Difference between CAT and GMAT syllabus

Difference between CAT and GMAT syllabus

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Vipra
Vipra Shrivastava
Senior Manager - Content
Updated on Mar 22, 2024 13:20 IST

CAT and GMAT are two of the most popular MBA entrance exams in India. Can one prepare for both CAT and GMAT together? We have listed the difference between CAT and GMAT syllabus in this article. Take a look.

CAT vs GMAT syllabus

Common Admission Test or CAT and Graduate Management Aptitude Test or GMAT are the most widely accepted exams for admission into MBA/PGDM programmes offered by top MBA colleges in India. Conducted by the Indian Institute of Management, CAT is a national level entrance exam accepted by over 1,200 B-Schools in India for admission. GMAT, is a global exam valid for admission to 2,100 management institutes across the world and over 100 Indian B-schools. IIMs accept GMAT for Executive MBA programmes and in case of foreign category students. But many MBA institutes (non-IIMs) accept CAT and GMAT both for admission to their MBA/PGP, EPGP and other courses. So, an MBA aspirant may get confused about choosing which MBA entrance exam to appear for.

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The nature of CAT and GMAT are totally different from each other and one needs to choose either of the two. Although, the subjects included in syllabus of CAT and GMAT are similar, the difficulty level is different. You can't prepare for both exam simultaneously, due to vast difference between pattern and structure. For both CAT and GMAT, single minded focus and dedicated exam preparation is necessary. In this article we have listed the difference between CAT and GMAT to help you in making a decision.

Q:   What is GMAT Focus Edition syllabus?

A:

GMAC has introduced the GMAT Focus Edition. The GMAT Focus Edition syllabus and pattern are different from the current GMAT 2023 exam. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) and Sentence Correction (SC) are not a part of the GMAT Focus Edition syllabus. A new section, called Data Insights (DI), has been introduced. Data Sufficiency (DS), which used to form a part of the GMAT Quants section, will now be a part of the Data Insights (DI) section. Moreover, the GMAT Focus Edition is shorter than the current version of the GMAT 2023 exam by about an hour.

Q:   Can I complete the GMAT syllabus 2024 without coaching?

A:

It is very much possible to complete the GMAT syllabus without coaching. Typically, it takes about 3-6 months to prepare for the GMAT exam 2023. The first thing you need to do is to appear for a full-length GMAT mock test (without preparation). For this test, you will get to know your current levels of preparation. Now, must start with the official GMAT study material. Make sure that you complete it at least twice. As you prepare, you need to make short notes for revision. Having completed all this, you can now move on to other resources such as the Manhattan Guides, Veritas study material, etc. Make sure that you appear for as many GMAT mock tests as possible.

Q:   What is GMAT Syllabus?

A:

GMAT exam includes three sections namely Quantitative Reasoning Section, Verbal Reasoning Section and Data Insights Section on the GMAT Focus Edition syllabus. Each section is designed to test different skill sets. The Quantitative Reasoning section contains 21 questions to be answered in 45 minutes, the Verbal Reasoning section contains 23 questions to be answered in 45 minutes and the Data Insights Section which tests 20 questions in 45 minutes. Typically, it takes about 3-6 months to cover the entire GMAT exam syllabus. So applicants must plan accordingly for their preparation.

What is the Difference between CAT and GMAT Syllabus?

The biggest difference between CAT syllabus and GMAT syllabus is the section - Analytical Writing Assessment. This section is an important part of GMAT whereas CAT has no such subjective paper. In this article, we will discuss the syllabus of CAT and GMAT and their differences and similarities.

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CAT vs GMAT: Difference in Syllabus

CAT syllabus includes important topics from Quantitative, Logical and Verbal Reasoning, under the sections - Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC). 

GMAT syllabus also includes Quantitative, Logical and Verbal Reasoning but under sections - Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment. Let’s take a look at the topics included in CAT and GMAT.

Q:   What are various topics in the GMAT Focus Edition syllabus?

A:

GMAT Focus Edition syllabus differs from the current GMAT exam 2023 syllabus. The following points will provide you an overview of the sections, number of questions, time, and various topics of the GMAT Focus Edition 2023:

  • Quantitative Reasoning (21 Questions in 45 Minutes) = Algebra + Arithmetic
  • Verbal Reasoning (23 Questions in 45 Minutes) = Reading Comprehension + Critical Reasoning
  • Data Insights (20 Questions in 45 Minutes) = Data Sufficiency + Multi-source Reasoning + Table Analysis + Graphics Interpretation + Two-part Analysis

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) and Sentence Correction (SC) do not form a part of the GMAT Focus Edition.

Q:   What are the important topics of CAT syllabus from which maximum questions are asked?

A:
CAT lays a lot of emphasis on analytical skills so the questions are asked mostly from those topics which require deep learning and practice. The three sections of CAT question paper are designed in such a way that candidates have to use their ability of minute observation and fast calculation. Shared below are the section wise main topics from which questions are asked in CAT. Verbal Ability: Parajumbles, Parasummary, Sentence Completion and Inferences Reading Comprehension: Questions based on passages, Para meaning, Order of sentences Data Interpretation: Tables, Graphs, Pie Charts, Venn Diagram, Data Sufficiency Logical Reasoning: Blood Relation, Seating Arrangement, Syllogism, Coding-Decoding, Sets and Caselets, Family Tree, Assumptions Quantitative Aptitude: Geometry, Algebra Number System Modern Math, Arithmetic, Mensuration The difficulty level of CAT questions is usually moderate to high. Only a few questions are easy and quick to solve. To crack the CAT exam, one needs to pay attention to the abovementioned topics.

Q:   What is the syllabus for CAT exam?

A:
CAT syllabus includes all the important topics of subjects that are relevant for business aptitude. For CAT exam, candidates have to study, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension VARC Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning DILR and Quantitative Aptitude. Given below are the key topics included in the CAT syllabus. The VARC section of CAT exam syllabus includes various topics of English Grammar, Word Meaning, Vocabulary, Parajumbles, Paracompletion, Parasummary, Fill in the Blanks, Verbal Reasoning and Reading Comprehension. The Quantitative Aptitude section of CAT syllabus includes all the topics of Mathematics from Class 9 to 10 such as Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra Trigonometry Modern Math, Number System and Mensuration. The DILR syllabus of CAT exam includes topics that require analytical interpretation of data presented in the form of Puzzles, Pie Charts, Venn Diagram, Tables and Bar Graphs.

Q:   What is the section-wise weightage of VARC, DILR and Quantitative Aptitude in CAT Syllabus?

A:
The CAT exam has three sections - Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude. Among these three sections, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension has the maximum weightage of 24 questions and 72 marks. The Quantitative Aptitude has second the highest weightage of 22 questions and 66 marks. The Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section has the lowest weightage of 20 questions and 60 marks. Topic-wise, Reading Comprehension dominates the English section with about 14-16 questions. Rest of the questions are asked on parajumble, sentence completion, etc. In Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, the weightage of questions of both the sub topics is equal, I. e. 10 questions each. The questions are asked from Tables, Graphs, Pie Charts, Venn Diagram, Blood Relation, Seating Arrangement, Caselets and Syllogism. In the Quantitative Aptitude section, the maximum questions are asked from Algebra and Mensuration. Other topics from which questions are asked include Geometry, Number System Arithmetic and Modern Math.

Q:   What is the difference between the syllabus of CAT and the syllabus of GMAT?

A:

CAT syllabus comprises topics like Quantitative, Logical and Verbal Reasoning, under the sections - Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC).

Whereas, GMAT Focus Edition syllabus comprises sections on Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Data Insights. Irrespective of the exam, it is important for the students to understand the pattern and the syllabus of the exam they are appearing for.

Also Read: Difference between CAT and GMAT

GMAT syllabus

GMAT Syllabus: Verbal Reasoning section

Check the table below for Verbal Reasoning topics included in the GMAT exam syllabus.

Verbal Reasoning topics for GMAT

  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Verb Tense
  • Identify the Reasoning
  • Pronouns
  • Sentence Correction
  • Parallelism/Comparison
  • Inference
  • Idioms
  • Resolve/Explain
  • Misplaced Modifiers
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Assumption
  • Strengthen/Weaken

GMAT Syllabus: Quantitative Reasoning

Check the table below for Quantitative Reasoning topics included in the GMAT exam syllabus.

Quantitative Reasoning topics for GMAT

  • Number Systems & Number Theory
  • Multiples and Factors
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Percentages
  • Averages
  • Powers and Roots
  • Profit & Loss, Simple & Compound Interest
  • Speed, Time & Distance
  • Pipes, Cisterns & Work Time
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Mixtures & Alligation
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Sets
  • Permutation & Combination
  • Monomials, Polynomials
  • Algebraic Expressions and Equations
  • Functions
  • Exponents
  • Arithmetic & Geometric Progression
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Inequalities and Basic Statistics
  • Lines and Angles
  • Triangles &  Quadrilaterals
  • Rectangular Solids and Cylinders
  • Coordinate Geometry
  • Circles

GMAT Syllabus: Integrated Reasoning

Check the table below for Integrated Reasoning topics included in the GMAT exam syllabus.

Integrated Reasoning topics for GMAT

  • Multi-Source Reasoning
  • Graphics Interpretation
  • Table Analysis
  • Two-Part Analysis

CAT syllabus

CAT Syllabus: Quantitative Aptitude

Check the table below for Quantitative Aptitude topics included in the GMAT exam syllabus.

Quantitative Aptitude topics of CAT

  • Geometry
  • HCF & LCM
  • Averages
  • Partnership (Accounts)
  • Profit & Loss
  • Time-Speed-Distance
  • Ratios and Proportion
  • In-equations Quadratic and linear equations
  • Surds and Indices
  • Geometric Progression
  • Inequalities
  • Work and Time
  • Logarithms

CAT Syllabus: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension 

Check the table below for VARC topics included in the GMAT exam syllabus.

VARC topics for CAT

  • Fill in the Blanks
  • Sentence Completion
  • Grammar
  • Syllogisms
  • Jumbled Paragraphs
  • Para Completion and Inference
  • Contextual Usage
  • Foreign Words
  • Analogies
  • Sentence Correction
  • Verbal Logic
  • Different Usage of Same Word
  • Idioms
  • Antonyms
  • One Word Substitution

 CAT Syllabus: Logical Reasoning

Check the table below for Logical Reasoning topics included in the GMAT exam syllabus.

Logical Reasoning topics for CAT

  • Blood Relations
  • Series
  • Proposition
  • Direction Sense
  • Coding-Decoding
  • Assumptions
  • Puzzles
  • Clocks and Calenders
  • Statements
  • Data Arrangement
  • Family Tree
  • Binary Logic
  • Seating Arrangement
  • Sets
  • Data Structures
  • Syllogism

 CAT Syllabus: Data Interpretation

Check the table below for Data Interpretation topics included in the GMAT exam syllabus.

Data Interpretation topics for CAT

  • Tables
  • Pie Charts
  • Caselets
  • Bars
  • Line Graphs
  • Data Sufficiency

CAT vs GMAT: Difference in Exam Pattern

Let’s take a look at the main difference between GMAT exam pattern and CAT exam pattern:

Features

GMAT exam pattern

CAT exam pattern

Sections

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

Number of sections

Four

Three

Total number of questions

80

66

Exam duration

3.hours 7 minutes

2 hours

Question type

MCQs and a writing assessment

MCQs and key-in answers

Sectional flexibility

Can decide order of sections to answer

Have to follow chronology of the CAT question paper

Total number of attempts

Can take the exam five times a year

Can take the exam only once a year

Marking scheme

  • 0-6 marks for Analytical Writing Assessment
  • 1-8 marks for Integrated Reasoning
  • 6-51 marks for Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning
  • 3 marks for correct answer
  • -1 mark for incorrect answer
  • No deduction for incorrect answer in non-MCQs

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FAQs Related to CAT and GMAT Syllabus

Q: Is GMAT easier than CAT?

A: Overall, GMAT can been seen as easier than CAT as it is an adaptive test which means after the first attempt of GMAT, the subsequent question papers are set for every candidates on the basis of the assessment of their performance in the first attempt. If they cracked tough questions, the subsequent paper will be tough, if they cracked moderate questions better, the subsequent paper will be of moderate difficulty.

Q: What is the difference between CAT and GMAT exam?

A: CAT is a national level test, while GMAT is a global entrance exam for MBA admissions. While CAT is accepted only in Indian MBA colleges, GMAT is accepted in both Indian as well as foreign MBA colleges. In India, GMAT is mostly accepted for admission to MBA/PGDM and Executive MBA programmes.

Q: Is CAT preparation enough to appear for GMAT?

A: The syllabus of GMAT may give you the impression that CAT preparation is enough for it. However, CAT preparation is not enough to take GMAT. One needs to prepare separately for GMAT, for at least 2-3 months because the GMAT exam pattern, marking scheme and type of questions are different from that of CAT.

Q: How many attempts are allowed in GMAT?

A: Five attempts are allowed in GMAT in one year. Candidates can attempt GMAT five times to improve their score. They have the option to book a slot for re-exam, and appear for it by preparing better. This gives a candidate enough insight and practice for improving their score to get the best university.

Q: For how long is GMAT score valid?

A: GMAT score is valid for five years. If you have appeared for GMAT in 2023, the score will be valid for admission till 2028. CAT score on the other hand, is valid for only one year. If you appear for CAT in 2024, the score will be valid for admission to 2024-26 MBA batch only.

Q: Is GMAT exam fee higher than CAT exam fee?

A: Yes, the fees of GMAT is much higher than CAT. While CAT fee is INR 2,400 for General category students, GMAT fees in USD 275 (roughly INR 25,010 for all candidates). However, the GMAT fee includes all the five attempts. So you don't have to re-register for retakes.

Q: What is the difference in syllabus of CAT and XAT?

A: The main difference between CAT syllabus and GMAT syllabus is the section - Analytical Writing Assessment, which is a subjective section. One has to write a short essay on the give topic in AWA. CAT has no subjective question.

Q: How many months is required to prepare for CAT exam?

A: To prepare for CAT exam, one must spend at least six to nine months on preparation. In this duration, they need to cover the vast CAT syllabus and practice 40 mock tests. However, those who have already taken the exam before or taken any other MBA entrance exam may complete CAT preparation in lesser time duration.

Q: How many months is required to prepare for GMAT?

A: It depends on the candidate that in how many months they can prepare for GMAT. Some cover all the topics in three months while some take more than six months. Generally, six months is recommended to all candidates for GMAT preparation. n this duration, they need to cover the vast GMAT syllabus and practice 40 mock tests. 

Q: Can I score 650 plus in GMAT without coaching?

A: Yes, one can score well in GMAT without coaching provided they dedicate about six months to exam preparation. Start with either quant or verbal. To understand the basics take help from the official GMAT preparation guide. If you are comfortable with basics, then start solving sample questions from official guide.

Q: I am planning to study MBA abroad. How much GMAT score should I target?

A: For selection in to an MBA programme at a foreign university, you must score 650 and above in GMAT. The top universities have GMAT cut off of over 700, so ideally one should aim above 700. If they score around 650, they will definitely get a top Indian B-school.
About the Author
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Vipra Shrivastava
Senior Manager - Content

Vipra is a massive Breaking Bad fan. When not watching crime drama series, she spends time in updating the list of places she wants to visit and people she wants to meet, but she is happiest in the company of dogs. ... Read Full Bio