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CAT vs MAT: What is the Difference Between Them?

Soham RoyUpdated On: September 07, 2023 12:37 pm IST | MAT

Are you perplexed by the CAT vs MAT debate? Learn the differences between CAT and MAT, as well as the top universities that accept both CAT and MAT scores.

Difference Between MAT and CAT, CAT vs MAT

CAT vs MAT: CAT and MAT are the two most popular MBA entrance tests in India, Common Admission Test (CAT) along with Management Aptitude Test (MAT) will feature at the top of our conversation. CAT score has a premium value and is accepted by 20 IIMs & 1000+ reputed B-schools across the country. On the other hand, MAT is accepted by over 700 management institutes. Some of the top b-schools accepting MAT are GL Bajaj Institute of Management & Research, Dr. D.Y. Patil B School-Pune, ITM University, Christ University, JIMS Rohini, Amity University, OP Jindal Global University, Jain University, etc.

Even though it might seem like the two tests have an uncanny similarity in their syllabus, they are quite different in other aspects. However, CAT is difficult to attempt than MAT. Here, we will discuss the difference between CAT and MAT.

The biggest distinction as we divide into the CAT vs MAT discussion is the frequency of these exams. While the CAT exam is only conducted once every year, one can appear for the MAT exam 4 times a year. Understanding the distinctions between the CAT and MAT exams can aid you in placing your best foot forward.

Also Read: MBA Entrance Exams 2023-24

MAT vs CAT: Overview

Check the similarities and differences between the MAT and the CAT exams below:

MAT vs CAT Similarities



Provides admission to courses, such as


Level of Exam


Medium of Examination


Negative Marking


MAT vs CAT Differences

Let's take a quick look at how CAT differs from MAT:





Common Admission Test

Management Aptitude Test

Eligibility Criteria

Passing marks required in bachelor’s degree

Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 50% mark

Who Conducts It?




Once every year [November]

4 times every year [February, May, September, and December]

Mode of Exam

Computer-Based Test (CBT) Only

  • Paper-Based Test (PBT)
  • Computer-Based Test (CBT)
  • Internet-Based Test (IBT)

Total number of Sections



Sections In Detail

  • Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • Language Comprehension
  • Intelligence & Critical Reasoning
  • Indian & Global Environment
  • Data Analysis & Sufficiency
  • Mathematical Skills

Total Questions



Exam Duration

120 minutes (2 hrs)

150 minutes (2.5 hrs)



Easier than CAT

Marking Scheme

+3 for every correct response & -1 for every incorrect response

+1 for every correct response & -0.25 for every incorrect response

Total Marks



Exam Fee

  • General & NC-OBC- INR 2400
  • SC/ ST/ PwD: INR 1200
  • One paper - INR 1950
  • Double Papers - INR 3100

Also Read: CAT vs CMAT, NMAT, XAT, SNAP & Other MBA Entrance Exams

MAT vs CAT: Who Conducts the Exam? 

Let us now find out who conducts the MAT and CAT exam:

MAT Conducting Body

The All India Management Association popularly known as AIMA conducts the MAT exam. It is the gateway for admission to 600+ Indian B-schools that provide PGDM/ MBA programs. The MAT exam is generally conducted in 3 formats: paper-based test (PBT), computer-based test (CBT), internet-based test (IBT).

CAT Conducting Body

For admission to PGDM/ MBA programs in top-tier management institutions of India like IIMs, the CAT exam is conducted once a year. It is conducted on a rotational basis by the different Indian Institute of Management (IIMs). Each year, one of the best IIMs is tasked with administering the CAT exam. CAT is an entirely computer-based test (CBT) that is widely regarded as the most difficult of all the MBA entrance tests. The CAT score has a premium value over other exams.

MAT vs CAT: Who All are Eligible to Appear for the Exam?

Here's who can be considered eligible for CAT and MAT exams:

MAT Eligibility

The MAT exam is a savior for people who did not perform well in graduation. The MAT exam is open to any graduate with a passing grade. There is no minimum age or percentage requirement for the MAT exam.

CAT Eligibility

To appear for CAT, there are certain requirements. Students must have a bachelor's degree from a recognized university/board. Also, they must have scored at least 50% aggregate or an equal CGPA. ST, SC, and PwD/DA candidates must garner at least 45% aggregate or its equivalent CGPA.

Also Read: List of Non-IIM MBA Colleges to Apply to Before & After CAT Exam

MAT vs CAT: Frequency of the Exam

The difference between MAT and CAT exam also includes the number of times they are conducted in a year. Explore the same below:

MAT Frequency

The MAT is administered four times a year, in the months of February, May, September, and December. The dates for IBT, PBT, and CBT tests vary, and candidates may select one or more exam modes. Exams in the CBT and PBT modes are administered in a single slot, whereas those in the IBT format are conducted in two slots. Candidates can select their preferred IBT slots.

CAT Frequency

Three sessions of the exam are held on a single day. The examination body assigns candidates their exam slots based on the receipt of the application.

CAT vs MAT Exam Pattern

The exam pattern of CAT and that of MAT is again different. Here's how:

MAT Exam Pattern

The exam paper for MAT typically includes questions from the Indian & Global Environment, Language Comprehension, Data Analysis, Mathematical Skills, Intelligence, along Critical Reasoning. The India & Global Environment section comes with GK questions and current affairs. The MAT exam paper contains 200 questions segregated into 40 each in various sections.

CAT Exam Pattern

Students who are attempting the CAT must answer questions from the Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), and Quantitative Aptitude(QA) segment. Due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the exam period was shortened to 120 minutes (2 hours) and the number of questions was trimmed to 66 in CAT 2021 and the same pattern has been followed since.

Also Read: How Did the CAT Exam Pattern Change Over The Years?

MAT vs CAT: Exam Duration

Find out what is the difference between CAT and MAT exam duration:

MAT Exam Duration

In 150 minutes or 2.5 hours, candidates must answer all 200 questions on the MAT. There is no sectional time limit, so applicants can complete the paper in any sequence they choose. The India and Global Environment section scores are not taken into account when determining the MAT percentile, so candidates may choose to attempt it in the end or skip it entirely depending on their time constraints.

CAT Exam Duration

The CAT exam takes two hours or 120 minutes to complete. The time allotted for each section is 40 minutes. To complete the paper, candidates must proceed in the prescribed order, and the computer screen automatically advances to the next section when each section's allotted 40 minutes have passed.

MAT vs CAT: Difficulty Level

Find out the difficulty levels of both exams which are based on past year analyses. 

MAT Difficulty Level

Although the MAT has 200 questions, it is an easier exam compared to the CAT. The MAT questions range in difficulty from easy to moderate.

CAT Difficulty Level

CAT is one of the most difficult MBA entrance exams, despite having only 66 questions. Typically, the difficulty level of the exam is between moderate and high.

CAT vs MAT: Marking Scheme

Here's how CAT and MAT marking schemes differ. 

MAT Marking Scheme

There are a total of 200 marks on the MAT exam. Every right answer receives a +1 mark, while every incorrect one receives a negative marking of -0.25. When determining the final MAT percentile, the score from the India and Global Environment part is not taken into account.

CAT Marking Scheme

The total score on the CAT exam is 228. For every correct response, +3 marks are awarded, and there exists a negative marking of -1 point for each incorrect response. There will be no points deducted if a student chooses not to attempt a question. Non-MCQ questions do not carry any negative marking.

Also Read:

CAT Previous Year Question Papers

MAT Previous Year Question Papers

MAT vs CAT: Application Fee

The application fee for CAT and MAT also varies. Check out the same below:

MAT Application Fee

The MAT registration fee is Rs 1,950 for one paper (either CBT, PBT, or IBT). The fee for students who want to take two exams is INR 3100. 

CAT Application Fee

For the General and NC-OBC categories, the CAT exam registration fee is INR 2,400. The CAT registration fee is INR 1,200 for the SC/ ST/ PwD (DA) categories.

Top Colleges Accepting MAT Scores in India

In India, nearly 600+ MBA colleges recognize MAT scores. A list of universities that recognize MAT scores to enroll in their MBA programs is provided below.

Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Institute for Management Development, Mysore

SPJIMR, Mumbai

School of Business, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun

Christ University, Bangalore

National Institute of Technology Warangal

VIT Business School, Vellore

Prin LN Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Mumbai

AIMS Institutes, Bangalore

Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Kolkata

Doon Business School, Dehradun

PSG Institute of Management, Coimbatore

ITM Business School, Navi Mumbai

New Delhi Institute of Management, Delhi

Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi

Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship, Bangalore

Chandigarh University, Chandigarh

GITAM Hyderabad Business School, Hyderabad

Techno India University, Kolkata

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai

MIT School of Management, Pune

Top Colleges in India Accepting CAT Score Apart from IIMs

What are the top 20 MBA colleges that accept CAT results in India apart from the IIMs? Well, they are listed below!

School of Business, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun

SOIL Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Mittal School of Business, Lovely Professional University, Phagwara

SPJIMR, Mumbai

Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), University of Delhi, Delhi

Christ University, Bangalore

Department of Management Sciences, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune

Institute of Management Studies, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

National Institute of Technology Warangal

VIT Business School, Vellore

Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon

IBS Business School, Hyderabad

K J Somaiya Institute of Management, Mumbai

AIMS Institutes, Bangalore

Prin LN Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Mumbai

Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Kolkata

 Also Read: Best Time to Start Preparing for CAT 2023

Both the CAT and the MAT are national MBA entrance tests for management aspirants. The CAT is the most esteemed of all management entrance exams because acceptance into an IIM is likely the most significant stepping stone for the managerial aspirations of the candidates. Aspirants are frequently perplexed when deciding between the two because the management institutions available dependent on CAT scores vary significantly from those available based on MAT scores. As a result, it's critical to choose carefully between the two tests. The second most common admission exam for candidates seeking an MBA is the MAT.

By now, it should have become clear that MAT is easier than CAT. Because it is less challenging than the CAT exam, more students are registering to take the MAT. Candidates can opt to take the exam at their own pace because it is flexible enough to be offered four times a year. Although there is no such thing as simple or tough, your dedication to your goals will get you where you want to go. It is crucial that you choose your business school accordingly.

Let's hope that this article has quenched your thirst for knowing the difference between CAT and MAT. Stay tuned with us for more more such articles!

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MAT 2023 Exam Day Checklist

If you have any doubts or queries, please contact our experts in the CollegeDekho QnA Zone. For help regarding admission into MBA colleges, fill out the Common Application Form (CAF) or call our toll-free helpline number 1800-572-9877. Stay connected for more updates and news about CAT and MAT with us!


What is the exam frequency of the CAT and MAT exams?

The CAT exam is conducted once a year by the Indian Institutes of Management for MBA admissions. Three sessions are conducted for the CAT exam on a single exam day to accommodate all the applicants.
The MAT exam is conducted several times a year. Exams for the MAT are administered in four phases: February, May, September, and December. Each phase of the MAT exam includes PBT, CBT, and IBT modes for candidates to choose from according to their convenience. The PBT mode is held just once, the CBT mode twice, and the IBT mode five to seven times. Candidates are allowed to attempt the MAT exam as many times as they like.

How many attempts are allowed for the CAT and MAT exams?

Since the CAT is a yearly test, each candidate is only allowed one attempt per academic year. However, the number of CAT attempts is not limited. Candidates may show up as often as they like for the exam. In fact, many students take the CAT exam two or three times to achieve the required percentile for admission to their preferred MBA program.
As for the MAT exam, candidates may choose one of the three delivery methods for the MAT exam: Internet-Based Test (IBT), Computer-Based Test (CBT), or Paper-Based Test (PBT) as many times as they like. The prerequisites for each method are the same. There is no restriction on how many times you can take the test.

What is the difference between MAT and CAT in terms of difficulty level?

Both the CAT and MAT exams differ vastly in terms of difficulty level. Since the exam pattern for both these exams are different, candidates who appear for these exams have entirely different experiences with them both. The CAT exam is a significantly more difficult management entrance test than the MAT exam due to the exam pattern it follows. Although there are only 66 questions in the CAT question paper as compared to the 200 questions on the MAT question paper, the level of difficulty for CAT is always moderate to high, whereas MAT is typically easy to moderate. One of the primary reasons for CAT being a tougher exam is because it has a negative marking of -1 for each incorrect answer. MAT has a negative marking or -¼ or -0,25 for incorrect answers.

Is the General Awareness section present in the CAT exam?

No, there isn't a section on general awareness on the CAT. It only has three sections: Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension. The Indian & Global Environment section of the MAT's general awareness test is not factored into the calculation of the percentile for the test. However, it is important to be aware of topics related to General Knowledge and Current Affairs, especially when it comes to the CAT exam because questions related to General Awareness are asked during the CAT counselling process which include the Personal Interviews and Group Discussion rounds, which are crucial for MBA admissions.

Does the MAT exam have a sectional time limit like CAT?

No, the MAT exam does not have a sectional time limit like the CAT exam. The MAT exam's 2.5 hours can be divided up and used by candidates according to their personal approach to solving the paper. This is one of the advantages that the MAT exam has over the CAT exam, which also makes it preferable to many management aspirants. Candidates should practice their time management strategy during the preparation phase and also during mock tests so that they become accustomed to answering a specific number of questions in a specific amount of time.

In which modes are both the CAT and MAT exams held?

The CAT exam is held nationwide in only the Computer-based Test format. Candidates who register for the CAT exam have to visit their designated exam centers and appear for the exam. The MAT exam on the other hand is conducted in three different exam modes, which include the Paper-based Test, Computer-based Test, and the Internet-based Test. Candidates who apply for the MAT exam have the option to choose from either of the three test modes according to their convenience. 

What is the exam pattern followed by the CAT and MAT exams?

There are quite a few major differences between the CAT and MAT exams, especially when it comes to the exam pattern followed by both entrance tests. The CAT exam consists of 66 questions in total which are divided into three sections, namely Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC). The total exam duration for the CAT exam is 2 hours or 120 minutes. 
The MAT exam on the other hand consists of 200 questions in total which is divided into five sections with 40 questions in each section. The sections of the MAT exam include Indian and Global Environment, Language Comprehension, Data Analysis and Sufficiency, Mathematical Skills, Intelligence and Critical Reasoning. The exam duration for MAT is 150 minutes or 2.5 hours.

What is the acceptance of CAT and MAT?

In terms of acceptance, the CAT exam is much superior to the MAT exam. The CAT exam is conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management for admission to any of the 20 IIMs in India which are a Tier 1 chain of management institutes. Apart from the IIMs, CAT is also accepted by more than 1000 reputed B-schools in the country including some of the top management institutes like FMS, IMT, MDI, IIT, etc. The MAT exam is also accepted by a sizeable number of top management institutes in India. Over 700 management colleges and universities accept the MAT exam for MBA admissions in India.

What is the eligibility criteria for CAT and MAT?

The eligibility criteria is another major differentiating factor between the MAT and CAT exams. The CAT exam requires candidates to have scored a minimum of 50% (45% for SC/ST/PwD candidates) aggregate marks or equivalent CGPA in their bachelor’s degree course. The MAT exam on the other hand only requires candidates to have achieved the passing marks in their bachelor’s degree and there is also no age restrictions nor any minimum marks/percentage requirement for appearing for MAT. For this reason, the MAT exam is preferred by candidates who have not scored highly in their bachelor’s degree courses.

Which is the better exam between CAT and MAT?

The answer to which is the better exam between CAT and MAT really depends on the personal preference of the candidate. Both CAT and MAT have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. The MAT exam is preferable to students who either wish to take multiple attempts of the exam in a single academic year or those candidates who do not have a very high bachelor’s degree score. The CAT exam on the other hand is chosen by candidates who wish to pursue management courses in some of the best B-schools in India like the IIMs and do not mind preparing rigorously to overcome the fierce competition that candidates experience during the CAT entrance exam and the subsequent admission process.

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