CMAT Vs CET - Which Exam Should You Prefer

Common Management Admission Test also referred to as the CMAT is an online test for facilitating institutions to select candidates for admission in all management programmes approved by AICTE in various prestigious colleges across India. Up until 2018, CMAT was organized by AICTE every year as per the guidelines of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India. The Test is currently conducted by the National Testing Agency. It is a 3-hour test which is conducted in a single session. CMAT evaluates the candidate’s ability for topics like Quantitative Technique, Logical Reasoning, Language Comprehension and General Awareness. 

The MAH-CET examination on the other hand is the Maharashtra State Common Entrance Test for MBA colleges which is also an online based test. The CET examination has 3 sections with a total of 200 questions divided as 75 in logical reasoning, 25 in analytical reasoning, 50 questions in quantitative aptitude and 50 in Verbal ability. The CET exam is accepted by over 400 management colleges/institutes in Maharashtra and candidates from Maharashtra as well as all over India are allowed to sit for the CAP process after the examinations. The CAP or common admission process is for candidates applying for MBA/MMS with their CET scores.

Comparison highlights on the two exams :

Exam EligibilityBachelor’s degree in any
discipline and citizen of India
Bachelor’s degree in any
discipline and citizen of India
Exam conducting bodyNational Testing AgencyMaharashtra State Common
Entrance Test Cell
The difficulty level of examEasy to ModerateModerate to Difficult
Sections(topics) in the
exams along with
number of questions
as per 2021 upcoming exam
Quantitative Techniques &
Data Interpretation
Logical Reasoning
Language Comprehension
General Awareness
All 4 sections have 25 questions each
Logical Reasoning (75 questions)
Abstract Reasoning (25 questions)
Quantitative Aptitude (50 questions)
Verbal and Reading
Comprehension (50 questions)
Marking SystemNegative marking for
wrong answers
+4 for every correct answer
-1 for a wrong answer
No negative marking
+1 for every correct answer
Colleges accepting scoresAICTE approved MBA
colleges all over India
MBA Colleges under
Maharashtra state jurisdiction

We can see the major differences in both the exams in the above table. Along with that, the topics coming for both exams and eligibility criteria are the same but dates on which they are conducted and the process is different. CMAT is generally conducted in the last week of January but this time it is being conducted on February 27-28, 2021 due to the Covid pandemic.  More than 70,000 candidates apply for CMAT every year. This year the CMAT exam will be conducted in 109 cities and 245 test centres all over India. CMAT 2021 Exam pattern will have 100 questions equally divided into 4 sections of 25 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) in each section. After the exam, candidates are shortlisted from the colleges accepting CMAT scores based on their percentiles and are called for interviews. The courses offered by colleges accepting CMAT scores are MBA/PGDM both of which are equivalent as masters or post-graduate program for business administration or management.

MAH-CET scores are exclusively accepted by the MBA colleges in Maharashtra and they offer MBA/MMS course.  The CET is conducted for the admission to a two-year full-time postgraduate degree program in Management namely Master of Business Administration (MBA)/ Master of Management Studies (MMS). The CET exam is held in March every year. About 110,631 candidates applied for MAH MBA CET 2020 exam and 16 candidates were awarded highest 99.99 percentile in the score range of 146 to 159 in MAH MBA CET 2020 exam. MAH CET was conducted in 47 cities in India in two days with 330+ MBA colleges in Maharashtra accepting CET scores and taking 40,000 students for their courses. After the results are declared there is a centralized admission process(CAP) conducted by Directorate of Technical Education, Maharashtra. In this process, a merit list is announced followed by document verification and interview processes for the shortlisted candidates from various colleges as per their percentile.


PGDM course also known as  Post Graduate Diploma in Management is said to be somewhat costlier than the MMS program known as the Masters in Management Studies. Both are 2 year courses and approved directly by  All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Ministry of HRD, Govt of India. The major difference between PGDM and MMS courses is that PGDM is offered by autonomous management institutes (meaning it is not affiliated to any University) as they cannot offer MBA courses and MMS courses are offered by colleges which are affiliated to a university.  Even IIMs and XLRIs do not offer MBA degrees; they only give PGP Diploma or PGDM since they are autonomous bodies. Both the courses are equally detailed in terms of practical learning and theoretical knowledge. Thus the courses cover detailed learning on subjects like finance, accounting, operations, marketing management, systems and human resource management. 

Below tables give the top 10 colleges accepting CMAT and CET exams with the required percentile:


S No.College Name Accepting
CMAT score
Expected CMAT Cut-off
score as per year 2020
TIER 1 College
1Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of
Management Studies
, Mumbai
TIER 3 Colleges
2Sydenham Institute of Management Studies
and Research, Mumbai (SIMSREE)
3Welingkar Mumbai260
4Pune University Department of
Management Sciences (PUMBA DMS)
5NL Dalmia Institute of Management
Studies and Research, Mumbai
6K J Somaiya Institute of Management
Studies & Research (KJSIMSR), Mumbai
7IMT Nagpur230
8Goa Institute of Management, Goa220
9Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai220
10SIES College of Management Studies, Mumbai230[1] [2]

MAH-CET exam top 5 colleges accepting MAH-CET score :

S No.
College Name accepting CET score
Expected CET cut-off score as per year 2020
For Maharashtra
For All India
TIER 1 College
1Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of
Management Studies
(JBIMS), Mumba
145+ score (99.97 percentile)150+ score(99.99 percentile)
TIER 3 Colleges
2Sydenham Institute of Management
Studies Research and Entrepreneurship Education
(SIMSREE), Mumbai
98.5+ percentile99.5+ percentile
3SIES College of Management
Studies, Mumbai
97+ percentile98+ percentile
4PUMBA: Department of Management
Sciences University of Pune
97+ percentile98.2+ percentile
5Xavier Institute of Management &
Research (XIMR), Mumbai
93+ percentile95+ percentile

As seen in the above tables some of the top colleges of Maharashtra accept both CMAT and CET scores. Although a few colleges like K J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research, NL Dalmia Institute of Management Studies and Research and WeSchool Mumbai are not accepting CET scores from this year which used to be accepted in the previous years. These colleges do accept the CMAT score though. Depending upon the specialisation, preferences and ROI of the colleges, candidates can apply for the respective colleges and use their CMAT or CET scores which suit them better. If you are a quick solver of aptitude questions, then CET is a better choice than CMAT as CET offers less time per question. Also, CMAT requires you to prepare for GK as well. For students who are able to solve easy questions with 100% accuracy provided they get time, they should definitely focus on CMAT. The bargain is GK Preparation. Top colleges in Maharashtra like JBIMS & SIMSREE accept both CET and CMAT scores and they are good in terms of ROI too. However other top colleges likes GIM, KJ Somaiya, Great Lakes, Welingkar do accept CMAT. So, of course in terms of CMAT candidates have a larger scale of colleges to choose from in terms of application than CET which is accepted by only colleges in Maharashtra. For more information, you can follow the official websites for CET and CMAT examinations. 

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