What does percentile mean in the CAT exam?

Friday, June 28th, 2019

How is percentile calculated 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.

Example of calculation of percentile

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

100 Percentile in the CAT Exam

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 Ahmedabad 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.

What does percentile mean in the CAT exam? – Video



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