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CAT or GMAT Which One Is Tougher?

TheCAT and GMAT exams are considered premier entrance exams for aspiring business managers, entrepreneurs and executives.

While fewer B-schools accept candidates’ GMAT scores, many Indian and foreign business education-focused institutions accept your CAT scores.

Another important consideration when comparing the GMAT exam with the CAT exam is that the GMAT is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) – the GMAT’s owner and administrator. The CAT, on the other hand, was created by the Indian Institutes of Management and is administered by them (IIMs).

 About 2 lakh students take the CAT exam every year. A similar number of MBA candidates take the GMAT exam too. The distinctions between GMAT and CAT are listed below. This article should make it simple for you to begin your research and prepare accordingly.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligible for the GMAT exam, a candidate must have completed 18 years of age. If you are under 18, i.e. 13-17 years old, you can take the GMAT with parental permission.

The GMAT exam can be taken up to five times per year. A minimum of 16 days should occur between any attempts. There is an overall lifetime restriction of eight attempts.

There is no age limit for the CAT exam. A candidate can take the CAT exam only once a year, on a date set by the attending IIM. The participating announces by the date of the CAT exam in July or August of each year. You must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university or equivalent to take the CAT. The same is the case with the GMAT.

Exam Syllabus

The first and most significant distinction between the GMAT and CAT exam syllabus is the absence of the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) portion in the CAT.

The GMAT exam consists of 4 main sections: 


1.      Analytical Writing Assessment

2.      Integrated Reasoning

3.      Quantitative Reasoning

4.      Verbal Reasoning

On the other hand, Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), Verbal Ability, and Reading Comprehension are among the key areas covered under the CAT exam syllabus (VARC).

Exam duration

The CAT exam lasts for 2 hours, andyou’ll be given 40 minutes per section, whereas the GMAT exam requires 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete.

Exam fees

The CAT exam costs Rs 1,900 for general applicants and NC-OBC candidates and Rs 950 for SC/ST/OBC and specially-abled students. Alternatively, the GMATexam fee is $250 (INR -19,000) for all countries.

Level of Difficulty

A test of your high-order thinking skills (HOTS), the GMAT exam has a relatively difficult marking system. Since the average test score to get into a top university is over 720+ marks, the GMAT is often regarded as the best examination for admission to top B-schools.

The CAT exam, on the other hand, is moderately tough. With sections like Quants, Verbal Reasoning and DILR, it provides an excellent opportunity for candidates to score well.

Marking Scheme

The CAT examconsists of 198 points, with each question carrying 3 marks. There is a negative marking for every incorrect answer.

The GMAT examfeatures a unique scoring system. Candidates are graded on a scale of 200 to 800. Candidates are graded 0-6 in Analytical Writing Assessment, 1-8 in Integrated Reasoning, 0-60 in Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.


After covering the differences between the CAT & GMAT exams across different parameters, we can say that the difficulty level of both exams is quite high. However, the CAT exam is considered more challenging than the GMAT exam since its syllabus is not well defined as GMAT.


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