NMAT and CAT are both national level MBA entrance examinations. NMAT is conducted every year by Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies. CAT is conducted every year by the IIMs (Institute of Management Studies). Although NMAT and CAT are both entrance examinations through which deserving candidates get admission in the reputed management colleges, there are many differences between them.
- The exam pattern of NMAT is declared by GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council). NMAT is a 2 hour examination, whereas CAT is a 3 hour examination.
- NMAT tests candidates in three sections: language skills, quantitative skills and logical reasoning. CAT tests candidates in four sections: mathematics, English, analytical reasoning and data interpretation.
- Candidates can take NMAT test 3 times in an admission cycle. Candidates can attempt CAT multiple times. There is no limit to it.
- There is no negative marking in NMAT, but there is negative marking in CAT.
- NMAT requires better time management skills. To score more than NMAT Cut off candidates must have good speed.
- NMAT scores are accepted by Alliance University, NMIMS, SRM University, VIT University, BMI Munjal University, Ansal University and ICFAI Business School.
- CAT scores are accepted by the IIMs and top business schools in the country.
In this article, we are going to study in detail the differences between NMAT and CAT.
Exam Pattern and Syllabus
The first ground of difference between NMAT and CAT is the pattern of examination.
- NMAT is a computer based test that is conducted at 35 exam centers in India.
- The duration of the examination is 120 minutes. Candidates will have to answer 120 questions.
- 32 questions are asked to test the language skills of candidates. 48 questions are asked to test the quantitative skills of candidates. 40 questions are asked to test the logical reasoning of candidates.
- The number of topics in NMAT is larger, as compared to CAT especially in the logical reasoning and verbal ability section.
- In verbal ability, there are questions related to preposition, fill in the blanks questions, analogy, synonyms and antonyms. Such questions are not asked in CAT.
- Candidates can select the order of sections in NMAT. For example, candidates can choose to attempt the questions of QA (quantitative section) first followed by LR (logical reasoning) and VR (Verbal ability).
- There is no negative marking in NMAT.
- CAT is also a computer based test that is held at numerous exam centers in India.
- However, the duration of CAT is 180 minutes. Candidates will have to answer 100 questions.
- 34 questions are asked to test the quantitative aptitude of candidates. 32 questions are asked to test the data interpretation and logical reasoning of candidates. 34 questions are asked from verbal and reading comprehension section.
- The number of topics in CAT is lesser compared to that of NMAT.
- Candidates cannot select the order of sections in CAT. They have to follow the CAT question paper chronologically.
- There is negative marking in CAT.
Thus, it can be seen that there are various differences between the exam pattern, syllabus and marking scheme of NMAT and CAT.
Number of attempts
The next ground of difference between NMAT and CAT is the number of attempts.
- Candidates can take NMAT a maximum of 3 times in an admission cycle.
- The overall NMAT cut off marks is 208-210 for the last 3 years.
- There is also sectional NMAT cut off marks for the 3 sections: 75-80 for QA, 65-70 for LR and 55-60 for VA.
- Unlike NMAT, there is no limit to the number of attempts of CAT.
- Candidates can take the exam multiple times.
If candidates attempt NMAT for more than 1 time, the best score will be considered for shortlisting.
Level of difficulty of examination
The third ground of difference between NMAT and CAT is the level of difficulty of examination.
- There is no negative marking in NMAT. Therefore, candidates can attempt all the questions without worrying about deduction of marks.
- However, the most challenging thing about NMAT is its time duration. NMAT is basically a speed based examination.
- Candidates have to answer 120 questions in 120 minutes.
- NMAT cut off is 208-210. Candidates have to secure the cut off marks to qualify in the examination.
- Candidates should not waste time in any question that they are not sure about. They must keep in mind that time is running off.
- Candidates must take online mock tests to improve their time management skills; else it would be difficult for them to complete the examination on time.
- There is negative marking in CAT. Therefore, the level of difficulty of the examination is high.
- Candidates need good practice and rigorous preparation of at least 6 months to crack CAT. Candidates need to be well versed with all the concepts in CAT.
- Unlike NMAT, candidates do not have to worry about time as they will get 3 hours to answer 100 questions.
Thus, it can be seen that there is difficulty and challenge in both the exams.
List of participating colleges
Lastly, we are going to see the top 10 participating colleges of NMAT and CAT.
Top 10 Colleges of NMAT
- Alliance University
- SRM University
- BML Munjal University
- VIT University
- ICFAI Business School
- Ansal University
- Amity Business School, Noida
- Institute of Finance and International Management, Bengaluru
- Balaji Institute of Modern Management, Pune
Top 10 Colleges of CAT
- Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
- Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
- Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
- Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
- Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
- Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode
- Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
- Indian Institute of Management, Indore
- Vinod Gupta School of Management, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
Candidates must prepare for CAT and NMAT accordingly to the syllabus. CAT requires more preparation, whereas NMAT requires speed. Candidates can solve previous year question papers of CAT and NMAT to score well in the respective examinations.