College Disha
CAT vs NMAT 2024: Which Exam is Better?

Update on 16 May, 23

CAT vs NMAT 2024: Which Exam is Better?

In the realm of management education in India, two prominent entrance exams, CAT (Common Admission Test) and NMAT (NMIMS Management Aptitude Test), hold the key to unlocking admission opportunities at prestigious business schools.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive comparison of CAT and NMAT, shedding light on various aspects to help you make an informed decision regarding the exam that best aligns with your aspirations.

CAT vs NMAT 2024: Exam Structure


  • Conducted once a year
  • CAT is divided into three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA)
  • Duration- 180 minutes
  • Approximately 100 questions


  • Conducted over a specific period (October to December)
  • Three sections- Language Skills, Quantitative Skills, Logical Reasoning
  • Duration- 120 minutes
  • Approximately 108 questions

CAT vs NMAT 2024: Difficulty Level


  • Known for its high difficulty level
  • Requires comprehensive preparation and strong conceptual understanding
  • Tests complex problem-solving and critical reasoning abilities


  • Moderately challenging
  • Focuses on assessing basic aptitude and language proficiency
  • Tests problem-solving skills and logical reasoning abilities

Acceptance by B-Schools


  • Widely accepted by top-tier business schools in India, including the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)
  • Numerous other reputed B-schools consider CAT scores for admission


  • Accepted by a diverse range of management institutes in India, such as NMIMS School of Business Management, Xavier University, and SP Jain Institute of Management and Research
  • Provides opportunities for admission to various programs

Flexibility and Multiple Attempts


  • Candidates can appear for CAT only once a year
  • The obtained score is valid for one year


  • Allows multiple attempts within the specified testing window
  • Candidates can submit their best score to B-schools
  • The obtained score remains valid for one year

Test Pattern and Sectional Structure


  • Emphasizes all three sections equally
  • Sectional time limits and strict division of questions
  • Performance in each section crucial for overall success


  • No negative marking or sectional time limits
  • Candidates can freely navigate between sections
  • Enables focus on individual strengths and efficient time management

Scoring and Percentile Calculation


  • Raw score-based scoring with a normalization process
  • Percentile calculation compares a candidate's performance against other test-takers


  • Uses a scaled scoring method
  • Percentile calculation based on the candidate's performance relative to other test-takers

CAT vs NMAT 2024: Preparation Resources


  • The abundance of study materials, books, and online resources available
  • Specialized CAT preparation courses offered by coaching institutes
  • Access to mock tests and previous years' question papers for practice


  • Official preparation materials and practice papers provided by GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council)
  • Availability of online resources and guides
  • Coaching institutes offering specific NMAT preparation programs

CAT vs NMAT 2024: Time Management


  • Sectional time limits necessitate effective time management
  • Balancing time across all three sections is crucial for success


  • No sectional time limits
  • Candidates can manage time more flexibly
  • Option to allocate more time to challenging sections

In the CAT vs NMAT debate, both exams hold significant value in the realm of management education in India. The choice between CAT and NMAT hinges on your individual preferences, strengths, and target B-schools.

If you thrive in challenging situations and enjoy tackling complex problem-solving tasks, CAT may be the better fit. It is highly regarded for its difficulty level, and top-tier institutions, including the prestigious IIMs, prioritize CAT scores in their admission process. CAT provides a platform to showcase your ability to handle rigorous academic challenges.

On the other hand, if you prefer a moderately challenging exam that assesses your basic aptitude, language proficiency, and logical reasoning skills, NMAT could be the exam for you. NMAT offers a more balanced approach, providing opportunities for admission to various management institutes in India. It allows you to explore a wider range of program options and diversify your MBA journey.

Flexibility is another crucial factor to consider. NMAT offers the advantage of multiple attempts within the testing window. This means you can retake the exam to improve your score and present your best performance to B-schools. On the contrary, CAT allows only one attempt per year, emphasizing the need for thorough preparation and performance on a given day.

The test pattern and sectional structure also differ between CAT and NMAT. CAT follows a strict division of questions, with sectional time limits. This demands efficient time management and proficiency in all three sections. NMAT, on the other hand, adopts a more flexible approach. There are no sectional time limits, enabling candidates to navigate between sections based on their strengths and preferences.

Scoring and percentile calculation methods vary as well. CAT employs a raw score-based system with a normalization process to calculate percentiles. This compares your performance against other test-takers. NMAT, on the other hand, utilizes a scaled scoring method, and the percentile is determined based on your performance relative to other candidates.

When it comes to preparation resources, both CAT and NMAT offer a wealth of study materials, books, online resources, and coaching institute programs. Mock tests and previous years' question papers are readily available to help you practice and familiarize yourself with the exam pattern and question types. It is advisable to leverage these resources and devise a comprehensive study plan to maximize your chances of success.

Need help?

Copyright All rights reserved