GMAT, GRE or CAT – Which Exam Should You Take?

As an MBA aspirant who’s planning to pursue a course from the top institutes in India and abroad, you might’ve heard a lot about the GMAT, SAT and GRE exams. Choosing between these three widely accepted entrance tests could be a daunting task for you. All these exams are equally important to get you into the institution of your choice and have several similarities. However, these exams also differ in various aspects.

The following article will give you an insight into the differences between these three entrance examinations and will clear your doubts on which test is right for you.


The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and the Common Admission Test (CAT) are two of the top MBA entrance tests accepted by the Indian b-schools. However, CAT is a national level exam, while GMAT is an internationally accepted entrance exam. More than 1200 Indian b-schools accept the CAT scores for admission to their management programmes, whereas the GMAT scores are globally accepted by more than 2100 management colleges. Given below is a table that will give you an overview of GMAT vs CAT.

The GMAT is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). CAT is developed by the Indian Institutes of Management.
It  is an internationally accepted test. CAT is accepted only by Indian b-schools.
The GMAT exam is divided into 4 sections – Verbal Reasoning (VR), Quantitative Reasoning(QR), Analytical Writing Assessment(AWA) and Integrated Reasoning(IR) CAT has three sections – Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRAC), Quantitative Ability (QA), and  Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR).
Test fee is $250 for the GMAT exam(Approx. 18400 INR). The test fee for CAT is 2200 INR.
The minimum age limit to take the exam is 18. However, you can take the exam even if your age is between 13-17 years with written consent from the parents. There is no specified age bar.
The lifetime retake limit for the GMAT exam is 8. The maximum number of retakes allowed for a rolling period of 12 months is 5. CAT is conducted once a year.
The GMAT scores are valid for 5 years. CAT score is valid only for 1 year
The total duration of the GMAT exam is 3 hours 30 minutes with two optional 8-minute breaks. The total duration of the CAT exam is 2 hours.

Now, let’s take a look at GMAT vs GRE. The GMAT and GRE are the exams taken for admissions into master’s degree programs in business and other subjects. If you are planning to pursue a master’s degree in management, then you’ll have to take the GMAT exam. Likewise, if you wish to obtain a master’s degree in any field of your choice including law and science, you should take the GRE exam. Let’s take a look at the major differences between these exams.

Required for the admissions to MBA programs. GRE scores are required to obtain admissions to different graduate programs (including law and business).
The GMAT exam is 3 hours 30 minutes long (including two 8 minute breaks). The total time duration for the GRE is 3 hours 45 minutes (including a 10-minute break).
The GMAT test fee is 250$ (18400 INR approx.). The GRE test fee is 205$ (INR 14900 approx.).
The overall score range is 200-800. The sections in the GRE are scored separately. Hence, the overall score is not applicable.
Score validity is 5 years. Score validity is 5 years.
The test can be taken all year round. The test can be taken at any time.
The maximum retake limit for a rolling 12-month period is 5 and the lifetime limit is 8. The number of attempts you can have in a year is five, with a gap of 21 days between the retakes.

We hope now you know what differentiates these exams from one another. Choosing between the GMAT, CAT and GRE exams is a personal choice that depends on your knowledge and skills. Hence, consider the above information, know what your requirements are, and decide. Good luck!