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CAT Score Vs Percentile 2021: Check CAT Score Calculation, Score Normalisation, Percentile, and Cut off

CAT Scores vs Percentile analysis gives an idea about the scores required to get a particular percentile. CAT Score refers to the total marks obtained in the exam while CAT percentile indicates the relative score of the candidate with respect to other qualified candidates.

  • CAT Percentile will be used for screening or shortlisting of candidates for the further rounds of CAT 2021 IIMs Selection ProcessFor example, to get 99+percetile, candidates need to score around 98-105 in CAT 2021 exam. Check CAT Score Calculation
  • Scaled scores are considered while releasing CAT Cut offs. IIMs have their own criteria to calculate the final composite scores of a candidate that includes CAT scores, GD-PI scores, class 10th, 12th, and graduation scores, and academic & gender diversity.
  • CAT 2021 Result has been announced on Jan 3, 2022. Candidates must download their scorecards and then use CAT 2021 College Predictor to get an idea about the list of eligible colleges. 
  • Out of 161 objections received against the answer keys, IIM has accepted the 1 against QA shift 3 question id- 48916813385 to be valid. CAT 2021 Answer keys and response sheets were released on Dec 8, 2021, and the objection window was open till Dec 11.
  • This year, the number of questions was reduced from 76 to 66, thus reducing the total marks to 198 from 228. To understand CAT Score vs Percentile, it is necessary to know the revised CAT 2021 exam pattern and marking scheme.   

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CAT Score vs Percentile 2021

CAT Score vs Percentile 2021 (Expected)

As per the previous year’s CAT cut off marks and percentiles, below is the expected CAT 2021 score vs percentile range:

CAT Percentile CAT VARC Score CAT DILR Score CAT QA Score Overall CAT Score
99+ 34-35 28-30 36-37 98-102
98+ 32-33 27-28 30-32 90-93
95+ 32-34 20-21 28-30 80-82
90+ 29-30 17-19 26-27 72-75
85+ 24-25 14-15 20-22 59-61
80+ 20-22 11-13 15-16 46-48

CAT Score vs Percentile 2021 by IMS Coaching (Expected)

IMS India is one of the most renowned coaching institutes for MBA entrance exams in India. The table below shows the expected percentiles at different raw scores predicted by IMS India after a detailed analysis of all 3 slots of CAT 2021.

CAT Percentile (%ile) CAT VARC Score CAT DILR Score CAT QA Score Overall CAT Score
99.5+ 44-45 31-33 45-47 103-105
99+  39-41 29-30 42-43 97-99
98+  36-37 26-27 37-39 86-88
95+  30-33 21-23 28-29 72-75
90+  27-29 17-19 22-24 59-62
85+  21-23 14-16 18-20 50-52
80+  19-20 12-14 15-17 42-45

CAT Score vs Percentile 2021 by Career Launcher (Expected)

Career Launcher is also one of the popular choices among students for CAT coaching. It is led by a team of the highly professional members including IIT-IIM alumni. The table below describes the predictions by Career Launcher coaching institutes for CAT 2021 score vs percentile.

CAT Score CAT Percentile
99%ile 95%ile 90%ile
CAT VARC Score 65 57 50
CAT DILR Score 48 39 32
CAT QA Score 55 43 33
Overall CAT Score 160 123 108

CAT Score vs Percentile 2020

CAT Score vs Percentile 2020

Given below are the slot-wise CAT Score vs Percentile Analysis of 2020. Previous year trends regarding CAT score vs percentile will provide valuable insights into CAT percentile calculation and the expected cut offs for IIM admissions through CAT.

CAT Score vs Percentile 2020 Slot 1

CAT Percentile VARC DILR QA Overall Marks
80%ile 25 17 19 57
90%ile 30 23 27 69
95%ile 35 27 33 83
98%ile 39 33 40 101
99%ile 42 36 44 106
99.5%ile 47 41 48 122

CAT Score vs Percentile 2020 Slot 2

CAT Percentile VARC DILR QA Overall Marks
80%ile 25 16 17 54
90%ile 30 21 23 66
95%ile 34 26 30 78
98%ile 38 31 37 96
99%ile 40 35 40 101
99.5%ile 43 39 45 115

CAT Score vs Percentile 2020 Slot 3

CAT Percentile VARC DILR QA Overall Marks
80%ile 27 16 17 57
90%ile 33 22 24 69
95%ile 37 27 30 82
98%ile 42 32 36 100
99%ile 45 36 40 104
99.5%ile 47 39 44 118

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 different levels of difficulty.

Percentile/Year CAT 19 CAT 18 CAT 17 CAT 16 CAT 15
99%ile 160 154 174 156 180
95%ile 126 121 138 123 144
90%ile 110 103 118 104 124
85%ile 96 89 103 92 110
80%ile 85 79 93 82 98

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People Also Ask

Ques. What factors are considered to calculate CAT percentile?

Ans. CAT Percentile is calculated after taking into account various factors including CAT raw scores, difficulty level across all slots of the exam for score normalization, and the number of candidates who appear for the exam.

Ques. What is considered a good percentile score in CAT?

Ans. Based on previous years’ analysis, at least 98+ percentile is needed for the top IIMs. For new IIMs and IITs, a percentile score of 95 would be sufficient. There are also good MBA colleges that accept 85-95 percentile like TAPMI Manipal, IFMR Chennai, IMT Ghaziabad, XIMB, and SPJIMR Mumbai.

Ques. If I am unable to clear CAT, what other exams can I take to do an MBA?

Ans. There are numerous MBA entrance examinations in the country apart from CAT that can get you a seat in some of the top MBA colleges in India. These include XAT, NMAT, CMAT, MAT, SNAP, ATMA, IIFT, and IBSAT. However, IIMs do not accept any scores other than CAT.

Ques. How much score is required to get 99 percentile in CAT 2021?

Ans. CAT 2021 exam had 66 questions carrying 3 marks each. Based on expert CAT exam analysis, it is believed that a score in the range of 98-102 would be sufficient to get 99 percentile. The expected sectional scores required to get this percentile would be: 

  • VARC Score: 34-35
  • DILR Score: 28-30
  • QA Score: 36-37

Ques. Do IITs accept CAT scores?

Ans. Yes, 7 IITs accept CAT scores- IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Kanpur, IIT Madras, IIT Roorkee, and IIT-ISM Dhanbad. As per the previous year cut off, candidates would need CAT scores above 98%ile for IIT Delhi & Bombay, 95+%ile for IIT Madras & Kanpur, 90+%ile above for IIT Kharagpur, and 80%ile for ISM Dhanbad. Check CAT 2021 Cut off & Admission Process for IITs


How are CAT Scores Calculated?

How are CAT Scores Calculated?

CAT Score simply refers to the score obtained by the candidate out of the total 198 marks. This year, there were only 66 questions carrying 3 marks each. As per CAT 2021 marking scheme, 3 marks are awarded for every correct answer and 1 mark is deducted for every incorrect answer. There are no negative marks for unattempted questions. All the scores in all three sections are summed up and a total score is calculated.

  • VARC section: 24 questions (72 marks)
  • DILR section: 20 questions (60 marks)
  • QA section: 22 questions (66 marks)
CAT Raw Score CAT Scaled Score CAT Percentile Score

Scores obtained as per Marking Scheme:

  • +3 Marks for each correct answer
  • -1 for every wrong MCQ answer

The exam is conducted in two or three slots.

  • As the difficulty level is different, IIMs use the normalization process.
  • It can be either more or less than the raw scores.

CAT Percentile score indicates the total percentage of candidates scoring equal to or less than the candidate.

  • It is the relative performance of the candidate in the exam with respect to other candidates.
  • The formula to calculate CAT percentile is

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


What is CAT Percentile?

What is CAT Percentile?

Before getting into the CAT score vs percentile, let us understand briefly what percentile exactly means. A percentile is defined as a measure that 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 of candidates competing with you in the test have scored less than you. Hence, the aspirants securing 80 percentile or above refer 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.

Click Here to Check Eligible Colleges using CAT College Predictor

How to Calculate CAT Percentile?

In order to understand how to calculate CAT Percentile, Here VARC is just taken as an example for the calculation of the 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 sessions 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 calculation.

What are Scaled Scores in CAT?

  • CAT scoring is a complex process that 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

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Normalization Process

CAT Score Normalization Process

  • 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 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 Score vs Percentile: Composite Score Calculation

The composite score of the candidates is arrived at 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.


Top IIMs Admission Criteria

Admission Criteria for Top IIMs based on CAT 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

IIMs Formula to calculate composite score
IIM Ahmedabad admission criteria Composite 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 criteria CAT (weight = 25), 10th class(weight = 10), 12th class (weight = 5), Bachelors/Graduation (weight = 10), Work Experience (weight = 10)
IIM Kolkata admission criteria Composite 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 criteria Scaled 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 criteria CAT 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 criteria CAT Score (45%) + Class X Percentage Score (30%) + Class XII Percentage Score (15) + Gender/Academic Diversity Score (10%)

Must Read Benefits of Non-Engineers and Female Candidates in CAT


CAT Score vs Percentile FAQs

CAT Score vs Percentile FAQs

Ques: What score is needed to get 99.5+ 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. But based on previous years’ analysis, for getting a 99.5+ percentile in CAT 2021, it is important to attempt at least 45 questions out of 66 with 98% accuracy. Hence, a score of 100+ would be sufficient to get 99+ percentile.

Ques: When will CAT 2021 Result be declared?

Ans: CAT 2021 result has been declared by IIM on January 3, 2022, on the official website- iimcat.ac.in. 9 candidates have scored a 100 percentile in CAT 2021.

Ques: Will 99+ percentile be sufficient to get 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: How do I check my CAT 2021 result?

Ans: CAT 2021 results has released on the official website on Jan 3, 2022. Candidates who took CAT 2021 will be able to check their results by entering their user id and password on the website- iimcat.ac.in.

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

Ans: CAT raw score indicates the score obtained in the exam based on the marking scheme. The scaled score is calculated after normalizing the raw scores considering the difficulty level of all the exams conducted in two/ three slots. Hence, the scaled score may either be slightly more or less than the raw score.

Ques: Why is normalization done in CAT?

Ans: CAT exam is conducted in 3 slots (morning, afternoon, and evening) and the difficulty level of the questions varies in the slots. To ensure that the results are fair and equity is maintained for candidates of all slots, the normalization process is carried out.

Ques: Is CAT percentile calculated according to raw scores or scaled scores?

Ans: CAT percentile is calculated on the basis of the scaled scores. CAT scaled scores are calculated after normalizing the raw scores for the difficulty level across all 3 slots of CAT exam. 

Ques: Which are the top non-IIM colleges for MBA in India that accept CAT scores?

Ans: Apart from IIMs, there are various top MBA colleges in India that accept CAT scores. The top non-IIM colleges that will accept CAT 2021 scores are:

Name of the Institute CAT Score Required
Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi  99 Percentile
DMS, IIT Delhi 96+ Percentile
SJMSOM, IIT Bombay 98+ Percentile
Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras 95+ Percentile
Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon 94+ Percentile
SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) Mumbai 85+ Percentile
Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneswar (XIMB) 94+ Percentile
Institute of Management Technology (IMT) Ghaziabad  90+ Percentile
National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) Mumbai 97+ Percentile
TA Pai Management Institute (TAPMI) Manipal 85+ Percentile
Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA) Chennai 79+ Percentile
Institute for Financial Management & Research (IFMR) Chennai 80+ Percentile

Also Check Top Non-IIM Institutes and their Admission Criteria

*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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