The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and the Common Admission Test (CAT) are two of the most widely accepted tests for admission into graduate business programs. Both tests assess a student's overall aptitude for success in a business program, but there are some key differences and similarities between the two.
In this guide, we will list the key differences and similarities between GMAT and CAT.
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GMAT Vs CAT
The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) and the CAT (Common Admission Test) are two popular exams used to measure skills in key areas such as quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, reading comprehension and writing.
Both tests are often required for admission into MBA programs around the world. The GMAT is more commonly used for international applicants, while the CAT is primarily Indian-based.
When considering each test, it is important to understand how they differ from one another. For example, the GMAT focuses on testing a student’s analytical ability by having them solve complex problems under limited time constraints. In contrast, the CAT measures knowledge of core subjects like English and mathematics.
Additionally, the GMAT has questions that require students to apply their knowledge to problem-solving in a real-world setting, while the CAT primarily tests static knowledge. As such, the GMAT is more suited for those looking to pursue a career in business and finance, while the CAT is better suited for those wishing to pursue higher studies in other areas of academia.
Also Read: GMAT vs GRE Which is easier?
Difference between GMAT & CAT
Both the GMAT and the CAT serve as standardised tests for admission to MBA programs. However, both differ in the scope of their acceptability.
|Conducted by||Different bodies conduct both exams. GMAT is conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), whereas CAT is conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).||GMAT is a global test, while the CAT is limited to India only as the GMAT is accepted by business schools across the globe, while Indian B-Schools accept CAT.|
|Format||The format of a GMAT exam is computer-adaptive, meaning that the difficulty level of questions increases or decreases depending on the answers given by the test taker. |
The format also includes four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude and Verbal Ability.
|On the other hand, a CAT exam follows a fixed format with no varying difficulty levels.|
It consists of three main sections: Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC).
|Duration||The GMAT exam lasts for 3 hours and 30 minutes. Additionally, candidates can take a break of 8 minutes during the GMAT exam.||While a CAT exam typically lasts 2 hours and 45 minutes. But no such breaks are available when taking a CAT exam.|
|Syllabus||Another difference between the GMAT and CAT is their syllabus. The GMAT has a curriculum that tests the general understanding of reading, writing, math and analytical skills. The questions in the GMAT are designed to test skills critical for success in a business school program.||On the other hand, CAT has a curriculum that focuses more on testing a student's aptitude for higher studies in management by assessing their knowledge in various areas such as Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude etc.|
|Questions||Regarding questions, the GMAT includes multiple-choice questions and essay-writing sections, while the CAT only has multiple-choice questions.||The GMAT is also more difficult in terms of content than the CAT, with higher-order thinking required from test takers on topics such as data interpretation, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. This makes it better suited for admission into business schools that focus on a more rigorous intellectual environment.|
|Scoring pattern||The GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT), which means that the previous question's responses determine each question's difficulty level. The overall score is based on the total number of correct answers. The score is reported on a scale of 200-800.||The CAT is a non-adaptive test which means that all questions are of the same level of difficulty regardless of how the candidate has answered previous questions. The score is reported on a scale of 0-100.|
|Fees||The GMAT registration fee is US$250, and the exam fee is US$200. The CAT registration fee is Rs. 1900 for general candidates and Rs. 950 for SC/ST candidates.||The CAT exam fee is Rs. 1000 for general candidates and Rs. 500 for SC/ST candidates.|
|Eligibility||The GMAT is open to all candidates who possess a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree from a recognised university, are at least 18 years old and hold a valid passport.||The CAT is only open to Indian candidates who possess a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree from a recognised university, it does not have any age restrictions, and no passport is required to appear for it.|
|Validity||The GMAT score is valid for five years after testing. Additionally, the GMAT has a much larger pool of test-takers than the CAT, so it is often seen as a more credible measure of student ability.||CAT score is valid for only one year. This allows students more time to apply to different schools and programs if they choose.|
Similarities between GMAT & CAT
While there are some differences between GMAT and CAT, there are also some similarities.
One similarity is that both GMAT and CAT scores are accepted in many business schools across India and around the world.
Generally, most top-tier Indian B-schools accept both GMAT and CAT scores while considering candidates for admission into their MBA programs. This means that students have more flexibility when choosing which test they want to take, depending on their skills and preference
Also read: Guide to Mastering GMAT Exam
Tests similar skills
Another similarity between these two tests is that they focus on testing the same skills and aptitudes. Both the GMAT and CAT evaluate a candidate’s quantitative, verbal, and analytical writing abilities. The questions in both tests are also of similar difficulty levels, so preparing for either can help a candidate ace the other.
Also Read: GMAT vs GRE for MBA Admissions
Finally, both exams require an online registration process before appearing for them. Students must fill out an application form with personal details like name, address, email, mobile number, etc. They can also choose a preferred test center and date for their exam from the available options.
Additionally, both exams come with different payment plans that students can avail of to pay the registration fees.
Also Read: GMAT Critical Reasoning
Both GMAT and CAT provide a good assessment of an individual’s aptitude and suitability for an MBA program. With that being said, it is important to note that each test has its own unique strengths and weaknesses and should be considered depending on one's academic goals. Ultimately, choosing between the GMAT or CAT will depend on what you hope to achieve and which test best suits your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who conducts GMAT and CAT?
GMAT is conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), whereas CAT is conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). GMAT is accepted by business schools across the globe, while Indian B-Schools accept CAT.
What is the duration of the GMAT?
A GMAT exam lasts for 3 hours and 30 minutes. Additionally, candidates are given the option to take a break of 8 minutes during the GMAT exam.
What are the eligibility criteria for CAT?
The CAT is open to Indian candidates who possess a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree from a recognised university, it does not have any age restrictions, and no passport is required to appear for it.
What is the validity of GMAT and CAT scores?
The GMAT score is valid for five years after testing, while the CAT score is valid for only one year.
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