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CAT vs GMAT has always been a constant debate in the minds of Indian MBA aspirants. Hence it’s worth taking some time and discuss this topic in depth.

Before we delve into the debate about which exam one should prepare for, we should understand both exams in depth. 

Let’s Learn about CAT

CAT stands for Common Admission Test.

Each year, on the last Sunday of November, the CAT exam is conducted by the IIM (Indian Institute of Management).

Eligibility- The candidate must hold a Bachelor’s Degree, with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA [45% in the case of candidates belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Persons with Disability (PwD) categories.

It can be taken once a year. The exam is 2 hours and contains 3 sections – VARC (Verbal ability and reading comprehension), LRDI (Logical reasoning and data interpretation), and QA (Quantitative aptitude).

Question and time required per section- 

VARC – 24 Questions – 40 Minutes

LRDI – 20 Questions – 40 minutes

QA – 22 Questions – 40 minutes

Sections- The CAT exam is majorly Quant Heavy but does test the student on Logical reasoning, Comprehension skills, and the ability to read and manipulate Data. It has a negative marking. For every correct question, students get +3, and for every incorrect question, -1.

Fees- The fees for CAT exam form fill-up for Indian General Category students are – Rs.2,400. Once the student fills up the form and chooses the IIMs to apply for, there is no requirement to fill up separate forms for IIMs. Although a few IIMs have separate admission forms like IIM Mumbai, formally NITIE.

Coaching- You might need online or offline coaching for preparation. Based on our research, Good online coaching may cost you around – Rs.20,000- Rs.50,000 for one year. Offline or classroom coaching will cost you around Rs.50,000- Rs.80,000 or more for one year of preparation.

Although there are many free resources and many students do self-preparation, you might need coaching for a structured preparation. 

Score Validity- An important fact to take into account – CAT is a computer-based test and cannot be taken at home. The CAT score is valid for one year for other colleges that accept the CAT score.

Schools- Many Indian colleges other than IIMs accept CAT scores for their admission process – To name a few – FMS, IITs, BITSOM, MDI, IMI, TAPMI, KJ Somaiya, GLIM, and so on. However, CAT scores are not accepted for overseas admissions in B-schools abroad.

Note- Although not every blog related to CAT and GMAT exam mentions that, we think you should know this beforehand: at the CAT center on the exam day, you need valid Indian identity proof – Aadhaar/PAN/Voter ID/Passport/Driving Licence. However, for GMAT Exams, you need to have a Valid Indian Passport if you are appearing for GMAT at the test center. An Aadhaar card is acceptable if taken online from the comfort of your home. Therefore you must arrange your valid ID card beforehand to avoid any last-minute rush.

Now that we have learned about the CAT exam, let us learn everything about the GMAT exam.


Let’s learn about GMAT now:

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Aptitude Test.

It is conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council.

Eligibility- To be eligible for the GMAT exam, you need to be at least 13 years of age.

Mode of Exam- GMAT can be taken at the test center or online at the comfort of your home.

You can take GMAT 5 times in a year. The minimum duration between any attempts should be at least 16 days. There is an 8-attempt overall lifetime limit.

Score Validity- GMAT scores are valid for 5 years. Besides, if you are not happy with your score, you may cancel your score.

Fees- It costs $275 (After adding taxes it costs around Rs.27,000 for an Indian student) for the GMAT exam, although it varies time to time based of the dollar to INR rate. You can schedule and book an appointment after creating and registering an account on

Coaching- You might need coaching to prepare for GMAT. You can purchase the official material which is most reliable and at the level of the actual GMAT exam and costs around $100, and you may purchase the practice test which costs separately.

Also, there are lots of other free and paid coaching available out there. We will come up with a separate blog on that. However, they cost differently for different timelines and types of assistance.

The new version of GMAT, which is GMAT Focus Edition, has 3 sections- 3 Sections · Quantitative reasoning (QR) · Verbal reasoning (VR) · Data Insights (DI).

The number of questions and times allotted to complete each section are as follows:

64 Questions in total QR – 21 Questions / 45 Minutes

VR – 23 Questions / 45 Minutes

DI – 20 Questions / 45 Minutes.

Feature- You cannot skip any questions on the GMAT Exam. All the questions are mandatory for answers in the GMAT exam. There is no negative marking in the GMAT Exam, but for leaving questions unattempted, GMAT penalizes heavily.

B-School- The GMAT scores are accepted by over 2300 business schools across the world. 7000+ programs (Including ISB, SPJIMR, MDI, IIMs (Executive Programs)· Accepted by business schools in 110 countries.

Now that you know most of the things you need to know about both the exams, you need to decide which exam is more suitable for your dream B-School. You need to ask these questions to derive at the decision. The questions are as below:

– What are my strengths?
– What are my weaknesses?
– How much time can I dedicate each day?
– Is that amount of time sufficient, considering my current skill levels?
– Do I need coaching—online or offline?
– Can I prepare alongside my job?
– What type of job am I in? Can I physically, mentally, and emotionally devote myself to this preparation?
– How much money can I spend on my preparation and application process?

-Which colleges are you targeting? Are they Indian B-schools including IIMs or B-Schools from Abroad?

Based on the answers you get, you may make a decision and move ahead with your preparation.

All the best!

For more such contents read Career Asaan Blogs.

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