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Is CAT tougher than GMAT?

Author : Palak Khanna

Updated On : July 23, 2023


Summary: Is CAT tougher than GMAT? examines the relative difficulty of the exam! The article includes advice and strategies to help prospective test-takers better prepare for the rigour of CAT.

The Common Admission Test (CAT) and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) are both highly respected and competitive exams, opening doors to prestigious business schools. 

But a question that often perplexes MBA aspirants is - "Is CAT tougher than GMAT?" 

In reality, the answer to this question isn't straightforward and depends largely on individual strengths and career aspirations.

Is CAT tougher than GMAT?

Understanding CAT and GMAT

CAT, conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), is primarily targeted towards Indian B-schools, while GMAT, conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), is widely accepted globally. Both exams test quantitative, verbal, and reasoning abilities, but the format, context, and focus areas vary.

Comparing CAT and GMAT

The difficulty of sections in both exams can be subjective and depends on individual competencies.

The Quantitative section in CAT is often considered trickier with its emphasis on advanced topics like Geometry and Algebra.

Is GMAT is tougher than CAT?

GMAT Quant, on the other hand, focuses more on basic Arithmetic and Algebra, testing logic and analytical skills.

The Verbal section in CAT focuses on Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability, with a noticeable emphasis on vocabulary. In contrast, GMAT's Verbal section primarily revolves around Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension, requiring a strong understanding of grammatical rules and logical reasoning.

CAT's Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section involves complex problem-solving and can be more time-consuming. GMAT's Integrated Reasoning tests the ability to interpret and analyze data from multiple sources, which is challenging but often considered less tricky than CAT's DILR.

Check: CAT Books 2023

Time Management in CAT vs GMAT

Time management can be a determining factor in perceiving the difficulty of these exams.

CAT's three-hour structure with a sectional time limit can seem stringent to some, while GMAT's 3.5-hour format with flexible time allotment per section might offer some relief to others.

Test Preparation for CAT vs GMAT

GMAT vs CAT which is better?

It is difficult to say which exam is better as it largely depends on the individual's needs, interests and goals.

CAT requires a strong conceptual understanding and is often thought to need more rigorous preparation given the intense competition.

GMAT, while still demanding, may have a slightly more manageable syllabus for those comfortable with grammar rules and basic quantitative concepts.

But again, this perception can vary widely based on individual strengths.

Check: How important is GK for MBA entrance exams?

Relevance to Career Goals

CAT is generally more relevant for those targeting Indian B-schools.

GMAT, while accepted by some Indian schools, is more suitable for those aspiring for international MBA programs.

The choice between the two should align with the candidate's career goals.

Check: How Many Students Give CAT Exam?


So, is CAT tougher than GMAT? There's no definitive answer. It's more about where your strengths lie and which exam aligns better with your career ambitions. Understand the structure, format, and requirements of both exams, analyse your skills, and choose the one that plays to your strengths. Regardless of the choice, consistent preparation, rigorous practice, and sound time management are indispensable for achieving success.

Check: Is class 12 marks important for CAT?

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any age limits to appear for the CAT exam?

How can I apply for the CAT Exam?

What score do I need to get on the CAT in order to be competitive for MBA programs?

Are there practice materials available for the CAT?

Does the CAT have a section on Verbal reasoning?


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