What CAT Score Do I Need to Get into IIM?

What CAT Score Do I Need to Get into IIM?

Maybe you’ve just taken the Common Admission Test (congratulations!) and are wondering what CAT score you need to get into an IIM. Or maybe you’re considering taking the CAT and are worried and/or hopeful about the results you’re seeing on your practice exams. In either case, there’s not a quick answer to the question, “What CAT score do I need to get into IIM?” The annual admissions pool changes this. So, too, does the school to which you’re applying (there are 20, all with different CAT cut-offs!). Finally, IIMs consider other parts of your application when reviewing your candidacy.

However, fear not! We have previous years’ data, expert predictions, and information provided by the IIMs themselves. This can help give us an idea of the minimum CAT percentiles schools will be looking for in their 2017 candidates. So let’s take a look!

CAT Percentile Cut-Offs

First of all, it’s important to realize that your overall percentile isn’t as important as your percentiles in the three individual sections. IIMs look favorably upon applicants with well-balanced scores.

What does this mean? First of all, it’s worth putting in extra time studying your weaker areas before taking the exam. Schools won’t necessarily announce the cut-off percentiles for each student. Also, they will usually have different cut-offs for general candidates and those from disadvantaged backgrounds or with disabilities. In terms of the general population, more competitive IIMs will look for scores in the 99th percentile. On the other hand, less competitive schools may shortlist candidates scoring as low as the 50th percentile, if that person has a disability, or 70th percentile if not.

CAT Percentiles Versus Scores

Of course, the score needed to fall into a particular percentile varies from year to year. This is because percentiles are determined by the scores of the test-takers from that year. Experts have come up with different predictions about which scores will equate to which percentiles on the 2016 exam used for 2017 admissions. These range from a low 150 points to fall in the 99th percentile to a high of 168 to fall in the 99th percentile and 74 to fall in the 70th percentile. Generally, a score in the 150s or 160s (remember, out of a possible 300 points) puts you in a competitive position.

CAT Scores and IIM Admissions

IIMs and other institutions use CAT scores in different ways as part of your application. Some schools may give your CAT scores a “weight” of under 30% of their overall admissions decision. Others may allow it to determine more than 70% of your application.

Keep in mind that IIMs and other institutions consider CAT scores differently during different rounds of admissions. When shortlisting candidates, they will generally give greater weight to the CAT score. However, the CAT score then has less importance in their decisions regarding final admission offers. Other factors, including university marks, written exams, interviews, or work experience, also play a role in determining which candidates will receive a final offer of admission.

A Final Word

While it’s impossible to say with any certainty that an applicant will gain admission to an IIM solely on the basis of her CAT score, a high CAT score will help the candidate move through the admissions process. This is particularly true at more competitive schools. If you didn’t score as high as you’d hoped on the CAT, however, don’t despair! Instead, research less competitive schools and their CAT cut-offs for 2017. You may find that even a score in the double digits is enough to get you a spot at the IIM of your dreams. A little research is all you need to find out!

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