Score vs Percentile Mapping for CAT Exam – 2017, 2016, 2015

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017


Score vs Percentile Mapping for CAT Exam

Score Vs Percentile in CAT 2017 Exam

Score Vs Percentile for CAT 2017
Answering some common questions.
Q1. Is this image for raw score or scaled score?
Ans. My guess is they would broadly be the same for high scores (specially above 90%ile)

Q2. Is this for slot 1 or slot 2?
Ans. My guess is that, once again, the variation would not be that much. That’s the reason why we have given the range here.

Q3. How accurate is this data?
Ans. It is a guess based upon comparison of past papers and feedback from this year’s students.

What do we mean by Score and Percentile in the CAT Exam?

Before we get to the mapping of Score and Percentile, let us try to understand some of the basic concepts involved:
a) Raw Score
b) Scaled Score
c) Relationship of Raw Score and Scaled Score
d) Percentiles

Raw Score in the CAT 2017 exam

Raw score is calculated based upon the questions that a CAT aspirant answers correctly or incorrectly. It has got nothing to do with relative mapping across different time slots. There will be 100 questions in the CAT exam.
For every question, irrespective of type, that a CAT aspirant answers correctly, he would get +3 marks
For every objective type question that a CAT aspirant answers incorrectly, he would get -1 marks
For every non-objective / Fill in the Blank / Type in the Answer (TITA) that a CAT aspirant answers incorrectly, he would get 0 marks
For every question, irrespective of type, that a CAT aspirant does not attempt, he would get 0 marks
Based upon the above a raw score would be calculated for each section and for the overall CAT 2017 exam. This would be the candidate’s raw score.

Scaled Score in CAT 2017 exam

CAT 2017 exam would be conducted across two slots on 26th November – Morning slot and Afternoon slot. All questions in the two slots would not be the same. There would be some common questions but it is hard to say the exact number for them. This would mean that the difficulty level of the two slots, although close to each other – would be slightly different. Roughly an equal number of CAT aspirants would attempt the paper in each slot so if one of the slots is marginally tougher than the other, it would be unfair to roughly 50% of the aspirants. To take care of this issue, raw scores are converted into scaled scores.

Relationship between Raw Score and Scaled Score

Suppose CAT aspirant A gets a raw score of 123 in slot 1 whereas CAT aspirant B gets the same raw score of 123 in slot 2. Let us assume that slot 1 was marginally tougher than slot 2. So, CAT aspirant A has performed marginally better than CAT aspirant B. So, when the scaling is done CAT aspirant A would get a marginally better scaled score than CAT aspirant B.

Everything written till this particular point is absolutely true based on facts. Now, what is given below is assumptions based upon my personal experience of talking to students and looking at scorecards over the last few years. Given below are some deductions based upon those assumptions. Hopefully, this would answer some of the common questions by CAT aspirants.

1. Raw scores and Scaled scores used to vary drastically when CAT was conducted across 40 different slots.

2. For low scores (50 %ile), Raw scores and Scaled still differ a bit, although not as much as CAT 2010 / 11 when the paper was conducted across a large number of slots.

3. For scores above 80%ile, there isn’t much difference between Raw Scores and Scaled Scores.

4. Since the difficulty level is more or less the same, similar Raw Scores in two slots will lead to similar Scaled Scores.

5. The difficult level does not vary much across the two slots.

6. If you blind guess the non-objective / Fill in the Blank / Type in the Answer (TITA) questions,
FACT – It will have no impact on your raw score.
GUESS – It will have negligible, if any, impact on your scaled score.

7. You should not blind guess the non-objective / Fill in the Blanks / Type in the Answer (TITA) questions because:
a) It takes time to even blind guess.
b) Chances of getting it right are close to none
c) It is better to make an educated guess in 1 question than blind guess in 5.

Percentiles in the CAT exam

Percentiles in the CAT exam are like percentiles in any other field. These are just a representation of how many people are behind you in that test.

Suppose you get the 3rd rank in an exam that was taken by 50 people, then 47 people scored less than you. Your percentile would be 47/50 * 100 = 94 Percentile

Suppose you top the exam that was taken by 2000 people, then 1999 people scored less than you. Your percentile would be 1999/2000 * 100 = 99.95

Now you might be wondering, how come multiple people get 100 percentile in the CAT exam. I am sure you have seen those ads in newspapers. Well, that happens because of rounding off. Let me explain with an example.
Suppose you get 6th Rank in the CAT 2017 exam which was taken by 200,000 people. This means that 199,994 people scored less than you.
So, your percentile would be 199994/200000 * 100 = 99.997
But the CAT scorecard only shows percentile up to two decimal digits. So, we would need to round this off. If we have to round this off to two decimal places, we will have to round it up to 100.00 percentile.

Note: IIM Ahmadabad has around 200 seats in the general category. So if they selected the top 200 students based upon CAT score, they would have selected everyone above 99.9 percentile. Thankfully, that is not the case and they do consider a lot of factors other than the percentile. That is the reason you sometimes hear about candidates with really high scores not getting selected in the old IIMs.

Score vs Percentile Mapping for CAT exam – Overall

Percentile Score (2016) Score (2015) Score (2017)
99 155.5 180.2 163-168
98 142.75 166.12 150-154
95 122.99 144.01 130-135
90 104.44 124.15 112-116
85 92.37 109.71 99-103
80 82.32 98.84 89-92

Score vs Percentile Mapping for CAT exam – Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

Percentile Score (2016) Score (2015) Score (2017)
99 74.85 78.2 76-77
98 70.01 74.64 72-73
95 62.3 66.78 63-64
90 53.59 57.45 55-56
85 47.95 51.21 49-50
80 43.56 46.25 44-45

Score vs Percentile Mapping for CAT exam – Quantitative Aptitdue

Percentile Score (2016) Score (2015) Score (2017)
99 54.43 67.06 61-63
98 48.24 60.56 55-57
95 39.62 50.95 45-47
90 31.89 40.96 35-37
85 27.36 34.34 31-32
80 23.61 29.83 26-28

Score vs Percentile Mapping for CAT exam – Logical Reasoning and Data Interpreation

Percentile Score (2016) Score (2015) Score (2017)
99 47.42 56.3 44-46
98 41.91 50.83 39-41
95 34.56 42.78 31-33
90 27.64 35.31 25-27
85 23.33 30.73 21-23
80 20.23 27.1 18-20

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Score vs Percentile Mapping for CAT Exam – 2017, 2016, 2015
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