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Difference Between MAT and CAT Exam: Detailed Comparision

Author : Akash Kumar Singh

Updated On : September 15, 2023


Summary: Discover the fundamental differences between the CAT (Common Admission Test) and MAT (Management Aptitude Test) examinations. Explore the differences in exam frequency, pattern, duration, eligibility, and other factors to make an informed decision between these two popular MBA admission examinations. Understand the similarities and differences to guarantee you're on the proper track towards your MBA ambitions.

MAT vs CAT compares the MAT (Management Aptitude Test) with the CAT (Common Admission Test) to help you make an informed choice. The CAT and MAT exams are the most popular national-level MBA entrance exams for admission to India's top business schools. Aspirants for an MBA degree typically take both of these tests.  

The basic difference between MAT and CAT exams is that the CAT is the only way to get into IIMs, whilst the MAT allows you to get into other B-schools such as Amity University, Christ University, Alliance University, Taxila Business Schools, and many more. 

The most difficult decision for MBA candidates is whether to take the CAT, the MAT, or both. If applicants want to prepare for both these two examinations, they must understand the differences between the MAT and CAT exams.

Our specialists have conducted a thorough examination of MAT versus CAT to assist applicants in their preparation. 

MAT vs CAT Similarities 

Both of these exams are used to gain admission to MBA degrees at various B-schools in India. As a result, there are some fundamental similarities between these exams. Take a look at the table below to see how the MAT and CAT exams are similar. 



Course for admission 


Level of Exam 


Exam Medium 


Negative Marking 


Read more: Difference between CAT and GATE Exam

Difference Between MAT and CAT Exam 

There are a number of differences between MAT and CAT exams. The major differences between these two tests are in the frequency, pattern, duration, eligibility, marking approach, syllabus, and conducting body. 

One of the most significant differences between the CAT Exam and the MAT Exam is that the MAT allows you to increase your score through numerous attempts, whereas the CAT does not. 

MAT vs CAT: Overview 

Let's have a look at the differences between MAT and CAT Exams: 


MAT Exam 

CAT Exam 

Exam Full Form 

Management Aptitude Test 

Common Admission Test 

Conducting Body 



Eligibility Criteria 

Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 50% marks 

Passing marks required for a bachelor’s degree 

Exam Frequency 

Four times a year (February, May, September, December) 

Once a year (November) 

Mode of Exam 

  • Computer-Based Test (CBT) 
  • Internet-Based Test (IBT) 
  • Paper-Based Test (PBT) 
  • Computer-Based Test (CBT) 

Number of Sections 

5 sections 

3 sections 

Exam Sections 

  • Language Comprehension 
  • Intelligence and Critical Reasoning 
  • Indian and Global Environment 
  • Data Analysis and Sufficiency 
  • Mathematical Skills 
  • Quantitative Aptitude (QA) 
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) 
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) 

Number of Questions 

200 questions 

66 questions 

Exam Duration 

2.5 hours 

2 hours 

Difficulty Level 

Easy to medium 

Moderately difficult 

Marking Scheme 

  • +1 for the correct response 
  • -0.25 for every incorrect response 
  • +3 for correct response 
  • -1 for incorrect response 

Total Marks 

200 marks 

198 marks 

Exam Fee 

  • One paper: Rs 1,650 
  • CBT+PBT: Rs 2,750 
  • CBT+PBT+ IBT = 4,950 
  • General and NC-OBC: Rs 2,300 
  • SC/ ST/ PwD: Rs 1,150 

MAT vs CAT Exam Conducting Body 

Everyone is aware that separate authorities administer the CAT and MAT examinations. One of the IIMs releases the official notification for the CAT Exam once a year. IIM Bangalore hosted CAT 2022, while IIM Ahmedabad hosted CAT 2021

MAT notification, on the other hand, is issued by AIMA (All India Management Association). It is administered multiple times a year, including February, May, September, and December, and in three different formats: CBT (Computer-Based Test), PBT (Paper-Based Test), and IBT (Internet-Based Test). The most significant advantage of the MAT Exam is that aspirants can choose to take the exam from home or at a test centre based on their choices. 

MAT vs CAT Exam Eligibility 

Minimum qualification percentages must be fulfilled by aspirants in order to sit for the CAT and MAT exams. As a result, before applying for the exam, it is necessary to compare the MAT vs CAT qualifying criteria. 

  • CAT Eligibility: Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum of 50% (45% for the reserve category). 
  • MAT Eligibility: There is no such thing as a minimum percentage necessary to take the MAT exam. Candidates who have finished their graduating studies with a passing grade may sit for this exam. 

Read more: CAT Exam Eligibility

MAT vs CAT Exam Frequency 

Exam frequency for both of these exams is quite different. The aspirants get only a single chance every year to crack CAT, while there are multiple chances to crack MAT in a single year. 

  • The CAT is administered only once a year. There are three slots on a single exam date, and students must attend in the test centre according to the exam schedules listed on their admit card. 
  • MAT is administered multiple times a year, including in February, May, September, and December, and in three different modes: CBT (Computer-Based Test), PBT (Paper-Based Test), and IBT (Internet-Based Test). 

MAT vs CAT Exam Pattern 

The MAT exam pattern and CAT exam patterns differ in terms of total number of questions, exam sections, total time, and sectional time limitations. Take a look at the table below to see how the MAT and CAT exam patterns differ. 




Total Number of Questions 

66 Questions 

200 Questions 

Exam Sections 

CAT Exam Pattern has 3 Sections 

  • VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension) 
  • DILR (Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning) 
  • QA (Quantitative Aptitude) 

MAT Exam Pattern has 5 Sections 

  • LC (Language Comprehension) 
  • Data Analysis and Sufficiency 
  • Mathematical Skills 
  • Intelligence and Critical Reasoning 
  • Indian and Global Environment 

Time Duration 

120 Minutes 

2.5 Hours 

Sectional Time Limit 

40 Minutes 


CAT Verbal Ability Questions

MAT vs CAT Exam Time Duration 

Both the MAT and the CAT have very different exam durations. Exam duration for MAT versus CAT may be viewed in the table below:



  • The total time duration for CAT is 120 Minutes, with a sectional time limit of 40 minutes. 
  • The aspirants need to follow the sequence of the CAT Exam. 
  • As soon as the 40 minutes for one section is ended up, the computer screen automatically jumps to the next section. 
  • The total time duration for MAT Exam is 2 2.5 Hours. 
  • There is no sectional time limit in this exam, so aspirants can choose the paper sequence as per their preferences. 

MAT vs CAT Difficulty Level 

  • Management Aptitude Test: Management Aptitude Test: When compared to the CAT, the MAT exam is simpler. The questions in the MAT exam are of easy to moderate difficulty level. 
  • The Common Admission Test (CAT) is regarded as one of the most difficult MBA exams. The difficulty level of the question paper is usually moderate to high. 

Read more: Is CAT tougher than GMAT?

MAT vs CAT Marking Scheme 

Because both of these exams involve negative marking schemes, applicants must focus on accuracy during their preparation. The table below summarises the marking scheme differences between the MAT and CAT exams. 




Total Marks 



Marks Per Questions 



Negative Marking 

-1 (For MCQs Only) 


Blank Question 

No Marks 

No Marks 

Read more: CAT Marks vs Percentile

MAT vs CAT Syllabus

Aspirants planning to take both the CAT and MAT exams should be aware of the topics included in these exams. There is a significant gap between the MAT syllabus and CAT syllabus. Take note of the guideline table below for subject indications for MAT vs CAT. 



The CAT syllabus covers the following chapters 

  • VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension) 
  • DILR (Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
  • QA (Quantitative Aptitude) 

The MAT syllabus covers the following chapters: 

  • Data Analysis and Sufficiency 
  • Language Comprehension 
  • Intelligence and Critical Reasoning 
  • Mathematical Skills 
  • Indian and Global Environment 

MAT vs CAT Application Fee 

The table below summarizes the exam fee difference between MAT and CAT exams. 



General – Rs. 2,200/- for General 

Reserved Category- Rs. 1,100/- 

The application fee for MAT is Rs. 1,650/- for one paper, i.e, either, IBT, PBT, or CBT. If you wish to appear for both PBT and CBT, then the fees will be Rs. 2,750/- 

Read more: CAT Application Form

Top Colleges Accepting CAT Score Apart from IIMs 

Other than IIMs, the list of top 20 MBA colleges in India that accept CAT scores are listed below. The following IITs provide MBA programmes through their management studies departments and schools: 

S. No. 

Top 20 CAT Colleges 

MDI, Gurgaon 

IMT, Ghaziabad 

IIT Kanpur-IME 

IMI, Delhi 

IIT Delhi - DoMs 


IIT Madras - DoMs 

IIT Roorkee - DoMs 

IIT Kharagpur - VGoSM 


IIT Dhanbad - ISM 


Great Lakes Institute of Management 


IMT, Nagpur 


IMI, Kolkata 


IPE, Hyderabad 


ITM, University 


Institute of Management, Nirma University 


IIITM, Gwalior 


Goa Institute of Management (GIM), Goa 


National Institute of Technology, Warangal 


VIT Business School, Vellore 

Read more: CAT Exam Participating Colleges

Top Colleges Accepting MAT scores 

Over 700 MBA institutions in India accept MAT results. The list of top 20 MAT colleges in India that accept MAT scores for admission to MBA programmes is shown below: 

S. No. 

Top MAT Colleges 

Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Institute for Management Development, Mysore 

SPJIMR, Mumbai 

School of Business, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun 

Christ University, Bangalore 

National Institute of Technology Warangal 

VIT Business School, Vellore 

Prin LN Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Mumbai 

AIMS Institutes, Bangalore 

Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Kolkata 


Doon Business School, Dehradun 


PSG Institute of Management, Coimbatore 


ITM Business School, Navi Mumbai 


New Delhi Institute of Management, Delhi 


Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi 


Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship, Bangalore 


Chandigarh University, Chandigarh 


GITAM Hyderabad Business School, Hyderabad 


Techno India University, Kolkata 


Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai 


MIT School of Management, Pune 

Read more: How can I study MBA in top colleges?

To summarise, choosing between CAT and MAT is critical for MBA candidates. While the CAT provides access to the prestigious IIMs, the MAT provides a variety of opportunities at other prestigious B-schools across India.

When making this decision, it is important to examine parameters such as exam frequency, pattern, duration, and eligibility. Understanding the differences and similarities between both of these exams will allow you to start on your MBA journey with confidence, knowing that you've chosen the path that fits your aspirants and goals.

Also read: Which IIM is best for MBA?

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Frequently Asked Questions

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