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CAT vs CMAT: A Comparative Analysis

Last Updated - August 24, 2018

CAT is the top management examination held for admission in IIMs while CMAT scores are accepted by around 400+ B schools running NTA approved management programs in India. It is the 2nd largest MBA/PGDM entrance test after CAT in the country.

CMAT SyllabusCMAT Preparation TipsCMAT Participating Colleges

CAT and CMAT are both management exams and if you have given CAT, cracking CMAT will not be difficult for you. CMAT questions are much easier than that of CAT. Hence preparing for the Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation and Reasoning section for CAT will serve the purpose for CMAT preparation as well.

The overall level of difficulty of the CMAT can be rated as easy but it is the imbecile mistakes that cost the marks. The ideal attempt would be 67+ questions in the three hours’ time with more than 85% accuracy. On the other hand, CAT difficulty Level ranges from moderate to difficulty and the high percentile adds to the difficulty level.

CMAT is easy to clear when compared to CAT because of low difficulty level and also because of the less competitive level. Also, CMAT is usually conducted in the month of January i.e. 2 months after CAT, so it serves as the cherry on the cake for the CAT participants.

CMAT: Opportunity after CAT

CMAT offers a good opportunity for all those who remain dissatisfied with their CAT results as CMAT 2019 will give a chance to improve their scores and get admission call from leading B schools.

CMAT scores will be accepted by more than 400 management institutes. You could get admission to any of the top-rated B school if you are able to score high in CMAT. 

It awards raw scores out of maximum 400 marks along with the percentile. If you can score anywhere from 185 to 270, you may get admission to one of the good management institutes.


CAT is a highly competitive exam, not only on the basis of the difficulty level but also in terms of the participants and time management required. Let’s examine the following factors:

1. In terms of Difficulty level:

Despite having similar syllabus as that of CAT, CMAT is an easier exam and for those who are preparing for CAT. Covering the CAT syllabus could prove to be a cake walk for the CMAT participants.

On one hand, CMAT Exam pattern comprises 4 sections, namely, Quantitative Techniques & Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Language Comprehension and General Awareness. The difficulty level of all the sections is usually easy but one has to answer 100 questions in just 3 hours, therefore, time management plays a very important part. Although the questions are easy, one can clear the exam and can get admission in top reputed B schools by scoring 98-100 percentile in CMAT.

On the other hand, the difficulty level of CAT generally ranges from moderate to difficult and negative marking of 1/3 adds to the difficulty. Total sections are 3- Verbal & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude. In addition to the difficulty level, the high percentile is required to secure admission in the top IIMs. Read MoreCAT Paper Analysis

2. Number of Participants:

CAT : CAT attracts the cream of talent in India. The best talent of the country aspires for IIMs which are highly ranked in imparting management education. Candidates applying for CAT have been increasing year after year.

CAT exam analysis reveals the fact that more and more candidates are taking CAT every year and the number of test takers has increased during the past 5 years substantially. Last year, out of 2.32 lakh total registered candidates, 1.95 lakh test takers appeared in CAT.

CMAT : Around 50,000 candidates appeared for CMAT last year which is so much lesser than the CAT participants. More than 400+ B schools accept CMAT Scores which make it even easier to clear the examination.

CAT and CMAT: Section wise Paper Analysis

CAT comprises 3 sections while CMAT consists of 4 sections. CMAT syllabus also includes the General knowledge section which is unique and carries the equal weightage.The syllabus is same for both the exams but the difficulty level varies. Just by practicing CMAT Sample Papersone can ace in CMAT. Important topics and analysis of both the tests are examined below:

Language Comprehension in CMAT: VARC in CAT

In both the exams, the section covers comprehensive English test which includes the questions on the passages, jumbled paragraphs and para summary. CAT mainly tests you on English Grammar and Vocabulary, but CMAT will place questions on these parts of English Language.
VARC in CAT is generally difficult because of the language used and questions asked. Questions are tricky and the options provided are difficult to answer. On the other hand, Language comprehension section in CMAT is easier to solve with the lesser difficulty level. Proper knowledge of the language and grammatical rules can help you to crack CMAT.

Quantitative Aptitude & Data interpretation

CAT conducted by IIMs has de-clubbed the Data Interpretation part from Quantitative Ability section and now Quantitative Aptitude is a standalone section as DI has been clubbed to Logical Reasoning section in CAT.

While CMAT has continued to keep Quant & DI parts together in a single section with 25 questions. The biggest advantage of DI remaining with Quant is that you can very well switch between the 2 parts and maximize your score as per your better skills in Quant and DI.

Questions in this section are usually single and a few DI questions in CMAT may be based on sets as they appear in CAT. While topics like table and pie chart in Data Interpretation section will require basic calculation skills, the topics from which most of the questions appear in Quants are arithmetic (ratios, mixtures, work, averages, profit & loss, basic statistics), number properties, probability and counting principles with one or two odd questions in geometry and derivatives (i.e. maxima –minima).

The difficulty level of QA and DI ranges from easy to moderate and a candidate can easily solve more than 20 questions in this section. While QA and DI both the sections in CAT are difficult and time-consuming as well, resulting in low cutoffs in CAT. 

Logical Reasoning: Single section in CMAT

Unlike CAT, which will have Logical Reasoning clubbed to Data Interpretation with 32 questions in the section, CMAT will have Logical Reasoning as the separate section with 25 questions. Candidates can easily solve around 22-23 questions in Logical Reasoning section in CMAT.

The LR section in CMAT is easier than it is in CAT. The section in CMAT is a mix of the topics from arrangements like linear, seating, sequencing & arranging with conditions to coding.
The other questions are based on statement-conclusion, a logical puzzle, numerical puzzle, Venn Diagram, true/false statements, visual reasoning. The basic preparatory tip for LR is to attempt as many practice exercises as possible. They can be solved with basic human logical instincts.

GK: Unique to CMAT

CAT will not ask you any question on General Awareness in the written test. On the other hand, CMAT will have a full section with 25 questions on General Awareness. Not only this, the GK section in CMAT will account for equal weightage of 25% in the overall test to determine the merit position.

This is unique to CMAT as other exams like XAT, MAT does not take into consideration the General Awareness section in arriving at the percentile scores and merit position of the candidates at the 1st stage shortlisting.

GK can prove to be a percentile booster as its preparation needs only regular reading without any specific skill set on as required for Quant, DI, LR or VARC.

The questions are based on Conventional GK, Current GK- based on the current reading of newspapers and periodicals; Business & Economics GK -for example changes in Fiscal and monetary policy, CRR, Repo Rate, Devaluation and up the valuation of Rupee.

Please remember current GK-whether Business, national and international has an ongoing preparation method and thorough reading of the newspaper only can keep you updated.

ReadHow to Prepare for CMAT

CMAT: Last Year Trend

CMAT is a management exam for admission into reputed B schools. Here is the previous year trend that will help you to analyze the difficulty level of the examination.

SectionsAverage Time Required  Good Attempts Difficulty Level
Quantitative Techniques & Data Interpretation5020+Easy to Moderate
Logical Reasoning6018+ Easy to Moderate
Language Comprehension6018+ Easy
General Awareness1020+Easy

Good admission opportunity by CMAT: No fear like CAT

There is no doubt that CAT leads in the number of B-schools but CMAT offers equally good opportunities for MBA aspirants who despite scoring 97-98 percentile in CAT don’t get shortlisted by any of the IIMs because of high cutoffs.

There are thirteen states which accept CMAT scores- Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Nagaland, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh. CMAT scores will also be accepted by the majority of the top B-schools, except IIMs, FMS, SPJIMR among others.

In fact number of highly ranked B-schools like JBIMS, SIMSR, GIM, Great Lakes who will accept CAT scores will also accept CMAT scores. All the colleges under CMAT are those who run AICTE approved MBA/PGDM programs.

Top Schools which accept CMAT and CAT scores

Even the institutes which accept their specific state test scores also accept CMAT scores. A few of the top-rated colleges who accept CAT and CMAT are

  • JBIMS Mumbai
  • K J Somaiya, Mumbai
  • BIMTECH Greater Noida GIM Goa
  • Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai
  • IFIM, Bangalore



1 Comment
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