GMAT vs CAT: All You Need to Know

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The GMAT and CAT exams are two popular tests that most Indian students and early professionals start preparing for when deciding to enrol in an MBA programme. However, both have different structures and purposes.

While the GMAT is asked by most business schools across the globe, the CAT exam, on the other hand, is only required as an admissions prerequisite to enrol into an MBA programme in India. So, which one should you opt for? This article will cover essential aspects of both these tests for you to make an informed choice on which test will suit your higher education goals. Furthermore, this article will also cover essential things to know about GMAT 2021.

Here are a Few Key Differences Between the GMAT and CAT

When it comes to MBA entrance exams GMAT vs CAT is the most sought-after question. This is because there is a lot of ambiguity surrounding the structure, purpose and scoring of these exams. Hence, here are key differences between the two exams for you to consider and get some clarity on which exam suits your needs:

1.    Exam Structure

Although the objective of both the GMAT and the CAT exam is to assess an individual’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills, both exams are structured differently to achieve this objective. Moreover, both exams are also computer-delivered tests. Having said that, the GMAT is a computer-adaptive test. This means that the difficulty level of the questions increases or decreases, depending on how the questions have been answered in previous sections. The CAT, on the other hand, isn’t computer-adaptive, which means the difficulty level in the CAT exam remains uniform and does not change depending on how the test-taker answers a particular question.

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is divided into three sections – verbal and reading comprehension, data interpretation and logical reasoning and quantitative ability – on the other hand, the GMAT is divided into 4 sections – Analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative and verbal reasoning. The approaches to prepare for both tests are different.

2.    Eligibility

Both tests also differ when it comes to the test taker’s eligibility criteria.

  • The CAT exam requires that test takers should have a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university or college with 50% marks. It allows final year students to take the test.
  • The GMAT has no such criteria except that the test-taker must have a passport and should be above 18 years of age. If the candidate is 13, consent is required from the parents.

3.    Exam Registration Fee

The GMAT’s standard fee is $250 and the CAT exam costs ₹2000 for test-takers that fall in the general category and ₹1000 for those in the reserved category.

4.    Scoring Pattern

The score a test-taker can achieve in the GMAT exam can be anywhere between 200 to 800, with 800 being the highest. However, these scores only represent the total of quant and verbal sections, which are individually scored on a scale of 0-60 with a one-point increment system. The integrated reasoning and AWA sections, on the other hand, are scored differently, while the former is scored on a scale of 1-8, the latter is scored on a scale of 0-6 and both have a half-point increment system.

On the other hand, the CAT exam has a uniform scoring system, with 228 being the total score and each question on the exam weighing 3 marks. Moreover, the CAT exam does not penalise a test-taker for unanswered questions like the GMAT.

Now that you know what the key differences are between these two popular MBA entrance tests, let’s understand some important aspects of the GMAT 2021 exam.

Here’s What You Need to Know About the GMAT 2021 Exam

Since we have already covered what the exam structure and its scoring pattern is, this section will focus more on essential material that will help you prepare for the GMAT exam and some tips that you can use to enhance your GMAT score.

Some of the books you should consider getting your hands on are:

  • GMAT for dummies
  • GMAT official guide 2021
  • JeffSackmann’s Total GMAT Math

In addition to these books, you should also visit the official GMAT website to access a pool of exam-like questions and GMAT prep tests to help familiarise yourself with the various question types.

Preparing for The GMAT 2021

Preparing for the GMAT can be tough, particularly if you’ve been away from school for a long time and haven’t been in touch with English grammar and concepts of Mathematics. Hence, it is advisable to spend at least 4 to 6 months preparing for the GMAT exam by dedicating at least 1.5 hours daily on weekdays and 3 hours over weekends to achieve your desired score.

With the right dedication, hard work and subject material you will find yourself acing the most tricky questions with ease.

Now that you know the difference between GMAT vs CAT and the essential things to know about GMAT 2021, you’re in a better position to prepare for the test.

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