CAT vs GMAT: Check the Differences between CAT and GMAT Exam

By Anjali Chowdhury|Updated : May 13th, 2022

The Difference Between CAT and GMAT is the CAT is a national-level exam, while GMAT is a global exam. CAT (Common Admission Test) and GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) are two top-level management entrance examinations. The scores of both of these examinations are accepted by the top-most Business Schools. So, the candidates preparing for both of these exams must know all the details about CAT vs GMAT.

For an MBA aspirant, the biggest dilemma is whether to give the GMAT or CAT, whether they wish to pursue MBA abroad or in India. So, before preceding with the preparation for these two exams, you need to know the Difference Between CAT and GMAT first.


Table of Content

GMAT vs CAT Exam [Overview]

The major highlights of GMAT vs CAT are mentioned below. Learn the difference between CAT and GMAT in terms of Score Validity, Exam Eligibility, and Post-Exam Processes. To decide between CAT vs GMAT for IIM, note the below-mentioned details about the exam to help you choose better. 




Score Validity

1 year

5 years

CAT Percentile vs GMAT Score

It indicates the relative scores of candidates with respect to other qualified aspirants.

For Example: to get 99 percentile, the aspirant needs to score 98-105 in the CAT Exam.

It is a score range of 200-800. 

Each section has different score ranges

Exam Eligibility 

Any Graduate can appear for this exam

The following factors are analyzed for GMAT exam eligibility

Aspirant’s nationality


Academic Qualification

Prior Work Experience (Not mandatory)

Post-exam Processes

Written Assessment followed by Group Discussion or personal interview

SOPs submission followed by Personal Interview (Online or offline)

CAT vs GMAT [Exam Pattern]

As per analysis, the exam pattern of both of these exams is a little different in terms of exam duration, and exam sections. The following is a detailed analysis of CAT vs GMAT exam patterns. The candidates may find it beneficial to make important decisions for attempting both of these exams. 

Key Components



The section-wise rule for attempting the exam

Tests proficiency in Data Interpretation, VARC, and Quantitative Aptitude

Mainly tests analytical writing skills, quantitative ability, verbal ability, and integrated reasoning skills

CAT vs GMAT Exam Duration

2 hours (40 minutes for each section)

3 hours 30 minutes 

Analytical writing= 30 minutes

Integrated reasoning= 30 minutes

Quantitative= 62 minutes 

VR= 65 minutes

Number of sections and the total number of questions in each section

Focuses on 3 sections only and Expected questions on each section:

VARC (34 questions)

QA (34 questions)

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (32 questions)

Focuses on 4 sections and 

Expected questions on each section:

Analytical Writing (1 question)

Integrated reasoning (12 questions) 

Verbal Section (36 questions)

Quantitative (31 questions)

Important points to be noted

The candidates can attempt this exam once every year.

They cannot adjust the test level as per their ability level.

The candidates can reappear after 16 days. They have 5 chances of 5 reattempts every year.

They adjust this test as per their ability level from moderate to difficult. It automatically goes high with every correct choice of answer

Difficulty Level of CAT & GMAT Exam

If you consider the difficulty level, the GMAT is tougher than the CAT, as it asks tough questions. In terms of competition level, CAT is more competitive than GMAT, as a maximum number of students prefer CAT rather than GMAT. Note the table below to get the answer for Is GMAT Tougher than CAT.




The approximate number of applicants every year

2 Lakhs

1.5 Lakhs (Including reattempts)

Percentage of students getting admission



☛ Check CAT Eligibility to avoid last minutes of miscommunication.

Fees and Salary for GMAT and CAT Exam

The candidates who are preparing for both GMAT and CAT, then they must be aware of the exam fees, course fees, and average salary after completing the MBA study. The below table highlights the fees and salary structure to inform the Difference Between CAT and GMAT.




Registration fees

₹2200/- For General and OBC

₹1100/- For SC/ST/PwD

$275 (approx ₹20500/-)

CAT vs GMAT Course Fees



Average salary

₹22-25 LPA

₹65 LPA

Complete Syllabus for GMAT and CAT Exam

It is a common question for every aspirant, Is GMAT and CAT Syllabus the Same? If you analyze the syllabus for both of these exams, you will see that the CAT Syllabus is different from than GMAT. There is an analytical writing part in the GMAT exam, which is missing in CAT. Check the below table to get an overview of the CAT vs GMAT Syllabus.

Key Components




3 sections

4 sections

CAT vs GMAT Syllabus

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

Quantitative Aptitude (both MCQs and Non-MCQs)

Analytical Writing (Argumentative essay analysis)

Integrated Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning

Verbal Reasoning

Similarities Between CAT and GMAT Exam

Both of these exams are MBA Entrance exams and the score is required for MBA/PGDM admission in top B-schools. So, there are some basic similarities between these that the candidates must know. Note the table below to get a brief of GMAT vs CAT similarities.



Exam Mode


Course of Admission Entrance Exams


Negative Marking


Medium of the Exam


CAT vs GMAT [Preparation Tips]

It is seen that GMAT vs CAT Syllabus is different. The candidates have to make separate time schedules to start preparing for both of these exams simultaneously. Both of these are exams very prestigious and provide career prospects to the candidates. Here, our experts have listed some preparation tips that you can follow in your preparation. Go through the CAT Exam Pattern.

Check GMAT vs CAT Syllabus First

First of all, the candidates must know the syllabus of CAT vs GMAT. It will help them to understand the difference and question patterns of both these exams. There are 3 exam sections in CAT, including VARC, DILR, and QA. While in GMAT, there is the Analytical Reasoning and Integrated Reasoning section. So, you need to give extra attention to preparing the GMAT Syllabus. You can also check experts' recommended CAT Preparation Tips for the best preparation.

Practice Previous Years' Questions

After knowing the syllabus, the candidates must CAT Question Paper to understand the question types and preparation level. This will help you to know whether you have completed all the topics for the GMAT vs CAT Syllabus or not. 

Additionally, the more you practice the question paper, you will become familiar with the questions and can accurately answer the questions. It is needed for both of these exams to get a good score, as both exams have negative markings.

Give Mock Test

Candidates must appear for online mock test programs regularly. They can attend BYJU’s Exam Prep CAT Online Test Series after completing the syllabus. It will help them to understand their preparation level. This exam schedule helps to increase the chance of clearing the exam with a good percentile.

Make Notes

It is essential to make notes on important points. The candidates must make notes of all the important formulas and theories for both CAT and GMAT Exams. As you know that there is an analytical writing part in GMAT, so make a separate copy for this section so that it could not be mixed up with the other sections of the exam. Get CAT Exam Analysis and understand the difficulty level of the exam.

If you practice anything with a writing habit, you can memorize the concepts very easily. So, our experts highly recommend writing practice, when you are preparing simultaneously for CAT vs GMAT.

More CAT Related Articles:

CAT Cut Off

CAT Answer Keys

CAT Admit Card

CAT Books


write a comment


  • No. The candidates need to prepare separately for GMAT for at least 2-3 months because the GMAT exam pattern, marking scheme, and question types are different from CAT. There is an additional Analytical Writing Part in GMAT, which is missing CAT. 

  • Candidates can reappear after 16 days of the previous attempt, and there is an allowance of 5 attempts in one year. While in the case of CAT, you can appear only once a year, as it happened one time every year.

  • As per the expert analysis, the main Difference Between CAT and GMAT is that CAT is a national-level exam. But GMAT is the international-level exam. Thereby, the international exposure and career opportunities are higher for GMAT.

  • No, there is a huge Difference Between CAT and GMAT Syllabus. There are 3 exam sections in CAT, that is VARC, DILR, and QA. But in the case of GMAT, there is Analytical Writing and Integrated Reasoning part also, which needs extra effort and dedication to be prepared.

  • As per expert analysis, GMAT is little tougher than CAT. It is an international level exam so, you need extra effort to prepare the GMAT Syllabus well. But if you consider the competition level, then CAT is highly competitive than GMAT, as the number of candidates appearing in CAT is higher than GMAT.

  • Yes, GMAT Quant is a little easier than CAT. If you have basic knowledge of QA-related topics, like Algebra, Arithmetic, and Geometry, then you will easily answer GMAT Quants, as most of the questions are formula-based rather than conceptual.

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