CMAT vs CAT: Similarities and Differences between CAT and CMAT

By BYJU'S CAT|Updated : February 14th, 2023

CMAT vs CAT will cover all the differences and similarities between the exam to provide a clear picture to the aspirants. If the aspirants want to prepare for both of these exams, they must be aware of a few things for which these two exams are quite different. We have highlighted the below points on CMAT vs CAT to ensure the aspirants understand the basic difference between CAT and CMAT.

CAT vs CMAT: these two are the two different national-level MBA entrance exams for admission to different management programs in B-schools. CAT (Common Admission Test) and CMAT (Common Management Admission Test) are the two most popular MBA exams. IIMs conduct CAT while CMAT is conducted by NTA (National Testing Agency) to choose aspirants for admission in B-schools.

Table of Content

CMAT vs CAT Similarities

Both of these exams are conducted for admission to MBA in B-schools. Note the below table to get an idea about the similarities between CAT vs CMAT.



Course for admission


Exam Mode

Online Computer-based

Level of Exam


Exam Frequency

Once in Every Year

Exam Medium


Negative Marking


CMAT vs CAT Exam Pattern

It is important to determine the difference between CAT vs CMAT in terms of the number of questions, sections and marking scheme. Note the below table to get an idea of exam patterns and key elements of both of these exams.


CAT Paper Pattern

CMAT Paper Pattern

Question Type




120 minutes (as per CAT 2021)

180 minutes

Total Number of questions

66 (as per CAT 2021)


Marking Scheme

+3 For Every Correct Answer

-1 For Every Incorrect Answer (None for Non-MCQs)

+4 For Every Correct Answer

-1 For Every Incorrect Answer

Sectional Time Limit

40 Minutes (as per CAT 2021)


Difficulty Level

Moderate to High

Easy to Moderate

Official Website

Get a detailed analysis of the CAT Exam Pattern and CMAT Exam Pattern

CAT vs CMAT Sectional Overview

The aspirants, preparing for both CAT and CMAT, must be aware of CAT and CMAT exam sections. Note the below two tables to understand the sectional overview of CMAT vs CAT.

CAT Paper Pattern

Exam Sections

Total Questions

Number of MCQ Questions

Number of TITA Questions

Section-wise Time Limit




















120 (as per CAT 2021)

CMAT Paper Pattern

Type of questionsNo. of questionsMaximum Marks
Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation2080
Logical Reasoning2080
Language Comprehension2080
General Awareness2080
Innovation & Entrepreneurship2080

CMAT VS CAT Syllabus

Check the CAT and CMAT syllabus to know the difference between CAT and CMAT question papers and preparation strategies. When comparing the CAT syllabus with the CMAT syllabus, there are two additional sections in CMAT - General Awareness and Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

The CAT & CMAT syllabus for the three common sections almost remains identical.

CMAT vs CAT Participating Institutes

Both CAT and CMAT have approximately 1000 participating institutes all over the country. Note the below table to get an idea about the participating institutes for both CAT and CMAT. The major difference between CAT and CMAT for MBA colleges is IIMs. IIMs only accept CAT scores.



All IIMs accept CAT scores along with colleges link XLRI Jamshedpur, MDI Gurgaon, IMI, and SPJIMR.

Accept IIMs, all other institutes that provide MBA/PGDM courses accept CMAT scores.

AICTE- Approved Institutions / University
Departments / Constituent Colleges /Affiliated Colleges.

How to Prepare for CAT and CMAT

The aspirants may find three common sections in CAT and CMAT, with an almost identical syllabus. So, if you want to prepare for both of these exams then you can easily start your preparation. Our experts have listed some strategies to help aspirants who want to prepare for CAT and CMAT simultaneously.

While preparing note the difference between CAT and CMAT paper patterns and the extra sections in CMAT.

  • Be very specific about the CAT syllabus and CMAT syllabus
  • Make a study plan for each of these exams. Start your preparation with QA and DI, as both of these exams have these two sections
  • For the Quantitative Ability section, always be focused on knowing the concepts and solving tricks rather than learning the formulae.


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  • When going through details about CAT vs CMAT, there is a difference between the number of sections, marking scheme, participating colleges and more. CAT and CMAT is online exams with a difference in time duration. 

  • If you have complete preparation, then every exam is easy. The CAT exam allows you to take admission to IIMs whereas CMAT allows you to take admission to other top MBA colleges. Note the difference between CAT vs CMAT to decide for yourself. 

  • CAT vs CMAT syllabus is almost similar for three sections- Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation, RC, Verbal and Logical Reasoning. CMAT syllabus has two additional sections - General Awareness and Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

  • Note the below points for CMAT vs CAT marking scheme:

    • In CAT: +3 for every correct answer; -1 for every incorrect answer. There are no negative markings in the CAT TITA question.
    • In CMAT: +4 For Every Correct Answer, -1 For Every Incorrect Answer
    • What is the main difference between CAT and CMAT?
    • The main difference between CAT and CMAT is in its exam section.

    CAT has three sections: VARC, DILR, and QA

    CMAT has 4 sections with an additional one optional section: QT & DI, LR, LC, GA, and Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

  • As per past trend analysis and cutoff, if the difficulty level is compared for CMAT vs CAT- CAT is a little more difficult than CMAT. 

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