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Know differences between CAT 2019 and IIFT exam

From the level of competition to the scope of the tests, here are all the major differences between CAT 2019 and IIFT 2020 entrance exams

CAT 2019 will be conducted on November 24

Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) and Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) are two of the most prominent B-schools for MBA aspirants. The admission in both the institutes is granted on the basis of entrance examinations which are held at the national level. CAT is held for IIM admission and is due to be held on November 24, 2019. Whereas, IIFT MBA 2020 is scheduled to be held on December 1, 2019.

The similarity between both the exams is that it is held online across India, and candidates should possess Common Admission Test (CAT) admit card or IIFT MBA admit card 2020 to take the test. However, candidates appearing for both the exams should also know the difference between these two. Though both the entrance exams are for MBA admission, yet a different approach is needed to crack it.

Different conducting bodies

CAT is conducted by IIMs, which are premium B-Schools in India, whereas, from this year, the responsibility to hold IIFT has been given to National Testing Agency. From application form release to uploading the answer key, and providing the result is done by these bodies. So, candidates should know the websites for these. The official website of CAT is iimcat.ac.in, and that for IIFT is iift.nta.nic.in.

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IIFT is a speed-based test and CAT needs critical thinking

The total number of questions in IIFT and CAT are not disclosed. However, last year, candidates had to solve 100 questions in CAT in three hours and 114 questions in IIFT in 2 hours. To crack IIFT, candidates need speed, as they only get around 1 minute to solve a question. On the other hand, questions in the Common Admission Test demand critical thinking.

More sections in IIFT than CAT

In CAT 2019, questions are asked from quantitative ability, verbal ability and reading comprehension, and data interpretation and logical reasoning. In IIFT, there are 6 sections for English grammar, vocabulary and comprehension, general knowledge and current affairs, logical reasoning, data interpretation, and quantitative analysis.

CAT 2019 and IIFT 2020 both have the quantitative ability section: Where lies the difference?


The difference lies in the level of these sections. Experts believe that IIFT, Questions-Answer (QA) is more lengthy and calculative, while CAT QA is more concept based. In IIFT QA questions are more based on ratio, percentage, inequalities, geometry, probability, permutation combination, etc. While in CAT QA conceptual types of questions like time and work, ratio and proportions, averages, etc are asked.

Type of questions: CAT 2019 has 2 types of questions and IIFT 2020 has one type

In CAT 2019, the candidates have to face two types of questions in each of the sections – MCQs and TITAs (Type in the answer). MCQs are multiple-choice questions where there are 4 options of which one is correct and TITA is type in the answers type questions, where the students have to enter their answer in the computer with the help of the virtual keyboard. On the other hand, in IIFT 2020, candidates will face only MCQ type of questions.


Scope of CAT 2019 and IIFT 2020: What after you qualify the exams?

Qualifying CAT 2019 will lead to admission in 20 IIMs. Other than the IIMs, more than 200 B-schools also accept CAT score for MBA/ PGDM admission. On qualifying IIFT 2020 entrance exam, candidates get admission in the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) Delhi, Kolkata and Kakinada campus only.

Higher competition in CAT but fewer seats in IIFT

Around 2 lakh candidates appear in CAT but for IIFT only around 50,000 candidates apply. The score of CAT is also accepted by more than 200 B-Schools but the score of IIFT is only valid for IIFT campuses. Hence, there are more seats open via CAT and less via IIFT. It is a misconception that CAT has higher competition. Due to less number of seats, the competition in both is an edge to edge.

Difference in conduction of the exam: CAT 2019 will be held in 2 shifts and IIFT 2020 in one

Since the number of candidates appearing for CAT is more, the exam is held in two slots. CAT 2019 slot 1 exam is from 9 am to 12 noon and slot 2 is from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm. IIFT 2020 will be held from 10 am to 12 noon.

First published on: 19-11-2019 at 12:09 IST
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