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    How will CAT preparation help to score well in GMAT

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer-adaptive standardized exam conducted to test the candidates’ skills in mathematics and English that make them eligible for graduate business programs. The students who have attempted CAT can use their knowledge and expertise while preparing for the GMAT. Both the CAT (Common Aptitude Test) and GMAT exams are an essential part to get admission to the business schools. However, the GMAT exam allows the candidates to apply to the eminent B-schools located across the globe while CAT primarily focuses on the Indian B-schools. Before we go further, first of all, it is important to understand the differences between the exam pattern of CAT and GMAT.

    Difference between CAT and GMAT

    Verbal section

    The verbal section of GMAT includes 41 questions that must be attempted within 75 minutes; all the questions need to be answered in a serial order because, unlike CAT, GMAT will not give an option to skip any question. The types of questions in the GMAT section include:

    Sentence Correction: Similar to the CAT candidates, the GMAT aspirants also need to have practiced scores of SC questions, and both exams measure how the candidates spot grammatical errors. But, there is an important difference. GMAT sentence correction will be based on American English while CAT SC will be on the basis of British / Indian English.

    Reading Comprehension: Reading Comprehension is an area where the CAT aspirants can use their knowledge to ace this section. The passages in the CAT and GMAT are almost same, the only difference is that the content of the GMAT passages is more international. So the candidates planning to give GMAT tests are advised to read American journals and news sites to acquaint themselves.

    The other difference between the CAT and GMAT in terms of Reading Comprehension is the kind of questions asked in the exam. In CAT, the passage appears on the left pane of the screen and all questions are on the right side while in GMAT, the passage appears on the left pane of the screen and only one question appears on the right. Only the candidates who have provided the answer to the first question and click on the ‘next’ button will be able to see the second question of the same RC.

    Critical Reasoning: This section needs a more detailed understanding. The level of CR questions asked in CAT is quite straightforward, there are almost or three questions asked based on the assumptions and inferences. However, the Critical Reasoning section in GMATis more evolved as there are almost 13 to 14 CR questions among the 41 verbal questions in the GMAT exam. In a CR question, the candidates will be given an argument based on an elaborate framework of any conclusion, reasoning, an assumption that will also have questions that need to be answered. There are a total of eight or nine types of questions asked in the GMAT exam which will be based on five aspects of the argument. The students appearing for the GMAT exam are advised to practice at least 500 questions so that they can match up to the level of CR questions asked in GMAT.

    Quantitative-GMAT Quant includes 37 questions that must be completed within 75 minutes. Two types of questions are asked in the section which includes Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency, almost one-third of the questions will be based on DS. There are many topics in the CAT exam that will not be considered in GMAT which include logarithms, trigonometry, calendars, clocks, and shares.

    The question related to PS test the individual’s ability to come to an answer from a given set of information given in the question while DS questions aimed at testing the candidates’ ability to identify the most minimal amount of information required to answer a question. In the GMAT exam, there are almost 12-18 questions that are asked in the DS section, but the difficulty level of CAT Quant questions is several aspects is higher as compared to GMAT.

    The students who have appeared for the CAT exam will find it easier to give the GMAT quant section and also it will take lesser time to cover all the topics.

    Integrated Reasoning

    GMAT IR section is included to test the individual’s ability to analyze and interpret data in the form of charts and tables. The difficulty level of the GMAT section is less as compared to the LRDI section of CAT; therefore it would not be much time consuming for the candidates who have given the CAT test in the past. However, the IR section will not be counted towards your overall GMAT score.

    Analytical writing assessment

    This is one such area that you have not practiced during the CAT preparation days. No Indian MBA entrance exam involves essay writing. However, the GMAT exam aims at testing your clarity of thinking in this section. This section will look for content, organization of thought process, language skills and writing mechanisms of the candidates while evaluating the essays. One interesting point is that the written essays by the candidates are reviewed by two entities which include a human reader and a software program.

    In GMAT AWA, the test takers need to write two essays within 30 minutes each. The essays are graded on a scale of 6 (in steps of 0.5) and this score will not be combined with the score that the students receive for the quantitative and verbal sections (on a base of 800 in steps of 10). Here the good news is that the AWA is not that tough section to qualify.

    Both exams are similar yet different as well

    The sentence correction questions asked in the CAT exam are in Indian (UK) spellings while the GMAT uses the American English accent.

    The reading comprehension for both CAT and GMAT exams employs equally cryptic passages and almost the same kind of questions

    Though the critical reasoning questions in CAT are almost same they are more in the GMAT.

    In the GMAT exam, the candidates need to write two essays, an area which is not tested in any Indian management entrance exam.

    How much time is needed to prepare for GMAT, in case someone has already taken CAT?

    We all know that to prepare for the GMAT exam, one needs at least 5-6 months but the exact time taken is based on the candidates’ current level of preparation. To understand the current level of preparation, it is important to consider the CAT percentile so that the candidates’ understanding of different sections and content can be judged. For instance, if someone has secured more than 95 percentile in CAT, it indicates that he/she have good conceptual knowledge, and have strong skills in applying the concepts more effectively. With this CAT score, you must start focusing in GMAT verbal section by learning and refining SC and CR, and refining RC. As far as GMAT quant is concerned, the candidates have to just revise the concepts and work on the ways to polish their skills.

    The students with a score of 95 percentile need almost 90 to 130 hours of preparation and in case they devote 20 hours each week (2 hours per day on weekdays and 5 hours per day on weekends), then the entire GMAT preparation will take 6-8 weeks. However, in case you have secured lesser than 85 percentile in CAT, then it is being assumed that the candidates are below average in both quant and verbal sections and they must devote extra time to sharpen their skills. The candidates will lesser percentile need more than 3 months to prepare for the GMAT effectively. Even if the candidates have performed average on the CAT, then also preparing for the GMAT will not take more than won’t take more than 10-12 weeks months. This time would reduce to 2 months if you scored above 90 percentile in CAT. The CAT candidates with average scores will not take more than 3 months to prepare for the GMAT exam. This time would reduce to 2 months in case they have scored more than 90 percentile in CAT. The GMAT aspirants are advised to prepare a personalized study plan and get access to quality online content to prepare for the exams.

    Will taking GMAT after CAT help?

    The Common Admissions Test (CAT) is a very difficult entrance examination which is not due to the nature of the examination, but due to higher competition. A large number of students give CAT exam each year and the students compete over little margins to get a higher percentile which in turn makes CAT more competitive. The CAT examination is considered as the most competitive exam and you need to be in the 99th percentile to compete with the best and get into the B-school of your choice. IIMs across India want the students to secure a higher percentile, which means that they must have secured top scores in both the Quantitative and the Verbal sections. Though the students have another option to consider, they can take the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test). The GMAT is a globally standardized exam for MBA programs and the importance given to it is rather heavy. Scoring high in the GMAT exam forms a critical part of your application and is a key determinant in getting admission to top B-Schools globally. Apart from universities, top multinational companies also assess the candidates’ resume, and the GMAT score adds additional weightage to the individual’s CV.

    Additionally, the GMAT test which is accepted by the business schools worldwide will increase the chances of getting scholarships as well. So study harder to appear for the GMAT exam whose scores are valid for 5 years. In the end, we can say that CAT will give you a feel of how a competitive examination works and using the same skills to bring your level of intensity to that of the GMAT will be a new experience.

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