CAT Marks vs Percentile

Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer-based exam (MCQs) conducted by the respected Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) for admission in a graduate management program. CAT is usually conducted in the last week of November. It is divided into three sections namely, Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), and Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (LRDI).

The main question which confuses the CAT aspirants is the difference between CAT Marks and CAT Percentile and how these two play roles in getting selected in the IIMs and other top B-Schools. We, Proton Training Solutions will help you to clear all your doubts and guide you through the process thoroughly. First, we will understand the paper pattern of the exam, marking schemes, and then we will try to explain the difference between CAT Marks and CAT Percentile.

CAT Paper Pattern

Sections Number of Questions Marking Scheme Duration
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension 34 Correct: +3.Incorrect: -1. 60 minutes
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation 32 Correct: +3.Incorrect: -1. 60 minutes.
Quantitative Ability 34 Correct: +3.Incorrect: -1. 60 minutes.

What is CAT Marks?

The total number of questions is 100 (All sections) and 3 marks are added for every correct answer while 1 mark is deducted for every wrong answer. No marks are deducted for leaving questions unanswered. CAT marks are the total raw marks obtained in all the sections together.

What is CAT Percentile?

 CAT Percentile is a relative concept as it is dependent on the number of test-takers. CAT Percentile is not definite as one cannot claim that if he/she scores 200 marks then he/she will get 99 percentile. It is the total percentage of candidates who scored less than that person. For example, if 100 people are taking the CAT examination and a person scores 90 percentile then that person has scored more marks than 90 people. Out of a total of 300 marks, even if a candidate has scored 150 marks but no other candidate has scored more marks than him/her then he/she will have scored 100 percentile and the other candidate’s percentile are calculated according to his/her marks.

What is CAT Scaled Score?

 CAT has conducted in around 156 cities across India with 2.44 Lakh students appearing last year which makes the exam so competitive. It is conducted in two sessions, the forenoon session from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and the afternoon session from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Both the question papers are slightly different and the difficulty level is also variable. To bring the difficulty level on an equal and fair level the CAT Score is scaled with the help of the normalization process. The scaled score might be more or less than the raw score.

What is Normalization Process in CAT?

 To ensure fairness and equality in both the sessions of the CAT exam, the Normalization process is used by the IIMs so that the difficulty level does not vary and a scaled score is derived. This normalization process is based on the fundamental assumption that ” in all multi-session CAT papers, the distribution of abilities of candidates is the same across all the sessions”. CAT has adopted the methodology of Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) like large educational tests that are used for percentile equalization.

How is the CAT composite score calculated?

Weightage according to the following things-

 IIMs use both the scaled score and the sectional percentile and overall scaled score and overall percentile to decide the approximate cut-offs. I hope the difference between marks and percentile is clear. All the best..!!


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