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CAT Percentile Calculation 2021: Check Percentile Calculation Methods, CAT Scaled Score & Rank Predictor

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Anwita Dhar logo

Anwita Dhar

| Updated On - Jun 28, 2021

CAT Percentile Calculation is a difficult process that might not be understood easily by some of the candidates. First of all, let us understand what is CAT Percentile: It is a relative score that indicates the rank of a candidate. We can also say that if a candidate scores 99 percentile then the performance of that candidate is better than 99% of CAT test takers. By using CAT Percentile Predictor one can easily assess their CAT percentile as well as their chances of getting into different management institutes. 

The procedure and formula for CAT Calculation is given by IIMs. CAT Cut off or CAT Percentile for each candidate will be mentioned on CAT Scorecard released after the declaration of CAT Result. For a better understanding of candidates, a stepwise method of CAT Percentile Calculation is mentioned below in the article. Check CAT Marks Vs Percentile 

CAT Latest Updates:

  • June 8: Admission in IIMs will be done based on qualifying CAT Percentiles decided by the respective institutes. Read More
  • June 1: CAT response sheet will be released along with the Answer Keys, candidates can use both for CAT score calculation. Read More

Read the article to know more about CAT Percentile calculation and much more. 

How Scaled CAT Score will be Calculated for Three Slots?

CAT exam will be conducted in three slots instead of the earlier two slots in view of the COVID-19 guidelines set by the government. With the reduction in time duration of CAT, and change in CAT exam pattern; slight change in calculation of CAT score will be there. 

While illustrating the scaling process, CAT chose QA section as an example. Similar process will be valid for the other two sections, i.e. DILR and VARC.

  • Step 1: Calculate the mean and the standard deviation (SD) of the raw scores in QA section for all candidates appearing in the morning session. Let Mean = M1 and SD = S1 and G1 = M1 + S1.
  • Step 2: Calculate the mean and the standard deviation (SD) of the raw scores in QA section for all candidates appearing in the afternoon session. Let Mean = M2 and SD = S2 and G2 = M2 + S2.
  • Step 3: Calculate the mean and the standard deviation (SD) of the raw scores in QA section for all candidates appearing in the evening session. Let Mean = M3 and SD = S3 and G3 = M3 + S3.
  • Step 4: Calculate the mean and the standard deviation (SD) of the raw scores in QA section for all candidates appearing in CAT (i.e. including all the three sessions). Let Mean = M and SD = S and G = M + S.
  • Step 5: Calculate the mean raw score in QA section of the top 0.1% candidates in the morning session and denote it by ????1 0.1
  • Step 6: Calculate the mean raw score in QA of top 0.1% candidates in the afternoon session and denote it by ????2 0.1
  • Step 7: Calculate the mean raw score in QA of top 0.1% candidates in the evening session and denote it by ????3 0.1

Suppose now XYZ is a candidate who appeared in the morning session and her raw score in QA section is R. Then the scaled score of XYZ in QA, say ????̂ given by:

In case XYZ is a candidate who appeared in the afternoon session and her raw score in QA section is R. Then the scaled score of XYZ in QA, say ????̂ given by:
In case XYZ is a candidate who appeared in the evening session and her raw score in QA section is R. Then the scaled score of XYZ in QA, say ????̂ given by:
Similar Methodology is applied for computation of scaled scores for other sections. If this formula yields any scaled score as more than 100, it will be rounded down to 100.

CAT 2021 Percentile Score Calculation

Keeping Quantitative Ability (QA) as an example, the stepwise procedure for the calculation of overall score and percentile score is as follows:

  • Step 1: Calculate the total number of candidates (N) who appeared for CAT in all sessions.
  • Step 2: Assign a rank (r), based on the scaled scores obtained in the QA section, to all candidates who appeared for CAT 2021. If two or more candidates obtain equal scores in the QA section, then identical ranks will be assigned to those candidates.

For example, if two candidates obtain the highest scaled score in the QA section, then the assigned rank of both the candidates will be 1. The candidate(s) obtaining the second highest scaled score in the QA section will be assigned Rank 3 and so on.

  • Step 3: The percentile score (P) of a candidate with rank(r) in the QA section can be calculated using the following formula: 

P = ((N-r) N) x 100

  • Step 4: Finally, round off the calculated percentile score (P) of a candidate up to two decimal points. For example, all percentile scores greater than or equal to 99.995 are rounded off to 100, all percentile scores which are greater than or equal to 99.985 but less than 99.995 are rounded off to 99.99 and so on. 

Quick Links:

Normalization Process

CAT Normalization Process

  • Exam creation is a set of statistically profiled questions. These questions of same difficulty levels are used in re-scaling candidate’s score to the metric of item bank. 
  • The questions are properly analysed and their difficulty levels is assessed according to a standard metric.
  • The normalization carries a base assumption that “in all multi session CAT papers, the distribution of abilities of candidates is the same across all of the sessions”.
  • Then, the raw score of the candidate is scaled, and scores are established accordingly. This helps in awarding ranks to the candidates.
  • The percentile rank is equated based on percentage score that falls below a certain specified score.
  • With the total scale scores arranged in rank order from the lowest to highest in 100 equally sized groups, a table with the total scale scores to percentile ranks will be created.
  • After the scores are identified and arranged, high scoring candidate’s name will be determined from the top among high scorers and subsequent list of low scorers.
  • CAT percentile decides the rank of a management aspirant, relative to the rest of the aspirants who appeared for the same MBA entrance exam. The basic idea of the CAT percentile is to tell you what per cent of the students have scored less than you in the examination.

Must Read:

CAT Marking Scheme

CAT Marking Scheme

  • CAT scores are sub-normalized based on three parts of the exam- Quantitative Reasoning, Data Interpretation, and Logical Reasoning and Verbal and Reading Comprehension.
  • CAT exam score, which is valid for one year only, is converted into percentile form and the best scorer is highlighted at the top to up the level of competition.
  • A candidate is awarded three marks each for the correct answer.
  • However, it also applies negative marking, since one mark each is deducted for every wrong answer.
  • Candidates may note that no mark will be deducted for an unanswered question.
  • CAT score helps in shortlisting of the eligible candidates for further rounds.

CAT exam generally maintains a consistent level of difficulty throughout the examination process. CAT Exam is designed in a manner that makes it difficult for candidates to answer all the questions correctly and thus chances for a perfect score are minimal.

How is CAT Score Equated?

How is CAT Score Equated?

Equating CAT follows a psychometric process to adjust differences in difficulty level. The process is followed to keep a tab on comparable metric and be justified to candidates who test across multiple days. There are three phases in equating the CAT Exam

  • Raw scores are calculated where three marks are awarded for a correct answer, and one mark is deducted for every wrong answer.
  • Through an equating process, raw scores are adjusted for variances in difficulty levels across the different test forms. Then through statistical properties, candidates’ performance is judged on the same questions asked in two or more different forms. These equating measures help to adjust raw marks accordingly. 
  • Equating helps in placing the scores on a common scale and create a range of scores which help in creating percentile rank.

Read CAT Marks vs Percentile

CAT Raw Score Vs Percentile: Accuracy Levels and Attempt

What accuracy level is needed while attempting CAT answers? Find out from the tables below

CAT Score, Attempts, and Accuracy for 99 Percentile

CAT Section
Good Attempt
Accuracy Level
Raw Score
Scaled Score
Expected Percentile Score

CAT Score, Attempts, and Accuracy for 95 Percentile

CAT Section
Good Attempt
Accuracy Level
Raw Score
Scaled Score
Expected Percentile Score

CAT Score, Attempts, and Accuracy for 90 Percentile

CAT Section
Good Attempt
Accuracy Level
Raw Score
Scaled Score
Expected Percentile Score

Must ReadIIM WAT (Written Ability Test): Topics, Tips, and Weightage 

Overall CAT Percentile and Marks

Total Marks In 300 Correct Questions Percentage Percentile
192 64 64 100
183 61 61 99.5
171 57 57 99
168 56 56 98
162 54 54 97
153 51 51 95.5
147 49 49 95
144 48 48 94
138 46 46 93
132 44 44 92
123 41 41 91
117 39 39 90
111 37 37 89
99 33 33 85
CAT Score Calculation FAQs

CAT Percentile Calculation FAQs

Ques: What is the difference between Raw Score and Scaled Score in CAT?

Ans: CAT raw score is the actual score that a candidate receive in CAT exam. The raw score is then converted into percentile score. This is done through the process of normalisation as the exam is conducted in two slots. Therefore, in order to judge each candidate on the same scale, normalisation is done to calculate the percentile score.

Ques: Is 80 percentile in CAT considered good?

Ans: Getting 80 percentile in CAT exam can be a tricky situation as candidates getting such as score can not be placed into the old IIMs. IIMs have high cutoff ranging between 98-100. Therefore, candidates can not make it to the IIMs with 80 percentile. Despite of that, they can get into other top B-schools such as:

  1. Loyola Institute of Business Administration
  2. Institute of Rural Management
  3. Delhi School of Management
  4. Birla Institute of Technology
  5. Motilal Nehru Institute of Technology

Ques: What is the validity of CAT score?

Ans: CAT score is valid for a period of one year.

Ques: How much should I score in CAT exam to get 99 percentile?

Ans: Depending upon the previous year's trends, percentile score vs raw score is given in the table below:

CAT Score CAT Percentile
200.49 99.95
190.04 99.9
182.19 99.82
179.2 99.78
174.34 99.7
172.54 99.66
170.65 99.61
166.49 99.47
163.14 99.34
162 99.31
160.02 99.23
159.4 99.2
159.24 99.19
156.05 99.03
155.85 99.02

Ques: Which IIMs give the highest weightage to CAT Score?

Ans: Admission in IIMs is done depending upon different factors such as CAT score, class 10th and 12th percentile, performance in WAT/GD, and PI. Different weightage is assigned to different factors. Depending on the previous year trends, IIMs with high weightage to CAT score are given below:

  • IIM Lucknow (76%)
  • IIM Kozhikode (75%)
  • IIM Ahmedabad (70%)
  • IIM Calcutta (67%)

Ques: What is the minimum score that IIMs accept for its admission in PGPM?

Ans: IIMs sets a very high benchmark score to get into the program offered by the institute. One cannot define a particular score as every year IIMs releases their own cutoff score. Candidates taking CAT exam must aim to score minimum 95 percentile score in order to get into IIMs.

Ques: What is the minimum percentile needed to get admission in MBA program of IIM Ahmedabad?

Ans: Admission in IIMs is based on CAT score. After the release of CAT score, each IIMs will release their cutoff list. Depending upon the same one can decide the minimum percentile score. IIM Ahmedabad will release its minimum cutoff after the declaration of CAT result. Last year, the overall minimum percentile to score expected was 80.

Ques:  Are the score of class 10th and 12th also important for admission in IIMs?

Ans: Yes, class 10th and 12th scores are equally important for getting admission in MBA program in one of the IIMs as the scores are evaluated while selecting a candidate into the program. As per the admission policy of IIMs, candidates are assigned rating depending upon their percentage score in class 10th and 12th. 

Ques: In which non-IIMs can I get admission with a 85-90 percentile score?

Ans: There are several non-IIMs which have high NIRF ranking in which candidates may get into if they fail to secure a seat in one of the IIMs. The institutes are mentioned below:

  1. SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai
  2. Institute of Financial Management and Research, Sri City
  3. KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai
  4. TAMPI, Manipal

Ques: What is the highest score of CAT exam?

Ans: IIMs release cat cutoff after the declaration of CAT result. Depending upon the trends of the past year raw score ranging between 182-200 is considered to the higher in CAT.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College.

CAT 2021 : 4 answered questions


Ques. What would my score have to be to get a call from any of the top IIM or other B-Schools like FMS, SP Jain, XLRI, ISB, MDI, etc.?

● Top Answer By Udita Mishra on 05 Jul 21

Ans. My brother is a CAT aspirant and has done extensive research on the cutoff for reputed B-Schools. Here is what he had to say about it.  Most of the colleges mentioned above take admission through CAT. So, if you are a general category student then you will need to score around 90-95% in order to get accepted at MDI, IMI, TAPMI, Great Lakes, KJ Somiya, and new IIMs.  In order to get admission at top IIMs, FMS, or ISB you will have to score at least around 98.5 or above.  XLRI takes admission through XAT and the cutoff is similar and around 99 percentile.  Hope this gives you some idea about the cutoff required for admission at these B-Schools.Read more
1 Answer

Ques. How can a student with low academics get placed in B schools like XLRI, FMS, JBIMS, MDI, etc.?

● Top Answer By Damini Das on 28 Jun 21

Ans. It is important to know about the factors that might help you to get admission to B-schools. If you ask me, XLRI, MDI, JBIMS, and a few of the newer and baby IIMs have admission policies with distributed weight-age systems. Not only CAT cut off but also they do a selection on the profile basis. They check for job experience and other skill sets if any. You may face tough interrogation during the Interview process as you have low academic scores but it may also be overlooked if your CAT scores are high and your profile is good. Also, if you have any decent work-ex, it can make an impression on the selection committee. Moreover, you should score at least 60% in your academic career as most organizations require this. Exception cases are considered provided one is able to display significant tech skills/managerial qualities or a high score on the job requisite skills matrix. If in case you have less than 60%, you are already out of IIMs criteria and your chance to get into IIMs. Also, colleges like FMS give more weightage on CAT scores and less on academics.Read more
1 Answer

Ques. What are my chances for IIM B,C or XLRI BM if I score 99.5%+ in CAT and XAT?

● Top Answer By Rahul Regi on 18 Jun 21

Ans. If you have a 99.5+ percentile in CAT, you have a good chance to get selected in IIM A, B, C, or XLRI. One of my friends was in a similar situation and these points helped him understand the proper requirements to get an interview call from these institutes. An overall good academic profile is definitely required. Mostly, the academics of college, 10th and 12th are considered.  In IIM interviews, there are several candidates with 90+ percentages in 10th and 12th, and 80+ percentages in engineering.  So, good academics can make a huge difference. Candidates in the SC category even get seats in IIM A, B, C, XLRI, etc with a 95+ percentile score in CAT and with some high academics.  So, the 99.5 percentile for an SC student is an excellent score. During the initial shortlisting, sports and other extracurricular activities don't matter much. But, in interviews, it can turn out to be an important point of discussion. For summer and final placements, extra-curricular definitely helps a lot. For the rest of IIMs, 90+ percentile is a sufficient score. There are several students with 91-92 percentile and got admission in IIM L, I, and K. So, the chances of new IIMs to shortlist such a candidate is very high. For XLRI, the score required for Business Management is 96 percentile, and for Human Resource Management, it is 93/ 94+ percentile in XAT. So, a student with a 99.5 percentile is sure to get shortlisted. Getting 99.5 percentile in CAT/ XAT is not an easy task, and requires a lot of hard work, dedication towards studies, and a never-give-up attitude. Such a score has good chances in all the top Business Schools in India.Read more
1 Answer

Ques. What should be my CAT percentile and how can I get a call from IIM A/B/C/L/I/K, FMS and XLRI?

● Top Answer By Ajay Singh on 30 May 21

Ans. You will not get a call from IIM A or IIM B if your 12th marks are low. Neither IIM K will call you as they do not give weightage to 10th marks, but to 12th and graduation score. You can get a call from IIM-K if you have a percentile between 97-98. The percentile you need to get a call from other IIMs are as follows: IIM C- To get a call from IIM-C you need above 99.5 percentile, which is likely to decrease the increasing diversity. IIM L- You need above 99.2 percentile, which is likely to decrease the increasing diversity. FMS- You need 98.5 percentile and 99.5 percentile for conversion, XLRI- XAT score in BM should be 95 percentile for call and 99.2 percentile for conversion. And in HRM 90 percentile for getting a call, and 9 percentile for conversion.  Therefore, you need to work hard and get above 90 percentile to get a call from IIMs. Read more
1 Answer


How much marks are essential to clear the cutoff?
rakhisree chatterjee

Hi, Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Differently Abled (DA) category candidates need 45% marks in graduation. Candidates in final year of Graduation are also eligible to apply for CAT 2020. Candidates who have completed professional degree (CA/CS/ICWA) with 45% marks.

manish srivastava
Is there any provision of receiving a hard copy of CAT scorecard 2017?