CAT vs. Other MBA Entrance Exams:
Which One to Choose?

If you’re considering pursuing an MBA, it’s important to choose the right entrance exam to pave your path toward success. With various options available, you might wonder whether CAT(Common Admission Test) is the best fit for your career goals and aspirations. In this article, we will explore the differences between CAT and other MBA entrance exams, helping you make an informed decision about the exam that aligns with your ambitions.


Key Takeaways:

  • Choosing the right MBA entrance exam is crucial for your career path and aspirations.
  • (Common Admission Test) is one of the most popular MBA entrance exams in India.
  • Understanding the structure, syllabus, and scoring pattern can help you make an informed decision.
  • Other MBA entrance exams may differ in difficulty, syllabus, and focus.
  • Researching the acceptance criteria of your target schools is vital.

Understanding CAT

Syllabus and Exam Structure



Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

English Language and Reading Comprehension

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, and Analytical Reasoning

Quantitative Ability

Mathematics, Algebra, Geometry, Arithmetic, Number System, Modern Mathematics, and Higher Algebra

Each correct answer in CAT carries a fixed value of 3 marks, while incorrect responses result in negative marking of -1.

Other MBA Entrance Exams

Apart from CAT, there are several other MBA entrance exams that business schools consider for admissions. 

  • SNAP
  • XAT

Exam Difficulty Level


Difficulty Level

Focus Areas




Quantitative Aptitude, Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning

Extremely prestigious, widely recognized (All MBA Colleges except XLRI and Symbiosis)


Moderate to High

Verbal Ability, Logical Reasoning, Decision Making, General Awareness

Well-regarded, accepted by top B-schools (XLRI, XIMB, MICA etc.)



Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability, Analytical and Logical Reasoning, General English

Accepted by prominent B-schools, particularly those under Symbiosis International (Deemed University)

As shown in the table, CAT is known for its high difficulty level and comprehensive syllabus, while exams like XAT and SNAP have a more moderate difficulty level and a slightly different focus. Understanding the nuances of each exam can help you decide which one suits you best and aligns with your aspirations for MBA admissions.

Syllabus Comparison

When deciding which MBA entrance exam to choose, one crucial factor to consider is the syllabus. Understanding the syllabus of each exam can help you assess your preparedness and make an informed decision. Let’s compare the syllabus of the CAT and other MBA entrance exams.

CAT Syllabus

CAT (Common Admission Test) covers a wide range of topics that test candidates’ aptitude and skills in various areas. The CAT syllabus typically includes:

  • Quantitative Aptitude: This section tests candidates’ mathematical skills and problem-solving abilities.
  • Verbal Ability: This section evaluates candidates’ language skills and comprehension abilities.
  • Data Interpretation: This section assesses candidates’ ability to analyze and interpret complex data sets.
  • Logical Reasoning: This section tests candidates’ logical reasoning and analytical thinking skills.

SNAP Syllabus

SNAP Exam Sections

Important SNAP Topics

General English (Reading Comprehension, Verbal Reasoning, Verbal Ability)

Syllogisms, Analogies, Grammar, Antonym-Synonym, One Word Substitution, Similar Sounding Words, Parajumbles, Fill in the Blanks

Quantitative, Data interpretation & Data Sufficiency (QA, DI-DS)

Trigonometry, Geometry, Algebra, Ratio and Proportion, Percentages, Partnership, Time-Speed-Distance, Data Interpretation

Analytical and Logical Reasoning (A-LR)

Column Graphs, Pie Chart, Coding and Decoding, Puzzles

XAT Syllabus

  • Part 1: Verbal and Logical Ability, Decision Making and Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation (175 minutes)
  • Part 2:  Mock Keyboard Testing (5 minutes)
  • Part 3:  General Knowledge + Essay Writing (30 minutes)

Try solving XAT English Verbal Tests to analyze the verbal section of XAT


Syllabus Coverage


Quantitative Aptitude, Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning


English Language and Logical Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Aptitude, General Knowledge


Analysis of an Argument, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning

MBA Entrance Exams Format + Questions

Unlike CAT, other MBA entrance exams may have different formats. Some exams are paper-based, while others may be a combination of different question types. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the exam format of each test you’re considering. Here’s a comparison of CAT with other popular MBA entrance exams:

MBA Entrance Exam

Total Questions


Total Time



Computer-based test with MCQs and non-MCQs 

120 mins

XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test)

[Decision Making (21), Verbal & Logical Ability (26), Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation (28), and General Knowledge (25)].

Computer-based test with MCQs and essay writing

175 mins + 30 mins essay

Snap Test (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test)


Computer-based test with MCQs

60 mins

Becoming familiar with the exam format of each test can help you prepare effectively and make an informed decision about which exam suits your strengths and preferences the best.

To connect with us, for mentorship and daily test practice
DM us on Instagram or WhatsApp. We reply back 24/7. Get your CAT prep started

Study Resources for all MBA Exams



Subscribe our Youtube Channel to Watch SNAP and XAT playlist

To prepare topics for FREE you can also go to our Quant Playlist and get your concept well-polished and practiced 

Implementing these preparation strategies will not only enhance your knowledge and understanding but also boost your confidence on the day of the exam. Remember, consistency and perseverance are key to achieving your MBA entrance exam goals.

Here’s our 8 Month CAT strategy Video for anyone starting in March or early April 


After weighing the various factors discussed in this article, it is crucial to make an informed decision regarding the choice between CAT and other MBA entrance exams. Consider your career goals, the syllabus and format of the exam, and the acceptance of different exams by B-schools. This will help you determine which exam aligns better with your aspirations and increases your chances of success.


What is CAT?

CAT stands for Common Admission Test, which is one of the most popular MBA entrance exams in India. It is conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and serves as the primary gateway for admission to prestigious business schools in India.

How does CAT differ from other MBA entrance exams?

CAT differs from other MBA entrance exams in terms of its structure, syllabus, and scoring pattern. It is important to understand these differences to make an informed decision about which exam is the best fit for your career goals and aspirations.

What should I consider when choosing between CAT and other MBA entrance exams?

When choosing between CAT and other MBA entrance exams, you should consider factors such as the syllabus, exam format, scoring pattern, acceptance by B-schools, preparation strategies, career implications, and insights from alumni who have cleared these exams.

What is the syllabus for CAT?

The CAT syllabus typically covers topics such as quantitative aptitude, verbal ability, data interpretation, and logical reasoning. It is important to understand the syllabus to assess your preparedness for the exam.

How is CAT scored?

CAT uses a percentile ranking system to score test-takers based on their performance relative to other candidates. Other MBA entrance exams may have different scoring methodologies.

Do all B-schools accept CAT scores?

While CAT is widely accepted in India, it’s important to research and consider the acceptance criteria of your target business schools. Some schools may prefer other MBA entrance exam scores.

What preparation strategies should I follow for CAT?

To excel in CAT, it is important to develop effective preparation strategies. This may involve utilizing available resources, enrolling in coaching programs, and studying relevant materials.

What are the career implications of clearing CAT?

Clearing CAT can have implications on your future career prospects. CAT is a reputed exam that can open doors to a wider range of job opportunities and networking possibilities.

Can alumni provide insights on CAT and other MBA entrance exams?

Seeking insights from alumni who have cleared CAT or other MBA entrance exams can provide valuable perspectives. Alumni experiences can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each exam and guide your decision-making process.

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