Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam [CAT VS CMAT]

If you’re an MBA aspirant in India, you’re probably familiar with CAT and CMAT – two of the premier entrance tests for management courses. With a plethora of entrance exams available, choosing the right one can be challenging. Today, we’ll delve deep into the differences between CAT and CMAT Exam to help you make an informed decision. 

 Both CAT (Common Admission Test) and CMAT (Common Management Admission Test) are crucial stepping stones for students aiming to enter prestigious management institutes in India. While they share similarities, the differences are substantial and worth noting for aspirants. 

Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam 

CAT is the brainchild of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), designed to handpick students for their esteemed institutions. On the other hand, CMAT is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) and is accepted by a wide range of AICTE-approved colleges across the country. 

Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam : Purpose of the Exams

While both are gateways to stellar B-schools: 

  • CAT scores are primarily a ticket to IIMs and other top-tier management schools like FMS, SPJIMR, MDI, and more. 
  • CMAT, though, is essential for securing a seat in numerous AICTE-approved MBA and PGDM programs nationwide. 

Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam : Exam Pattern 

Common Admission Test (CAT): 

Duration: 120 minutes. 

Sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability. 

Each section has its timer, making time management vital. 

Common Management Admission Test (CMAT): 

Duration: 180 minutes. 

Sections: Quantitative Techniques & Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Language Comprehension, and General Awareness. 

The added General Awareness section in CMAT sets it apart from CAT. 

Also Read: Difference between CAT and GATE Exam

Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam : Eligibility Criteria

For both exams, a Bachelor’s degree is a must, but: 

  • CAT: Requires a 50% aggregate (45% for reserved category). 
  • CMAT: Generally follows the same criteria, but individual institutes might have slight variations. 

Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam: Application Process 

  • CAT typically opens its application window around August, with fees varying based on categories. It’s an online process. 
  • CMAT also boasts an online application mode, with fees structured differently for different genders and categories. 

Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam :Difficulty Level

Here’s where the real difference lies. While both exams test similar competencies: 

  • CAT is often perceived as more challenging, especially the Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation sections. 
  • CMAT is considered moderate, but the General Awareness section can be a game-changer for many. 

Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam : Participating  Institutes 

The Common Admission Test (CAT) primarily serves as the entrance examination for the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) – the premier B-schools in the country. However, besides the 20 IIMs, over 1,200 B-schools across India accept CAT scores. This includes other top-tier management institutions such as  

  • Faculty of Management Studies (FMS),  
  • Management Development Institute (MDI),  
  • SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), 

 The Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) is a nationally recognized entrance test conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA). Over 1,000 AICTE-approved institutions and universities across India use CMAT scores for admissions into their management programs  

Difference between CAT and CMAT Exam : Scorescard Validity 

  • CAT scores come with a normalization process due to the exam’s multiple slots. Its scores are typically valid for a year. 
  • CMAT scores, while straightforward, have a similar validity of one year. 

 Both CAT and CMAT are prestigious in their right. Your choice should be based on your target institutions, your strengths, and your preparation level. Do thorough research, understand what each exam demands, and take the plunge! 


In essence, while both the CAT and CMAT exams serve as crucial gateways to pursue management education in India, they cater to different spheres of the academic landscape. CAT, with its stringent evaluation and widespread acceptance, remains the beacon for aspirants vying for coveted seats in prestigious business schools, including the revered Indian Institutes of Management. On the other hand, CMAT provides a diverse array of opportunities for management enthusiasts seeking admission to AICTE-approved institutions offering MBA, PGDM, and allied programs. Understanding the disparities between these two exams empowers candidates to make informed decisions aligning with their academic and professional aspirations.


Q:What are the CAT and CMAT exams primarily used for?

A:CAT is primarily used for admissions into the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and several other top B-schools. CMAT scores are used by over 1,000 AICTE-approved institutions and universities across India for their management programs.

Q: Can I attempt both CAT and CMAT?

A:Yes, you can attempt both exams. Many students take both to maximize their chances of getting into a top B-school.

Q: How long are the CAT and CMAT scores valid?

A: Both CAT and CMAT scores are typically valid for one year.

Q: Are there any additional sections in CMAT that are not in CAT?

A: Yes, CMAT has a General Awareness section, which is not present in the CAT exam.

Q:Are CAT and CMAT conducted online?

A:Yes, both CAT and CMAT are computer-based tests.





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