The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and Narsee Monjee Management Aptitude Test (NMAT) are popular standardized tests, sought after by MBA aspirants. While both these tests are conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the GMAT and NMAT differ in a number of ways that are important for you to know and understand. This article will guide you through the key differences between GMAT and NMAT, so that you can choose the test that is best suited for you.

To begin with, GMAT scores are accepted by most B-Schools all over the world, and are usually an important requirement when applying for an MBA or similar program abroad and in India as well. On the other hand, NMAT is primarily meant for candidates applying to NMIMS campuses in Mumbai, Hyderabad or Bengaluru. Additionally, NMAT scores are accepted by many other B-Schools within India, including Indian School of Business, ICFAI Business School, Amity Business School, SRM School of Management and Alliance School of Business to name a few. However, most Business Schools outside India do not accept NMAT scores, making them smaller in terms of scope and recognition compared to the widely accepted GMAT.

Besides this primary difference in terms of acceptability, GMAT and NMAT also differ in many other aspects, ranging from Syllabus, Pattern and Score Range to Validity of Results and Cost of Application. 

The key differences are laid out in the table below.

No. of Questions80108
Question TypesMCQ + Non-MCQMCQ
Syllabus/ SectionsVerbal AbilityQuantitative ReasoningIntegrated ReasoningAnalytical Writing AssessmentLanguage SkillsQuantitative SkillsLogical Reasoning
Exam Duration3 hours 7 minutes (+ 2 optional 8-minute breaks)2 hours
Score Range200 – 8000 – 360
Score Validity5 Years1 Year
FrequencyAll year roundOnce a year
Re-Attempts5 Attempts in a Year, Total 8 Attempts3 Attempts
CostUSD 250INR 2,000 (+ taxes)
Accepted ByMost B-Schools all over the worldIndian B-Schools

Syllabus and Pattern

GMAT tests you on 4 distinct areas – Verbal Ability, Quantitative Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing Assessment. Questions in these sections range from topics such as Reading Comprehension, Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, Problem Solving, Data Sufficiency, Table Analysis, Two-Part Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, Multi-Source Reasoning, Argument and Issue-based essays.

On the other hand, the NMAT exam is divided into 3 sections – Language skills, Quantitative skills, and Logical Reasoning, that test the candidate on similar topics as in the GMAT syllabus such as Problem Solving, Data Sufficiency, Reading Comprehension, and Critical Reasoning. However, the NMAT does not test Analytical Writing like the GMAT does, through an essay-type question. 


The GMAT has a total of 80 questions, spread across its 4 sections  – Verbal Ability (36), Quantitative Reasoning (31), Integrated Reasoning (12), and Analytical Writing Assessment (1). While the Analytical Writing Assessment comprises 1 essay-type question, the remaining sections consist of multiple-choice questions. 

The NMAT consists of 108 MCQ questions, divided equally among its 3 sections, each comprising 36 questions.


Despite having a greater number of questions, NMAT is a shorter exam with a duration of 2 hours. GMAT, on the other hand, is a longer exam of 3 hours and 7 minutes, with 2 optional breaks of 8 minutes each.

Score Validity

GMAT scores are valid for a period of 5 years, while NMAT scores remain valid for only one year. This means that while you may be able to use the same GMAT score for next year (rather 5) in case you defer your application plans, the same would not be possible in case of NMAT. You would need to take the NMAT again next year.


When it comes to re-attempts, you can take the GMAT up to 5 times in a year, if you wish to improve your scores. In such a case, the latest scores would be valid for you. If you opt for NMAT, you can take the test up to 3 times, although it would have to be within the test window of 84 days. However, your highest NMAT score out of these attempts would be considered as your valid final score.


Another major point of difference between GMAT and NMAT lies in the exam fees. While an attempt at NMAT would cost you an amount of INR 2,000 (along with applicable taxes), taking theGMAT exam costs USD 250, which goes over INR 18,000. Hence, the GMAT is about 9 times more expensive compared to the NMAT. If cost is not an issue for you, GMAT can be a better option, due to its wider scope and international recognition.


As explained earlier, GMAT is accepted and recognized by over 2,100 Universities across 144 countries, the NMAT is accepted only for applications to B-Schools in India. So, if you are targeting B-Schools abroad for an MBA or similar programs, GMAT should be your best choice.

GMAT or NMAT, any exam you take is always beneficial. You can choose from either, whichever meets your requirements and is applicable for the business institute you are looking to get into. However, a study plan and consistent preparation for both the exam is key to a good score and an admission into the business school of your choice.


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