How Will Your GMAT Preparation Help in the CAT


The GMAT and the CAT are two different tests, yet similar in some ways. The GMAT is an international entrance exam and is widely used all over the world to get admissions into top-notch B-schools. However, the CAT is an Indian entrance exam and is widely used to get admissions into Indian B-schools such as IIMs. The Verbal section of the GMAT is comparatively harder than the Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) section of the CAT. On the other hand, cracking the Quantitative section of the CAT is a mammoth task as compared to cracking the Quantitative section of the GMAT.  Besides many other differences, the major difference is in the number of times you may take the GMAT and the CAT. The GMAT can be retaken after a short wait of 16 days and the score remains valid for 5 years while the CAT is conducted once a year and the score is valid only for 1 year. Another reason why candidates prefer taking the GMAT over the CAT.  So, if you are confused between the two and have an inclination towards studying abroad (and finance is not the concern) but want to try your hand at CAT too, you better start preparing with the GMAT first as it can be taken after 2-3 months of preparation and it will prepare your base for the CAT which needs a year of preparation.

Due to several advantages offered by the GMAT, candidates prefer preparing for the GMAT than the CAT. However, some candidates choose to prepare for both or switch to the CAT preparation after preparing for the GMAT. In both situations, it is vital to understand that preparing for the GMAT will only help the student to prepare for the CAT exam. Let’s see how the preparation for each section of the GMAT is going to help in the CAT preparation.




The difficulty level of the quant questions in the QA section of the CAT is much higher than the difficulty level of the quant questions on the GMAT. The topics tested are more or less the same as in the CAT. Note that the CAT lays a lot of emphasis on Trigonometry and arcane rules such as Euler’s formula and Fermat’s theorem which is not the case in the GMAT. The GMAT tests students on regular topics but the techniques learned for solving the GMAT questions can be widely used on the CAT.

  1. Problem Solving – These questions on the CAT are of a much higher level than the GMAT. The GMAT preparation for the Quant section will lay a strong foundation for the preparation of the Quant section of the CAT, especially if you are a non-math student or have never prepared for the CAT exam before.
  2. Data Sufficiency – The DS questions are altogether a different can of worms and this question type on the GMAT is of a much higher level as compared to what one will witness on the CAT. Having said that, it is important to note that not many DS questions come on the CAT but, whatsoever, will appear will seem easy if you have practiced them during the GMAT prep.

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The GMAT Verbal is slightly tougher than the CAT Verbal. So, preparation for the GMAT Verbal will come in very handy in the preparation of the VARC section of the CAT. There are some differences that you will need to cover but with a little more practice you will be able to address them with the existing set of skills. The GMAT has 3 sections, namely, Sentence Correction (SC), Critical Reasoning (CR), and Reading Comprehension (RC). Let’s see how much each of them will help in the CAT preparation.

  1. Sentence Correction (SC) – The CAT exam mostly tests grammar and vocabulary and the questions are quite simple and straightforward. The GMAT does not test students on vocabulary at all. However, the preparation for the SC will prepare the student for handling even the hardest of questions on grammar rules and the skill learned can be easily used to tackle grammar questions on the CAT.
  2. Critical Reasoning (CR) – CR questions have seen the light of day only a couple of times in the history of the CAT exams. But, it does not mean that they cannot come ever again on the CAT. So, its preparation may not prove totally useless.
  3. Reading Comprehension (RC) – The CAT has Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) section which includes RC. Thus, preparing for the GMAT will directly help in preparing for the CAT.


Integrated Reasoning (IR)

IR questions on the GMAT are comparatively much easier than the Data Interpretation questions seen on the CAT. Also, the option of rearranging the table as per the column makes the GMAT IR questions much easier. This tool is not available on the CAT which makes it further difficult. Thus, the GMAT preparation will not help much in the preparation of the CAT when it comes to IR per se.


Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

Analytical Writing Assessment

AWA skills are not useful on the CAT. However, the skills developed can really come in handy during Group Discussion (GD), Written Ability Test (WAT), & Personal Interview (PI). Writing Ability Test (WAT) is a critical part of the selection process at many top B-schools including the Indian Institutes of Management.

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The GMAT is a computer adaptive test whereas the CAT is not. It means that on the GMAT you cannot go back to the previous question and change the answer to the question. Nevertheless, this is not the case in CAT. You may go back and change the answer to the questions. Also, on the GMAT, the difficulty level of the questions will increase considerably if the student is able to answer a sufficient number of questions correctly at the beginning of the test. Thus, preparation for the GMAT Quant requires a lot of concentration and skills such as pacing besides having a stronghold on the basics. The CAT, on the other hand, requires a huge amount of practice as the test requires advanced mathematical skills. Also, the DILR section of the CAT is not covered in the GMAT. So, you will have to prepare separately for it. Having said that it is important to note that even though CAT is the hardest of all the competitive exams; it is, also, built upon basic concepts just like the GMAT and, hence, the preparation for the GMAT can prove to be a substructure for the CAT and you just have to walk a little extra mile to achieve your target. So, take as many practice tests as possible before you sit for the CAT and apply the strategies learned for the GMAT while taking the tests.

Hope this helps!

All the best!


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