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What are the differences between CAT, MAT, & CMAT?

Jul 21, 2017 09:50 IST
    What are the differences between CAT MAT and CMAT
    What are the differences between CAT MAT and CMAT

    Which MBA Entrance exam will you appear for in the year 2017?

    OMG!! The list seems to be Endless. . . . . .

    And the list is dure to create doubts about the fact that which exam to appear for and which ones to leave?

    To answer your query, you must note that in order to seek admissio in the top MBA Institute, different Management Institutes conduct their own entrance test to shortlist the candidates for the final selection. But it is the students who are bearing the brunt for sitting in 'n' number of exams that too after paying hefty application fee for appearing in these entrance exams.

    In a bid to handpick good products there's been a spree among various business schools to make students sit in their entrance exams for getting admission in these institutions. But finally there is good news!!

    Apart from CAT which is considered by 19 IIMs and 100 other Management Institutes for their admission process, CMAT has been introduced by AICTE in February 2012.

    The main objective of introducing CMAT is to reduce the stress of students, expenditures on coaching for different entrance exams of b-schools, mock tests, books and various other materials available in the market required for preparation.

    Fig: Level of Difficulty of Management Exams

    With the introduction of CMAT, now students can take only one exam as it covers more than 4000 Management Institutes to provide access to around 1.6 lacs seats across the nation. Though CMAT is the new kid on the block but it is gaining its popularity among students by proving its worth.


    MAT is another entrance exam which is taken by students for getting admission in second tier of b-schools. MAT covers around 600 b-schools across India and is conducted 4 times in a year. We will be discussing in detail the differences between all the three formats of exams viz CAT/MAT/CMAT.

    Before discussing the differences between CAT, MAT and CMAT, let us have a look at the formats of these dynamic yet magnetic entrance exams.

    CAT 2017

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

    As per the latest trends, the structuring of the CAT exam 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 (VRC, 34 questions)

    Read Also: Top MBA Colleges Accepting CAT Scores

    CMAT 2018

    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. Also, Candidates appearing for Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) will be having an upper hand in the sense that they will have to face less number of questions i.e., 100 as compared to 200 questions of MAT.

    Read Also: Top MBA Colleges Accepting CMAT Scores

    MAT 2017

    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.

    A student can appear 4 times for MAT exam in a single year:

    The level of the exam is not 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

    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: +4

    Incorrect Answer: -1


    Correct Answer: +4

    Incorrect Answer: -1


    Correct Answer: +1

    Incorrect Answer: -.25


    Release of Notification


    July (2016)

    January (2017)

    September (2016)

    No. of Exam conducted per year


    Once in a year

    Once in a year

    Four times in a year

    Exam Date


    29th November 2016 (Sunday)




    How to Apply


    Online Application



    Major Colleges


    All IIMs, IITs, FMS, MDI, IMT

    JBIMS, K.J. Somaiya, GIM

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


                                        Section Wise Comparison


    Of late there has been a craze among students to get admission in top b-schools. This craze and sensation among students is fathomable as a management degree unlock the door to coveted positions of corporate world.

    Hence, whatever entrance exam you take, you should know your “STRENGTHS & WEEKNESS” before you sit for these exams.

    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.

    We wish you all the very best for your targeted MBA Entrance Exam!!

    Share this article in order to aware other about the striking difference between CAT, MAT and CMAT. You can also post your comments if we have missed any significant aspect that can highlight the difference between these entrance exams.

    For more updates on MBA Exams, stay tuned with us!

    DISCLAIMER: JPL and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.

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