Difference Between MAT and CAT

MAT and CAT are two different entrance tests to their core. The only thing which is similar in both is that after qualifying the test you will get admission in MBA or PGDM courses. Those who aspire to do MBA always keep one or two exams for their backup option. But the question here is how to identify for which exam you should appear for? CAT is unarguable number 1 choice amongst the aspirants for MBA. Is there any other better option than CAT? Yes, actually there are many. Here are we have given the major differences which make MAT a better exam option.

Let us first know what these two entrance tests are actually. Only when we understand the exam, we can decide which is better and why.

What Is MAT?

MAT stands for Management Aptitude Test. It is a National level entrance test which is held by All India Management Association (AIMA). The entrance test is held four (04) times in a year in February, May, September, and December. To apply for MAT exam, you must have completed graduation in any discipline from any recognized University or equivalent recognized degree. A final year student in any undergraduate (i.e. B.A, B.ScB.Com., B.Tech., etc) can also appear provisionally.

What Is CAT?

Amongst the many MBA entrance exams, CAT is the foremost entrance exam. CAT stands for Common Admission Test which is held by various IIMs on a rotational basis. In order to appear the CAT exam, the applicant should have a degree in any discipline with at least 50% marks. Final year students can also apply for the entrance test. It is a national level admission test and its score is used for admission in IIMs and more than 100 B-schools.

What is The Difference Between MAT and CAT?

Here we have summarized the major differences in these two entrance tests:

  • Exam Pattern – The MAT paper has 200 MCQ type questions which are divided into 5 sections with 40 questions each. On the other hand, CAT paper has 100 questions divided into 3 sections of 34, 32 and 34 questions. Another major difference in the pattern is that MAT has a section called India and Global Environment which is based on GK. However, CAT doesn’t have a GK section, unlike some other management exams. Next, MAT has a negative marking of – 0.25 marks and CAT has a negative marking of – 0.33 marks per question.
  • Duration of the exam – In CAT exam, you an hour for each section and the whole exam is of 3 hours, whereas, in MAT one gets 150 minutes (2 hours 30 mins) for answering the 200 questions.
  • Difficulty level of the exam – It is sad that MAT paper is easy compared to CAT. The questions are easier.
  • Test Frequency – MAT is conducted 04 times every year while CAT is held only once a year. So one has a high probability of cracking MAT than CAT going just by this.

Common Admission Test vs Management Aptitude Test

Parameters CAT MAT
Name of the Exam Conducting Body Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) All India Management Association (AIMA)
Mode of the exam Computer based Both Computer and Pen-paper based
Difficulty level of the exam out of 10 09 06
Frequency of the exam Once a year Four times in a year (Feb, May, Sep, Dec)
Eligibility Criteria Should possess a Bachelor’s Degree and must have obtained minimum 50% marks There is no minimum percentage required in Bachelor’s Degree to apply for MAT
Score is used for admission in IIMs and over 200 B-schools Click Here to get complete list of Participating Institutes for MAT
Negative Marking Yes, there is a negative marking and 01 marks is deducted for an incorrect answer 0.25 marks is deducted for an incorrect response
Registration Fee
  • For SC/ST/PWD Category Candidates: Rs. 950/-
  • For Other Category Candidates: Rs. 1900/-
  • For either PBT or CBT:Rs 1550/-
  • For both PBT and CBT: Rs 2650/-

What Is The Advantage of CAT and MAT?

We have listed the advantage for appearing in both the entrance tests below.


  1. Equiprecision: The Common Admission Test is designed in such a way that the examinees from any background, technical, management, etc are all measured with the same level of precision. This
    makes the CAT exam extremely fair from a psychometric perspective.
  2. More precisionBecause the CAT exam is more efficient, the organisation has the option to design the CAT to actually be more precise than a conventional test while still using fewer items.
  3. Examinee experience: As said above that CAT provides an appropriate challenge for each examinee. Students from technical background are not discouraged or intimidated and those from the management background do not get any special treatment.
  4. Increased motivationThe better the exam experience is, there is likely an increase in examinee motivation. The exam conducting body provides such an environment that the candidates feel comfortable and at the same time feel challenged. With this the candidates try to perform better than with a conventional test.
  5. CBT advantages: CAT also benefits from the same advantages of non-adaptive computer-based testing (CBT). For example, tests delivered by computer (whether adaptive or not) can easily utilize multimedia such as audio and video files.

Read | Click Here to know why to appear for MAT exam


  1. Choice of B-Schools: More than 140 institutes across India accepts MAT scores. This is naturally beneficial for a candidate to opt for MAT. According to AIMA officials, MAT is ‘the largest test of its kind in the nation.’
  2. Lower Difficulty Level: The difficulty level of MAT exam is quiet low as compared to CAT. The easy quotient definitely makes a difference.
  3. More attempts per yearMAT is being held four times a year, which gives candidates the flexibility to register for the exam at their own pace. Plus, candidates can choose to give it more than once in a year.

MAT MAT May 2018 MAT September 2018 CAT 2018

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