Which Exam to be taken by the Students GMAT or CAT?

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    If you’re someone intending to pursue a management degree then coming across the dilemma of which exam to sit for – GMAT or CAT is quite inevitable. This is a dilemma which the majority of the students planning to pursue management has been contemplating. The main question which arises is – should they pursue it outside India or in India? Let us get into a brief introduction of both the exams.

    GMAT: This exam has been mandated and accepted by over 2,100 educational institutes and universities. This research-driven exam has been backed by thousands of peer reviews and then only regulated by so many universities. The exam pattern is curated according to the most advanced need and includes skill testing methods demanded by management and business programs. The GMAT exam is designed by exceptionally talented experts and they always are in the try to reduce English speaking or US-centric biasedness. Lastly, over the world, GMAT is the gateway to over 6,000 top business schools to pursue MBA. Like SPJIMR Mumbai, XLRI Jamshedpur, MDI Gurgaon – these are few most reputed Indian business schools which accept GMAT scores too.

    CAT: CAT or Common Aptitude Test is a national-level management entrance exam operated and conducted by the Indian Institute of Management or IIMs on a rotational basis. CAT not only enables the students to apply for the IIMs but also around 1,000 business schools in India. It incorporates all the necessary skill-testing sections like reading, quantitative ability, data interpretation, verbal ability. Over 350 centers conduct the CAT exams as centers and it opens door to the most prestigious Indian business schools.

    Exam Patterns: GMAT vs CAT

    Verbal Ability:

    The exam pattern of GMAT is mostly inclined towards analytical skills and verbal reasoning whereas the CAT exam focuses more on interpreting data and quantitative analysis. In the case of verbal ability, CAT lays more focus on vocabulary and comprehension. But GMAT concentrates on reading, figuring out, assessing the arguments provided therein and eventually, the candidate has to structure it properly with Standard English.

    Quantitative Ability:

    It can be stated that the syllabus of quant is almost similar in both the exams. But GMAT’s quant is trickier than CAT, whereas the latter’s is tougher. Having the topics common like number systems, probability, geometry, trigonometry, quadratic equations, linear equations, permutation combination – it can be said that an efficient preparation of CAT’s quant will be sufficient for GMAT as well.

    Data Interpretation and Integrated Reasoning:

    Data interpretation is being concentrated highly by CAT, and Integrated Reasoning being GMAT. Data Interpretation topic is mostly based on Venn diagrams, charts, diagrams and alike, and the integrated reasoning section is also structured with data to be extracted from the information.

    Analytical Writing Assessment:

    This section is introduced and only belongs to GMAT. Here, the candidate has to portray their knowledge based on a situation and also provide a critical assessment of the same.

    To conclude, GMAT has a more systematic approach towards its exam patterns which in the case of CAT is slightly less. CAT has a tougher approach towards its pattern though

    Exam SectionsQuantitative Reasoning (QR)
    Verbal Reasoning (VR)
    Analytical Writing (AWA)
    Integrated Reasoning
    Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
    Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (LRDI)
    Quantitative Ability (QA)
    Detailing of Sections80 Questions in total
    QR: 31 questions; time allotted: 62 minutes
    VR: 36 questions; time allotted: 65 minutes
    IR: 12 questions; time allotted: 30 minutes
    AWA: 1 question; time allotted: 30 minutes
    100 Questions in Total
    VARC: 34 questions; time allotted: 60 minutes
    LRDI: 32 questions; time allotted: 60 minutes
    QA: 34 questions; time allotted: 60 minutes
    Marking SchemeOut of 800 and percentile scoreOnly the percentile score reported
    Duration of Test3 hours 7 minutes3 hours

    Validity of Score: GMAT vs CAT

    GMAT wins in this parameter and that can be evidently stated with its 5 years duration of validation. The GMAT score is valid for five years from the test and the candidate can use even a two years old score – without any detriment. But the CAT score is valid for hardly a year or till the next exam being conducted. This makes way for a candidate’s disadvantage especially for the ones unable to secure a chance. This way, GMAT eases the candidate’s choice of dates and time and it is this flexibility that attracts more students towards it.

    Return on Investment: GMAT vs CAT

    Coming to one of the vital parameters of discretion, the cost of applying for the exams. In this regard, it can be said that the cost of applying for a GMAT exam is $250 or Rs. 19,111.25 whereas the cost of applying for CAT is Rs. 1,800 which is a slight portion of the former. Majority of the candidates would jump to CAT exam but here come the advantages that GMAT offers to the students as return on investment. Firstly, GMAT exam states studying abroad which signifies the candidate will anyway be earning ample times more than an Indian student.

    Secondly, the cost of pursuing an MBA from the universities abroad is definitely higher in comparison to the Indian ones but, the government offers awards to the international students with numerous tuition fee waivers and scholarships as well as for the accommodations. Presently, any reputed business school in India would amount to equivalent fee structures.

    Scope of GMAT and CAT:

    If you are someone wishing to pursue management from India then blindly go for CAT as it will enable your chances of pursuing an MBA or any other management degree from the most famous Indian B-Schools. Roughly 1,000 Indian business schools accept CAT scores.

    GMAT, on the other hand, is a much more universally accepted exam because of its global reach. If you’re someone having the desire of studying abroad then GMAT is the exam you should go for. Harvard itself accepts GMAT scores and that makes it easier to understand. In fact, Indian top business schools like ISB accept GMAT scores.

    Struggle Grade of GMAT and CAT:

    After considering the aforementioned points, it can be effortlessly ascertained that GMAT is tried by both national and international. This makes it favorable by the candidates in terms of securing the place and eventually care for the fees paid. Talking about CAT exam, the level of competition is pretty high, with all the MBA aspirants leaving no stone unturned to get through a prestigious institute. 

    Aftermath Of The Exams: Admission Process:

    The most vital phenomenon is the admission part because of which students have been struggling so much. Talking about CAT, the pathway is pretty hard and hardly any students get through it. There are numbered IIMS throughout the country despite few being opened in the last three years. The number of applicants is huge in comparison to the seats available. To add to the prejudice, presently, the top Indian business schools are also accepting GMAT for its global spread.

    GMAT is endorsed by the majority of the colleges or universities globally and that makes it effortless for the students to get through one of their favorite colleges.

     Approach and Number of Pursuits:

    Let us talk about the mode of exam offered by CAT and GMAT. In case of CAT, the exam can be pursued only once a year making it very tough for certain applicants to be thorough with it. But in case of GMAT, the applicants can make 8 attempts in total with 5 attempts being made in a year maximum. It must be noted that in case of GMAT, the candidate has to give a 16 days’ time to sit for the next GMAT exam. Also, the candidate has the preference of scheduling and thereby can retake the examination if any kind of unavoidable circumstances appears. 

    Accessibility of scores:

    This is a big benefit of opting for GMAT, the candidate will be able to apprehend their marks within a very short span of time. But in the case of CAT, that time taken extends to months. This is a very big add-on of GMAT exam which enables the students to prepare for the same in case the result is not satisfactory.

    The footing of the exams:

    It can be said that GMAT is an adaptive test while CAT is a tedious one. If you’re opting for CAT it is highly stated to prepare proficiently for a single mistake will cost the candidate a lot of marks. Though it has been discussed that the sections of the exam pattern are approximately similar but – CAT exam’s quant section has hectic questions that are lengthy in approach and will definitely cost the student ample time along with meticulousness. But in the case of GMAT, the flexibility provides the student with answering the questions according to the level of difficulty. GMAT is more inclined towards examining the psychic sharpness of a candidate and their ability in the same regard.



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