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Decoding GRE vs CAT: Comparative Analysis for MBA Aspirants

Choosing Between GRE vs CAT: Finding the Ideal Exam for Your MBA Journey

Are you struggling to choose between the GRE and CAT, wondering which one will open the doors to your dream MBA program or a prestigious international institution? Our blog dives into the GRE vs CAT dilemma, offering insights to help you navigate these exams effectively. Join us as we explore the GRE vs CAT landscape, empowering you to make informed decisions and succeed in your academic and professional journey.

GRE vs CAT: Unveiling the Crucial Contrasts


CAT vs GRE are the go-to admission tests for top MBA programs and renowned global universities. Both highly competitive tests assess candidates' academic abilities to make admissions decisions. 

What is GRE? 

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test accepted by numerous graduate institutions in the US, Canada, and other countries. Administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the GRE is pivotal in international graduate, postgraduate, and doctoral student international admissions.

What is CAT?

On the other hand, the Common Admission Test (CAT) is specifically designed for MBA aspirants seeking admission to elite business schools in India. CAT percentiles serve as a benchmark for evaluating candidates' suitability for MBA programs, making it a crucial step in the academic and professional journey of Indian MBA aspirants.

Here is a table Highlighting GRE vs CAT: Key Differences

Aspect  GRE  CAT
Eligibility 5 years 1 year
Max score 340 300 

3 hours 45 minutes (General Test)

2 hours 50 minutes (Subject Test)

3 hours 
Eligibility criteria No as such requirement A graduate with at least 50 % marks (general category)
Organizing body Educational Testing Service (ETS) Indian Institute of Management (IIMs)
Sections Quantitative Reasoning, Analytical Writing and Verbal Reasoning Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
Nature of test Computer-adaptive Test* Linear test*
When are the exams conducted? Round the year Once every year
Cost of exam

INR 15,670 General Test

INR 11,035 Subject Test

INR 2200 general category,

INR 1100 reserved category

Types of tests

GRE General Test*

GRE Subject Test*

No other type
Key purpose of taking the tests

MS courses in the USA & also MBA courses abroad

Admission to IIMs & other reputed B-schools in India
  • Computer-adaptive test: It adapts to the ability of candidates and is dynamic.
  • Linear test: The questions are pre-decided and don’t adapt to a candidate’s ability.
  • GRE Subject Test: Knowledge of a specific subject such as Mathematics, Physics, Biology, and others is measured.
  • GRE General Test: Knowledge of no specific field of study is measured.

Meeting the Eligibility Criteria for GRE vs CAT

To meet the eligibility criteria for the GRE, candidates don't need specific age or educational qualifications but must have a valid passport or Aadhar Card as ID proof.

On the other hand, for CAT, a bachelor's degree with the required percentage is essential, and professional degrees are also accepted. Recent graduates affected by the pandemic can also apply under specific conditions.

GRE Eligibility

  1. Age or educational qualifications aren't specific requirements for taking the GRE.
  2. Your original passport serves as essential ID proof at the test center, so ensure you have a valid passport during registration. Aadhar Card is now also accepted as ID.

CAT Eligibility

  1. A bachelor’s degree from a recognized university with 50% (45% for reserved categories) is necessary.
  2. Professional degrees like ICWA/CA/CS are accepted with the required percentage.
  3. Recent graduates from the pandemic years (2020 & 2021) or those in their final semester can register with a pass or promotion status.

 GRE vs CAT Syllabus: A Contrast

The GRE and CAT syllabi differ significantly in content and focus. The GRE encompasses verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing sections, assessing critical thinking and problem-solving skills.


In contrast, CAT emphasises data interpretation, verbal reasoning, and quantitative aptitude, testing candidates' analytical abilities and mathematical proficiency. Understanding these syllabus variations is crucial for effective exam preparation and performance.

Mastering Numbers: Unveiling the Quantitative Section in GRE vs CAT

The quantitative sections of the GRE vs CAT present distinct challenges and skillsets. The GRE's quant section tests mathematical reasoning and problem-solving abilities in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. 

Section  CAT GRE
Number of Questions 26 40
Time Allotted  40  70

Type of Questions

Geometry, Probability, Algebra, Work and Time, Logarithms, Time-Speed-Distance, the Binomial Theorem, Quadratic and linear equations.

Word Problems, Coordinate Geometry, Statistics, data Interpretation, Angle Measurements, Algebraic Expressions, Venn Diagrams, Sets Theory, Equations, and Inequalities.
Marking Scheme

No Negative Marking for TITA Questions 
-1 Negative Marking for MCQs

No negative marking.
  • Other topics covered in the CAT Quants section: Square Roots and Cube Roots, Ratio and Proportion, Profit and loss, and others.
  • CAT’s Quant section is difficult to compare to GRE’s Quant.

In contrast, CAT's quant section emphasizes speed and accuracy in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, number theory, and modern mathematics. Both demand a solid grasp of mathematical concepts but differ in their focus and approach, making effective preparation vital for success.

Delving into Verbal Skills for CAT and Reasoning Challenges in GRE

Reading comprehension is employed in each assessment, but the structure is entirely different. The CAT asks applicants to answer questions based on the comprehension offered, but the GRE may need candidates to pick a text from a passage to answer the questions.

Section GRE Verbal Reasoning CAT Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
Number of Questions 40 26
Time Allotted 60 minutes 40 minutes
Types of Questions Text Completion, Reading Comprehension, Sentence Equivalence MCQs and non-MCQs
Topics Covered Subject-verb agreement, Tense, Idioms, Nouns-Adjectives-Pronouns, Pronoun Agreement, and others Para-jumbles, Reading Comprehension, Verbal Logic, Prepositions, Idioms, Tenses, Articles, Types of Clauses, Parts of Speech, Analogies, Antonyms, and others

The GRE assesses vocabulary extensively. When compared to the CAT, this exam is significantly more difficult. The GRE includes vocabulary-related word selection and multiple-choice questions. Similarly, instead of adopting the out-of-context language, CAT focuses on certain query kinds. Additional questions on paragraph structure, word usage, and so on are included in the CAT.

GRE Analytical Writing vs CAT Data Interpretation & Verbal Reasoning

Comparing the quantitative sections of GRE Analytical Writing and CAT Data Interpretation and verbal Reasoning reveals distinct evaluation criteria. GRE analytical writing assesses the candidate's ability to construct coherent arguments and convey complex ideas effectively in written English. 

Section GRE Analytical Writing CAT Data Interpretation & Verbal Reasoning
Number of Questions 2 26
Time Allotted 60 minutes 40 minutes
Types of Questions Essay Writing MCQs and non-MCQs
Topics Covered Analysing and articulating complex arguments/ideas in written English Binary Logic, Family Tree, Direction Sense, Proposition, Blood Relations, Syllogisms, Data Sufficiency, Bar & Line Graphs, Coding-Decoding, Puzzles, Series, Venn Diagram, Pie Charts, and others

Conversely, CAT's data interpretation and verbal reasoning sections test logical reasoning, problem-solving, and comprehension abilities through various question formats. While the GRE emphasises written expression, the CAT focuses on numerical and verbal reasoning capabilities, highlighting the diverse evaluation methods in these standardised tests. 

  Cracking the Code: Understanding CAT Percentiles and GRE Scores


Understanding CAT percentiles and GRE scores is crucial for those navigating the admissions process. CAT percentiles reflect your performance relative to others, with higher percentiles indicating better performance.

Aspect CAT Percentile GRE Score
Definition Reflects performance relative to others Reflects absolute performance
Scale Ranges from 0 to 100 Varies based on specific sections
Interpretation Higher percentile = better performance Each score reflects correct answers minus wrong ones
Example Scoring in 90th percentile means better than 90% A score like 320/340 means 20 questions wrong

In CAT, the score is calculated using the following formula:

CAT Score = [Raw Score - Minimum Score] / [Maximum Score - Minimum Score] X 100 


  • Raw Score is the actual number of correct answers.
  • Minimum Score is the lowest possible raw score.
  • Maximum Score is the highest possible raw score.

This formula normalizes scores across different test versions and allows for percentile comparison.

For instance, scoring in the 90th percentile means you did better than 90% of test takers, not necessarily scoring 90/100. In contrast, GRE scores are more absolute; a score like 320/340 means you answered 20 questions wrong. CAT percentiles range from 0 to 100, while GRE scores vary based on specific sections. This comparison illuminates the distinct scoring methods and their significance in evaluating candidates for academic pursuits.

Cracking the Code: Strategies for Mastering GRE and CAT Simultaneously

Mastering the GRE VS CAT simultaneously involves comprehensive preparation in verbal and quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and data interpretation. Key strategies include utilizing official study materials for both exams, practicing with mock tests to build stamina and time management skills, and focusing on areas of weakness through targeted practice sessions.

Additionally, maintaining a consistent study schedule and adopting efficient study techniques are crucial for success in both exams.


  • Developing solid foundations: Teach yourself to read and write. Continue to work on an issue until you’ve solved it. Resist the impulse to move on to the next step and instead concentrate on the issue at hand.
  • Memorize: Do not recollect a formula until you understand its importance. Your brain will quickly learn if you connect the formula to its theory. Apply logical thinking to approach each issue from a new angle and learn the mathematical aptitude shortcuts to expedite the process.
  • Recognize your area of strength: Practice your math skills in the correct order since each topic builds on the one before it. A methodical approach will allow you to cover every topic with ease. Establish your strengths and concentrate more on your weaknesses. This sort of practice will aid your preparedness.

Need a boost in your GRE prep? Our skilled experts at MiM-Essay are here to supercharge your studying and maximize your success!

CAT vs GRE: Post-Exam Opportunities 

Exploring post-exam opportunities after CAT and GRE can unveil diverse pathways to academic and career success, offering unique prospects for aspiring candidates.

Post CAT Scope

CAT, a prominent exam for MBA aspirants, opens doors to top universities in India, including prestigious institutions like the IIMs, IIT Delhi, and FMS. However, cut-off percentile scores play a crucial role in admissions, often leading to rejections for candidates falling below the specified threshold.

Despite some challenges, CAT remains a preferred choice for over 200 institutions, offering a pathway to elite management programs and lucrative career opportunities.

Post-GRE Scope

On the other hand, the GRE, administered by ETS, has become a global standard for post-graduate admissions, offering versatility and wider opportunities beyond MBA programs. While GRE was initially popular in the US and Canada, it has gained traction worldwide, including in top business schools.

Its flexibility allows candidates to apply to MBA programs and a range of graduate and doctoral courses, expanding the candidate pool for business schools and enhancing career prospects globally.

Here's a Table Highlighting the Top Colleges After GRE vs CAT: 

Top colleges after CAT

Top colleges after GRE

Additional Insights

  • According to QS World University Rankings, the GRE is widely accepted by over 1,300 business schools globally, including renowned institutions like Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business.
  • The GRE's adaptability and acceptance by various disciplines, including engineering, social sciences, and humanities, make it a preferred choice for candidates seeking diverse academic pursuits.
  • The GRE General Test allows candidates to showcase their analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning skills, providing a holistic assessment for admissions across multiple disciplines.
  • Business schools increasingly recognize the GRE as an indicator of candidates' readiness for rigorous academic programs and their potential for success in a global business environment.


In conclusion, navigating between the GRE Vs CAT exams requires a thoughtful consideration of their nuances and the specific requirements of your desired business schools. Understanding these differences empowers you to make informed choices and optimize your chances of success.

Whether you opt for one or both exams, strategic preparation and expert guidance, such as MiM-Essay's, can amplify your success. Best of luck as you navigate this journey towards securing a spot at your dream institution!

Is the GRE acceptable for MBA programs?

Takeaways. GRE scores are accepted by around 90% of business schools for MBA applications. Taking the GRE for MBA admission would only harm you if the Business School explicitly declares that it favors the GMAT over the GRE. However, when it comes to MBA admissions, the GMAT has an advantage over GRE.

Is a month’s worth of preparation for the GRE possible?

Many students find that they may make significant progress by studying three times a day for thirty minutes, five days a week, for an hour and a half. Because the GRE is in a month, you should study for five blocks of 30 minutes each, or 2.5 hours every day, to maximise your score improvement.

Is the GRE score relevant in India?

Is the GRE score recognized in India? The GRE is a requirement for students wishing to study abroad, with practically every university in the United States and the United Kingdom recognizing it. The GRE score is currently recognized for many graduate and doctorate business programs in India due to its high quality and accuracy in evaluating students.

Is GRE preparation sufficient for the CAT?

Because the CAT syllabus overlaps with the GRE syllabus in many ways, you can also apply your rigorous GRE study to the CAT test. Furthermore, these examinations are recommended for third-year undergraduates because possessing GRE and CAT scores would allow you to explore better master’s degree programs in India and overseas.

Which is more difficult, the GRE or the CAT?

Many test-takers believe that the GRE is a far more difficult exam than the CAT since the GRE course is more intensive and examines students in all areas, including Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude, and Analytical Writing. In this regard, the CAT curriculum is easy to learn because it has three primary sections: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude.

Know Your Author
Photo of Abhyank
Abhyank Srinet
Study Abroad Expert
Abhyank Srinet, the founder of, is a globally recognized expert in study abroad and admission consulting.His passion lies in helping students navigate the complex world of admissions and achieve their academic dreams. Having earned a Master's degree in Management from ESCP Europe, Abhyank's expertise in data-driven marketing strategies has driven growth for some of the most competitive industries. As the founder of, he has helped thousands of students get into top business schools with a strong emphasis on research, shortlisting, and applying to schools from a single platform. His dedication to education has also led him to create MentR-Me, a free-to-use social platform that simplifies the study abroad process for students, while providing universities with a powerful recruitment tool. As a leader in the field of admission consulting, he is constantly researching and implementing the latest strategies to ensure that his clients receive the best possible guidance. He leads the Business Development and Digital Marketing side of both companies, and has grown both ventures to 7 figure revenue.His unique insights, experience, and dedication to his clients make him a valuable resource for anyone seeking to advance their education or career.
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