Difference Between CAT and GMAT


CAT and GMAT are both entrance level exams to pursue a career in the field of management. While CAT is Common Admission Test conducted on an all India level by Indian Institutes of Management for entrance to 7 IIM’s located across the country, GMAT is Graduate Management Admission Test that is conducted for entrance to management courses offered by colleges in the US and some other English speaking countries.


More than 250000 students appear in CAT every year for a very limited number of seats in the 7 IIM’s. The question paper is multiple choices and there is negative marking for incorrectly answered questions. The question paper assesses knowledge of the candidates in math, English language and analytical reasoning. CAT is only the first step in qualifying for any IIM, as after passing the exam the candidates have to prepare for group discussion and a personal interview. The scores are not absolute and given as percentiles. The exam is tough and only those who have got a percentile of 99 or more are invited to appear in GD and interview.


Business schools across US and in some other English speaking countries use scores obtained in GMAT as a selection criterion for admission in management courses. The test is delivered via internet all over the world and students are required to pay a fee of $250 to appear in the test. The test measures verbal, mathematical and analytical skills of candidates. There are two optional breaks in between, and the test is of 4 hours duration. The maximum marks that a candidate can get are 800.

Difference between CAT and GMAT

Talking of differences, CAT and GMAT differ in the level of difficulty and types of questions. While Math section is tougher in CAT, GMAT is considered tougher in the verbal section.

CAT is a paper based test whereas GMAT is computer adaptive. In CAT, you can go back to attempt a question but in GMAT, you have to answer the question that has been presented and cannot go back to a question once you have answered it. A candidate cannot see the next question until he has given his answer for the previous question.


Both CAT and GMAT are entrance level exams in the field of management.

While CAT is for admission into the IIM’s, GMAT is for admission in colleges across US and some other English speaking countries.

The scores of GMAT are valid for a period of 5 years, while CAT scores are not valid next year.