GRE vs CAT for MBA/MS Abroad: CAT or GRE Which is Better? Image
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GRE vs CAT for MBA/MS Abroad: CAT or GRE Which is Better?

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Yocket Editorial Team
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The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and Common Admission Test (CAT) both are two of the most popular entrance exams, with scores accepted by most of the top institutions across the world including major B-schools in India. However, between the two admission exams, GRE has been accepted worldwide, but CAT scores may only be used in B-schools of India. Now the question that arises here is, CAT or GRE which is better? Many times, students get jumbled when it comes to knowing the difference between the two. 

Therefore, this blog will help you to get all the insights on GRE vs CAT in terms of its scores, exam pattern, GRE vs CAT syllabus and much more.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview of GRE and CAT Exams
  2. CAT vs GRE: Key Differences
  3. GRE vs CAT: Differences in Sections, Numbers and Types of Questions 
  4. GRE vs CAT: Eligibility Criteria  
  5. GRE vs CAT: Syllabus and Marking Scheme 
  6. GRE vs CAT: Fee Structure 
  7. GRE vs CAT: Competition and Level of Difficulty 
  8. GRE vs CAT: Which One to Consider?
  9. Frequently Asked Questions About CAT vs GRE

Overview of GRE and CAT Exams

Before we head towards the difference between CAT and GRE let us have a quick look at what CAT and GRE are.

What is CAT?

Common Admission Test or CAT is an entrance exam that is required for admission to the MBA colleges in India. The CAT exam is conducted by the Indian Institute of Management Colleges.

The CAT scores are a mandatory requirement for getting into the IIMs and the affiliated business universities in India. The exam is conducted on a computer-based mode.

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examinations or GRE is a graduate-level general test accepted by thousands of graduate and business schools in the world. The examination is structured in a way that can effectively assess the student's quantitative and verbal skills.

This entrance test was first developed and administered by Educational Testing Agency (ETS), a US private non-profit organisation. The GRE scores are also accepted by the Top B-Schools worldwide.

Suggested: What to Choose Between GRE vs GMAT?

Now that you know about the two exams, let's have a quick glance over the GRE and CAT key differences.

CAT vs GRE : Key Differences

The key difference between GRE and CAT is that the latter is a graduate admissions exam that helps you to get into a master's degree programs across the world. Whereas CAT is an Indian management test which is only accepted by the B-schools in India. 

The following GRE and CAT difference chart will give you a quick look at some crucial aspects related to both the exam along with highlighting the key differences between GRE and CAT:

Particulars

GRE

CAT 

Total Students Appeared in 2021

Around 2 lakhs

1.92 Lakhs

Frequency

5 times

1 times

Scoring Range

260-340

0-40

Computer-adaptive

Yes

Yes

Total Time

3 hours & 45 minutes

2 hours

Total no. of questions

  • MCQs: 80
  • Unscored research section: 20

Total: 66 questions

Exam Fee

213 USD

2,300 INR

Validity

GRE scores valid upto 5 years

1 year

Suggested: GRE at Home vs GRE at Testing Center

GRE vs CAT: Differences in Sections, Numbers and Types of Questions 

The difference between CAT vs GRE lies in their question paper pattern, in terms of their sections i.e. questions types, time limit etc. Let's discuss it now.

GRE

  • Each one of the sections of GRE has a time limit and it varies based on its sections.
  • The GRE paper is divided into three sections i.e. analytical writing, verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning section. 
  • The exam is conducted in two modes which are paper-based and computer-based. The paper pattern of two modes differ from each other 

Let us see the exam pattern of the GRE test:

GRE Sections

Paper-based GRE Pattern

Computer-based GRE Pattern

 

No. of Section

Duration

No. of Section

Duration

Analytical Writing

2 sections- 2 tasks

60 minutes

1 section- two tasks

60 minutes

Verbal Reasoning

2 sections- 50 questions

70 minutes

2 section- 40 questions

60 minutes

Quantitative Reasoning

2 sections- 50 questions

80 minutes

2 section- 40 questions

70 minutes

Unscored

NA

NA

Varies

Varies

Research

NA

NA

Varies

Varies

Suggested: GRE Accepting Universities in USA

CAT

  • The CAT paper too is divided into three sections i.e. verbal ability and reading comprehension, quantitative, and data interpretation & logical reasoning.
  • Each of the sections has a certain time limit to solve and it varies based on the section.
  • For every correct answer 3 marks are awarded and for every wrong answer, ⅓ is deducted from them.

The exam pattern is given below: 

Section

Total Questions

Time Allotted

Quantitative Aptitude

24

40 minutes

Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation

20

40 minutes

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

22

40 minutes

Suggested: GRE Accepting Universities In Europe

GRE vs CAT: Eligibility Criteria  

A common difference between GRE and CAT is their eligibility criteria. Let's discuss the eligibility criteria of each of these exams given below.

GRE

To be eligible for the application of GRE, you are required to meet the following criteria.

  • You must have completed your 18 years of age for the GRE exam without anyone's consent. 
  • No specific upper age limit criteria.
  • Since it is a graduate entrance, you are required to have a bachelor's degree from a recognised university.
  • You can appear in the GRE test a maximum of five times in a year, but with a 21 days gap between each one of the reattempts. 

CAT

The eligibility criteria for the application of the CAT exam is given below:

  • You must have a bachelor's degree in a relevant subject from a recognised board.
  • Marks relaxation is given to students based on their category i.e. for Gen and OBC students must have at least 50% marks and SC, ST may have a minimum of 45% marks in bachelor.
  • Final year students are also eligible for the exam.
  • There are no age limit criteria for the exam.

Suggested: Universities Accepting GRE for MS

GRE vs CAT: Syllabus and Marking Scheme 

The next aspect we are going to explore is the difference between CAT and GRE syllabus. Let us now understand how CAT vs GRE syllabus differs from each other.

GRE Section Wise Exam Pattern 

Section

Topic

Score Range

Analytical Writing

Analyses an Issue task and an argument task

0-6 with 0.5 point increment

Verbal Reasoning

Text Completion, Reading Comprehension, and Sentence Equivalence

130-170 with 1 point increment

Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative Comparison Questions, Multiple Choice Questions, and a Numeric Entry Questions

130-170 with 1 point increment

Suggested: How to Improve GRE Verbal Score?

CAT Section Wise Exam Pattern 

Section

Topic

Score Range

Quantitative Aptitude

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

  • +3 for each correct answer

  • -1 for each incorrect MCQ answer 

  • -0 for incorrect non-MCQ answer

Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation

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

  • +3 for each correct answer

  • -1 for each incorrect MCQ answer 

  • -0 for incorrect non-MCQ answer

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

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

  • +3 for each correct answer

  • -1 for each incorrect MCQ answer 

  • -0 for incorrect non-MCQ answer

Suggested: Important GRE Preparation Books

After discussing the GRE vs CAT syllabus, let's have a look at the costs of both tests:

GRE vs CAT: Fee Structure 

Coming to the fees structure of both the GRE and CAT tests. The application fees for CAT is 2,300 INR for General students and 1,100 for SC, ST and PWD students. No extra costs are required for the CAT exam as it doesn't give you the facilities to reschedule, cancel, or refund options.

GRE fees, on the other hand, differ from one country to another:

  • 230 USD for Australia
  • 213 USD for India 
  • 231 USD for China
  • 205 USD for other parts of the world.

Apart from the application fees, an extra cost is required for changing or rescheduling, time change, slot, venue, and cancellation of the exam.

Suggested: How to Send GRE Scores to Universities?

GRE vs CAT: Competition and Level of Difficulty 

When we discuss CAT or GRE which is better in terms of difficulty level, the CAT is more popular as compared to the GRE. This is due to its less expensive and more readily available features for various Indian B-schools. CAT is also somewhat more competitive which makes it the most difficult to achieve.

Whereas, the number of students appearing in the GRE exam is 3 lakhs out of which 20% are Indian applicants. However, the total number of students who take the CAT exam is around 2 lakhs every year from across the world.

Hence, we can say that the CAT is more difficult than the GRE.

Suggested: When to Start Preparing for GRE?

GRE vs CAT: Which One to Consider?

Since the GRE test has a well-defined type of questions and a structured curriculum than the CAT, it is easier to prepare for it. With a good timetable and two months of diligent preparation, it is feasible for you to get a great GRE score on the exam.

On the other hand, if we discuss the GRE vs CAT syllabus, the CAT has more than the GRE test, and so it requires you to spend more time preparing.

Coming to the CAT vs GRE sections, the verbal reasoning part of the GRE is highly difficult for students who are non-native English students. The quantitative section of the CAT exam is more challenging than the GRE.

Overall choosing the best among the two, will surely be up to you. If you're looking to study graduate programs including MBA at study abroad institutions then submitting the GRE scores is preferred more than your CAT. Whereas if you are preparing for an MBA in India you can get it by doing a strong preparation in the CAT test.

Suggested: What After GRE?

Pursuing a master's degree from a good study institution is a dream of many students, but a dilemma occurs which one is the best: CAT vs GRE. Choosing one between the two is difficult but with strong clarity and research about the differences between GRE and CAT, it will be easier for you. The difference between the GRE and CAT exam lies in the evaluation process of both in the aptitude level of a student.

For further guidance and assistance, do join our Yocket Premium to ease your study abroad journey.

Frequently Asked Questions About CAT vs GRE

Ques. Which is better CAT or GRE?

Ans. Both the GRE and CAT assess the potential of a student when applying to the leading universities and Business Schools of India. While the CAT is acceptable for the top-ranking business schools of India, GRE has been used by many study abroad institutions for admission to their several graduate programs.

Ques. Is GRE preparation enough for CAT?

Ans. The verbal section of the GRE requires you for targeted practice although CAT preparation will certainly help you as well. One must have to work on their vocabulary part to prepare for both the exam.

Ques. Are GRE and CAT Quant the same?

Ans. The CAT quantitative section is more difficult as compared to the GRE test. The format of the questions is also different. While the CAT puts up multiple-choice questions with one correct answer, GRE often requires multiple solutions or even needs students to type in the right answer.

Ques. How many times can I apply for the GRE and CAT in a year?

Ans. You can appear in the GRE test 5 times a year whereas the application form for CAT is available only once time a year.

Ques. What is the validity of GRE and CAT scores?

Ans. The GRE test scores are valid for 5 years and CAT test scores are only available for one time in a year.

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