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CAT Score Vs Percentile: Know All About Their Calculation & Conversion

In the packed schedule of CAT 2023 preparation, you might miss out on how to calculate the CAT percentile from your CAT raw score. Well, you already know that IIMs accept 90+ percentile for MBA admission but do you know how much you need to score to get that percentile?

Since many of the MBA aspirants do not have a clear idea of this topic, we have come up with this blog which covers all about CAT score, percentile, conversions, & the major calculations involved in the entire process.

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In this article, you will develop an idea of one of the major differences between the CAT score and percentile, i.e., “the CAT score is the marks obtained by a candidate in the exam and the CAT percentile is a relative score.” Moreover, if you are confused about which one is more important? you must read this blog till the end to clear your thoughts.

How to Calculate the CAT Score?

Besides the fact that IIMs & other top management institutions release their cut-offs in the percentile, you will have to attempt the CAT exam in a normal scoring format. Thus, you must get familiar with the conversion steps between the CAT score and percentile but before that let’s understand how your CAT score is calculated.

To calculate the raw CAT scores, you must know the below-mentioned points:

• 3 marks will be awarded for each correct answer
• 1 mark will be deducted for each incorrect answer
• No negative marking for unattempted & subject questions

Here is an example of a CAT score calculation to give you clarity on the same.

 Questions Answered Correct Answers Wrong Answers Marks for Correct Answers Marks for Wrong Answers CAT Score Candidate 1 60 40 20 40*3= 120 20*1= 20 120-20= 100 Candidate 2 55 50 5 50*3= 150 5*1= 5 150-5 = 145

What is the CAT Percentile?

The CAT percentile is a relative figure telling how many candidates are below a particular candidate in the CAT merit list. E.g., if you have scored 98 percentile in the CAT 2023 exam, it shows that 98% of candidates have scored less than you in the exam. Thus, the CAT percentile categorizes candidates based on their performance in the exam. The percentile is just an indicator of the position of a candidate in the CAT exam, it does not tell the exact score you have obtained in it.

What is a CAT Scaled Score?

CAT exam is conducted in multiple sessions, i.e., morning, afternoon, & evening. The difficulty level of papers in all the sessions might differ which will lead to unfair evaluation of results. Thus, to ensure fairness in this aspect, IIMs came out with the idea of scaled score which is calculated using the normalization formula.

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Your CAT scorecard will have both percentile & scaled scores which will be calculated from your raw scores. The scaled scores are calculated by taking into account the mean & standard deviation of raw scores for each section. The total sum score is then calculated by adding scaled scores of DILR, VARC, and QA sections.

Stages of Conversion from CAT Score to Percentile

The conversion of CAT score to percentage is a 3-stage process as mentioned below.

• Step 2: This step is done by IIMs in which scaled scores are calculated from the raw CAT scores using the normalization process.
• Step 3: In this, the percentile is calculated from the scaled score. It is also done by IIMs considering the total number of candidates in all the sessions.

​​​​​​IIMs follow a general criteria of round off which includes:

• All percentile scores higher or equal to 99.995 to be rounded off to 100
• All percentile scores higher or equal to 99.985 but lower than 99.995 to be rounded off to 99.99.

How is the CAT Percentile Calculated?

The scaled scores of each part will be taken and the total scaled score will be used to determine the percentile in the CAT 2023. CAT 2023 Cumulative Sectional results, the overall scaled score, and the candidate's CAT percentile will all be displayed on the CAT scorecard.

Let's now examine a calculation of the CAT percentile using an example. In this case, the percentile computation is done using the VARC section as an example only.

Step 1: Finding the total number of candidates (N) who are most likely to show up for the IIM Entrance Exam across both sessions—the afternoon and the forenoon—is the first step in the process.

Step 2: Give each applicant who took the CAT a Rank (r) based on the scaled score they received in the VARC section. Assign the candidates the same ranks if two or more receive the same score in the segment.

Step 3: Calculate the percentile score (P) with rank (r) in the VARC section for a particular candidate as:

Step 4: Now, only round a candidate's calculated percentile score (P) up to two decimal places. For instance, any percentile values that are equal to or higher than 89.995 are rounded to 90.

The above-mentioned steps are repeated for the other two sections, DILR & QA to get the overall CAT percentile.

Several CAT percentile predictors are also available on the internet to help candidates get an estimate of their percentile based on their raw scores.

Section-Wise Estimation of CAT Score & Percentile

To help you get an idea of the approximate percentile of your calculated raw CAT score, some section-wise estimations are provided below.

General Estimation of CAT Score for 99+ Percentile

 CAT Section Good Attempts Accuracy Level Raw Score Scaled Score Estimated Percentile Score VARC 14-16 85 36-40 45-55 99+ QA 14-16 85 36-40 46-54 99+ DILR 12-14 85 32-34 44-50 99+ Overall 42-48 85 104-114 135-159 99+ to 100

General Estimation of CAT Score for 95 to 98 Percentile

 CAT Section Good Attempts Accuracy Level Raw Score Scaled Score Estimated Percentile Score VARC 13-15 85 34-38 40-45 95-98 QA 14-16 85 35-40 40-44 95-98 DILR 8-10 90 26-30 32-36 95-98 Overall 35-41 85 95-100 112-125 95-98

General Estimation of CAT Score for 90 to 94 Percentile

 CAT Section Good Attempts Accuracy Level Raw Score Scaled Score Estimated Percentile Score VARC 11-13 90 29-35 36-40 90-94 QA 10-12 85 26-32 32-48 90-94 DILR 7-9 90 17-22 22-28 90-94 Overall 28-34 85 72-89 90-116 90-94

Estimation of CAT Score to Percentile by Prominent Coaching Institutes

Several prominent coaching institutes for CAT in India release the CAT percentile estimation post-exam. These estimations are quite close to the exact results of candidates. The analysis released by some of the best CAT institutions is provided below.

Estimation of CAT Score to Percentile by IMS Coaching

 Overall Score VARC Score DILR Score QA Score Estimated Percentile Score 104 45 33 48 99.5 97 41 29 42 99 86 37 26 37 98 72 32 21 28 95 59 27 17 23 90 52 23 15 19 85 44 21 13 16 80

Estimation of CAT Score to Percentile by Hitbullseye

 Overall Score Questions Attempted in VARC Questions Attempted in DILR Questions Attempted in QA Estimated Percentile Score 110+ 17-20 10-12 17-20 99.5 100 15-19 9-11 16-19 99 85 13-17 8-10 15-18 97 73 12-15 7-9 13-16 95 55 9-13 5-8 7-11 90 46 6-10 4-7 5-8 80

Estimation of CAT Score for 99 Percentile by Career Launcher

 CAT Exam Section Raw Score for 99 Percentile VARC 37-39 DILR 27-30 QA 40-42 Total 97 - 99

Estimation of CAT Score for 85 Percentile by T.I.M.E.

 CAT Exam Section Raw Score for 85 Percentile VARC 21-39 DILR 16-18 QA 21-23 Total 50 - 52

Key Differences Between CAT Score & Percentile

A summary of the main differences between the CAT score & percentile is provided in the table below.

 CAT Raw Scores CAT Scaled Scores CAT Percentile +3 Marks for each correct answer -1 Mark for each incorrect answer except subjective ones Maximum marks: 198 CAT answer keys released by IIMs have the CAT raw scores. The CAT question paper’s difficulty Level varies in the three different slots. IIMs use a Normalization process for a scaled score based on different sets of test papers for different slots. CAT Scaled score deviates from your raw CAT score after the final calculation. Section-wise & overall scaled score is provided in the CAT scorecard. CAT percentile gives the relative performance of the candidate in the CAT exam. It indicates the performance position of a candidate in the exam. Candidates scoring 90+ percentile are top 10% of CAT test takers.

CAT Composite Score

At IIMs, the composite CAT score is used which is derived from the scaled CAT score. This composite score along with the Writing Ability Test (WAT) and Personal Interview (PI) is vital in getting into a top B-school in India.

The composite score is based on certain parameters as listed below.

• CAT score (scaled)
• Class 12 marks
• Class 10 marks
• Diversity (Gender)
• Work Experience

The descriptive formula used by the IIMs for calculating the CAT Composite Score is provided in the screenshot below.

CAT Percentile Accepted by Top MBA Colleges in India

Top management institutions in India including IIMs have a CAT cut-off of more than 90 percentile. However, some of them even entertain low CAT scores for MBA admission. So, even if you do not score well in the CAT exam, you still have the option to enroll in one of the reputed MBA colleges.

Top MBA Colleges Accepting 90+ CAT Percentile

Here is a list of top MBA Colleges that offer admission to their MBA programs with a 90+ percentile CAT score.

 Top MBA Colleges Expected CAT 2024 Cut-Off Percentile IIM Ahmedabad 95-98 IIM Bangalore 94-97 IIM Kozhikode 94-96 IIM Calcutta 97-98 IIM Lucknow 93-96 IIM Mumbai (Erstwhile NITIE) 94-97 IIM Indore 91-93 Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) New Delhi 97-98 SPJIMR, Mumbai 90-95 JBIMS Mumbai 95-97 Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon 94-95 International Management Institute (IMI) New Delhi 90-92 Institute of Management Technology (IMT) Ghaziabad 90-92 XIM-Xavier University Bhubaneswar 90-93 IIT BOMBAY Mumbai 90-94 Department of Management Studies (IIT Delhi) New Delhi 90-93

Top MBA Colleges Accepting 80+ CAT Percentile

If your CAT percentile is between 80-90, you still have a chance to enroll in an IIM. Here is a list of a few B-schools that shortlist MBA applicants with the 80+ percentile.

 Top MBA Colleges Expected CAT 2023 Cut-Off Percentile IIM Bodhgaya 85-88 IIM Jammu 84-87 IIM Sirmaur 80-85 IIM Sambalpur 80-85 TAPMI Manipal 80-85 Great Lakes Institute Of Management, Chennai 80-85 MICA Ahmedabad 80-85 K J Somaiya Mumbai 80-86 IRMA Anand 80-85 LBSIM New Delhi 80-85 FORE School of Management (FSM) New Delhi 80-85 GIM Goa 80-85 Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA) Chennai 80-85

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A raw CAT score of 35-40 marks is estimated to be 70-72 percentile. With this high percentile, it is really tough for you to get into a top IIM.

CAT score is the mark obtained by a candidate out of a total score of 198 but the CAT percentile is a relative value that indicates the position of a candidate based on its performance in the test.

A raw CAT score of 104-108 is considered good for IIMs as it is approximately equal to the 99+ percentile.

The regular MBA programs of IIMs have a quite high CAT cut-off which ranges between 99-100 percentile. However, their online courses do not demand a CAT score. Hence, if you want to add the name of IIM to your CV but do not want to wait for another year. IIM online courses are the best options in the market.

To get the 99 percentile in the CAT exam, one must score 97-100 marks as the raw score.

Some universities offer admission to their online MBA programs even without a CAT exam. So, if you score low in the upcoming CAT exam, don’t be disheartened, there are many other options available for you.

Several management colleges accept 80 to 90 percentile CAT scores including the International Management Institute, Delhi, National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli, Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, etc.

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