CAT Vs Snap: Which Is A Tough Nut To Crack?

| June 27 , 2018 , 19:11 IST

Aspiring to secure a seat in a reputed B-school? Well, already true to your knowledge the gateway to same is clearing management entrances like CAT, SNAP 2018 which stand amongst the most coveted national level examinations. And not only are they very popular, they are immensely tough too.

But out of the two, which one is actually more difficult to crack? Well, to know this, you need to go through the deep details and valuable insights of both these exams. And, for the same, we have created a comprehensive and all-inclusive analysis of both CAT and SNAP, which will help you decide your next target. Have a look

CAT v/s SNAP: Syllabus

On the syllabus front, both the exams have one key difference between them, which is General Knowledge. Out of the 150 questions asked in SNAP, 30 are from the section General Awareness. While the other three sections, General English, Analytical & Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency have 40 questions each.

On the other hand, CAT does not feature any kind of General Knowledge or General Awareness questions, which makes it stand apart from almost all the management entrance exams of the country. The Common Admission Test for the IIMs comprises of 3 sections, namely Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Quantitative Aptitude (QA). These three sections feature 34, 32 and 34 questions respectively, making a total of 100 questions.

The syllabus under each subject, be it English, Quantitative Aptitude or Reasoning, is more or less same under both the papers. You will have to study similar sort of concepts for both the exams. However, the GK section of SNAP 2018 makes you stretch a little extra to crack this exam. Otherwise, both the exams are on similar lines when compared on the syllabus front.

CAT v/s SNAP: Paper Pattern Analysis

The examination pattern of both the exams is completely different from each other. While SNAP is more of a speed based exam, in CAT, you can also survive well with a lower speed too.

CAT gives you 180 minutes to solve 100 questions, which translates 1.8 minutes per question (i.e. 1 minute and 48 seconds). While on the other hand, SNAP gives 120 minutes to complete 150 questions, which is roughly only 48 seconds per question. Therefore, both the papers differ drastically from each other when it comes to the toughness of examination pattern only.

However, before taking any decision about the difficulty of both the exams on the basis of only examination pattern and speed level needed, we suggest you go through further heads too. As speed also varies with difficulty level of the questions asked, it is better to look at other parameters too.

CAT v/s SNAP: Difficulty level of questions asked

Historically, CAT is deemed to be tougher than SNAP. The level of questions asked in CAT has always been a little above what is asked in SNAP. While this has been a general trend from past so many years, things changed a little bit in the year 2017.

In 2017, CAT witnessed two easy sections, which were QA and VARC. The level of questions asked was not very high, as compared to the usual level of CAT. However, the DILR section was the toughest of all time, which played the role of the balancer. Overall, the paper was of moderate level, but except DILR, both the other sections were easier than expected.

While SNAP, which is generally termed as an easier paper than CAT, featured a very tough paper when compared to previous versions of itself. All the 4 sections were much tougher than expected.

But when placed in juxtaposition, it will still be relevant to say that CAT is a little tougher than SNAP, all thanks to the DILR section. But it should also not be forgotten that SNAP did a pretty good job last year to catch up to the difficulty level of CAT.

CAT v/s SNAP: The Competition Level

Here comes the most significant part of the comparison, the competition level. Since the results of both these papers are declared in terms of percentiles, you must know that with how many people you are competing with.

CAT witnesses an audience of around 2 lakh people every year, which makes it the most sought-after management exam of the country. While for SNAP, the candidate base is much smaller, with around 50000 people appearing for the exam every year. This is also due to the quality of institutes covered under these exams.

Since CAT is one of the most sought-after MBA-exam in the country, the quality of candidates appearing is also top notch. Candidates prepare for 6 months to a year to crack this exam, and some even repeat twice or thrice to get their desired college.

On the other hand, preparation for SNAP mostly goes along with CAT. There are many people who appear for both CAT and SNAP, and there are many who appear for CAT only. But the number of people who appear for only SNAP and not CAT is probably much lesser.

CAT v/s SNAP: Cut-offs for Top Colleges

Another important aspect of both the exams is the cut-off. For SNAP, the two most desired colleges are SIBM Pune and SCMHRD Pune. Generally, a percentile of 98.5 or more is enough for getting an interview call from SIBM Pune. While for SCMHRD, one can expect interview call at 98th percentile. These cutoffs are for general category only and can vary a little bit from year to year.

For CAT, 99 percentile is generally perceived as a golden figure to get interview calls from best of the colleges. However, Since IIMs give considerable weightage to profile of the candidate, the cutoffs vary quite a lot. Some people get interview call from IIM Ahmedabad at 89 percentile also, while others don’t get it even at 99.7 percentile. However, as a rough figure, 99.5 percentile is a good score for IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta. The cut off for IIM Lucknow stays around 99 percentile, for IIM Kozhikode at 98.5 percentile and for IIM Indore at 98 percentile.

 The newer IIMs even call students at 96th percentile or so. While for non-IIM colleges like FMS Delhi and MDI Gurgaon, interview calls can be expected at 99th percentile.

CAT v/s SNAP: The Sectional Cut off Criterion

One major difference between these two exams is that SNAP does not have any sectional cut off, while CAT does. Which means that if you get an overall percentile of 99 in CAT, but your percentile in DILR (or any one section) is below 80 (or 70, as per college’s admission criteria), no IIM would give you an interview call. So not only you need to score a good percentile overall, but you have to meet the minimum cut off criteria of all the 3 sections also.

But in SNAP, if you have got a 99 percentile, you will get an interview call from SIBM Pune even if you didn’t attempt a single question in the GK section. An absence of sectional cut-offs in SNAP is a big relief for aspirants.

CAT v/s SNAP: Which is tougher to crack?

In terms of the vastness of syllabus and speed requirements, SNAP is certainly a winner. While in terms of competition, the difficulty level of questions and cut-offs, CAT seems to be one step ahead of SNAP. However, while opting for any of the two exams, one must go through the analysis and frame his/her choices consciously. Both the exams, if cracked, can lead you to a seat in the country’s most sought-after business schools.

On an overall basis, the dominance of CAT as country’s toughest entrance exam is hard to overthrow. SNAP is certainly doing considerable efforts to match the level of CAT, but at the moment, it seems quite clear that CAT is a tougher nut to crack.