Difference between CAT and MAT exams

Difference between CAT and MAT exams
10 months ago
Difference between CAT and MAT exams

Common Admission Test (CAT) and Management Aptitude Test (MAT) are the two most sought-after national exams for MBA admissions. Although CAT is more popular among MBA aspirants, over 600 universities in India also accept MAT scores. 

There is always a lingering confusion among the students as to which exam to take in order to get into the college of their preference. So, it is primal to choose wisely between the two exams. 

The major difference between the two tests stems from the fact that they are held by different conducting bodies at different times of the academic year, with subtle changes in the exam pattern and the syllabi. Let's dive in to know what CAT and MAT exams are all about.


CAT vs MAT is always an ongoing debate among students. CAT is a highly competitive computer-based test conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) across India for their MBA admissions based on a rotation policy.

CAT scores also serve as a prerequisite for admissions into other elite B-Schools in the country, such as the National Institute of Industrial Engineer (NITIE), Management Development Institute, Institute of Management Technology, and several others. 

MAT is a systematized test conducted every year for those applying for admission to B-Schools in India and abroad. Although the exams have been happening since 1988, they were approved as a national test by the Govt. of India, Ministry of HRD, only in 2003.

Difference Between CAT and MAT Exams:

Knowing the difference between CAT and MAT in terms of their exam pattern, eligibility, scoring scheme, etc., will help a student to be well-prepared for the exams. The difference between CAT and MAT exams is highlighted below:

Conducting Body

Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)

All India Management Association (AIIMA)

Frequency of Exam


Once a Year (Every November)


 4 Times in a Year (February, May, September, December)

Mode of Test


Computer-based Test (CBT)


  • Paper-Based Test (PBT)
  • Computer-Based Test (CBT)
  • Remote Proctored Internet-Based Test (IBT)
  • Double Remote Proctored Internet-Based Test (IBT)
Total Number of Questions





No. of Sections





Duration of the Exam


120 Minutes


 150 Minutes



  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • Data Interpretation & Logical
  • Reasoning Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension


  • Language Comprehension
  • Intelligence & Critical Reasoning
  • Mathematical Skills
  • Data Analysis & Sufficiency
  • Indian & Global Environment
Marking Scheme


  • +3 for Every Right Answer
  • -1 for Every Wrong Answer


  • +1 for Every Right Answer
  • -0.25 for Every Wrong Answer
Total Marks





Level of Difficulty




Comparatively Low

Exam Fee 


  • General/ NC-OBC: Rs. 2200
  • SC/ ST/ PwD: Rs.1100


  • One Paper (Any Mode): Rs.1650
  • PBT+CBT: Rs. 2750
  • PBT+CBT+IBT: Rs. 4950
Validity of the Scorecard


 One Year


 One Year



 Bachelor's Degree with Minimum 50% Aggregate Marks 


 Bachelor's Degree with Passing Marks

MAT or CAT - Which is Better?

The CAT exam is considered prestigious, since IIMs and few premier management schools accept only CAT scores, even though the test is pretty arduous to crack and also happens only once a year.

However, MAT broadens the spectrum of getting into a B-School as more than 600 colleges accept MAT scores. The assessment is pretty easy when compared to CAT. One can attempt 4 times in a year without having to waste one whole year in case they fail to clear CAT.

For a few students, CAT can be physically and mentally draining. Examinees need to attempt more than 200 mock tests before appearing for the exam. MAT can be challenging, albeit a lot less than CAT. 

There is no concrete way of saying which is better, as both the exams are competitive enough per se. One can always choose which test to take based on their college preference.

Achieving a high percentile in CAT is the gateway to get admissions in IIMs. The MAT exam helps those who want to get into other top business schools.

So, when faced with this question, "MAT or CAT - Which is better?", always remember the college of your picking before making a decision.

MAT Eligibility Criteria:

The MAT eligibility criteria require undergraduates from any stream to complete their degree with passing marks.

CAT Exam Eligibility Criteria:

The CAT exam eligibility criteria require undergraduates from any stream to complete their degree with a minimum of 50% of aggregate marks.

Top 10 Colleges Accepting CAT in India:

A list of the top 10 colleges accepting CAT scores aside from IIMs is provided below:

The minimum cut-off is set by each institute depending on the previous year's cut-off, the number of seats available, the difficulty level of the exam paper, and other factors.

Top 10 Colleges Accepting MAT in India:

Following are the top 10 colleges accepting MAT scores in India:

  • T.John Institute of Management and Science, Bangalore
  • PES Degree College, Bangalore
  • BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore
  • Alliance School of Business, Alliance University, Bangalore
  • Acharya Bangalore Business School, Bangalore
  • Xavier Institute of Management & Design, Greater Noida
  • Amrita School of Business, Coimbatore
  • GITAM Institute of Management, Visakhapatnam

Top 10 Colleges Accepting both CAT and MAT in India:

Some B-schools that accept either CAT or MAT scores:

  • Kristu Jayanti School of Management, Bangalore
  • School of Management, CMR University, Bangalore
  • Krupanidhi School of Management, Bangalore
  • Xavier Institute of Management & Entrepreneurship, Bangalore
  • Acharya School of Management, Bangalore
  • Ramaiah Institute of Management, Bangalore
  • Indus Business Academy, Bangalore and Greater Noida
  • LM Thapar School of Management, Patiala
  • Pune Institute of Business Management, Pune
  • Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai
  • JK Laxmipat University, Jaipur
  • SIMSREE, Mumbai

CAT and MAT Syllabus:

There isn't much difference in the CAT and MAT syllabus except for a few changes depending on the sections. CAT syllabus is generic and not fixed by the IIMs. However, the questions are generally based on middle school (Grade 6-9) Maths and English. 

Section-wise topics are briefly given in the below table:

Quantitative Aptitude
Number Systems, Algebra, Profit & Loss, Percentages, Time & Work, Probability 
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
Seating Arrangement, Syllogism, Bar Graphs, Blood Relations, Tables, Venn Diagrams 
Verbal Reasoning
English Grammar, Synonyms & Antonyms, Sentence Correction

The syllabus for MAT is similar to that of CAT. The Indian & Global Environment Section includes Current Affairs, World Records, Business, Books & Authors, Sports, Science, Finance, Geography, Politics and Awards & Winners. 


Entrance exams can be tedious and demanding. But knowing all the details of the exam before attempting may help the aspiring students to prepare better and feel less apprehensive.

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