CAT vs CMAT: Exam Pattern, Syllabus, and more

  • By Aashruti Bhadoria
  • 27 October 2023
CAT vs CMAT: Exam Pattern, Syllabus, and more

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In the world of education, getting an MBA degree is a big deal. It's like a golden ticket to better job opportunities. But before you can get that ticket, you need to pass an entrance exam. Two popular exams for MBA aspirants are the CAT exam and the CMAT exam. It's like choosing between two different paths to your MBA dream. In this blog, we'll break down the CAT vs CMAT dilemma by looking at their exam formats, what they cover, and more. This will help you pick the right path for your MBA journey.

CAT vs CMAT: Overview

Here is a general overview of the comparison between the CAT exam and the CMAT exam for better understanding:




Full Form 

Common Admission Test

Common Management Admission Test

Exam Conducting

Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)

National Testing Agency (NTA)

Exam Frequency

Once a year (typically in November)

Once a year (usually in January)

Exam Duration

180 minutes (3 hours)

180 minutes (3 hours)

Exam Sections

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) 
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) 
  • Quantitative Ability (QA)
  • Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation 
  • Logical Reasoning 
  • Language Comprehension 
  • General Awareness

Number of Questions

Approximately 65-70 questions

Approximately 100 questions

Exam Mode

Computer-Based Test (CBT)

Computer-Based Test (CBT)

Score Validity

Typically valid for one year

Typically valid for one year

Acceptance by Top B-Schools

Accepted by all major IIMs and numerous other top B-Schools

Accepted by many B-Schools across India

Difficulty Level

Known for its high difficulty level

Relatively moderate difficulty level

Also Read: CAT 2023 Form Correction Dates, CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Syllabus 

CAT vs CMAT: Exam Pattern




Total Sections

3 Sections 

4 Sections 

Sectional Time Allocation

  • VARC: 40 minutes
  •  DILR: 40 minutes 
  • QA: 40 minutes

No prescribed time limits for individual sections (flexible time management)

Marking Scheme

  • Correct Answer: +3 marks
  • Incorrect Answer: -1 mark
  • Correct Answer: +4 marks 
  • Incorrect Answer: -1 mark

Exam Duration

180 minutes (3 hours)

180 minutes (3 hours)

Question Types

Multiple-choice questions (MCQs)

Multiple-choice questions (MCQs)

CAT vs CMAT: Syllabus

It's important to note that while there are some similarities in the syllabi of CAT and CMAT, there are also distinct differences, especially in the sections related to General Awareness in CMAT and advanced mathematics in CAT. 

Here's a comparison of the syllabus for CAT and CMAT:

CAT Exam Syllabus

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC):

  • Reading Comprehension: Passages from various topics like literature, science, social issues, and history.
  • Vocabulary: Synonyms, antonyms, analogies, idioms, and vocabulary usage in context.
  • Grammar: Grammar-based questions, sentence correction, and sentence completion.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR):

  • Data Interpretation: Tables, graphs, charts, and calculations for analysis.
  • Logical Reasoning: Logical puzzles, arrangements, analytical reasoning, and inferences.

Quantitative Ability (QA):

  • Arithmetic: Percentage, profit and loss, time and work, time and distance, ratio and proportion.
  • Algebra: Quadratic equations, linear equations, and functions.
  • Geometry: Triangles, circles, quadrilaterals, and coordinate geometry.
  • Number System: Integers, fractions, decimals, and divisibility.
  • Advanced Mathematics: Probability, permutation and combination, and set theory.

CMAT Exam Syllabus

Quantitative Techniques:

  • Arithmetic: Number system, percentages, profit and loss, averages, ratio and proportion, time and work, time and distance, simple interest.
  • Algebra: Linear equations, quadratic equations, progressions.
  • Geometry: Lines, angles, triangles, circles, polygons.
  • Data Interpretation: Data tables, bar graphs, pie charts, line graphs.
  • Data Sufficiency: Analysing data to determine whether it's sufficient to answer a question.

Logical Reasoning:

  • Analytical Reasoning: Questions related to arrangements, statements, and conclusions.
  • Number and Letter Series: Identifying missing numbers or letters in a sequence.
  • Blood Relations: Questions based on family relationships.
  • Coding and Decoding: Deciphering coded messages.
  • Directions: Questions involving compass directions.
  • Clocks and Calendars: Problems related to time and dates.
  • Syllogism: Deductive reasoning questions.

Language Comprehension:

  • English Language Skills: Sentence correction, sentence improvement, sentence completion.
  • Reading Comprehension: Passages on various topics.

General Awareness (CMAT Only):

  • Current Affairs: Questions about recent national and international events.
  • Politics: Knowledge about Indian and world politics.
  • Sports: Information about sports events and personalities.
  • Culture: Questions about art, music, literature, and cultural events.
  • Economics: Basic economic concepts and current economic developments.

List of Colleges Accepting CAT and CMAT Scores

Numerous educational institutions across India accept both CAT and CMAT scores. Here are some of the esteemed colleges that consider CAT scores:

Colleges Accepting CAT Scores

  • IIM Ahmedabad
  • IIM Calcutta
  • IIM Kozhikode
  • BITS Pilani
  • MICA Ahmedabad
  • Department of Management Studies (DMS) - IIT Delhi

Non-IIM Colleges Accepting CAT Scores

  • IMI Delhi
  • BIM Trichy
  • IMT Ghaziabad
  • MDI Gurgaon
  • DMS IIT Delhi
  • Goa Institute of Management
  • BITS Pilani
  • Jagdish Sheth School of Management
  • XIM University Bhubaneswar
  • Welingkar Mumbai

Colleges Accepting CMAT Scores

  • Institute of Public Enterprise (IPE) Hyderabad
  • VIT Business School (VIT) Vellore
  • Delhi School of Business (DSB) Delhi
  • Jaipuria Institute of Management Noida
  • IFMR Graduate School of Business
  • Amrita School of Business Coimbatore
  • Woxsen University
  • Indus Business Academy - IBA Bangalore
  • Rajagiri Business School
  • Jaipuria Institute of Management Lucknow
  • Sri Balaji University Pune
  • AIMS Institutes
  • JIMS Rohini
  • ISBM Pune
  • Sparsh Global Business School
  • IFIM Institutions Bangalore
  • Sri Sri University Cuttack
  • NSB Academy
  • Jaipuria Institute of Management Jaipur
  • Amrita School of Business
  • NDIM
  • BIIB Pune
  • Alliance School of Business

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