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Management entrance exam – A comparison of GMAT and CAT

Posted on December 3, 2020
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GMAT vs CAT Coaching

There are 2 well known entrance tests for admission to management courses: GMAT and CAT. Though these tests serve the same purpose, to test your ability to reason, communicate, and solve problems, they are different in many ways.

Here, we will get to learn what the difference between these two tests are. This knowledge will give you clarity and even help a bit with your GMAT prep if you are eyeing an opportunity overseas.

The most obvious difference is that while GMAT is a global exam, CAT has a localized scope. The GMAT scores are accepted in any business school of the world. CAT in comparison is a national level exam that caters to top management schools in India. GMAT scores are accepted in India in case of NRI/foreign students.

There are more points of difference between the 2 tests. Let’s check them out.

Eligibility

GMAT

The GMAT aspirant must be a bachelor’s degree holder in any stream or an equivalent qualification from a recognized university. Even candidates in the final year of their graduation can apply for the test. No minimum marks are prescribed for appearing in GMAT.

CAT

The CAT aspirant must have at least a bachelor’s degree in any stream from a recognized university. The candidate must have a minimum 50% marks or equivalent to qualify for the CAT test. Final year graduation students can also apply for the CAT exam.

How the exam is conducted

GMAT

The GMAT exam is conducted throughout the year. The GMAT candidate can book a slot for himself/herself from the given calendar as per their convenience. He/She can retake the exam 5 times within a period of 12 months. 8 attempts are allowed to a candidate in the candidate’s lifetime.

CAT

IIM conducts CAT exam once a year. The application process begins in August. The exam is held in the last week of November or the starting week of December.

Pattern of exam

GMAT

GMAT question paper has MCQ questions for sections of:

  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Analytical writing
  • Integrated reasoning

The candidate can choose the order in which the sections can be written. Each section is timed.

CAT

CAT is an online exam of 3 hours duration. The candidate must follow the chronology of the question paper. They cannot take the liberty of choosing the order of the questions to answer. The candidate cannot revert any answer already attended.

Exam syllabus

GMAT

  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Analytical writing
  • Integrated reasoning

CAT

  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

Exam duration

GMAT

187 minutes

CAT

180 minutes

Difficulty level

GMAT

GMAT is the toughest entrance exam for MBA.

CAT

CAT exam is as tough as GMAT.

Scoring pattern

GMAT

The candidates can score between 200 and 800 points. The scoring for each section is as follows:

  • Verbal Reasoning & Quantitative Reasoning – 0-60 points
  • Integrated Reasoning – 1-8 points
  • Analytical Writing Assessment – 0-6 points

CAT

CAT exam has total score of 300. Each question carries 3 marks. There are 100 questions to attempt. Each wrong answer has a negative marking.

Exam fee

GMAT

USD 250

CAT

General & NC-OBC candidates – Rs. 1,900

SC/ST/Physically handicapped candidates – Rs. 950

Exam score validity

GMAT

GMAT score is accepted by over 2,100 management institutes globally. The validity of the GMAT score is up to 5 years.

CAT

CAT score is accepted by all the 20 IIMs in India and 1,500 management institutes in India. The validity period of CAT score is a year.

Who conducts the exam?

GMAT: Conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council

CAT: Conducted by the Indian Institute of Management on rotation

Getting the best GMAT coaching or the CAT training is the sure-shot way to empower yourself to take the first step into a management career journey.

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