CAT Score vs Percentile

One of the common doubts that the CAT candidates have is the concepts of CAT score vs percentile mapping. Here, this concept is explained in detail and candidates will get to know what CAT percentile vs score is and why it matters. As the CAT is a prerequisite for admissions in the IIMs and other top management colleges in India, several MBA aspirants register for it every year. The exam is conducted by the IIMs on a rotational basis and they use the CAT score of the individuals according to their respective selection criteria.

It should be noted that the percentile i.e the relative score is what matters the most in CAT. Here is a detailed explanation for the topic of CAT score vs percentile to help the CAT aspirants acquaint with the concept and understand the detailed comparison.

CAT Score vs Percentile

Important Definitions:

Before beginning with the detailed explanation, the candidates need to understand a few basic related definitions to understand the concept properly.

CAT Score:

The CAT score simply refers to the total score of a candidate. The sectional papers of the candidates are summed and sorted in a descending order of their respective marks. This facilitates the process of percentile as explained below.

CAT Percentile:

A simple definition of the CAT percentile is that it reflects the total percentage of the exam-takers who scored equal to or less than a particular individual. For example, someone’s 99 percentile implies that that individual scored more than 99 percentages of the total test-takers.

Scaling and Normalisation:

Before 2015, the CAT was conducted across various slots. At present, the CAT is still conducted across two slots on the same day. Since replicating the difficulty in all the slots is impossible, the conducting authority of the CAT does a process of normalization to maintain equality and fairness for all the exam-takers.

After normalising the scores using the equi-percentile method, the candidates are given a scaled score. This scaled score might be more or less than the actual CAT score depending upon the performance of the fellow candidates.

CAT Score vs Percentile Mapping

The CAT percentile is first mapped against scaled score obtained in each of the three sections. It should be noted that the scaling is nearly negligible for lower scale and high for higher scales. Since the CAT pattern with three sections has remained unchanged, here is a detailed mapping of the CAT score and percentile since 2015.

CAT Score vs Percentile for 2015 and 2016:

Percentile Overall CAT 2015 Score Overall CAT 2016 Score
80 99 85
85 110 94
90 125 105
95 145 125
98 168 142
99 180 155
99.5 195 165
99.8 208 178
99.9 220 190
100 250 220

It should be noted that the score mentioned in the above table are approximated and not the exact representation. Candidates who scored above 99.8 percentile and had good academic and professional performance received calls from all the IIMs.

CAT 2017 Score vs Percentile Mapping:

As the CAT 2017 is conducted by IIM Lucknow, it can be expected that quantitative aptitude section will be relatively tougher than the other two sections. Thus, the quantitative section will have higher percentile at a lower scaled score than the VARC section. The approximate overall and sectional scores are given below.

Quantitative Aptitude:

Sectional Score Percentile
>75 >99.9
65-69 >99
55-59 >95
40-45 >95
30-35 >80

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension:

Sectional Score Percentile
>88 >99.9
75-80 >99
65-69 >95
50-55 >90
40-45 >80

Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation:

Sectional Score Percentile
>70 >99.9
60-65 >99
45-49 >95
30-35 >90
25-29 >80

Overall CAT 2017 Score-Percentile Mapping:

Overall Sectional Score Percentile
>200 >99.9
180-190 >99
160-180 >98
140-150 >95
110-120 >90

This year, the candidates are suggested to attempt at least 80% of the paper with decent accuracy. Candidates attaining a score between 140- 170 can expect a call from most of the IIMs provided their academic and other related scores are decent. Candidates aiming for the IIM-A, IIM-B and IIM-C must score above 200 to increase their chances of getting a call from them.

It should be realized that the CAT exam is all about relative scores and hence, a tough paper implies that all the test-takers found the paper difficult and that the percentile would still remain same for a particular candidate.

Stay tuned with Byju’s to get more such information about the CAT exam. Also, get various preparation tips, sample papers, mock tests and several engaging video lessons to prepare for the CAT more effectively.