GRE or CAT: Which one to plan for further studies in Management in 2021

CAT and GRE are both popular entrance exams to study Management courses in India and abroad, respectively. While, GRE or Graduate Record Examinations is accepted to study courses in management fields such as MS, MBA, Ph.D. at renowned B-Schools abroad. CAT, on the other hand, is taken up to study PGP, PGDM, MBA at IIMs and other premier colleges in India. So, it is completely up to the aspirants to plan for an exam based on their choices of study destination, ROIs, Global Markets and other aspects.


If studying abroad is your aim, then GRE is your gateway to top MBA colleges. But, if you want to stay in the country and don’t want to venture out during this COVID-19 pandemic, CAT can be the first choice. Also the pandemic has forced many countries to tighten VISA Rules and implement Travel Bans. So, taking everything into account, aspirants must plan for GRE or CAT for 2021.

Here we will discuss both about GRE & CAT, based on which aspirants can decide on further courses.

Sneak Peek on GRE Exam

The GRE or Graduate Record Examinations is organized by the Educational Testing Services and has test centers in 160 countries. More than 1000 B-Schools accept the GRE scores across 94 countries, including the USA. So, if you have dreams of studying Management abroad, this test can be the option. The GRE General Test is available in 2 modes that are Computer-based and Paper-based. Aspirants can take the test to take admission in Masters, Doctoral, Business, Law, and Fellowship programs.

The exam pattern offers a fair and detailed assessment of aspirants planning to pursue a graduate program. The scores of the test are valid for 5 years.

What is the Test Pattern of GRE?

The exam pattern of the GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test is different. The General Test is basically for students who want to pursue Management Education. In comparison, GRE Subject Tests examine the candidate’s skills in particular subjects. So, we will discuss the General Test pattern here.

GRE General Test Pattern

GRE General Exam has a computer-delivered test pattern, as mentioned below:

1. The GRE test comprises six sections and has a 10 minutes break after the third section.

2. The total duration is 3 hours and 45 minutes.

3. Verbal Reasoning has 2 sections, which include topics like Reading of Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Usage of Vocabulary. in two sections. For these sections, 30 minutes are allotted.

4. Quantitative Reasoning also has 2 sections, which tests a candidate’s basic level of High School Maths and also reasoning abilities. Quantitative Reasoning 35 minutes allotted for each section.

5. Analytical Writing has only one section, which includes 2 writing tasks. This topic will have 30 minutes allotted for each task.

6. The unidentified unscored section is not counted in the final score. This section is to test various questions prepared for the future General Test. It is not an option for the aspirants to skip this section as there is no way to identify which section.

7. The Identified Research section is not included in the final score of GRE. The section might replace the unscored section and may appear at the end of the test. The questions included in this section are for ETS Research Purposes.

Paper-Based Pattern

The paper-based pattern of the exam has 6 sections, which includes 2 parts each for Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning & Analytical Writing. The duration of the test is for 3 hours and 30 minutes and consists of a 10 minutes break after the second section.

Why Take GRE?

GRE is one of the world’s most used tests to take admission to various graduate programs related to Management and other fields. Over half a million students from 160 countries participate in this test almost every year. Some advantages of taking this exam are:

• GRE provides colleges a standard set of parameters to measure candidates’ skills and qualities from varied academic backgrounds.

• The exam gives test-takers a unique option to decide which scores to submit at prospective schools.

• It also allows aspirants to skip questions, go back and change answers, and to answer the questions in any order.

• Apart from that, it is found that GRE is more comfortable to score as compared to exams like GMAT. It also costs less than GMAT or any other International Exams.

• The exam scores are also accepted by Ivy League schools Like Harvard Business School, Stanford University, HEC Paris, and many more.

• The European and American Markets are extremely lucrative and hence woos International students to study MBA or Management programs there.

A Comparative Study on CAT vs. GRE

Now, the most critical section of the blog begins. Here, we will put up a basic comparison between GRE & CAT, which will help you plan accordingly.


Other than this there is a difference between CAT and GRE on different perspectives as well –

1. CAT or Common Admission Test  is entirely an Online Test, whereas GRE is also available in paper-based mode.

2. The maximum score of CAT is 300, whereas the GRE scores range between 260 to 340 in QR & VR and 1 to 6 in Analytical Writing.

3. Aspirants will not be able to view CAT scores immediately, but for GRE, one can see the results of Verbal & Quantitative Reasoning shortly after completing the test.

4. By giving CAT too, one can taste quality education in India itself without going abroad. Premier institutes like IIMs, MDI, ISB, FMS all accept CAT scores. The placements are also excellent if you pass out from any of these premier institutes.

The USA’s study cost for MBA can be anything between 170,000 USD to 220,000 USD, while in India, it can be between 5 – 25 Lakhs INR. Studying from India will be, in fact, cheaper. The average salaries in North America are about 123,900 USD, 102,900 USD in Western Europe, and 88,700 USD in Africa and the Middle-East. In India, the average salaries can be between 6 – 25 Lakhs INR. So, overall, there is not much of a difference in ROIs after studying from the Foreign Ivy Colleges and India.

It all boils down to what your priority is. If an aspirant wants to taste Global Business Education and Culture, then planning for GRE and studying abroad can be a good option. Currently, the global pandemic and the tightening of Visa rules in various countries like the USA can also impact one’s decision.

So, think wisely and accordingly plan for GRE or CAT to pursue your dream career in the management field come the year 2021.

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