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Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam

Author : Palak Khanna

Updated On : September 14, 2023


Summary: This article provides a detailed overview of all the major difference between CAT and CMAT Exam in order to help readers learn more about the two examinations and make informed decisions regarding their admissions. 

Gearing up for the management entrance exams, aspiring management students often get stuck between choosing either the Common Admission Test (CAT) or the Common Management Aptitude Test (CMAT). 

Although both tests are linked to admissions in postgraduate courses in Management, there are several dissimilarities between the two that are best understood before making the final selection. 

It is recommended that aspirants go through this article in order to make an informed decision regarding the entrance test they must appear for.

Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam

In this article, we will discuss in detail the various differences between CAT and CMAT exams, helping you make an informed decision.

Check the difference between CAT and CMAT exam listed in the table below.

Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam: Particulars CAT CMAT
Conducting Body IIMs All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)
Type of questions MCQs and Non-MCQs (TITA) MCQ only
Exam conducted in which month Nov Jan/ Feb
Exam duration* 2 hours 3 hours
Number of sections 3 sections 5 sections
Course offered MBA PGDM
Sectional time limit* 40 minutes per section No
Difficulty level High Moderate
Marks per question 3 marks per correct response 4 marks per correct response
Negative Marking 33% negative marking 25% negative marking
Exam difficulty level Moderate to hard Easy to moderate
Official website iimcat.ac.in cmat.nta.nic.in

Check: CAT Exam Cut Off 2023

cat 2023 super-30 course

cat 2023 super-30 course

Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam: Exam Pattern

While both exams assess an applicant’s aptitude for management-related courses, they differ in their exam patterns, content, format and duration. CAT vs CMAT exam pattern is as follows-

CAT Exam Pattern

Take a look at the sections to prepare for the CAT exam:

Exam Sections Total Questions Number of MCQ Questions Number of TITA Questions Section-wise Time Limit
VARC 24 19 5 40
DILR 20 15 5 40
QA 22 14 8 40
Total 66 48 18 120

Check: CAT Exam Pattern

CMAT Exam Pattern

Difference between CAT and CMAT exam for MBA:

Take a look at the sections to prepare for the CMAT exam:

Type of questions No. of questions Maximum Marks
Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation 20 80
Logical Reasoning 20 80
Language Comprehension 20 80
General Awareness 20 80
Innovation & Entrepreneurship 20 80
Total 100 400

Check: CAT Exam Subjects 2023

CMAT or CAT which is easy?

CMAT is comparatively easier than CAT. 

Is CAT and CMAT syllabus same?

No, the syllabus is slightly different. 

Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam: Syllabus

General Awareness and Innovation & Entrepreneurship are two more parts of the CMAT syllabus compared to the CAT syllabus.

The three common sections of the CAT & CMAT syllabus essentially remain the same.

CAT Syllabus

Difference between CAT and CMAT syllabus is as follows- 

There are 3 sections for the MBA CAT syllabus 2023. 

  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  1. Quantitative Aptitude: Number System, Geometry, Algebra, Mensuration, Time and Work
  2. Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation: Seating Arrangement, Blood Relation, Syllogism, Tables, Graphs, Data Caselets
  3. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension: Para-Jumbles & Para-Summary, Sentence Completion, Inferences, RC Passages-Based Questions

Check: CAT Syllabus 2023

CMAT Syllabus

There are five sections for CMAT to be covered under CMAT Syllabus. 

  1. Quantitative Techniques: Algebra, Time-Speed-Distance, Alligation & Mixtures, Geometry, Graph, Quadratic and Linear Equations, etc.
  2. Logical Reasoning: Analytical Reasoning, Linear Arrangements, Number Series, Matrix Arrangements, Blood Relationship Tests, etc.
  3. Language Comprehension: Reading Comprehension, Grammar, English Usage Errors, Para jumbles, etc.
  4. General Awareness: Economy, Business, World, Politics, Sports, Culture, Society
  5. Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Questions related to innovation, entrepreneurship and start-up business.

Check: CAT Exam Marking Scheme 2023

cat 2023 test series

cat 2023 test series

Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam: Participating Colleges

The major participating colleges of CAT include 20 different IIMs and several other top Business schools and Institutes across the country. On the other hand, CMAT is more flexible when it comes to participating colleges. It is accepted by thousands of national and state-level participating institutes, which includes AICTE-approved institutes and autonomous B-schools, giving students with different academic backgrounds a chance to appear for the exam. Therefore, it can be affirmed that although CAT and CMAT are broadly similar, there are several distinctions that must be considered to choose the best-fitting entrance exam for your MBA admissions.

CAT Participating Universities

  • All IIMs
  • XLRI Jamshedpur
  • MDI Gurgaon
  •  IMI 
  • SPJIMR etc

Check: CAT Exam Top Colleges 2023

CMAT Participating Universities

AICTE approved Institutions / University Departments / Constituent Colleges /Affiliated Colleges accept CMAT scores. 

Except for IIMs, most MBA/PGDM-offering colleges accept CMAT scores. 

Check: CAT Books 2023

Similarities between CAT and CMAT 

These are some common similarities between CAT and CMAT.

Components CAT VS CMAT Details
Course admission PG Management Course
Mode of Exam CBT
Level of Exam National
Exam Frequency Once in Every Year
Exam Medium English
Negative Marking Yes (-1)


It is clear from this article that understanding the Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam is essential for students who wish to pursue a management course. The CAT exam is mostly preferred by the IIMs, whereas the CMAT exam is accepted by a large number of institutes and universities in India. After having equipped oneself with the knowledge of the differences between the two exams, one can go ahead and make a wise decision in the best interests of one’s future.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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