GMAT vs CAT: Which is the Best Test for 2024? - Gateway International
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GMAT vs CAT: Which is the Best Test for 2024?

gmat vs cat

Introduction of GMAT vs CAT

If you’re considering pursuing a management degree, you’ve likely come across two popular exams: the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and the Common Admission Test (CAT). Both tests are essential for gaining admission to prestigious business schools, but which one is the best choice for you in 2024?

This brief comparison highlights some of the key differences between GMAT vs CAT.

Administered ByThe Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)Indian Institutes of Management (IIM)
Test ModeOffline and OnlineOnline
Duration3 hours 7 minutes (Old Version)2 hours
2 hours and 15 minutes (New Version)
Application FeeINR 22,824 ($275) OfflineINR 2,400 (General)
INR 24,899 ($300) OnlineINR 1,200 (Under reservation)


GMAT Overview

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a standardized test designed to assess certain analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to a graduate management program, such as an MBA. It consists of four main sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.

Here are the key highlights of GMAT presented in a table format:

Test NameGraduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
  • Integrated Reasoning (IR)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (QR)
  • Verbal Reasoning (VR)
Test FormatComputer-adaptive test
Scoring Range200 to 800 points
Test DurationApproximately 3 hours and 7 minutes (including breaks)
Registration FeeAround $250 (subject to change)
Accepted ByOver 7,000 programs at more than 2,300 universities worldwide
Test FrequencyAvailable year-round with flexible test dates
ValidityScores valid for up to 5 years
PreparationOfficial study materials, online courses, practice tests, coaching programs
Test CentersNumerous test centers worldwide
Adaptive FormatQuestions adapt based on the test-taker’s performance
Average ScoreAround 550 points
Percentile RankIndicates performance compared to other test-takers
EligibilitySuitable for those aspiring to pursue management education globally
ProsGlobally recognized, accepted by a wide range of programs, flexible test dates
ConsExpensive, challenging for non-native English speakers


gmat vs cat

Read More: Best MBA Colleges in the World 2021 – Study Abroad

CAT Overview

The CAT (Common Admission Test) is a computer-based test for admission into various management programs offered by Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other prestigious institutions across India. It consists of three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability.

Here are the key highlights of CAT presented in a table format:

Test NameCommon Admission Test (CAT)
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR),
  • Quantitative Ability (QA)
Test FormatComputer-based test
Scoring Range0 to 300 points
Test Duration2 hours and 40 minutes
Registration FeeAround ₹2,000 for Indian candidates (varies for international candidates)
Accepted ByIndian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and various other management institutes in India
Test FrequencyConducted once a year
ValidityScores valid for one year
PreparationMock tests, study material, online courses, coaching classes
Test CentersNumerous test centers across India
FormatFixed format with predetermined number of questions in each section
Difficulty LevelHighly competitive, challenging syllabus
Top ScoreTypically above 99 percentile
EligibilitySuitable for candidates aiming for admission to Indian management institutes, especially the IIMs
ProsAccepted by top Indian institutes, lower cost compared to GMAT, specific to Indian management education
ConsLimited to Indian schools, highly competitive, challenging syllabus


Top Universities Worldwide Accepting GMAT Scores

GMAT is widely recognized as one of the most preferred entrance examinations for business schools globally. Many prestigious universities worldwide require GMAT scores to assess the aptitude and skills of applicants seeking admission to their graduate programs.

UniversityLocationGMAT Score Range
Harvard Business SchoolUSA730-790
Stanford Graduate School of BusinessUSA720-780
The Wharton School, University of PennsylvaniaUSA730-780
London Business SchoolUK690-750
MIT Sloan School of ManagementUSA700-760
Columbia Business SchoolUSA710-770
HEC ParisFrance690-760
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern UniversityUSA700-760
Chicago Booth School of BusinessUSA720-780
IE Business SchoolSpain680-740
Yale School of ManagementUSA690-750
Said Business School, University of OxfordUK690-750
NYU Stern School of BusinessUSA700-760
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus UniversityNetherlands670-730


These universities, among others, utilize GMAT scores as a standard metric to evaluate candidates’ suitability for their graduate degree programs.

Top Universities Worldwide Accepting CAT Scores

CAT, primarily used for admission to Indian business schools, is gaining recognition globally. Some prestigious universities outside India also accept CAT scores as part of their admission process for management programs.

UniversityLocationCAT Score Range
London Business SchoolUK90-99 percentile
HEC ParisFrance85-95 percentile
INSEADFrance/Singapore90-99 percentile
Said Business School, University of OxfordUK85-95 percentile
Cambridge Judge Business SchoolUK85-95 percentile
IE Business SchoolSpain80-90 percentile
ESADE Business SchoolSpain80-90 percentile
IMD Business SchoolSwitzerland85-95 percentile
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus UniversityNetherlands80-90 percentile
Manchester Business SchoolUK80-90 percentile
SDA Bocconi School of ManagementItaly80-90 percentile
ESCP Business SchoolFrance/Germany/UK/Spain/Italy85-95 percentile
ESSEC Business SchoolFrance/Singapore80-90 percentile
University of St. GallenSwitzerland85-95 percentile
Hult International Business SchoolUSA/UK/Dubai/China80-90 percentile


These universities, among others, recognize the CAT scores and consider them as part of their evaluation process for admission to their management programs.

Which Test to Choose: GMAT vs CAT?

Choosing between GMAT Vs CAT depends on various factors, including your career goals, target universities, and personal preferences. Here’s a guide to help you decide which test to choose:

Choose GMAT if:

  1. You’re Considering Global Business Schools: If you’re planning to apply to business schools outside India, particularly in the USA, Europe, or other international destinations, GMAT is the preferred choice. It’s widely accepted by top-tier business schools worldwide.
  2. You’re Pursuing an MBA Program: GMAT is specifically designed for admission to MBA programs, offering a comprehensive assessment of your readiness for business school.
  3. You’re Comfortable with an Adaptive Test: GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, which means the difficulty level of questions adjusts based on your performance. If you’re comfortable with this format and believe in your ability to adapt to varying question difficulty, GMAT might be the right choice for you.
  4. You Have a Strong Quantitative and Verbal Skillset: GMAT assesses both quantitative and verbal skills in depth. If you excel in both these areas and want a test that provides a balanced evaluation, GMAT could be suitable for you.
  5. You’re Considering Multiple Programs: GMAT scores are valid for up to 5 years, giving you flexibility in applying to various programs over time.

Choose CAT if:

  1. You’re Targeting Indian Business Schools: If your goal is to pursue an MBA or other management programs in India, particularly at top institutions like the IIMs, CAT is the preferred choice. It’s the most widely accepted entrance exam for Indian business schools.
  2. You’re Focused on Speed and Accuracy: CAT is known for its rigorous and time-bound format. If you’re confident in your ability to handle time pressure and want a test that emphasizes speed and accuracy, CAT might be the right fit for you.
  3. You’re Comfortable with a Fixed Format: CAT follows a fixed format with a set number of questions in each section. If you prefer a standardized test format where all candidates face the same set of questions, CAT could be suitable for you.
  4. You’re Strong in Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning: CAT places a strong emphasis on data interpretation and logical reasoning skills. If you excel in these areas and want a test that focuses on analytical thinking, CAT may be the better choice.
  5. You’re Planning to Study in India: CAT is specifically designed for admission to Indian business schools. If your career plans are centered around India and you want to study in the country, CAT is the natural choice.

Ultimately, the decision between GMAT and CAT depends on your individual circumstances and preferences. Consider your career goals, target institutions, strengths, and comfort level with the test formats before making your choice.


In conclusion, both GMAT vs CAT have their own merits and drawbacks. Consider your educational and career goals, as well as the target schools, before making a decision.


FAQ 1: Can I take both GMAT vs CAT?

Yes, you can take both exams if you’re open to pursuing management education in both India and abroad.

FAQ 2: Are GMAT vs CAT scores valid internationally?

GMAT scores are widely accepted globally, while CAT scores are primarily recognized by Indian business schools.

FAQ 3: Which exam is more difficult, GMAT or CAT?

Difficulty level varies based on individual strengths and weaknesses. However, GMAT is often considered more challenging due to its adaptive format.

FAQ 4: Can I switch from CAT to GMAT or vice versa?

Yes, you can switch exams based on your changing educational and career aspirations.

FAQ 5: How often can I retake GMAT or CAT?

You can retake both exams after a certain period, typically within a year.