CAT vs GMAT: Which One to Choose?


Choosing the right MBA entrance exam and then selecting the most suitable management school is one of the several initial hurdles faced by MBA aspirants. The dilemma of choosing between the CAT or GMAT is something most working professionals face.

Both CAT and GMAT provide excellent opportunities and are equally prestigious and tough exams to crack. The CAT is conducted by the IIMs while GMAT is conducted by Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). To help the MBA aspirant choose the right entrance test, here is a detailed comparison of the GMAT and CAT Exam.

Institute Options

CAT: [Domestic]

The CAT score is accepted by the IIMs and several other prestigious Indian B-Schools. The institutes also have their own selection criteria for final admissions. For example, the IIMs conduct a Written ability test and Personal Interview after shortlisting the candidates based on their CAT scores, academic performances, work experience, etc.

GMAT: [Abroad and Domestic]

The GMAT score is accepted by institutes in India and abroad. Most B-Schools accepting GMAT scores have a streamlined admission process to help the aspirants take admissions without any complexity.

Competition and Validity of Scorecard

CAT: [2- 2.5 lakh Annual Registrations; 1 year validity]

Almost a quarter of a million MBA aspirants register for the CAT exam every year as it is a prerequisite for admissions in the IIMs and other top management institutes.

The CAT exam is extremely competitive and is conducted only once a year. The CAT score is also valid for only one year and so, the candidates will have to take admission within that particular year compulsorily.

GMAT: [1-2 lakh annually; 5 years validity]

The total number of GMAT registrations is less compared to that of CAT. The lesser registration might be due to high registration cost of the GMAT exam. So, it can be said that the GMAT is a bit less competitive than the CAT.

The benefit of GMAT is that the exam is conducted five times a year and gives the candidates an option to choose their preferred date accordingly. Also, the GMAT score is valid for 5 years and thus, the candidates can take admission when they are financially and emotionally ready.

Registration Cost and Exam Difficulty

CAT: [Rs. 1500- 1800]

The CAT is considered one of the cheapest MBA entrance tests as the candidates need not pay for the application of different IIMs separately. The cost is inclusive of the application fees of all the 20 IIMs in the country.

The exam examines the capabilities of the candidates by testing them in different sections. The CAT is known for its difficult quantitative aptitude section and gives a difficult time to candidates with tricky numerical questions.

GMAT: [$250 i.e. Rs. 15k-16k approx.]

The GMAT registration cost is several folds higher than the CAT registration cost. It is also important to know that candidates are provided with various scholarships by different global B-Schools and easy loan facilities by banks.

The GMAT is an adaptive test i.e. the difficulty of the questions changes according to the response of the test-takers. The GMAT is known for including some of the toughest reading comprehension and verbal questions

With these comparisons, MBA aspirants can prioritize their preferences and choose the right business school accordingly. Both the exams are equally important and provide excellent opportunities to candidates.

The candidates can get their GMAT score after they finish taking their exam and the score remains valid for 5 years. On the other hand, the CAT 2017 is scheduled for November 26, 2017. The results will be declared by the first week of January, 2018. The CAT 2017 results will be valid till December 31, 2018.

MBA aspirants can subscribe to the Byju’s YouTube Channel and learn several important CAT topics more effectively from various engaging and effective video lessons.

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