The two most popular entrance exams for B-schools are GMAT and CAT. Indian B-schools accept CAT whereas international B schools accept GMAT. These days makers of CAT treat GMAT equivalent. If anyone is planning to apply to Indian top colleges from abroad then you require to prepare for the GMAT. CAT is accepted only in few locations within India.

When you want to apply abroad then GMAT is your only option. If you are an Indian and applying abroad and within your country then it is advisable to take both exams. When you give both the exams it gives you more options to apply in various colleges across.

In this article, we have highlighted certain points that will help you deduce how GMAT has better opportunities than that CAT.

CAT Content Vs GMAT Content

The Quantitative Ability of both CAT and GMAT are very similar to each other. The questions in both the type of tests are similarly based on algebra, pre-algebra, geometry, numeric properties and statistics. The only difference is GMAT doesn’t allow you a calculator but CAT allows a calculator. Though you can use a calculator, the questions are based to test your mental ability. It doesn’t bring much difference as it is more of a mental assessment.

There is a great difference between the verbal section of the two exams. The verbal section is based mostly on comprehension in CAT than GMAT. The grammar is difficult in GMAT. CAT makes it easier for you by testing your skills through comprehensions whereas GMAT focuses more on sentences, paragraphs and phrases.

The CAT DILR section knows as Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning is replaced with Integrated Reasoning in GMAT. The two sections are totally different from each other. The similarities are charts, graphs and maths. The Data Interpretation in CAT is comparatively easier than GMAT. The data problems in GMAT Integrated Reasoning is more complex as the charts and graphs are more detailed. CAT has logical reasoning which is different from GMAT Integrated reasoning. The logical reasoning in CAT tests your ability to comprehend and detect logical patterns. The elements of logic in GMAT Quant, Verbal and Logic are tested indirectly.

It’s often understood that if you are preparing for GMAT you would be more agile to handle the complex problems in comparison to the CAT preparation.

CAT Structure Vs GMAT Content

The GMAT score depends on the quantitive and verbal section whereas the IR and AWA section has separate grades. The AWA section is based on your vocabulary and grammar skills as it expects you to write an essay to analyse an argument. The 12 questions of IR are mostly based on data interpretation. In CAT, three sections Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Ability contribute to the total score.

In GMAT, you can choose the order of the sections you want to appear whereas in CAT you don’t get that option. All the sections are in proper order and you have to follow it. The order of the section are as follows, VARC, DI-LR and QA.

Comparative Difficulty

The obvious similarity between the two is the verbal and quantitative sections. The quantitative section has 20 headings under it but GMAT is divided into three areas. The QA of CAT is technical whereas QA of GMAT is more practical and one needs to have strong mathematical knowledge.

If you know your basics then solving GMAT questions will be easy for you but while solving CAT questions one has to solve the whole problem to come to the conclusion. CAT tests your theoretical knowledge but GMAT tests your logical reasoning.

The similarity between the two exams ends with the verbal section. The CAT doesn’t emphasise much on grammar but GMAT does. The two sections test your lateral thinking and how you can apply reasoning to the problems. The Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning gives more clarity of your understanding than Integrated Reasoning. The IR covers simple topics so that you can use multiple sources of information to come to a reasoned answer.


Acceptability of Both the Tests:

All the world’s leading schools require the GMAT exam. More than 2,300 B-Schools require GMAT scores according to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). There are around 7000 courses around the world that accept the GMAT score.

CAT is only accepted in India daily by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and there are almost 30 institutes that accept CAT scores. The most important difference between the two is that GMAT is more practical and accepted worldwide whereas CAT is more theoretical which is only accepted in India.

Competitiveness between CAT Vs GMAT Candidates:

The exams are competitive but it depends on how you appear on both the tests. If you score 770 out of 800 on GMAT which means that very few test takers have managed to achieve within that band. Though GMAT is a general test it has well managed to keep its standards over the past years. It is as difficult as it was five years ago. Top B-schools across the world accept at least 95-96 percentile.

On the other hand when you check your CAT percentile. It is not a standardised test which means your performance is compared to other candidates. Every year there is a variation in the cut-off percentile. The number of people who appear for the GMAT is extremely higher than people who appear in the CAT.

Scope and Percentile Comparison:

Each year the difficulty of the CAT exam changes whereas the level of GMAT is standard each year as it would be not fair for the test takers who take a different test in different years. This is the reason why CAT compares the score of all the candidates. The test score of CAT is only valid for one year whereas the test score of GMAT is valid for five years.

The colleges that accept GMAT scores don’t depend on Government rules of the Reservation system but CAT adheres to the guidelines. There have to be distinct criteria that make you eligible to appear for CAT and also one needs to get through the reservation system. This makes CAT tough and difficult to appear.

Mode of Exam:

GMAT takes place every year, one can take the exam by booking a slot at their convenience. You can retake the exam five times in one year. The total number of attempts in your lifetime is eight. CAT takes place only once a year. The process starts in August and the exam takes place in the last week of November.


Marking Scheme:

The GMAT marking scheme is different from the CAT. In GMAT, the candidates are scored section wise. Aspirants can score between 0-6 for Analytical Writing Assessment, 1-8 for Integrated Reasoning, 6-51 for both Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.

The CAT exam is 300 marks with 100 questions carrying 3 marks for a correct answer and minus one for the wrong answer. No marks for unattempted questions.

In the GMAT, the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections are item-level adaptive, and your score is based on three factors:

  1. Number of questions you answer
  2. Whether your answers are correct
  3. Difficulty and other parameters of the questions you answered

You will earn a higher score if you answer a higher number of questions, answer more of them correctly, and qualify for questions of a higher difficulty level.

So, it doesn’t matter whether your final answer is correct or not, you would get the marks for the parts you have attempted correctly

Conducting Body:

GMAT is conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) and CAT is conducted by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM).

Though it would not be fair to compare the two institutions on the yardstick of popularity and acceptability, undoubtedly GMAC conducted tests has widespread acceptability across the globe in comparison to its counterparts.

Market Trend and Number of Aspirants

Each year about 1.8 lakh students appear for the CAT exam that has only 10,000-20000 seats. These seats are only for top B-schools in India. It is very difficult to accomplish your dream of getting a seat in one of these schools. With these one has to also face discrimination on the basis of cast and community making it more impossible to achieve.

GMAT, on the other hand, doesn’t have these issues. Though the number of people who are appearing is high in the number of the university you wish to go to will have lesser candidates applying. It gives a fair chance to everyone regardless of caste, religion or background. You can also choose your country with GMAT for example – Hong Kong, Canada, the US, Australia, Germany or any other. You get various options to choose from diverse linguistic and cultural groups.


For Indian colleges like IIM, it is advisable to give the CAT exam. If you don’t plan to study abroad then giving CAT will suffice your purpose. Both the exams are well crafted by the experts to test your capability and understand your various skills. If you want to get into IIM or any B-school in India then the content and coursework of CAT will help you succeed.

GMAT gives you a lot of exposure and an opportunity to interact with people from various cultural backgrounds. There are multiple factors that favour GMAT in comparison with CAT. There is intense competition in CAT making it impossible to get into high ranked colleges. GMAT takes place throughout the year thus, you don’t have to wait for a particular time to appear. In the case of CAT, you can only appear once a year giving you less chance to improve your score. Though the price of the exam is high the rewards that come with it are far greater than the cost involved.