CAT Score Vs Percentile: Know Difference, Normalisation Process, IIM Scaling Criteria, Previous Year Analysis

    Anam Shams Anam Shams
    Content Curator

    CAT Scorecard includes two major components: Scaled score and Percentile of the candidate relatively. Normalisation process is carried out to maintain equivalence as the exam is conducted in two slots morning and afternoon. To understand the difference between these parameters understanding of previous year trends regarding score vs percentile is necessary. Scaled scores, composite scores and final scores are considered while colleges release CAT Cutoff. IIMs have their own criteria to process scaled scores in CAT for granting Admissions. 

    We will understand what is the criteria for conversion of score and percentile and other details related to it. .

    CAT Raw ScoreCAT Scaled ScoreCAT Percentile Score
    As per Marking Scheme +3 Marks for each correct answer -1 for every wrong MCQ answerExam is conducted in two slots, as the difficulty level is different. IIMs use normalisation process. It can be more than raw score or below.Total percentage of the candidate scoring equal to or less than the candidate. It is the relative performance of the candidate in the exam.

    How are CAT Scores Calculated?

    CAT Score simply refers to the score obtained by the candidate out of the total of 300 marks. There are 100 questions in total each carrying 3 marks. The CAT scoring pattern is +3 marks for every correct answer and -1 for every incorrect answer. There are no negative marks for unattempted question. All the scores in all the three sections are summed up and a total score is calculated.

    VARC section: 34 questions (102 marks)

    DILR section: 32 questions (96 marks)

    Quant section: 34 questions (102 marks)

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    Know What is CAT Percentile?

    What is CAT Percentile?

    Before getting into the CAT score vs percentile, let us understand briefly about what percentile exactly means. A percentile is defined as a measure which indicates the percentage of students below a candidate in the merit list.

    • For example, if you get 80 percentile, it refers to your place in the merit list where about 80 percent candidates competing with you in the test have scored less than you. Hence, the aspirants securing 80 percentile or above refers to the top 20 percent of the total test-takers in the merit list. 

    • So, if the total number of candidates that take the test is 2 lakhs, approximately 40,000 candidates (20 percent) would come under the percentile range of 80 to 100. The percentile secured in the CAT exam is indicative of your position and does not tell the marks that you have scored in the test.

    Now let us have a look at the calculation of percentile. Here VARC is just taken as an example for calculation of percentile.

    The first step is calculating the total number of candidates (N). Here, N refers to the total of students in both morning and afternoon session of CAT exam.

    Rank (r) is the allotted rank to the candidate based on the scaled score that he has got in VARC section to all the candidates who appeared for the exam. If two or more candidates get the same marks in VARC section, then the same ranks will be allotted to the candidates.

    The percentile score of a candidate (P) will be calculated with the rank (r) in the VARC section as:

    P= [(N-r)/N] X 100

    A similar methodology is used for the calculation of the percentile scores of other sections and overall CAT percentile

    Know Detailed CAT Score Calculation

    What are Scaled Scores in CAT?

    CAT scoring is a complex process which includes scaling and normalization. Based on the scaled scores, the merit list of candidates is prepared since the exam is held in two slots.

    CAT normalization process ensures equity and fairness in the performance of students across sessions.

    The exam is held in two sessions, 9 AM to 12 PM (Forenoon session) and 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM (Afternoon session). The question papers, for obvious reasons, slightly vary from each other. Thus, the scaled score makes sure that the performance which is evaluated, is fair for all. The scaled score which is calculated might be slightly more or less than the raw score.

    Score Normalisation Process in CAT

    Score Normalisation Process in CAT

    CAT normalization process is done by adjusting scale and location difference of score distribution across both the question papers (forenoon and afternoon). The scaled scores obtained by this process will be converted into CAT percentiles. 

    After this, the candidates will be shortlisted for further rounds like Writing Ability Test, Group Discussion and Personal Interview. To ensure fairness and complete equity in the performance of the aspirants in both the sessions, their scores go through CAT normalization process and then finally arrive at individual overall percentile and percentiles in different sections.

    The below-mentioned steps are followed to calculate the scaled score of each section through the normalization process. Take a look at the example of how the scaled scores are calculated.

    Step I: Mean and Standard Deviation for Morning Slot 

    Mean and Standard Deviation (SD) is calculated of the raw scores in the VARC section for all the candidates who appear in the morning shift of CAT.

    Mean = M1 and SD = S1

    Hence, G1 = M1 + S1

    Step II: Mean and Standard Deviation for Afternoon Slot 

    Similarly, mean and SD of the candidates appearing in the afternoon slot is calculated of the raw scores in the VARC section.

    Mean = M2 and SD = S2

    Hence, G2 = M2 + S2

    Step III: Overall Mean Calculation 

    Now, calculate the mean and SD for all the candidates who appeared for both morning and afternoon shifts of the raw scores in the VARC section.

    Mean = M and SD = S

    Hence, G = M + S

    Step IV: Raw Score Morning Slot

    Now calculate the mean raw score in the VARC section of the top 0.1% candidates who appeared in the morning slot. Denote this by M1 0.1

    Step V: Raw Score Afternoon Slot

    Similarly, for the candidates in the afternoon slot, calculate the mean raw score in the VARC section of the top 0.1% candidates. Denote this by M2 0.1

    Step VI: Overall Raw Score

    For the top 0.1% of candidates who appeared for CAT exam for both the shifts, calculate the mean raw score in the VARC section. Denote this by M 0.1

    Similarly, this technique will be followed to get the scaled score of all the sections.

    Hence, Total Scaled Score = Sum of scaled scores of VARC, DILR and QA

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    CAT Composite Score Calculation

    CAT Composite Score Calculation

    The composite score of the candidates is arrived by calculating their score after considering several parameters. These include

    • Overall CAT score (scaled)

    • Class 12th Marks

    • Class 10th Marks

    • Graduation Marks

    • Work Experience

    • Gender Diversity

    • Academic Diversity

    A lot of colleges give different weightage to different factors for the calculation of composite scores. All the top IIMs and other B-Schools have different criteria and based on that the final merit list is generated and the candidates are called for GD and PI rounds. Some other top B-schools like SP Jain also consider the overall profile of the students and then release the calls. The composite score is calculated by each institute individually and some criteria will be discussed later in this article.

    CAT Score vs Percentile by various Coaching Institutes

    CAT Score vs Percentile by various Coaching Institutes

    Several coaching institutes release their predictive rankings based on the reviews of the test takers and experts who appear for the CAT exam. They judge the difficulty of the test paper in both the slots and give out percentiles based on raw scores.

    IMS Coaching

    IMS India is one of the most renowned coaching institutes for MBA entrance exams in India. It is also one of the oldest institutes which provides the platform to the students to further their careers.

    The table below describes the expected percentiles at different raw scores in both slots of CAT 2019.

    CAT 2019 Slot 1CAT 2019 Slot 2-
    PercentilesVARCDILRQAOverallVARCDILRQAOverall
    99685156159-161674859157-159
    97634347139-141624150138-140
    95573939122-124563642121-123
    90503431104-106493033102-104
    8544292690-9242262888-90

    Career Launcher

    Career Launcher is also one of the popular choices among students for coaching. It is led by a team of highly professional team some of which are IIT-IIM alumni.

    The table below describes the predictions from career launcher on CAT 2019 percentiles vs scores

    SectionCut-off
    99%ile95%ile90%ile
    VARC655750
    DILR483932
    QA554333
    TOTAL160123108

    CAT Score VS Percentile of Previous Years

    CAT Score VS Percentile of Previous Years

    The comparison of CAT score vs Percentile varies every year with the change in the difficulty of the exam. Therefore, for the candidates to have a fair idea of how much they need to score to get into the college of their dreams, they need to build cases for the different level of difficulty.

    Here, the past trend CAT trend can help the candidate to identify the kind of score they need in order to stand ground at getting a good B-School. The below table gives a quick brief on how the previous trend has been for CAT score vs Percentile.

    Percentile/YearCAT 19CAT 18CAT 17CAT 16CAT 15
    99%ile160154174156180
    95%ile126121138123144
    90%ile110103118104124
    85%ile968910392110
    80%ile8579938298

    Scaled Score Criteria of Top IIMs

    Admission Criteria to Top IIMs based on Scaled Score

    The selection process for top IIMs involves a preliminary screening based on CAT scores, class 10th and 12th marks, graduation, work experience, gender etc. All these factors play a crucial role in the selection of the candidate for the next round of WAT, GD and PI. The composite score is generated on the basis of all these factors and a merit list is prepared. The score calculations of some of the top IIMs are below

    IIMsFormula to calculate composite score
    IIM Ahmedabad admission criteriaComposite Score (CS) = ARF-CS * Normalized AR score + CATF-CS * Normalised overall score in CAT Application Rating Multiplication Factor for Composite Score (ARF-CS) is 0.35 & CAT Multiplication Factor for Composite Score (CATF-CS) is 0.65
    IIM Bangalore admission criteriaCAT (weight = 25), 10th class(weight = 10), 12th class (weight = 5), Bachelors/Graduation (weight = 10), Work Experience (weight = 10)
    IIM Kolkata admission criteriaComposite score = CAT Score (30%) + Personal Interview (PI) (48%) + Written Ability Test (WAT) (10%) + Point awarded for Academic Diversity at Graduation level for Non-Engineering degree (4%) + Work Experience (8%)
    IIM Lucknow admission criteriaScaled CAT (CS) 60% + HSC marks (12M) 10% + Graduation marks (GM) 10% + Work Experience (WE) 10% + Diversity Factor: (DFa): Academic Disciplines AD, 5% + Diversity Factor (DFb): Gender 5%
    IIM Tiruchirappalli admission criteriaCAT score (50 %) + Written Analysis Test (14 %) + Personal Interview (14 %) + Work experience (5 %) + Performance at Undergraduate level (10 %) + Professional Qualification (2 %) (Pass in the final examinations of CA / ICWA/ CS) + Gender Diversity (5 % for female candidates)
    IIM Kozhikode admission criteriaCAT Score (45%) + Class X Percentage Score (30%) + Class XII Percentage Score (15) + Gender/Academic Diversity Score (10%)

    Must ReadBenefits of Non-Engineers and Female Candidates in CAT

    CAT Marks vs Percentile: 95 to 100 Percentile

    CAT Marks vs Percentile: 95 to 100 Percentile

    The below table gives a brief description of CAT Marks vs Percentile within the range of 95 to 100 percentile

    CAT Scaled ScoreCAT Percentile
    14899
    13497.5
    123.3695.08
    125.0495.41
    125.2195.46
    126.7695.76
    127.3695.86
    127.5295.89
    127.7395.92
    127.8695.95
    127.9795.97
    128.2396.02
    128.6296.1
    128.8896.15
    129.0296.17
    129.3596.22
    130.396.38
    131.2996.55
    131.7296.62
    131.9496.65
    132.296.69
    132.5896.74
    132.9296.8
    133.0196.82
    133.6696.91
    134.0196.96
    134.2796.99
    134.697.05
    135.3597.16
    135.497.17
    135.4297.17
    135.6397.2
    136.0497.26
    137.1597.4
    137.7497.48
    138.1697.53
    138.5497.58
    138.5697.58
    139.0397.64
    139.3697.67
    140.4697.77
    141.0797.84
    142.8398.03
    143.1398.05
    144.7898.21
    144.8298.22
    145.2798.26
    145.8798.31
    145.9298.32
    146.4498.35
    146.8298.39
    147.0798.4
    148.5798.52
    149.4498.58
    149.6798.6
    151.6298.75
    152.5198.81
    153.5498.88
    153.7798.9
    154.4498.94
    154.7298.95
    155.2498.98
    155.8599.02
    156.0599.03
    159.2499.19
    159.499.2
    160.0299.23
    16299.31
    163.1499.34
    166.4999.47
    170.6599.61
    172.5499.66
    174.3499.7
    179.299.78
    182.1999.82
    190.0499.9
    200.4999.95

    Top Colleges Accepting 95 to 100 Percentile

    The below tables provide a glimpse of the colleges that the candidates can expect if they get a CAT percentile of 95 and above.

    B-SchoolCAT Cutoff(Approx)
    IIM Ahmedabad99+
    IIM Bangalore99+
    FMS Delhi98+
    IIM Kozhikode95+
    NITIE Mumbai97+
    MDI Gurgaon96+
    VGSoM, IIT Kharagpur95+

    CAT Marks vs Percentile: 85 to 90 Percentile

    CAT Marks vs Percentile: 85 to 90 Percentile

    The below table gives a brief description of CAT Marks vs Percentile within the range of 85 to 90.

    CAT Scaled Score

    CAT Percentile

    92.35

    85.08

    93.49

    85.6

    94.05

    85.84

    94.17

    85.9

    94.61

    86.1

    94.64

    86.11

    94.93

    86.24

    95.43

    86.46

    95.63

    86.56

    95.72

    86.6

    95.88

    86.66

    95.89

    86.67

    96.79

    87.04

    96.87

    87.08

    96.95

    87.11

    97.01

    87.14

    98.08

    87.58

    98.43

    87.72

    98.77

    87.86

    99.31

    88.08

    99.7

    88.23

    99.87

    88.3

    100.08

    88.37

    100.17

    88.41

    100.47

    88.52

    100.67

    88.59

    100.7

    88.6

    101.19

    88.79

    101.31

    88.85

    101.49

    88.93

    101.63

    88.98

    102.05

    89.13

    102.27

    89.21

    102.28

    89.21

    102.36

    89.25

    102.61

    89.34

    103.04

    89.49

    103.42

    89.64

    104.44

    90

    Top colleges accepting 85 to 90 percentile

    Here is the list of some colleges that can give you a call if your percentile is in the range of 85 to 90

    B-School

    CAT Cutoff (Approx)

    SP Jain, Mumbai

    85+

    TAPMI, Manipal

    85+

    IRMA, Anand

    85+

    KJ Somaiya, Mumbai

    85+

    GIM, Goa

    85+

    FORE, Delhi

    85+

    Great Lakes, Chennai

    85+

    CAT Score vs Percentile FAQs

    Ques: What score should I get to get 99+ percentile?

    Ans: There is no particular score that may guarantee a 99+ percentile since it changes every year with the difficulty of the CAT exam.

    Ques: When is the official result declared of CAT exam?

    Ans: The official result for the CAT exam is declared in the first week of January.

    Ques: Will 99+ percentile fetch me an interview call from all top IIMs?

    Ans: Getting a 99+ percentile does not guarantee a call from top IIMs since a lot of other factors like past academics, gender and academic diversity etc also play an important role.

    Ques: Where do I check the CAT result?

    Ans: The CAT results can be checked on the official website after they are declared.

    Ques: Are there benefits for reserved category students in percentile required for admissions in IIMs?

    Ans: Yes there are benefits for reserved category students. You can visit the official website for each college to get the details.

    Ques: What is the difference between CAT raw score and a scaled score?

    Ans: The raw score gives the score that you obtained in the exam based on the marking scheme. The scaled score takes the scaling of the score into consideration since the exam is conducted in two slots. The scale score might be slightly more or less than the raw score.

    Ques: Why is scaling done on CAT score?

    Ans: The CAT paper slightly varies in both the slots. To ensure that the results are fair and equity is maintained for both the slots, scaling is done.

    Ques: Is percentile calculated according to raw score or scaled score?

    Ans: The CAT percentile is calculated on the scaled score.

    Ques: Which are the top three colleges for MBA in India accepting CAT?

    Ans: Top three colleges in India are IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore and IIM Calcutta. All these colleges accept CAT score.

    Ques: Which are the other exams to take except for CAT to get admissions into B-Schools?

    Ans: Some other exams you can take are XAT, IIFT, SNAP, NMAT, CMAT and MAT.

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

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