GRE vs CAT: Know the Differences and Similarities

By Aditi Joshi|Updated : April 18th, 2022

GRE and CAT are two of India's most popular competitive MBA exams. Candidates who wish to appear for both CAT and GRE or are unable to decide which one is better must go through the detailed analysis of GRE vs CAT. Compare all the sections of both CAT & GRE such as exam pattern, syllabus, difficulty level and more to make an informed decision. 

The Common Admission Test, or CAT, is a computer-based entrance exam held once a year for entrance to MBA programs at top Indian business schools such as IIMs and others. Whereas Graduate Record Examinations, or GRE, is one of the most comprehensive assessment examinations in the world, and it is accepted worldwide by several universities/colleges for graduate admission. Thousands of graduate programs accept GRE scores all over the world.

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Candidates who want to study at renowned colleges and business schools in India and abroad must take the GRE and CAT exams. These assessments put your ability and spontaneity to the test. With the GRE vs CAT difficulty levels, CAT is a little more difficult. The CAT and GRE syllabus is similar, but the verbal section of the GRE demands a lot of practice.


Go through the comparison of GRE exam vs CAT to get a better understanding of both the exams. 


Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)

Common Admission Test (CAT)


Students can take this exam to apply for Masters or Ph.D. programs in the United States and other countries.

Students who want to pursue an MBA program at an Indian institution take this exam.

Type of test

It's a Computer Adaptive Test in which the complexity of the questions varies depending on the section

This is not a Computer Adaptive Test, but it is an online exam.


Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning are the three sections.

It is consists of three sections: QA, DILR, and VARC.

Frequency of the exam

It is held several times a year, allowing students to take it whenever they are ready.

Because it is only held once a year, a large number of students apply. The mark is valid for one academic year.

Eligibility Details

There are no fixed eligibility criteria for taking GRE.

The student must have earned a bachelor's degree with a minimum of 50% marks. 

GRE vs CAT Eligibility 

Compare the eligibility criteria for both GRE and CAT below. 



There are no criteria for taking the GRE, such as age or educational background.

The student must have earned a bachelor's degree with a minimum of 50% marks.  (45% for reserved category.

At the test center, students must show their original passport as identification. As a result, when registering, you must have a valid passport.

Candidates who have finished their bachelor's degree or are in their last semester/year even during pandemic years (2020 & 2021) can submit a pass during their registration.

CAT vs GRE Syllabus

In many ways, the CAT and GRE syllabus are comparable, however, there are some differences in the format of the exam and the level of difficulty.

The GRE is an Adaptive test . It is not question-wise adaptive but section-wise adaptive. However, CAT has a set of questions that is the same for everyone taking the same test slot. The GRE score is valid for five years, while the CAT score is only valid for one year.

Verbal Ability in GRE & CAT

  • Few candidates find GRE is significantly more difficult than CAT in terms of verbal ability. The GRE includes multiple-choice questions as well as a vocabulary test that requires you to select words from a list.
  • Unlike CAT, the GRE verbal ability portion assesses your vocabulary as well as your ability to read at a high level.

Quantitative Aptitude in GRE & CAT

  • Both exams cover arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, and algebra as part of the quantitative section. The level of intensity, however, may differ. In comparison to the GRE, the CAT Quant part is far more challenging. 
  • The format of the questions varies as well. Whereas the CAT uses multiple-choice questions with only one valid response, the GRE may ask students to enter in the correct answer. 

Data Interpretation in CAT

Data Interpretation evaluates a student's ability to analyze and understand data. Bar graphs, line graphs, data tables, pie charts, and other statistical tools are used to answer questions.

Analytical Writing in GRE

This section is comparable to writing an opinion article. Candidates are given situations or subjects connected to current events, and they must write their opinions on them. Aspirants are also given arguments to solve, which they must do while evaluating all options. This section necessitates that the candidate extremely thinks clearly, rationally, and intellectually.

GRE vs CAT Institutions

The GRE examination is valid for all master's level courses offered at universities throughout the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and many more.

The number of Indian universities that accept the GRE is growing, with ISB leading the way. CAT, on the other hand, is accepted by a wide range of  Indian universities, including IITs, Delhi University, and IIMs, several other state and private colleges. 

How to Prepare for GRE & CAT Together?

  • Developing good fundamentals: Learn to read and write. Keep working on a problem until you've figured it out. Resist the urge to skip to the next phase and instead focus on the actual topic.
  • Memorize: Do not recall a formula without first knowing its significance. If you can build links between the formula and its theory, your brain will swiftly learn. Use lateral thinking to approach each topic from a fresh perspective, and grasp the quantitative aptitude shortcuts to speed up the process.
  • Identify your strength: In Math practice, follow the order as each topic builds on the preceding one. You'll be able to cover every topic with ease if you use a systematic approach. Determine the things you excel at and focus more on your areas of weakness. This type of exercise will help in your preparation.  


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write a comment


  • When comparing the two exams and analysing GRE vs CAT difficulty level, many test-takers believe the CAT is a far more difficult exam.

  • IIM Ahmedabad now accepts GRE score along with CAT score from the 2019-2021 batch. As per a statement issued by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad, the institute will accept GRE scores for its ePGP course.

  • Yes, aspirants preparing for CAT and GRE must analyse the syllabus and then prepare accordingly. Go through the CAT vs GRE syllabus to note the differences.

  • As per the exam analysis of both CAT and GRE, the CAT quant section is more difficult than GRE. It is widely believed that when discussing CAT quant vs GRE quant, CAT is tougher than GRE and requires more preparation.

  • CAT score is valid for one year for all MBA admissions including IIMs whereas GRE score is valid for 5 years.

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