CAT or GMAT, which is tougher

Difference between CAT and GMAT

CAT versus GMAT

CAT and GMAT are both entrance exams to pursue a career in management. While CAT is a general admission test conducted by Indian Management Institutes across India for access to 7 IIMs across the country, GMAT is a graduate management admission test conducted for access to management courses held by colleges in the United States and some other English speaking countries.


Each year more than 250,000 students enroll in CAT for a very limited number of places in the 7 IIMs. The question paper consists of several choices and there is a negative mark for incorrectly answered questions. The question paper assesses the candidates' knowledge of math, English language and analytical thinking. CAT is only the first step in qualifying for an IIM, as candidates must prepare for a group discussion and face-to-face interview after passing the exam. Ratings are not absolute and are given as percentiles. The exam is difficult and only those with a percentile of 99 or more are invited to appear in GD and conduct an interview.


Business schools in the US and some other English-speaking countries use the results obtained in GMAT as a selection criterion for admission to management courses. The test is offered worldwide on the Internet and students must pay a fee of $ 250 to take the test. The test measures the candidate's verbal, math and analytical skills. There are two optional breaks in between and the test lasts 4 hours. The maximum number of points a candidate can get is 800.

Difference between CAT and GMAT

CAT and GMAT differ in difficulty and question type. While the math section is harder in CAT, GMAT is considered harder in the verbal section.

CAT is a paper-based test, while GMAT is computer-adaptive. In CAT, you can come back to try a question. In GMAT, however, you have to answer the question asked and cannot return to a question after answering. A candidate cannot see the next question until they have given their answer to the previous question.


Both CAT and GMAT are management entrance exams.

While CAT is intended for admission to the IIM, GMAT is intended for admission to colleges in the US and some other English-speaking countries.

The GMAT results are valid for 5 years while the CAT results are not valid for the next year.