Difference between CAT and GMAT

Difference between CAT and GMAT


One of the most common confusion faced by MBA aspirants is the whether to opt for CAT or GMAT. For a student, choosing the right exam is a major decision because it will decide his or her future. And because we are all better off knowing what we’re good at, here’s an article in attempt to help MBA aspirants pick the right exam to write and to help make the most of it.


The number of applicants that apply for CAT and GMAT runs almost close to one another. And because of this vast amount of participants, it is difficult to score admission into the colleges of choice. While GMAT has both national and international B-school options, CAT is limited to the Indian B-schools alone. And hence, for CAT, this raises the competition bar significantly.


GMAT exam is flexible throughout the year; it allows a candidate to take up to five times a year but with a 16 day gap between each attempt. Candidates can also choose the date according to their convenience.

CAT is held once in a year and this way, the flexibility is limited. The exam date is fixed, and if a candidate misses the exam, they can write it the following year.


GMAT exam is oriented towards analytical skills and verbal reasoning. It is computer adaptive, which means the level of difficulty increases the more you answer correct, and the level of difficulty decreases the less you answer correct.

CAT exam focus is on data interpretation and quantitative analysis. Unlike GMAT, it isn’t computer adaptive. The questions are picked from a random question bank, and the candidate may choose to answer or skip.


GMAT score card is valid for 5 years. Applicants can use their score card between the time period to apply for admissions into business schools both at home and abroad. It is conducted by Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) and held worldwide.

CAT score card is valid for a year. However, some institutions practice deferred admission. In this case, the score card validity can be extended up to two years depending on the institute. Conducted by Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), CAT is Indian education centric, and is valid for the application of admission into Indian business schools only.


CAT– To be able to sit for the CAT exam which is held around November every year, it will cost a candidate Rs. 1, 800, i.e., 25.61 USD.

GMAT– To be able to sit for GMAT exam, a candidate must pay a sum of 250 USD per attempt, Rs. 17573.46 when converted to Indian currency.


CAT score is calculated in terms of percentile, which means, the final score will depend on the performance of other candidates as a whole.

GMAT score is total, i.e. the mark scored by the candidate is the exact score that is taken regardless of how the rest of the exam takers perform.



In the end, coming down to picking the right exam depends on what best suits the applicant. If you’re looking for a good working experience before starting your post-graduation or is already working a job, GMAT preparation is the right choice for you. With over 7,000 programs at 2,300 B-schools in 110 countries accepting GMAT as selection criteria for their business programs, it is a great opportunity for admission into top business institutions. On the other hand, if you’re looking to continue post-graduation directly after graduation, CAT preparation is the one for you/ if top B-schools in India, like the IIMs, FRM, XLRI, etc., are your target, CAT preparation is the one for you.


Whichever you pick, make sure it’s the right one for you. Good luck!