What is the differences between CAT, MAT, and CMAT?

As an MBA Aspirant, preparing for MBA entrace exams might seem easy but exams such as CAT, MAT and CMAT differ on various parameters. Find out the difference among their  exam pattern, mode of application and their relevance to get admission in top MBA Institute of India.

Created On: Sep 4, 2019 18:21 IST
What are the differences between CAT MAT and CMAT
What are the differences between CAT MAT and CMAT

Management Studies have emerged as one of the top most popular choices for higher studies among students in the last few years. However, to pursue a management course, MBA aspirants have to appear for a management entrance test. And this is where the real dilemma begins. Choosing which MBA entrance exam to appear for among several MBA entrance exams appears to be a tough choice, considering the application fee, application process, and preparation which goes into to gain a good percentile. Some of the popular Management entrance exams are CAT, CMAT, MAT, XAT, IIFT, SNAP etc. Different management institutes accept different management entrance and some even conduct their own entrance tests.

However, keeping in view the acceptance of score and popularity of the MBA entrance exam, Common Admission Test or CAT is considered as one of the most popular and prestigious management entrance test in the country. CAT is conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management, the top b-schools in the country. However with the rising number of IIM aspirants the competition in the CAT exam has increased a lot and secure admission on of top-10 b-schools one needs to score a 99+ percentile in the CAT exam. CAT thus becomes one of the toughest management entrance exam to crack.

So, what if someone is unable to perform their best in the CAT exam, does that mean they can get into one of the top-schools in the country. Of course not, there are other popular entrance exam CMAT and MAT both of which are accepted by other top b-schools in the country.

Let's have a look at how the three most popular management entrance exams in the country differ from one another.

Difference in the Difficulty Level of CAT, MAT and CMAT Exams

Fig: Level of Difficulty of Management Exams

CAT as we have discussed above in one of the toughest management entrance exams to crack. CMAT is relatively easier to crack as compared to CAT. The CMAT exam was introduced with the objective to reduce the stress student's experienced when preparing for a management entrance exam. MAT on the other hand is conducted 4 times a year and allows students access to the second tier b-schools in the country.


Now, before delving into the different between the management entrance exams let us first understand the basic format of all three of them.

CAT 2019

Common Aptitude Test or CAT opens up the door to top b-schools in India including premium institutions like IIMs, FMS, MDI, IIT, NITIE, IIT, SP JAIN etc. CAT is not that easy to crack and candidates need a good percentile to move to the next level of selection process which entails Group Discussion, Essay and Personal Interview (GDPI). And only those candidates who clear all the levels will be considered eligible for admission.

The exam pattern for the CAT as per the latest trends is as follows:

There are three sections:

  1. Quantitative Ability (QA, 34 questions),
  2. Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR, 32 questions) and
  3. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC, 34 questions)

Read Also: Top MBA Colleges Accepting CAT Scores

CMAT 2019

Common Management Aptitude Test, it is another national level entrance exam which is conducted online (computer based test) by AICTE. This exam is good for those students who are from Maharashtra as DTE (Directorate of Technical Education), Maharashtra considers best of the two scores out of CMAT score and MAHCET score (either you need to take the CMAT or MAHCET) to provide you access in the top colleges like JBIMS and other top institutes of Mumbai/Pune. But, you need to get registered with CAP (Centralized Admission Process) of DTE Maharashtra in order to be considered for admissions in Maharashtra management colleges while appearing for one of the national level entrance exams. However, students from outside Maharashtra can also appear in this exam as there is no such bar for outside students.

Read Also: Top MBA Colleges Accepting CMAT Scores

MAT 2019

MAT stands for Management Aptitude Test. MAT is conducted by AIMA (All India Management Association) and is recognized by MHRD, GOI as a National Level Entrance Test. The exam is conducted 4 times a year.

The level of this exam is not hard as that as of CAT exam and any average student can easily score 80 percentile score in this exam. However, you need to score more than 95 percentile to grab a seat in top second tier AICTE approved b-schools like Christ College Institute of Management, Bangalore, IMS (Ghaziabad) and BIMTECH (Noida) etc.

The test pattern is more or less same as that of the CAT. In MAT, there is an additional section on General Awareness. Though clearing each section is mandatory yet, the General Awareness section score is not taken into consideration while calculating the percentile.

Read Also: Top MBA Colleges Accepting MAT Scores

Difference Between CAT, MAT and CMAT

Having understood the formats of these exams, now let's have a look at the key differences between these exams with the help of a table.





Number of Sections







180 Minutes

180 Minutes

150 Minutes

No. of Questions



100 (25 from each section)

200 (40 from each section)

No. of Papers





Test Centre


Candidates can choose four cities as per the choices


Candidates can choose three cities

Candidates can choose three cities

Level of Difficulty





Marking Scheme


Correct Answer: +3

Incorrect Answer:



Correct Answer: +4

Incorrect Answer:



Correct Answer: +1

Incorrect Answer: -.25


No. of Exam conducted per year


Once in a year

Once in a year

Four times in a year

How to Apply


Online Application



Major Colleges



JBIMS, K.J. Somaiya, GIM

Christ College Institute of Management, IMS, BIMTECH (Noida)


Section Wise Comparison                                  


We hope that with our insights and valuable inputs on differences between CAT, MAT and CMAT, you will be able to choose the right exam for yourself that can save you time, money and extra efforts. For more updates such update on MBA entrance exams visit the MBA section on our website www.jagranjosh.com.

Cat Percentile Predictor 2021
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