What after CAT Exam?

What after CAT Exam?

CAT or the Common Entrance Test is a computer-based test conducted by IIM (Indian Institute of Management) annually for admission into Management courses. The courses include an MBA (Master of Business Administration) and PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management). The exam is divided into three sections that are Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA). Hence, it is 3-hour long, allotting one hour for each section. CAT 2020 was conducted on 29 Nov 2020. All the candidates who attempted CAT this year had a 2-hour exam with 40-minutes time allotted for each section.

Also Read: Study Abroad with CAT

After the exam, you may have many questions in mind like what is the cut-off for CAT 2020? When CAT 2020 results will be declared? Will I get admission in IIMs? Will I get admission if I don’t score well in Cat 2020? How to calculate percentile for CAT 2020? etc. Hence, we have come up with a complete guide on CAT 2020 which includes calculation of marks and percentile, college-wise cut-off, best options for MBA and apart from MBA according to the marks obtained in CAT, admission process, scopes for low CAT scorers, etc.

For one-on-one interaction and counselling, contact us at ForeignAdmits. Book a call now and get answers to all your queries from our experts on CAT.  

Also Read: Best MBA courses in 2020

CAT 2020 Guide

We know the amount of hard work and sleepless nights spent in preparing for CAT. No wonder it is considered the toughest exam to crack for management candidates. Further, the fact that only 4% of students are successful in gaining admission to top B-schools after CAT, makes this a whole lot scarier. But you don’t have much to worry about because we have bought you options, better and easier than CAT. These options will not only blow your mind but they also have a great income, high ROI, and scope comparable to or even better than an MBA from IIM. What are these options and how to get them is discussed in detail below? 

Also Read: Online MBA vs Full-time MBA. Which will suit you better?

What after CAT Exam – CAT 2020 Result

The exam was conducted at multiple centres in 156 cities across India. Nearly, 2,37,835 candidates registered this year that is 16334 candidates less than the previous year. In 2019, the results were announced on 6 January, hence this year too it is expected to be announced by the second week of January. CAT important dates are mentioned in the table below.

CAT 2020 Registration Began05 Aug 2020
Registration Last date23 Sep 2020
CAT Admit card Release28 Oct 2020
Mock Test05 Nov 2020
CAT exam29 Nov 2020
Answer key ReleaseTo be announced
CAT 2020 resultSecond week of January, score card will be released by 9 am
What after CAT Exam

To check the result and other updates visit the official website of IIM.

How to calculate CAT Percentile from Marks

There are three steps that IIM follows to calculate percentile for a candidate:

STEP-1: Calculation of raw marks attained by the candidate.

STEP-2: Conversion of raw score to scaled score.

STEP-3: Conversion of CAT scaled score to percentile.

Hence, to know the CAT percentile first you need to calculate the raw score. This is done based on the following rules:

Correct answer3 marks
Incorrect answer-1 mark
Unattempted questions0 marks
What after CAT Exam

The mark distribution of CAT for 2020 is as follows:

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)34102
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)3296
Quantitative Ability (QA)34102
What after CAT Exam

These marks can be calculated after the release of the answer key as raw marks. But, CAT follows a procedure to score students called normalisation. As a result of this procedure, the raw marks achieved by students are not equivalent to the scaled scores mentioned in the scorecard.

What is the normalization procedure?

As we all know that CAT is conducted in three slots with three different question papers. Though they try to keep the difficulty level of each paper similar, there might be few differences. Further, if a particular student attempts two papers of the two slots, he/she may not be able to score the same marks in both of them. In order to keep the evaluation procedure fair for all the students IIMs follow normalisation procedure. The normalization parameters depend on the difficulty level of different papers, sessions, and locations. Considering these criteria the scaled score is calculated for each student. Both the scaled scores and percentile are then published in the scorecard along with the rank.

Thus, based on the normalised score the candidates are given a rank. If two or more candidates have an identical score then they are given an identical rank. Suppose 5 candidates scored overall 299, then all 5 of them will be given the first rank.

Also Read: How to convert DGPA to percentage?

What after CAT Exam – Calculation of the CAT Percentile

Percentile means the number of candidates who scored below or above a particular candidate. CAT percentile is a number given relative to other candidates. It gives an idea about the percentage of candidates who scored below you.

To calculate the percentile, you should know the rank, and the total number of candidates attempting CAT for the current year.

The formula for percentile calculation used by IIM is:

Percentile = (Total Number of Candidates – Your rank) / Total number of candidates * 100

Finally, the percentile is rounded off to two decimal places.

For example, in 2020 the total number of candidates who attempted CAT is 2,37,835. And the rank given to you based on your scaled score is 6600.

Percentile = (237835 – 6600) / 237835 * 100

             = 97.2249

This is rounded off to the 97 percentile.

What after CAT Exam – CAT 2020 Cut-Off

After the release of results on the official website of IIM, the top candidates are shortlisted for further process by the respective IIM. Each IIM will reach out to the shortlisted candidates individually with the invitation letters. The criteria for shortlisting are different for different IIMs. The general cut-off is 95-99 percentiles but it depends on various factors discussed later in this section. Thus, we have mentioned the cut-off of the various IIMs below.

CAT 2019 Cut-off percentile

First, let us have a look at the CAT 2019 cut-off.

IIMCut-off Percentile
What after CAT Exam

You need to note that the above cut-off is known as the call cut-off. It means that this is the minimum percentile required to get admission in IIM. Thus, the candidates who achieve this score are shortlisted for further rounds of the admission process such as the Writing Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD), and the Personal Interview (PI). These call cut-offs are released by the IIM only after the results are declared. Before the declaration of the result, the expected cut-offs are hypothesized and these are called shortlist or eligibility cut-off. However, achieving the eligibility cut-off doesn’t ensure admission or even a shortlisting.

CAT 2020 Cut-Off Percentile

Therefore, the shortlist cut-offs for CAT 2020 for various IIMs are mentioned below:

IIM Shortlist percentile cut-off
Ahmedabad 80
Amritsar 80
Bodhgaya 90
Visakhapatnam 90
Shillong 80
What after CAT Exam

What after CAT Exam – CAT 2020 cut-off for Non-IIM Institutes

Likewise, CAT is accepted in institutes apart from IIM and their cut-off marks are different. Hence, we have mentioned the expected CAT 2020 cut-off percentile for non-IIM B-schools in India in the table below:

Name of  InstituteExpected Cut-off percentile
Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi98
IIT Delhi98
IIT Bombay 99
Department of management studies, IIT Madras95
S P Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) Mumbai95
IMT Ghaziabad90
JBIMS Mumbai96
Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon 95
Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneswar (XIMB)90
Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA) Chennai 90
T A Pai Management Institute (TAPMI) Manipur85
National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) Mumbai 90
Christ University Bangalore85
BIMTECH Greater Noida85
ICFAI Business school Hyderabad80
BIM Trichy75
Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS) Pilani75
FLAME University Pune70
St. Joseph Institute of Management Bangalore70
GITAM Hyderabad Business School (GSIB)70
Fortune Institute of International Business (FIIB) New Delhi70
What after CAT Exam

Factors Affecting CAT Cut-Off

Here are some of the factors that may change and affect the CAT cut-off. Firstly, the difficulty level of the paper plays a major role. The higher the difficulty, the lower is the cut-off. Secondly, as we all know the number of candidates attempting CAT also affects the cut-off. The percentile depends on the total number of candidates. Similarly, the cut-off percentile is also directly proportional to the total number of candidates. Thus the higher the number, the larger the cut-off will be.

Thirdly, the reputation of the institute also matters. The top-notch business schools set their cut-off as high as possible. They prefer only the top candidates. For example, IIT Ahmedabad had a cut-off of 100% in the years 2016 and 2017. Hence, if you prefer such institutes you need to prove yourself to be the best.

Most importantly, the total number of seats available for candidates directly affects your chances. The lesser the number of seats, the higher is the competition. For example, there are 4300 seats available in IIMs across India for which the number the candidates competing is 2,37,835. This means that for a single IIM seat 55 candidates are competing.   

Another less important factor is the past year cut-off. 2020 cut-off will be somewhere close to the previous year’s which is why we have mentioned the 2019 cut-off in the above table.

Admission through CAT in Top IIM and Non-IIM Institutes

The first step towards admission in a top IIM is to clear the CAT exam. Since you have done that you can take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back because this is the most important step and determinant of your future in IIM. Your CAT score and percentile are what get you to the top college. But along with this, what are the other important criteria of eligibility, and how does IIM score or rank candidates is discussed below.

The entire process of IIM selection has already been made public for a long time. Soon after CAT comes the Writing Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD), and Personal Interview (PI). The candidates are selected or rather shortlisted for these based on their CAT percentile. For each IIM the cut-off percentile is different and the expected, as well as the previous year’s cut-off percentile, is mentioned in the section above. After seeing that you may have an idea of where you stand and what you expect. If your rank is good enough, the IIM will send you the letter inviting you for the further process. In 2020 the admission process was cut short to only a virtual Personal Interview (PI) due to the pandemic but such a thing cannot be expected for 2021 admissions. 

The detailed procedure followed by IIM for the selection of candidates can be broadly divided into these steps:

STEP-I: Shortlist the candidates based on the CAT percentile

Once the result is declared, this process begins. On the official page of the IIMs, you can find the login portal for students who are shortlisted. You have to log in with your CAT Ids and then submit your CAT scores and other academic records. After that, you will be called in person for the Writing Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD), and Personal Interview (PI). 

Step-II: Screening of candidates for interview

In this step, the shortlisted candidates are screened based on their CAT score and their academic record. If they make it to the final list then they are sent the offer letters for the Personal Interview (PI).

Step-III: Calculation of the composite score

In the final stage, the IIM calculates the composite score for each candidate based on certain parameters mentioned below. The composite score is calculated out of 100 and is based on these the candidates are finalised for admission. 

The first and foremost parameter is the CAT percentile or score. After that, the aggregate percentages obtained in the three or four-year degree, 12th and 10th standard are considered. Next follows the candidate’s performance in the Writing Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD), and Personal Interview (PI). Once these parameters are assessed, the extra scores are granted to some of the special candidates that are the ones with academic diversity, gender diversity, and work experience. Academic diversity includes the non-engineering background candidates while gender diversity includes the female and transgender candidates. And those with work experience of 1 to 5 years are also awarded extra points. 

The points awarded for these categories differ for each IIM but in general, on a scale of 1-5, these scores are allotted. Also, the cut-off score differs for categories such as OBC, SC, ST, transgender, and Physically handicapped candidates.  

What after CAT Exam – Eligibility Criteria for IIM

The IIM eligibility is the same as CAT eligibility and those who are eligible for CAT are also eligible for IIM. Still, we have mentioned the criteria for your reference. 

The candidates should hold a 50% aggregate score or CGPA in graduation. 

Candidates who are in the final year of their course awaiting results are also eligible for CAT and to apply for IIM.

Additionally, the candidates should meet the minimum cut-off laid down by the specific IIM they are applying to.

After participating in the interview and writing ability test the candidate must have a maximum composite score in order to secure a seat in IIM.

What after CAT Exam – Admission in Non-IIM Institute

The process of admission and selection in other top Management and business colleges in India is similar to the IIM’s. They conduct their Writing Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD), and Personal Interview (PI). Also, their CAT cut-offs are different and relaxed. So if you feel you don’t have a chance with IIM, you can prepare to apply to the top non-IIM business schools in India. But one thing you need to keep in mind is that the admissions in these institutes begin way before the IIMs. Thus, you need to apply to these institutes even before your CAT results are declared. 

Admission Process

The steps followed by non-IIM business schools for screening and admission of candidates are:

Shortlisting based on the CAT cut-off (It is different for different institutes. Check the table above for non-IIM cut-off percentile)

Conduction of writing analysis test, personal interview, and group discussion

Assigning marks to candidates based on the above parameters. CAT holds 65% while group discussion holds 10%, interview holds 20% and work experience holds 5%. 

Finally, the most suitable candidates are selected through this process. 

Eligibility Requirement for Admission in the Non-IIM Institute

The following are the eligibility requirements:

Candidates should hold a bachelor’s degree in any discipline of engineering and technology with an 85% or above aggregate score or CGPA.

Final year candidates who are awaiting their results are also eligible to apply for admission. 

The candidate should meet the minimum CAT cut-off for the particular institute.

Top Non-IIM Institutes for MBA

For admission, you need to visit the official website of the institute. To check for admission dates and application form click on the name of the institute. Here is a list of some of the top institutes you can apply for apart from IIM:

Admission with Low or No CAT Score 

If you are not so sure about your CAT score or percentiles then don’t worry, we have got your back. We will provide better options for MBA than IIM and the best part is they don’t ask for CAT scores. These options are for candidates who do not make it to IIM. There are only 4300 seats in 20 IIMs across India. And the number of candidates attempting CAT each year are 2,30,000 and above. Hence, the 2,25,700 candidates cannot secure a seat in IIM despite their excellent scores. For such talented candidates and all others we have jotted down the options you can consider for MBA/PGDM without CAT. 

Basically, you have two choices for going for an MBA without a CAT score. Firstly, you can check out our list of top colleges accepting admission in MBA/PGDM without CAT. Secondly, you can give another entrance examination apart from CAT, which is a comparatively much easier and better option. 

MBA without CAT

Firstly, let us discuss everything about the top MBA colleges to get into without a CAT score. There are only 20 IIMs that officially accept the CAT score. The rest of the top institutes of management may or may not consider the score. Some of them have their entrance exams while others do not. It is your choice to decide which one to choose. 

The institutes that conduct their own entrances are in my opinion a better option as they include some of the top business schools in India. Also, many private universities that want the best candidates to secure admission conduct their entrance tests.

For more details, please read: MBA without CAT- Here are all Your Options!

So here is a list of the top business schools that do not accept the national entrances including CAT:

Also read: MBA after MBBS- Scope, top colleges and more.

MBA without Entrance Exam

Another set of colleges are those who accept students without an entrance exam. This is possible if you go through the management quota. To be eligible for the management quota you need to have a bachelor’s degree and an aggregate of 50% or more for general category students in graduation. While for OBC, SC, and ST the minimum aggregate percentage is 45%. Apart from this, you cannot have any fee waivers or scholarships that are you have to pay the entire fee. The average fee of the course in these institutes can range from a minimum of 2 lakh rupees to a maximum of 8 lakh rupees. Also, you need to submit the original documents of 10th and 12th transcripts, degree memo, migration certificate, character certificate, transfer certificate, proof of identity i.e. Aadhaar card, and passport size photographs. Also, these colleges accept NRI and OCI students through this quota.

Thus, here is a list of top institutes that you can apply to through management quota: 

Also read: MBA after CA- Scope, Job prospect and more

MBA through Entrances other than CAT

According to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), there are six national entrance exams for MBA or PGDM that are CAT, XAT, CMAT, MAT, ATMA, and GMAT. Hence, if you weren’t able to crack CAT, you still have an option to attempt the other entrances or re-attempt CAT. Never underestimate your first attempt. As we all know that failures are stepping stones to success, there are 8 attempts for CAT in the lifetime of an individual. Hence, you can try again after a year of coaching or a job. 

Why should you retake an entrance exam?

PROS of retaking CAT

First, let us look at the pros of attempting the entrance twice. The most important advantage of retaking an entrance exam is that you are giving yourself a second chance. If you think that you have given your best shot and missed just by marginal percentage then you can definitely try for another entrance or retake CAT the next year. However, this decision is purely yours and only if you feel that if it is worth it then you should go for it. 

Another pro is that it increases your composite score. How is that? Since you will work for another year hence, it will add on to the work experience. Also, you already had the experience of the admission process such as the Writing Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD), and the Personal Interview (PI), you will have a better chance of doing it the next time. Meanwhile, you can improve and work on your mistakes. 

CONS of retaking CAT

Lastly, if you want nothing but IIM for pursuing MBA then there is no other option than redoing your CAT. You should have the time, dedication, and motivation that drives you to study in IIM. Also considering the ROI and high pay for IIM pass-outs deserves another chance at CAT or any other national entrance. 

Next, we will look into the cons of retaking the entrance exam. People who scored 75 or lower percentile then you should probably consider not doing it again and settle for other business schools. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have good options outside IIM. In fact, in the previous section, we have listed some of the best colleges and institutes that accept students with low CAT scores and through management. Yet another best option for such candidates is specialised master’s programs. There is less awareness about these programs but they provide similar ROI and you don’t need CAT. Always going mainstream isn’t success, there are a plethora of options beyond that. Remember when one door closes another opens and that is life. 

Secondly, you need to think if you want to attend IIM for a specific reason or your career can develop with an MBA or PGDM from any college? For this you want to need some help from an expert or a discussion with a mentor, connect with the best of the best mentors now at ForeignAdmits

After a talk with the mentor, you will find clarity in your course of actions and you can proceed with them confidently. 

Also Read: MBA after 12th Integrated MBA Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What happens after the CAT?

Ans. Admission to IIMs and some other management colleges using CAT exam score commences in January. Immediately following the publication of the CAT results, the IIMs start the process of initial selection applicants for WAT-PI. Candidates must upload their CAT scores to the main site of their preferred IIM throughout this phase.

Q2. What are the advantages of taking the CAT exam?

Ans. The CAT test is critical for individuals who desire to pursue an MBA. Admissions to IIMs and top-tier business schools can be obtained via CAT scores.

Q3. Can I find a public sector job after passing the CAT exam?

Ans. No matter how good your CAT score is, it will not earn you a public sector job because it is an admission test for management courses throughout the country.

Q4. Which degree is the best for the CAT?

Ans. To be qualified for the CAT Exam, the student must have completed their Bachelor’s degree that have a minimum of 50% (for general students) average. The necessary percentage for ST and SC and Differently Abled applicants is 45 percent.

At ForeignAdmits, we understand how important this decision is. We are here to help you every step of the way, from finding the right school to getting admitted and securing scholarships.

ForeignAdmits have a team of experienced counsellors. We can provide you with customized guidance based on your individual needs contact us today to get started. We look forward to helping you achieve your educational and career goals!

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