CAT vs GATE: Which is tough?

Cat Vs Gate
Cat Vs Gate

CAT vs GATE: Which is tough 🤔

CAT and GATE are the entrance exams tested for two different purposes. They are among some of the toughest entrance exams to crack, in India. CAT is an entrance exam that is important for getting admissions into the premier B-schools, to pursue an MBA. On the other hand, GATE is an entrance exam which is essential to pursue M.Tech in premiere institutions like IIT’s, NIT’s and other engineering institutes, and also for getting a job in the PSU sector. In this article, we’ll look at the differences for CAT vs GATE, and also the toughness of the exams.

Firstly, it would not be ideal to compare these exams, as both these exams are tested for two different purposes. Both the exams test the analytical skills and logical thinking abilities of the candidates, and both of these are important exams for graduate students. Which exam is difficult among CAT and GATE, and what exam should one give entirely depends on one’s strengths, interests and career goals.

Enroll for CAT 2021 – Just Rs. 2700

Take 3 Free CAT 2021 Mock Tests


What is CAT?

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is an MBA entrance exam offering admission to the 20 IIMs and other reputed B-Schools in India. The question paper usually comprises of 100 questions which include the following sections:

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension,

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning,

Quantitative Ability.

Every year, more than 2 lakh candidates appear for the CAT examination, and (for general category) one needs to score at least 98-99+ percentile to get a call from premier institutes. One should also have to have a good academic and professional background if one is expecting a call from the Top IIM’s. The fee usually varies for different institutes and is very high for some institutes. The specialisations offered during the course include Marketing, Finance, HR, Operations, Entrepreneurship etc. One can also pursue MBA after having pursued an M.Tech degree.

Download Free MBA Preparation App

What is GATE?

The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is an online national level entrance exam conducted for admission into Master of Technology (M.Tech), Master of Engineering (ME), from IIT’s, NIT’s and other institutes across the country. It is also an admission test to PSUs for government jobs. The level of competition varies for different streams (like GATE CSE, Mechanical, Civil engineering, Production etc). The fee is usually not very high. Every year lakhs of candidates appear for the GATE Exam.

Download CAT 2021 Syllabus PDF

Join 7K MBA Aspirants Telegram Group

Comparison between CAT and GATE

Syllabus and Overview:

The CAT exam is conducted by IIMs, and it is the biggest national level MBA entrance exam to get admission in 20 IIMs & other B-schools across the country. One needs to score 99+ percentile to get into the top B-schools (for general category).

The GATE is conducted by the IITs and is the biggest national level entrance test to pursue M.Tech in IITs, NITs & to get a job in PSUs. The GATE Syllabus is different for different streams. Usually, the syllabus consists of 85% technical subjects & 15% general aptitude.

CAT Syllabus is based on topics such as English, Quant, and Logical thinking skills, whereas GATE Syllabus is based on in-depth knowledge of engineering subjects.

Differences between CAT and GATE:

Exam conducting body IIM’s IIT’s
Purpose of examination Entrance exam for Admission to pursue MBA (from IIM’s, FMS, MDI, SP JAIN, etc.) Entrance exam for Admission to pursue M.Tech / ME, or Job at PSU’s.
Mode of Exam Online Online
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Quantitative Ability (QA)
General Aptitude (GA); and the Subject selected by the candidate
Number of questions  


(34 questions in VARC + 32 questions in DILR + 34 questions in QA)



(10 questions in GA + 55 questions in the subject)

Total Marks 300 100
Exam duration 3 Hours 3 Hours
Type of questions Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ’s), and TITA Type Questions Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ’s), Multiple Select Questions (MSQ’s), Numerical Answer Type (NAT) Questions


Take Free CAT Daily Tests (With Video Solutions)

  • As we can see, the pattern of both these exams is diverse. The candidates appearing for the GATE exam are asked questions that are related to the subjects of the stream the candidates intend to do. And, the candidates appearing for CAT are tested on topics such as Quantitative Aptitude, Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning etc.
  • To get into a top IIM’s through CAT, one needs to have a thorough understanding of the fundamentals, do rigorous practice, and have a proper exam taking strategy. One needs to solve multiple mock tests, learn to manage time and stay calm under pressure during the exam- CAT is also a test of mental stamina.
  • GATE is also not an easy exam. One cannot go to the exam without proper preparation related to core subjects (such as Physics, Maths etc.) tested and still ace the exam. Thorough knowledge about the key subjects’ theory and concepts is required to crack the exam. Solving the previous years’ papers, having a clear understanding of all the subjects are all essential to crack the exam. The candidate’s knowledge in english and general aptitude is also tested.
  • CAT: IIMs also give a considerable weightage to one’s performance in past academics. (usually, no such criteria to pursue M.Tech through GATE)
  • Engineering students can appear for the GATE exam, whereas students from different streams such as B.Com, B.A, BBA, and Engineering can appear for the CAT exam.
  • As far as the CAT Vs GATE Salaries are concerned, the packages offered during the placements are much higher for the ones passing out of the old IIM’s.
  • One would definitely need external mentorship in the form of coaching and mentors to prepare for GATE.
  • Preparation of CAT can be done from home by Enrolling to an online course. Having a good peer group is also essential for cracking the CAT exam.

Download CAT Previous Solved Papers

Access Free Videos for CAT 2021

CAT vs GATE: Which is tough

  • Both exams require dedication, proper planning and hard work. The difficulty level differs for each exam, and from candidate to candidate.
  • If one is weak in technical subjects, then GATE might be a difficult exam, and if one is weak in Verbal ability and quants, then CAT may be a difficult exam.
  • Similarly, for someone who has good Reading skills, quantitative and logical thinking skills, then CAT will be relatively easy to crack, and for someone who has mastery over the important subjects tested in the GATE, then GATE would appear relatively easy for them.

So, both exams have their own difficulty levels.

Confused between CAT and GATE? Which one should you choose?

  • Both of these are very important exams for graduate students. It is not wise to choose the entrance exam depending on how easy the exam is. The exams are neither too easy nor too tough, and one needs to work equally hard for them.
  • One needs to have good problem-solving skills, logical and critical thinking skills, and a good deal of hard work to crack the exams.
  • Firstly, you must know what you want to be, where do you want yourself in the next 5-10 years,  what are your goals? Assess your interests, strengths, weaknesses. Once you do this, you will be able to figure out which is the right exam to give.
  • One must choose his/her career wisely depending on one’s interests and skills.

Enroll for CAT 2021 – Just Rs. 2700

Free CAT preparation App


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here