidates should fulfil the following parameters:

  • Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a recognized university or institute.
  • General and OBC-NC category candidates should obtain at least 50% marks in aggregate or equivalent CGPA. For reserved category candidates, the minimum percentage to secure is 45.
  • The duration of the graduation program should be a minimum 3 years.
  • Final year graduation students are also eligible to apply for CAT 2022 provided they complete their program within the stipulated schedule.
  • There is no age limit for applying or appearing in CAT 2022.

GMAT

In order to appear for GMAT, candidates should fulfil the following parameters:

  • There is no partiality based on the grounds of religion, sex, background history, educational qualification etc.
  • A candidate must be 18 years and above to apply for the GMAT exam without any consent. Should a candidate not meet the required age (age 13 to age 17), a written proof from the guardian must be submitted to write the exam.
  • There is no specified upper age limit.
  • Any candidate with a bachelor's degree from a recognized institute is qualified to apply for the exam. There is no minimum or maximum academic qualification limit for the test taker to take GMAT.
  • A candidate can sit for GMAT exam a maximum of five times in 12 months, but with 16 days of gap between each re-attempt. A candidate cannot take more than eight attempts in a lifetime.
  • If you score a perfect 800 on GMAT, you need to wait for five years before retaking the test

Related Discussion: Is CAT Preparation Enough for GMAT Exam? 

GMAT vs CAT: Syllabus & Marking Scheme 

The next parameter that we will explore is the difference between CAT and GMAT syllabus. Let us understand how GMAT vs CAT syllabus differs from each other. 

CAT Section wise Exam Pattern:

Section

Topic

Score Range

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

 

Reading Comprehension, Critical reasoning, Para summary, grammar, Syllogisms, Verbal reasoning, Para jumble Jumbles, Fill in the blanks, Vocabulary

+3 for every correct answer

-1 for every incorrect MCQ answer

-0 for incorrect non-MCQ answer

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

 

Case lets and Tables, Bar Graph, Venn Diagrams, Calendars, cubes, clocks, Logical Sequences, Blood Relations, Missing information, Games and Tournaments, Routes and Networks, Seating Arrangement

+3 for every correct answer

-1 for every incorrect MCQ answer 

-0 for incorrect non-MCQ answer

Quantitative Aptitude

 

Algebra, Arithmetic, Number System, Geometry, coordinate Geometry, Mensuration, Percentages, Logarithms, Probability, Trigonometry, Surds and Indices, Time Speed Distance, Ratios & Proportions

+3 for every correct answer

-1 for every incorrect MCQ answer 

-0 for incorrect non-MCQ answer

GMAT Section wise Exam Pattern:

Section

Topic

Score Range

Analytical Writing Assessment

Analysis of an Argument, Issue Essay

0-6 (in 0.5-point increments)

Integrated Reasoning

Graphics Interpretation, Table Analysis, Multi-source Reasoning, Two-part Analysis

1-8 (in 1-point increments)

Quantitative Reasoning

Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving

6-51 (in 1-point increments)

Verbal Reasoning

Reading Comprehension (60%) Critical Reasoning (20%), Sentence Correction (20%)

6-51 (in 1-point increments)

Note: The GMAT is a computer adaptive test. This means that the testing software adapts to your performance as you progress through the test. Thus, your performance on each question will determine the difficulty level of the next few questions in the exam.

In CAT, the scoring is fixed, it is not a computer adaptive test. Your selection between CAT or GMAT should also be based on the scoring mechanism chosen by them respectively.

Suggested: Top MBA Colleges Accepting CAT Abroad! 

GMAT vs CAT: Fee Structure

Coming to the next most important GMAT or CAT parameter is the fee structure.the registration fees for CAT is 2,000 INR for the General Category, and 1,000 INR for the SC, ST and PWD Categories. 

There are no additional costs since there is no provision to reschedule the exam date, session slot or venue. Also, there is no option for cancellation or refund in case of CAT examinations under any circumstances.

Coming to the GMAT registration fees, it differs in few countries: 

  • 250 USD for India
  • 275 USD for USA
  • 285 USD for other European countries

Other additional costs for GMAT have been tabulated below: 

GMAT Exam Fees

Cost (in USD)

Application

260.00 (via Phone)

Rescheduling

More than 60 days before appointment: 50

15-60 days before appointment: 100

14 days and less before appointment: 150

Cancelling

Refund of:

More than 60 days before appointment: 100

15-60 days before appointment: 75

14 days and less before appointment: 50

Score Reinstatement

50

AWA Rescoring

45

Cancel Score (online after you leave the test centre)

25

Additional Score Reports

35 each

GMAT vs CAT: Competition & Level of Difficulty

Coming to the GMAT vs CAT difficulty, in comparison to the GMAT, the CAT is a more popular exam. This is because it is less expensive and more readily available for Indian institutes. This also means that the top percentile of scoring is more competitive, making it more difficult to achieve.

The number of students appearing for GMAT overall is approximately 2,50,000 out of which 13% are Indian test takers. However, the number of candidates appearing for CAT is more than 2,00,000 from all over India.

Therefore, it can be safe to say that CAT is more difficult in the CAT vs GMAT difficulty level. 

Related Discussion: Is GMAT more Difficult than CAT? 

Is GMAT tougher than CAT?

Moving ahead, let us now answer the question- “GMAT vs CAT: which is tough?” 

Because GMAT has a more well-defined curriculum and question types than the CAT, it is simpler to prepare for it. With 90–120 hours of diligent preparation, it is feasible to achieve a GMAT score of 700 or above.

The CAT syllabus, on the other hand, is less well defined than the GMAT, and so requires more preparation time.

In comparison to the CAT, the verbal part of the GMAT presents a higher difficulty for Indian test takers who are non-native English speakers. The CAT quantitative part is more challenging than the GMAT quantitative section.

Recommended: GRE vs GMAT: Which is Better? 

GMAT vs CAT- The Final Verdict 

Pursuing MBA from a good institution is a dream to many, but a dilemma occurs in selecting which entrance exam will be more appropriate; GMAT vs CAT. Making a choice between the two is tough but with clarity about the offerings and the differences between CAT and GMAT, it becomes an easier process.  The GMAT and CAT difference lies in the evaluating procedure of both on the aptitude level of the candidate. 

GMAT is widely accepted as a prerequisite for most of the global programmes in the USA, Europe, Asia Pac and Australia. Apart from IIMs, CAT Scores are accepted in over 160+ non-IIM Management Institutes. Along with location, you must consider the investment and opportunity cost you might incur before making your Selection of CAT or GMAT. for further assistance, you can even connect with our Yocket Counsellors, we hope that you make a wise choice! 

Frequently Asked Questions about GMAT vs CAT

Ques. GMAT vs CAT: Which is easy?

Ans. Talking about the GMAT vs CAT difficulty, in comparison GMAT has a well-defined syllabus and question type, thus it is easier to prepare for GMAT than the CAT.

Ques. Is the CAT vs GMAT syllabus the same?

Ans. The biggest difference between CAT syllabus and GMAT syllabus is the section - Analytical Writing Assessment. CAT has no such subjective paper. 

Ques. Can I prepare for CAT and GMAT together?

Ans. Yes, Since the only difference in both the exams lies in the essay writing section, the overall crux remains the same.

Ques. How many business schools accept GMAT scores?

Ans. More than 7000 MBA programs of 2500+ business schools worldwide accept GMAT scores for their admissions process.

Ques. How many business schools accept CAT for MBA admissions?

Ans. More than 1200 MBA colleges in India apart from the 20 IIMs accept CAT for their MBA or PGDM programs. 

Ques. How many times can I take the CAT and GMAT in a year?

Ans. You can take the GMAT 5 times in a calendar year whereas you can only take CAT once in a year.

Ques. What is the validity of GMAT and CAT score?

Ans. GMAT score is valid for 5 years and a CAT score is only valid for one year.

Ques. GMAT vs CAT, which is better?

Ans. Which test is better is dependent on which university / business school you want to apply to. You can also make a choice based on:

  • The CAT takes place only once a year, but you can schedule the GMAT for any time of the year. So, if the CAT dates don’t suit your study schedule, you might want to consider the GMAT.
  • On average the CAT quant is tougher than the GMAT quant.
  • Generally, CAT focuses on grammar and vocabulary while the GMAT focuses on meaning.

Ques. How many times can I take the GMAT?

Ans. A candidate can take GMAT five times a year as per their convenience. Exam score of the latest appearance will be taken as valid for admission.

Ques. Is there an option of retaking the CAT exam?

Ans. No, there is no option of retaking the CAT exam. If a candidate is dissatisfied with their CAT score of the current year, they will have to take the exam next year to improve their score.

Ques. Can I take GMAT from home?

Ans. Yes, due to COVID-19 pandemic, GMAT has introduced the facility of taking the test from home. These exams are remotely proctored so that students complete the test on time and do not resort to any sort of malpractice.

Ques. What is the CAT vs GMAT difficulty? 

Ans. When talking about the GMAT vs CAT difficulty level,  CAT can be considered a tad bit more difficult than GMAT. 

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