CMAT vs CAT: Know the Similarities and Differences between CAT and CMAT

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : February 23rd, 2022

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.

Table of Content

CMAT and CAT 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.

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 and 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 CAT Exam Pattern and CMAT Exam Pattern

CMAT vs CAT 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 CAT syllabus with 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 score. 



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

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

  • 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 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 the aspirants who want to prepare for CAT and CMAT simultaneously.

While preparing note the difference between CAT and CMAT paper pattern 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.


write a comment


  • 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. CAT exam allows you to take admission to IIMs whereas CMAT allows you to take admissions to other top MBA colleges. Note the difference between CAT v 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. 

Follow us for latest updates