How different is GMAT from CAT?

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GMAT and CAT are both competitive entrance exams for earning an MBA degree. An MBA not only helps you acquire the necessary skills and contemporary management knowledge for future leadership positions, but also gives you an enviable paycheck.

The Graduate Management Admission Council conducts the Graduate Management Admission Test or GMAT. It is a global exam, while the Common Admission Test or CAT, which is conducted by the IIMs, is a national-level entrance exam. If you are targeting only the IIMs and other Indian B-schools, you should appear for CAT. On the other hand, GMAT opens doors to more than 7000 business and management programs worldwide, including the top IIMs.

Scroll down for the list good B-schools that accept GMAT scores in India!



  • GMAT is a globally recognized exam
  • GMAT opens doors to LBS, Columbia, Harvard and 7000 other B-schools across the world including ISB, ISB-YLP, IIM-A/B/C, SP Jain in India
  • GMAT can be taken at any time of the year
  • GMAT can be retaken after 16 days if you don't get your desired score
  • GMAT is far less competitive than CAT
  • GMAT score remains valid for 5 years
  • GMAT gives you access to top-notch faculty around the world


  • CAT is an Indian exam
  • CAT opens doors to IIMs, SP Jain and some 150 other MBA colleges in India
  • CAT can be taken once a year
  • CAT can be retaken only the next year if you don't get your desired score
  • CAT is much more competitive than GMAT
  • CAT score remains valid for 1 year
  • CAT gives you access to top-notch faculty in India

Is GMAT tougher than CAT?

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GMAT has a wide syllabus, and the type of questions are clearly outlined. A certain amount of dedicated preparation time is enough to cover all question types. On the other hand, CAT has a vast syllabus, which often results in more preparation time.

GMAT has a wide syllabus, and the type of questions are clearly outlined. A certain amount of dedicated preparation time is enough to cover all question types. On the other hand, CAT has a vast syllabus, which often results in more preparation time.

The Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (LRDI) section of CAT is challenging compared to the Integrated Reasoning (IR) of GMAT. Generally, candidates find the quantitative aptitude section of GMAT to be less challenging than that of CAT.

However, the Verbal Reasoning section of GMAT is arduous for Indians as English is not our first language. The advanced level of vocabulary used in GMAT becomes a hurdle for non-native English speakers. Hence, people who find English a limitation will feel the verbal section to be an uphill task for scoring.

Another significant difference in both the tests is that GMAT is an adaptive test while CAT is not. In an adaptive test, the questions' level of difficulty depends upon your performance in the previous sections. The types of questions appearing in the next section are entirely based on your ability to answer. This is why you cannot go back and change an answer or choose to answer a question you skipped previously.

In the CAT examination, the question appears objectively and focuses on the candidate's accuracy. Before you submit the answers for a particular section, you may review it. Also, the CAT examination has negative marking in case of wrong answers.

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How can you use your CAT prep to ace your GMAT?

icon 1 While both the CAT and the GMAT fundamentally fulfill the same purpose, there are a couple of differences in their exam structure and syllabus. In a gist, the GMAT verbal is hard, and the GMAT quant is easy in comparison to the CAT. The integrated reasoning section is also easier on the GMAT as you have more time to answer.

CAT Quant vs GMAT Quant

The quant section on the CAT has a fixed syllabus that can be divided into definite topics, and most often, the questions come from these topics. The complexity level of this section is high as it tests your time management, knowledge and application. Most CAT prep requires you to practice advanced topics and a broad set of formulae to get ahead of the clock.

The GMAT quant section is a little different than the CAT, as here you have two sub-sections. The problem-solving division has questions in a similar structure to the CAT but on a relatively easy level. On the other hand, the data sufficiency type is a unique GMAT concept, where you evaluate two statements to find out if the data is enough to solve a problem. This model falls into context with the business world where you often have to work with limited data and make informed decisions.

The questions on the GMAT quant section come from a vast syllabus, and while the CAT is known to be hard, the GMAT is much trickier. However, if you are confident with your basics and can apply them fittingly, your CAT quant preparation will work to your advantage in the GMAT. It is crucial to practice as many data sufficiency questions as possible.

CAT Reasoning vs GMAT Reasoning

The Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation section is arguably the most challenging part of the CAT with it accounting for almost one-third of the exam. There are usually 32 questions, but this year’s revised CAT structure brought down the number to 24. The syllabus is fixed and consists of topics such as clocks and calendars, sets, family trees, Venn diagrams etc. The questions are usually in the form of sub-parts, and the key is to pick the best sets to answer, as time is limited.

The GMAT Integrated Reasoning consists of only 12 questions that are to be answered within 30 minutes. Your performance in IR is not considered in your overall GMAT score, but it is equally important to do well as top colleges might look into your section-wise points.

The GMAT IR section can be further divided into 4 parts; table analysis, two-part analysis, multi-source reasoning and graphic interpretation. The level of difficulty is quite easy in comparison to the CAT LRDI section, and on the GMAT you have almost 2.5 minutes for every question. Your CAT preparation will come into great use for the IR section, but keep in mind to practice the different types of questions thoroughly.

For students who took up the CAT 2020 and spent months preparing for those 2 hours on test day, it’s time to leverage your CAT prep and aim at a global level!

Contact us to get hold of our tried and tested study material and exclusive advice from our experts.

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Good at CAT verbal ability section? How to build on it to ace GMAT Verbal!

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If you’ve prepared for the CAT 2020, chances are you practised a lot of reading comprehension, sentence correction and critical reasoning questions. Good news is that the structure of the GMAT verbal section is very similar to the CAT.

Reading Comprehension: The level of questions in this section is usually on par or a level higher than the CAT. The passages might come from a variety of topics and because the CAT follows British English, reading from American journals, newspapers and magazines as practice will help you get familiar with the GMAT RCs. You should focus on speed as well as accuracy and avoid picking tricky trap answers.

Sentence Correction: The sentence correction section is a tad bit tougher on the GMAT because unlike the CAT which focuses a lot on grammar rules and correct usage of vocabulary, the GMAT focuses on meaning-oriented errors and overall English. The grammar rules you’ve learned for the CAT will come in handy for your GMAT prep.

Critical Reasoning: This is one of the most challenging verbal sub-parts, and in comparison, it's tougher on the GMAT than the CAT. The questions, as well as the options, are quite long, and you might end up wasting a lot of time in this section. Hence, it’s crucial to understand how to identify the keywords, evaluate the assumptions and work with the right hypotheses.

The GMAT verbal reasoning is a notch higher than CAT’s verbal ability, and while your practice and preparation for CAT might help a little, it’s important to build on your prep to reach the GMAT level.

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How important is the AWA section of GMAT and how to prepare for it?

The Analytical writing assessment or AWA section on the GMAT does not contribute to your final GMAT score out of 800. While it might seem like it doesn’t matter, the truth is that it does hold a card in deciding the strength of your college application. The AWA section plays a significant part in determining how well you can organize and verbalize your thoughts, which is indeed a key business skill.

The goal is to express your reasoning of the given argument in a concise and well-structured manner. You have 30 minutes for this section, and it is necessary to divide your time among analyzing, drafting a structure, writing and finally proofreading. This section is a culmination of all your verbal skills so it’s crucial to recheck your sentence formation, grammar and the quality of your points.

In the introduction, paraphrase the question and mention that there are flaws in the reasoning. In the body of your essay use connecting words like first, second, then, for example, etc., to put across your thoughts on what assumptions are being made and what facts are missing. Finally, conclude by mentioning that the reasoning is flawed and how it could’ve been improved.

The scoring of the AWA section is from 0 to 6, and the average mark is around 4.5. Anything less than this might work against your favour and affect your profile. The good news is that this is a simple section and you can very well get a full score with a few tips and a little bit of practice. Contact our experts for Jamboree’s perfect-6 AWA template to get a more detailed writing approach.

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What are the advantages of scheduling your GMAT after CAT?

icon 1 The majority of MBA aspirants believe that scheduling your GMAT after the CAT examination has its own set of advantages.

As both these examinations test your quantitative ability, reasoning skill, and verbal ability, you can actually utilize your CAT preparation to prepare for GMAT. The time duration for both these examinations is similar. It has already been stated that if you want to prepare for GMAT, you will need around 2 to 3 months. But the actual time required depends on the amount of preparation you already have before starting.

If you schedule your GMAT after CAT, it will undoubtedly benefit you. Let's take an example to understand this. If you are a final year student, you might decide to appear for the CAT examination. Even if you get 85%, that would certainly not guarantee you a call from IIM. So, the best thing you can do here is to appear for the GMAT exam as well. The B schools accept this score all across the globe. So, if you don't get a call from IIMs, you still have a chance to get into some of the best B schools across the globe.

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Which good B-schools in India accept GMAT scores?

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Anything less than 95 percentile in CAT closes doors to most top tier B-schools in India. It is a cruel world but all is not lost. Taking GMAT can open doors to top tier IIMs and other good Indian B-schools that you thought were accessible only through CAT. With decent work experience and scores as low as 680 (approx. 84 percentile), many of our students have made it to IIM Bangalore, IIM Lucknow, IIM Kolkata, etc.

Good B-schools in India that accept GMAT scores:
  • IIM Ahmedabad
  • IIM Bangalore
  • IIM Kolkata
  • IIM Lucknow
  • IIM Indore
  • SP Jain
  • BITS Pilani
  • IMT Ghaziabad
  • IFMR
  • IIFT
  • IIT Madras
  • XLRI Jamshedpur

Get in touch with our counselors to work out an admissions roadmap to these top MBA colleges of India.

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Take FREE GMAT Sample Test to check your current prep level!

Jamboree's FREE GMAT Sample Test has been specifically designed for students who want to gauge their test preparedness for questions that regularly appear in the GMAT. You can get an exact idea of your speed and accuracy for the GMAT if you take this free test developed by our expert team.

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