GMAT v/s CAT - All You Need To Know

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Firstly, an important fact that must be known to a person is the difference between CAT and GMAT exams. Common Admission Test (CAT) and Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) are two of the top management/business based entrance tests, scores of which are accepted by top Business schools, including the IIMs.

The basic difference between the two is that whereas CAT is a national level exam in India, GMAT is a global exam. The score of CAT is valid only for one year, whereas, the score of GMAT is valid for five years.

While the score obtained in CAT is valid only for one year, the score obtained in GMAT is valid for five years. The scores of GMAT are accepted worldwide but not of CAT. The number of candidates are higher in GMAT than CAT, which increases the level of competition in GMAT.

The Quantitative Ability section in the CAT is actually similar to the one in the GMAT. Both tests have equivalent problems in the topics of basic algebra, geometry, numeric properties, and so on. The GMAT does not allow you to use a calculator, while the CAT does. Now, even though it may seem like a huge difference, especially for those of you who are scared of maths, but the difference is smaller than you think.

You will see bigger differences between the tests when you get to the Verbal sections of both the exams. The verbal section of CAT emphasizes reading comprehension a lot more than the GMAT. (Although RC is certainly important on both tests!) In addition, the heavy English grammar component in GMAT Verbal doesn’t emerge in the CAT.

This brings us to CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning vs. GMAT Integrated Reasoning. The only similarity you will notice is that CAT Data Interpretation(DI) and GMAT Integrated Reasoning(IR), both have graphs, charts, and mathematical operations. However, CAT DI has easier graphs, charts, and calculations than the GMAT.

In contrast, GMAT integrated reasoning data problems are a lot more complex. The graphs and charts are more detailed, with paragraphs of accompanying text.

Then there’s CAT Logical Reasoning. This is nothing like GMAT IR. In CAT LR, you need to detect and understand logical patterns. Now that you’ve compared both of them, you get a slight idea as to which exam would benefit you more.

Overall, it is believed that the difficulty level of CAT exam is higher than that of GMAT. Latter has a well-defined syllabus which makes it relatively easier in terms of preparation. The difficult task in CAT is the DILR section, which has been very high on the difficulty level from the past two years.

The Verbal Section of GMAT can be challenging for Indian test takers who are non-native English speakers. The vocabulary used in verbal section questions in GMAT is of a comparatively advanced level. Therefore, for aspirants who find English a tough nut to crack, GMAT will not be easy.

The admission procedure of CAT is comparatively more complex than the procedures under GMAT. Committed preparation for group discussion and personal interview is needed after CAT. In GMAT, candidates with better command over the language will have an edge in the selection procedures.

GMAT is a preferred choice if you have an average score in standard X and XII. Appearing for GMAT is obviously more flexible and the score is also valid for a longer duration with wider acceptance.

The decision to take GMAT or CAT obviously involves a lot of factors. Candidates must select a test after considering all the alternatives. MBA is a once in a life-time opportunity, so take a well-calculated decision for a successful career ahead.

What makes you obtain a good score is practice with smart work and not only hard work. To test yourself and your preparations for the coming GMAT or CAT exams, look for online tests and series.

To excel out in the exam without attending offline classes, you could join online courses on GMAT/CAT or take tests to realize at what level do you lie. You might have heard that “Modern problems require modern solutions.”.

There you go. Good Luck!


Written by – Ritika Singh

Edited by - Bushra Makhdoomi

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