GMAT vs GRE vs CAT: Key Difference, Colleges accepting the exams and More

7 mins

GMAT, GRE and CAT are the three main entrance exams. Students applying for a master’s degree usually prepare for any of these exams to fulfill the eligibility criteria of different universities. The exam pattern, format, marking scheme, universities accepting these tests all vary according to the tests. 

So let's discuss the major differences between these tests based on these factors:

Scope After CAT vs GMAT vs GRE

The scope of these entrance exams is limited to the universities you can apply for and the courses you can apply for. 

Scope After CAT

CAT is the most famous entrance exam among Indian students. A majority of universities in India accepts CAT score. Also, the top 100 b-schools in India accept the CAT score. 

Following is the list of top universities accepting CAT score in India:

University Name CAT Cut-offs as of 2022
Faculty of Management Studies99
JBIMS Mumbai95
IIM (various locations)95-99
Management Development Institute96


Scope After GMAT

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized admission test started for merely 54 schools. It has now gained recognition of over 3000 institutions worldwide.

Top 100 schools all over the globe accept the GMAT score for admission to their respective universities. GMAT has gained popularity for admissions to master's programs. Also, several recruiters might ask for your GMAT score during the interview process. 

Some of the top schools accepting GMAT scores are:

University Name Cut-offs as of 2022
Stanford University733
University of Pennsylvania722
Massachusetts University of Technology720
Harvard University730


Scope After GRE

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) by the Education Testing Systems (ETS) was initially accepted for universities in Canada and the US. However, it has gained recognition in most of the english speaking countries. 

While GMAT is popular amongst MBA applicants, GRE has gained popularity amongst students applying for graduate and doctoral programs along with MBA programs. There are only few universities in India which accept the GRE score.

Some of the top universities accepting GRE score are:

University NameCut-offs as of 2022
Massachusetts Institute of Technology155-162
Stanford University155-160
California Institute of Technology158-164
University of Oxford160+


Exam Syllabus GMAT vs CAT vs GRE

CAT Exam Syllabus

The CAT exam is divided into three sections namely Quantitative Ability (QA), Data Interpretations and Logical Reasoning, and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension.

The topics covered under these three sections are stated in the table below:

Sectional DivisionMain Topics
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Paragraph Summary
  • Para-jumbles and Misfit Sentences
  • Sentence Completion
  • Grammar and Usage
  • Verbal Reasoning: Fact-Interference-Judgement
    Vocabulary Based Questions
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  • Caselets, Tables, Bar Graphs, Column Graphs, Line Charts, Venn Diagrams, Pie Charts, Combination of two or more types linked to each other
  • Games & Tournaments, Number and Letter Series, Calendars; Cubes, Clocks, Venn Diagrams, Binary Logic, Seating Arrangement; Syllogism; Logical Sequence; Logical Connectives; Blood Relations
Quantitative Ability
  • Number Systems; LCM and HCF; Profit, Loss and Discount; Percentages; Speed, Time and Distance; Time and Work; Simple and Compound Interest; Ratio and Proportion; Averages
  • Quadratic Equations; Linear Equations; Complex Numbers; Logarithm; Binomial Theorem; Sequences and Series; Surds and Indices; Inequalities
  • Probability; Permutation and Combination; Set Theory; Functions; Mixtures and Alligations
  • Geometry; Trigonometry; Coordinate Geometry; and Mensuration.


GMAT Exam Syllabus

Gmat is a computerized test used as one of the eligibility criteria for admission to B-schools across the world. The test is divided into the following sub-sections.

Sectional DivisionMain Topics
Analytical Writing Assessment
  • This section tests your ability to organize your thoughts and support your viewpoints with valid examples. 
  • You will be provided with an argument topic may be related to business or general interests.
Integrated Reasoning
  • Multi-source reasoning: questions will ask you to synthesize, compare, interpret or apply the information presented in written passages, tables, graphs, diagrams and other types of visual representation.
  • Table analysis: questions ask you to determine statistics, ratios, proportions or probabilities, etc. from the given spreadsheet-like table with a drop-down menu.
  • Graphics interpretation: fill-in-the-blanks type questions to be answered on the basis of given bar graphs, line graphs, scatterplots and bubble graphs.
  • Two-part analysis: questions will ask you to calculate proportion, determine trade-offs, etc. and choose answer options that will be given in tabular format.
Quantitative Reasoning
  • Arithmetic: numbers and their powers and roots, fractions, decimals, percentages, ratio and proportion, sets, counting methods, discrete probability.
  • Algebra: equations, inequalities, absolute value, functions and exponents.
  • Geometry: Lines and angles, polygons, circles, solids, coordinate geometry.
  • Word problems: rate, time and work, mixtures, simple and compound interest, discounts, profit and loss, geometry problems, measurement problems and data interpretations.
Verbal Reasoning
  • Reading comprehension: questions ask you to refer to a passage of up to 350 words and answer questions based on the main idea, supporting ideas, inferences, context, style and tone, etc.
  • Critical reasoning: questions check you on argument construction, argument evaluation and formulating/evaluating a plan of action.
  • Sentence correction: questions are categorized into an agreement, diction, grammatical construction, idiom, logical predication, parallelism, rhetorical construction and verb form.


GRE Exam Syllabus

GRE is a standardized test that tests students' verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing skills.

The following table will elaborate on each section of the GRE test:

Sectional DivisionMain Topics
Analytical Writing SectionThis part of the test aims to measure the writer's ability to analyse and solve a situation while articulating complex ideas clearly and effectively. 
Verbal Reasoning Session
  • Basic Sentence structure: Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives
  • Verb Tense
  • Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
  • Pronoun Agreement
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Modifiers
  • Parallelism 
Quantitative Reasoning 
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Simple and Compound Interest
  • Permutation and Combination
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Statistics
  • Probability
  • Lines and Angles
  • Polygons 
  • Circles
  • Profit and Loss
  • Speed, Distance and Time
  • Linear Equations
  • Sets Theory
  • Power and Roots
  • Pipes and Cisterns
  • Triangles
  • Quadrilaterals
  • Coordinate Geometry

Exam Pattern (Questions, Time and Score) GRE vs GMAT vs CAT

GRE Exam Pattern 

The total time given for the GRE exam is 3 hours 45 minutes. The pattern of the GRE test is mentioned below:

Analytical Writing2 sections -  2 tasks60 minutes
Verbal Reasoning2 sections - 50 questions70 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning2 sections - 50 questions80 minutes


GMAT Exam Pattern

The Gmat exam has four sections - all of them time-based. It also provides you take 2 optional 8 minute break during the exam

Analytical Writing Assessment30 minutes - 1 question0-6 (in 0.5 points increment)
Integrated Reasoning30 minutes - 12 questions1-8 (in 1 point increment)
Quantitative Reasoning 62 minutes - 31 questions6-51 (in 1 point increment)
Verbal Reasoning65 minutes - 36 questions6-51 (in 1 point increment)


CAT Exam Pattern

Earlier CAT used to be a 3-hour exam but now it has been changed to a 2-hour exam in 2022. CAT 2022 is a 120 minutes test with 66 questions divided into MCQs and Non-MCQ questions.

SectionsMCQ QuestionsNon-MCQ QuestionsBreak-Down
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension1954 passages
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning155

LR - 10 questions

DI - 10 questions

Quantitative Ability148 


Test Fee CAT vs GMAT vs GRE

The test fee for GMAT and GRE is high as compared to that of a CAT exam. Applicants that are facing financial problems can also apply for a fee waiver for GMAT and GRE exams. 

Test Fee
  • Rs.2000/- For General Category
  • Rs.1000/- For SC/ST Category


Validity of Score GRE vs CAT vs GMAT

We would always suggest you to go for the exam which has longer validity. The reason behind is that there is a chance that your application may get rejected for a specific university and you have to wait until the next semester. You will not have to take the test again if it is valid for a longer period of time. 

TestScore Validity (In years)


Target Courses GMAT vs GRE vs CAT

While Gmat is meant for business schools applications, Gre opens the doors to almost every postgraduate degree available across the globe.

The CAT exam is generally for master’s admission in India and specifically for the post popular IIMs.

Also, a good GMAT or CAT score also helps you show off your quant skills to the admission committee.

Let's Clarify all your questions with the following comparison Table.

Full-FormCommon Admission TestGraduate Management Admission TestGraduate Record Examinations
Conducted By:The India Institute of ManagementGraduate Management Admission CouncilEducation Testing Service
Intakes:Last Sunday of November every yearRound the year (6 days a week except for Sundays and national holidays)Round the year (6 days a week except for Sundays and national holidays)
Registration:Register Online at at mba.comRegister at
Cost of Exam:
  • Rs.1800/- for General Category
  • Rs. 900/- for SC/ST/DA(PWD) Category
Number Of Sections

Three Sections:-

  1. Verbal Ability and Reading       Comprehension
  2. Data Interpretations and Logical Reasoning
  3. Quantitative Ability

Four Sections:-

  1. Analytical Writing
  2. Integrated Reasoning
  3. Quantitative Ability
  4. Verbal Ability

Section 1 - Two tasks 

Analysis of an Issue, Analysis of an Argument

Section 2 - Quantitative

Section 3 - Verbal

Test PatternComputer Based TestComputer Adaptive Test (Question Adaptive for Quantitative and Verbal Sections)Computer Based Test (Section-Adaptive)
Test Duration2 hours3 hours 30 minutes3 hours 45 minutes
Time Separation Between Sections40 minutes per section
  • 30 minutes each for section 1 and section 2 
  • 75 minutes each for section 3 and section 4
  • 30 minutes for each task of section 1
  • 30 minutes for each section of Verbal Reasoning
  • 35 minutes for each section of Quantitative Reasoning
Is Navigation Between Sections Allowed?YesNo Yes
Score Range Maximum Score - 228

Score Range: 200 to 800 for Quant and Verbal Sections

Score Range: 1 to 6 for Analytical Writing 

Score Range: 1 to 8 for Integrated Reasoning 

Score Range: 260 - 340 for Quant and Verbal Sections

Score Range: 1 - 6 for Analytical Writing Section

Marking Scheme

For MCQs:

  • 3 points for every correct answer
  • 1 point deducted for every wrong answer
  • For Non-MCQ questions:
  • 3 points awarded for every correct answer
  • No Negative Marking for Non-MCQ questions
Adaptive Logic Implies tougher questions carry more points and easier ones carry fewer points.All questions carry the same points.


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