GMAT vs CAT Differences: Which is Better?

Sakunth Kumar
Sakunth KumarPublished On: January 15, 2021 | CAT

GMAT and CAT are the two popular management entrance exams in India. Check the detailed comparative analysis between GMAT and CAT here.


The admission season for postgraduate management courses such as MBA, PGDM, PGPM etc. has been started. We assume that those aspirants who are looking forward to seeking admission in management courses for the academic session beginning 2020 have already started preparing for a number of MBA entrance exams in India such as CAT, XAT, GMAT, NMAT, IIFT etc.

It is very often that we find students applying for multiple exams to increase their chances of admissions, enhance their knowledge and to choose the best institute from the options available. Mostly, all the national-level management entrance exams follow a similar kind of syllabus, but the pattern and marking scheme could be different.

In order to mitigate the confusion among the MBA aspirants on different MBA exams, pattern, syllabus, marking scheme etc., CollegeDekho has come up with a detailed comparison between the popular MBA entrance exams. In this article, let us have a look at the comparison between CAT and GMAT - both of which have a large number of takers year after year as per statistical data.

About GMAT or Graduate Management Admission Test:

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) conducts GMAT examination. Recently, GMAC has introduced changes in the exam by reducing its duration by 30 minutes. Top B-Schools in India consider GMAT score for the admission to PG management courses. Apart from Indian institutes, majority of the international B-Schools also consider GMAT score for the admission.

Also Read:CAT 2020 Exam Day Instructions - Check Rules, What to Carry, Other Guidelines

About CAT or Common Admission Test:

IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) conduct CAT exam every year for the admission into PG management courses. Apart from IIMs, top B-Schools in India such as SPJIMR, IMT, FMS, IMI etc., also consider the CAT score for the admission. In all, close to 3,000 B-Schools in India consider CAT score for the admission to MBA/ PGDM courses.

GMAT vs CAT Eligibility Criteria

CAT: Candidates must have cleared bachelor degree with at least 50% marks. Candidates who have appeared for final year examination may also apply for CAT.

GMAT: Candidates must have passed a bachelor degree from any recognised institution. There are no minimum marks criteria for the GMAT examination. Final year candidates may also apply for GMAT.

CAT Eligibility CriteriaGMAT Eligibility Criteria

GMAT vs CAT Exam Pattern

CAT: CAT is divided into three sections namely Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. Candidates will have complete the examination within 3 hours and they cant switch between the section. 

GMAT: GMAT will be divided into four sections namely Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing. There is a sessional limit in this exam also but GMAT allows the candidates to choose which section they want to answer first. 

CAT Exam PatternGMAT Exam Pattern

GMAT vs CAT Difficulty Level

CAT: CAT is one of the difficult exams for MBA. Its difficulty level generally remains high

GMAT: GMAT is also a difficult MBA entrance exam but it is comparatively easier than CAT. 

Also Read:How to Approach CAT 2020 Question Paper?

GMAT vs CAT: Validity of Exam Score

CAT: CAT scores are valid for one year and it is accepted by all IIMs and more than 2000 MBA colleges in India

GMAT: GMAT scores are valid for admission up to 5 years and its scores are accepted by more than 2200 MBA institutes across the globe.

Comparison between GMAT and CAT:

Exam Name


(Graduate Management Admission Test)


(Common Admission Test)

Conducting Body

Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)

IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management)

Exam Mode

Computer-Adaptive Test

Computer-Based Test

Frequency of Exam

There are no fixed GMAT dates. Students are free to choose any date according to their convenience and availability. Students can take the exam five times a year.

Once a Year


3 hours 7 minutes(including optional 8-minute break)

3 Hours (180 Minutes)

Number of Sections



Sectional Time Limit

  • Analytical Writing Assessment – 30 Minutes
  • Integrated Reasoning – 30 Minutes
  • Quantitative – 62 Minutes
  • Verbal – 65 Minutes
  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) – 60 Minutes
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning – 60 Minutes
  • Quantitative Ability – 60 Minutes

Types of Question Format

The level of difficulty of questions will keep on changing according to your calibre.

72-75 questions are MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions), rest Non-MCQs.

Option to Choose Order of Attempting Sections

Student has the flexibility to choose the section order in which they feel most comfortable taking the exam.

Candidates are not allowed to switch between sections

Total Marks



Marking for Correct Answer



Marking for Incorrect Answer

No Negative Marking


Difficulty Level

Moderate to Difficult

Moderate to Difficult

Syllabus Difference

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Sentence Correction
  • Vocabulary
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Essay Writing
  • Graphic Interpretation
  • Multi-source Reasoning
  • Table Analysis
  • Two-part Analysis
  • Grammar
  • Para Correction
  • Sentence Correction
  • Word Usage
  • Analogies
  • Idioms
  • Para Jumble
  • Pie Chart
  • Graph Tables
  • Data Arrangement
  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Calculus
  • Trigonometry
  • Mensuration
Top Colleges Accepting Exam Score

Exam Date 2020

There are no fixed GMAT dates. Students are free to choose any date according to their convenience and availability. Students can take the exam five times a year.

November 29, 2020

Which Entrance Exam Should I Take – GMAT or CAT?

Choosing between the two popular entrance exams like CAT and GMAT could be a challenging task for the students. You can choose both or choose one as per your feasibility, comfort and locality of the institute.

Also Read: MBA in India vs MBA Abroad: Which is More Valuable?

Top MBA Colleges in India Accepting CAT Scores

The table provided below will help you know some well known MBA colleges in India that accept CAT scores.



ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad

INR 7,02,000

Amity University, Gwalior, Gwalior 

INR 1,62,000

Sanskriti University, Mathura

INR 1,15,000

University of Engineering & Management, Kolkata

INR 1,13,000

Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, Mumbai

INR 2,28,000

Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi 

INR 10,500

Top MBA Colleges in India Accepting GMAT Scores

Provided below is the list of some well known MBA colleges in India that accept GMAT scores



International Institute of Business Studies, Bangalore

INR 3,73,000

Amity University Chhattisgarh, Raipur

INR 2,32,000

IIM Ahmedabad

INR 20,00,000

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai

INR 10,80,000

S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai 

INR 16,90,000

KIIT University, Bhubaneswar 

INR 1,26,000

If you have any queries related to CAT, GMAT or any other management entrance exam, you can post your queries on the Collegedekho QnA zone.

For admission-related assistance, call on our toll-free number  1800-572-9877 or fill our Common Application form.

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Get Help From Our Expert Counsellors


Is there a sectional limit in CAT and GMAT examination?

Yes, there is a sectional limit in both the CAT and GMAT examination. Once the sectional time is over, candidates will be passed to the next section.

What is the total duration of CAT and GMAT?

The total duration of the CAT exam is 120 minutes. On the other hand, the duration of GMAT is 3 hours 7 minutes(including optional 8-minute break)

Which exam is more difficult. GMAT or CAT?

Both the exams are difficult but the difficulty level of CAT is higher than the GMAT. GMAT has a well-defined syllabus that makes it compatible with easier than CAT.

How many sections are there in GMAT and CAT?

There are three sections in the CAT examination while three sections are there in GMAT examination.

Who is the conducting body of CAT and GMAT?

The conducting body of CAT is IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) while the conducting body of GMAT is GMAC(Graduate Management Admission Council)

CAT Previous Year Question Paper

CAT Question Paper 2018 Slot 1

CAT Question Paper 2018 Slot 2

CAT Question Paper 2019 Slot 1

CAT Question Paper 2019 Slot 2

CAT question Paper 2017 f1

CAT question Paper 2017 F2


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