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The numbers of CAT & GMAT test takers capture the story of the changing management education landscape in India at a time when the economy is slowing down appreciably. The number of Indians appearing for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) hit an all-time high in the year 2013, a year when applicants for the Common Admission Test (CAT) have dipped to a seven-year low. The CAT is the main entry point for freshers or those with only a couple of years experience looking for a two-year, full-time MBA. GMAT, on the other hand, opens doors to Global B-Schools but has more recently been the preferred test for shorter executive MBA programs that experienced professionals tend to opt. Besides, a few significant differences are:


  • Quants section of CAT is tougher than GMAT. Having said that, GMAT also has a tricky side to it.
  • In CAT, you can afford to skip questions. In GMAT you cannot. You need to answer all of them, and answer of your previous question will have a significant impact on subsequent questions.
  • If you don’t do well in CAT, that’s the end of that year. Next year you need to take CAT again. If you don’t do well in GMAT, you can retake GMAT after some 15 days, with due preparations. (Please note that you can retake GMAT exam at max five times in a year.
  • GMAT places great emphasis on topics such as Critical Reasoning. CAT on the other hand – not so much.
  • Your essays or statement of purpose is the deciding factor in your admission process for GMAT while there’s no such thing in CAT.
  • For the Verbal section, you’ll need a lot of practice for the GMAT. RC passages might be half the size of those appearing in CAT, but they are by no means easy.
  • While CAT gives you two hours and fifty minutes to complete the paper, there are no specific timings for the sections. GMAT, on the other hand, gives three hours and thirty minutes for the entire test with specific time allocations for individual sections. Section 1 (Analytical Writing) and 2  (Critical Reasoning) are allowed thirty minutes each. Section 3 (Quant) and 4(Verbal) are allotted seventy-five minutes each


CAT consists of two sections:

  • Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation
  • Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning.

GMAT consists of four sections:

  • Analytical Writing
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • Quantitative Ability
  • Verbal Ability


CAT awards 3 points for every correct answer and deducts one for every wrong answer. The maximum score can go as high as 300. GMAT gives a higher weightage to tougher questions and lower weightage to easier questions. A candidate score can range between 200 and 800 points.



[sociallocker]Summarising, both the CAT as well as the GMAT have their perks as well as their disadvantages. CAT does not test candidates by their writing skill whereas GMAT requires a candidate to pen down a full-fledged essay that reflects his/her ability to present thoughts, reason an argument, critique, and support with examples and use correct grammar. So ones with a flair for words, you got an extra edge while attempting your GMAT. Despite the fact that you skip questions in CAT, it is slightly harder than GMAT. CAT does not designate specific timings for the various sections unlike the GMAT wherein the timing for each section is decided beforehand. GMAT can be taken several times a year compared to CAT that can be taken only once. So, choose what you think you will be better at and good luck![/sociallocker]





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