Similarities and Differences between MAT, CMAT & CAT

Last Updated - January 20 2018

There are numerous aspirants who wish to pursue MBA as a career choice. If you consider MBA degree as a passport to your career, then considering the degree from a prestigious institute becomes a priority. In this regard, the primary goal lies in learning and understanding about the most famous management entrance exams.

CMAT (Common Management Admission Test), MAT (Management Aptitude Test) & CAT (Common Aptitude Test), all three entrance tests are organized for providing admission in management and allied courses. Often, candidates wonder about which is a better option to choose.

Since CAT Exam is very high in difficulty level, candidates look for easier options- MAT & CMAT. This article explicates the difference and similarities between MAT, CMAT & CAT so that you streamline your strategy and get into your dream B- School. 

Overview of MAT, CMAT & CAT

CMAT is organized by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to offer admission for MBA in the colleges approved by AICTE. CMAT 2018 is scheduled on January 20. This exam was introduced to reduce the burden of students who plan to appear in various state board or private college entrance exams. The main objective of introducing CMAT is to reduce the stress of students and expenditures on coaching for various entrance exams of B- schools, mock tests, books and different other materials that are available in the market need for preparation.

On the other hand, MAT is organized by All India Management Association (AIMA). It is a standardized test to facilitate Business school to screen the students. MAT 2018 is scheduled for February 4 (offline) and February 17 (online).

A good CAT score is a ticket to top B- schools in India including premium institutions like IIMs, FMS, MDI, IIT, NITIE, SP Jain etc. You obligatory a good CAT Result or percentile to crack the test and for the further selection procedure. More than 100 institutes use CAT score to shortlist aspirants for their admission procedure.


Below are the key differences between CAT, CMAT & MAT exams for the reference of aspirants:

Number of SectionsThreeFourFive
Period180 minutes180 minutes150 minutes
No. of Questions100100 (25 from each section)200 (40 from each section)
No. Of Papers111
Test CentreAspirants can choose four cities as per the choicesAspirants can choose three citiesAspirants can choose three cities
Level of DifficultyHighModerateModerate
Marking SchemeAccurate Response: +4 Inaccurate Response: -1Accurate Response: +4 Inaccurate Response: -1Accurate Response: +1 Inaccurate: -.25
No. of Exams organized yearlyOnce a YearOnce a YearFour times a year
Major CollegesAll IIMs, IITs, FMS, MDI, IMTJBIMS, K.J. Somaiya, GIMChrist College Institute of Management, IMS, BIMTECH (Noida)
How to ApplyOnline

Exam Format

CMAT –It’s an online exam. The period of the exam is 180 minutes. Check CMAT Exam Format An exam of total 100 questions, 4 sections each consisting of 25 questions.

MAT – It consists of objective questions and it can be both online and offline method on the basis of the student’s convenience. This exam is organized four times a year- January, May, September and December. It’s an exam of total 200 questions and obligations to be responded in 2 hours 30 mins.

CAT – This exam is divided into three sections:

  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR, 32 questions)
  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VRC, 34 questions)
  • Quantitative Ability (QA, 34 questions)

Marking Scheme

In CMAT, each question carries 4 marks and 1 mark is deducted for every wrong response. Students can have a trail of the test to get familiar with CMAT exam format.

In MAT, each question carries 1 mark and for every wrong response, ¼mark is deducted.

In CAT, every accurate response carries +4 marks and for every wrong response -1 is deducted. There is no negative marking for MCQs and no penalty for unresponsive questions.

Cut Off Marks

  • An at least of 90 percentile is need to qualify for the CAT score.
  • The score of 290-300 in CMAT will lead the student to top business school. Check CMAT Cutoff
  • A score of 80 to 100 is considered as a good attempt in MAT.

Difficulty Level

There isn’t much difference between CMAT and MAT in comparison with CAT. CMAT Exam is much easier than MAT as the number of questions to be responses are less than the number of questions in MAT.

CAT is considered to be one of the toughest exams and considers normalization mode for results.

The period of time given to solve CMAT exam is more than MAT, although there is no significant difference in the nature of the questions asked in MAT and CMAT both very various from CAT exams.

Advise to MBA Candidates

Many students who aspire for MBA, stress themselves to qualify the toughest entrance exams like CAT. Here’s where exams like CMAT or MAT make their way to B- schools and the difficulty level of these tests is also moderate in comparison to CAT. There is a huge competition and not all students are successful.

Remember, whatever entrance exam you take up, you should know your strengths & weaknesses. We hope with our insights and inputs, it will be much easier to choose the right exam that can save you time, money and extra efforts. Good luck!

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