For many years, the choice between the GMAT and the CAT was clear: people were either sure that they wanted to go abroad or stay in India, and the former gave the GMAT, and the others gave the CAT.
However, things are not quite so simple any more. With the right preparation and consultants, many more people can get into the top Business Schools in the world. Additionally, many of the best business schools in India accept GMAT scores today; this introduces an additional option for those who want to give a different exam.
Key Difference Between The GMAT And The CAT
The CAT has a more vast syllabus, while the GMAT goes deep into logic and understanding. Both emphasize problem solving at the core, but differ in the amount of base preparation required. Going into details of the sections, the GMAT and the CAT differ based on individual skill sets. Many make the blanket statement that the CAT is more dif?cult, but the difference is deeper:
The GMAT emphasizes logic and analysis even more than the CAT does, especially in the Verbal section. For base dif?culty of questions, the CAT is slightly more dif?cult, but careful preparation can nullify this.
The GMAT opens more doors. Every good global MBA program worldwide accepts the GMAT; 9 times more people choose the GMAT than the next most popular option (the GRE). In India, most of the top MBA programs now accept the GMAT as well; and in the next half decade, it is expected that there will be very clear GMAT cutoffs de?ned everywhere.
The CAT score is a percentile; the GMAT score is absolute. The biggest difference between the two exams is the scoring scale. In the CAT exam, you get a percentile score it means that your score is dependent not just on your own performance. If you do well, and everyone else also does well, you will end up with a low percentile score. On the other hand, in the GMAT exam, your score is an absolute score. If you do well, you will get a good score irrespective of the performance of your competitors. This is the reason why we often see students getting 750+ GMAT scores and getting admission in top B schools in the world even after getting low CAT scores and getting rejections from IIMs.
Flexibility is the middle name of the GMAT! What makes the GMAT the exam of choice for students and working professionals alike is its flexibility. The GMAT is held throughout the year 5 times a week; so, people can take the GMAT whenever they are best prepared. Also, one can take the GMAT exam 5 times in a year and choose to send the best score to the B schools for admissions purpose. The CAT, on the other hand, is held only once a year; if you do not do well, you will miss a year. The CAT score is valid only for one year; the GMAT score is valid for 5 years. We have seen many people take the exam during their college days and use the score to apply later on.
How should you choose which test to give?
If you are sure that you want a global MBA, give the GMAT. You do not have to think further.
If you are not sure whether you want to do your MBA in India or abroad, make an exhaustive list of the schools to which you might apply within India. Look at the median GMAT score of the latest entry class in those schools. If it is approximately the same as it is in the best business schools abroad (700/710), then give the GMAT, only. If it is much higher, check with a test expert (like Jamboree) to see which test you should give, given your skill set.
If you are sure that you want to do your MBA in India, and if there are a few schools you are applying to that accept only the CAT: Then you must give the CAT. You can give the GMAT additionally, but be sure that this does not halve your preparation time for either test, thereby worsening your potential performance.
Overall, the choice of giving the GMAT or CAT is something that depends on many small factors; in addition to the big factors above, there are many candidate specific things that will help determine the ideal test to lock in your MBA future. Ensure that you find the ideal test prep expert to guide you through your journey; Jamboree can help you ace the test that is best for you!