NMAT vs CAT - Paper Pattern, Marking Scheme, Syllabus

By Aditi Joshi|Updated : February 28th, 2022

CAT vs NMAT allows you to understand the similarities and differences between the two exams and helps you make an informed decision about which exam is better. CAT and NMAT are the two common MBA entrance exams that the aspirants attempt every year for admission to MBA programmes in different B-schools across the country. So, if the aspirants want to appear in both, they must be aware of the differences between CAT and NMAT.

Here, BYJU’S Exam Prep experts have given a detailed study of CAT vs NMAT to assist the aspirants in their preparation. NMAT allows you to seek admission to  NMIMS University and other institutes whereas CAT exam is for admission to IIMs and other business schools. 

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Table of Content

CAT vs NMAT Similarities

Note the below table to get an idea about the basic similarities between CAT vs NMAT.



Course for admission 


Exam Mode

Online Computer-Based

Sectional Timing


Total Time Duration

120 Minutes

Level of Exam


Exam Medium


CAT vs NMAT Differences

The aspirants must know the differences between CAT and NMAT. Check the table below to get an overview of CAT vs NMAT differences.





Common Admission Test

NMIMS Management Aptitude Test

Conducted by



Application Fees

INR 2200/- for general category (INR 1100/- for reserve category)

INR 2300/-

Negative Marking 



Number of Attempts

Once in Every Year

3 Times in the same window 

CAT vs NMAT Syllabus

The syllabus and exam pattern for both of these exams is a little different. The difficulty level of CAT is higher as compared to NMAT. Check the table below to understand the topics needed to be covered in CAT and NMAT exams.

CAT has a sectional time of 40 minutes whereas, in NMAT all the three-sections Language Skills (28 minutes), Logical Reasoning (40 minutes), and Quantitative Skills (52 minutes) have different sectional time.



Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

Language Skills

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)

Logical Reasoning

Quantitative Ability (QA)

Quantitative Skills

Go through the detailed CAT Syllabus and NMAT Syllabus.

CAT vs NMAT Exam Pattern

The test pattern for both NMAT and CAT is quite similar as both of these exams consist of MCQs, and the aspirants have to choose the correct option. But, the marking scheme of NMAT is different from CAT as there is no negative marking in NMAT.

BYJU’S Exam Prep Expert has listed some important points below to show the difference between CAT and NMAT.




Total Number of Questions

66 Questions 

  • MCQs: 48
  • Non-MCQs: 18

108 Questions

Number of Sections

3 Sections

  • VARC
  • DILR
  • QA

3 Sections

  • Language Skills
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Quantitative skills

Sectional Timing

40 Minutes for each section

Language Skills: 28 Minutes

Logical Reasoning: 40 Minutes

Quantitative Skills: 52 Minutes

Total Marks



Check Detailed Exam Analysis of CAT and NMAT for better Preparation.

CAT vs NMAT Section-wise Weightage

The aspirants preparing for CAT and NMAT must be sure about CAT vs XAT sectional analysis. Note the below two tables to understand the section-wise weightage for both of these exams.


Exam Sections

Total Questions

Number of MCQ Questions

Number of TITA Questions

Section-wise Time Limit




















120 (as per CAT 2021)

 The table below shows the exam pattern of NMAT exam


Exam Sections

No. of Questions

Section-wise Time Limit

Language Skills


28 Minutes

Quantitative Skills


52 Minutes

Logical Reasoning


40 Minutes 



120 Minutes

(Note: The total time duration for CAT vs NMAT is 120 Minutes. But the aspirants must be aware of the sectional time limit, which is different in both of these exams)

The aspirants preparing for both CAT and NMAT must check the syllabus and exam pattern prior to starting preparation. It will help them analyse the points of CAT vs NMAT to prepare strategically for CAT and NMAT both.


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write a comment


  • NMAT is easier if you make the comparison between CAT vs NMAT. The aspirants, who are preparing for CAT, can easily attempt NMAT. One should go through the comparison between CAT and NMAT to understand both the exams better and prepare accordingly. 

  • NMAT is different from CAT in its exam pattern. Note the below points for better understanding.

    • In CAT: Total number of questions: 66 with a total time of 120 Minutes (Sectional time limit is same for every section)
    • In NMAT: Total number of questions: 108 with a total time of 120 Minutes (Sectional time limit is different for every section)

    Go through the detailed NMAT vs CAT to note the differences between both the exams.

  • no, NMIMS does not accept CAT score. NMAT exam is required if you wish to take admission in Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies and other institutes. If you desire to join only IIMs, you have to appear CAT as IIMs accept CAT scores only.

  • Yes. If you consider the NMAT vs CAT difficulty level and trickiness, then NMAT's Quantitative Skills section is easier than the CAT QA section. As per previous year analysis, it has been observed that NMAT is easier than CAT.

  • Yes, you can prepare for both CAT and NMAT simultaneously. One should be aware of the NMAT VS CAT exam pattern and the syllabus and should practice CAT and NMAT mock tests.

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