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What is a Good CAT 2021 Percentile/ Score? - Check Here

Abhinav Chamoli
Abhinav ChamoliUpdated On: January 05, 2022 04:35 pm IST | CAT

Many aspirants ask what is a good score or percentile in CAT. Find out what is a good percentile in CAT here and how you can get a good percentile.

What Is A Good Percentile in CAT?

Cracking the Common Admission Test, popularly known as CAT is a highly-coveted prize for MBA aspirants in India. CAT preparations are considered worthy for spending thousands of rupees on study materials and coaching. The reason behind the CAT being the most popular is that it is the most widely-accepted exam by MBA colleges in India.

CAT 2021 Score vs Percentile - Check Details for New CAT Pattern Here

CAT 2021 Attempts vs Percentile Analysis

CAT exam was held on November 28, 2021 and the CAT 2021 Result was declared on January 03, 2022. From the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) to a Tier-3 b-school, an MBA aspirant can say with almost certainty that it will accept CAT scores for admission to its MBA course.  Many MBA aspirants are found asking what is a good score in CAT and how much score should they be targeting in CAT. In this article, we explore what can be called a good score in CAT and why.

What is CAT Score?

If CAT is the most widely-accepted MBA exam in India, CAT score can easily be said to be the key to MBA admissions in India. Before anything else, candidates have to ensure that they follow a good preparation strategy for CAT to be able to make the cut for their chosen b-schools.

CAT preparation takes more than just studying a book and solving some questions. It is a highly competitive exam and requires you to update your comprehensive and analytical abilities to be able to solve the questions faster and with much higher accuracy. Given below is the total score a candidate can get in CAT.


CAT Exam Analysis

No. of Questions

Marks Allocated

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

CAT 2021 VARC Question Paper Analysis & Answer Key (Slot 1, 2 and 3) Out



Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

CAT 2021 DILR Question Paper Analysis & Answer Key (Slot 1, 2 & 3) Out



Quantitative Ability

CAT 2021 VARC Question Paper Analysis & Answer Key (Slot 1, 2 and 3) Out




CAT 2021 Overall Analysis



Thus, CAT contains 66 questions with 3 marks allocated to each question. Hence, the total score in CAT is 198 while the total score of each section in CAT varies as per the number of questions they contain. CAT score is calculated by counting the number of correct questions, multiplying it by 3 and decreasing 1 mark for each incorrectly answered question. However, the CAT normalization process has to be applied before the final score of a candidate can be calculated. Then, candidates are given a rank based on their CAT scores.

Also Read:Detailed Year-wise CAT Paper Analysis

What is CAT Percentile?

The percentile of a candidate is simply the percentage of candidates who scored less than the candidate in CAT. For example, if a total of 1000 candidates appeared for the exam and your rank is 1st, your percentage would be calculated as follows.

Percentile = {(1000-1)/1000}x100 = 99.9 percentile

That example also serves to show that you can never get 100 percentile in CAT since 100 per cent of the candidates can never score less than you in the exam. CAT percentile not only depends on your score but also what other candidate's scored in the examination. Hence, it cannot be completely in your control.

However, over the years, some correlation has been established between the CAT score of a candidate and his/her CAT percentile. CAT experts are quite closely able to predict what the percentile of a candidate would be based on their score in CAT. Check the following for more information.

CAT Score Vs Percentile Analysis

CAT Percentile Predictor

What is a Good Score in CAT?

Coming to the star of the show, a good score in CAT is actually an incomplete question. The actual question should be 'What is a good score in CAT for XYZ college?' Without mentioning what college you want to take admission in, there is no value in any CAT score. Hence, a good score in CAT can be any score that lands you into your desired college.

This illustrates one very important point that every CAT aspirant should have in mind, i.e.setting a target is vital to CAT preparation, and you should always base your preparation strategy on that information.

Therefore, a good score in CAT can be different for each candidate. However, since CAT is basically being taken for admission to IIMs, we should take a look at what is a good CAT score for gaining admission to IIMs. Check the following articles to figure out the colleges which accept different percentile range in CAT

List of MBA Colleges Accepting 50-60 Percentile in CAT

List of MBA Colleges Accepting 60-70 Percentile in CAT

List of MBA Colleges Accepting 70-80 Percentile in CAT

List of MBA Colleges Accepting 80-90 Percentile in CAT

Also Read:List of Non-IIM MBA Colleges to Apply to Before & After CAT Exam

What is a Good Score in CAT for IIMs?

In order to answer this question, we need to see the number of seats in IIMs, the number of candidates appearing for CAT as well as the interest of CAT aspirants in a particular IIM. Roughly speaking, the total number of seats in IIMs is around 5,000 and the total number of aspirants appearing for CAT every year is around 2,00,000 (2 lakhs). Hence, you have to be in the top 5000 candidates to be eligible for admission. And the top 5,000 candidates come in the 97.50+ percentile bracket. However, practically speaking, you can get into an IIM such as IIM Jammu, IIM Amritsar etc. even with a 90 percentile CAT score. This is because candidates do not show as much interest in the new IIMs.

When it comes to old private colleges vs new IIMs, many of the candidates prefer to take admission in a prestigious institute such as ISB Hyderabad, XLRI Jamshedpur or SIBM Pune. This can be attributed to the poor availability of infrastructure as well as a lack of alumni network at these newly-build IIMs. However, as time passes by and these IIMs are shifted to their own campuses and start building their alumni network, the CAT score required to get admission to these IIMs will also increase.

However, for the top IIMs often called BLACKIS (IIMB, IIML, IIMA, IIMC, IIMI, IIMK), a good score in CAT is 99+ percentile. To get admission in these top-ranking IIMs, it is crucial to be in the top bracket of CAT scorers. And since there are many factors such as work experience, academic performance etc. that are given weightage in IIM selection criteria, even a 99 percentile score cannot guarantee admission. Candidates can check the CAT cutoff of each college to know if they are eligible for admission to that college or not.

Also Read:IIM Eligibility Cut Off vs IIM Call Cut Off - What's the Difference

How to Get a Good Score in CAT

Putting in targetted practice and study hours each and every day is the key to getting a good score in CAT. You have to adopt new strategies and work on increasing your speed and accuracy as well. If you are targeting to be among the top brass i.e. a 99+ percentile score, you should put in calculated efforts for the same. Given below are some CAT preparation guides created by our experts that you should check out.

Also Read:

CAT 2021 Slot 1 Question Paper Analysis, Answer Key (Out)

CAT 2021 Slot 2 Question Paper Analysis, Answer Key (Out)

CAT 2021 Slot 3 Question Paper Analysis, Answer Key (Out)

You can also check this repository containing all that we know about the CAT exam. If you have any queries, please write to us on the CollegeDekho QnA Zone. Get help from our experts with admission to your chosen MBA college. Fill the Common Application Form (CAF). If you have any questions, call our helpline number 18005729877 to consult with our experts.

CAT Previous Year Question Paper

CAT Question Paper 2018 Slot 1

CAT Question Paper 2018 Slot 2

CAT Question Paper 2019 Slot 1

CAT Question Paper 2019 Slot 2

CAT question Paper 2017 f1

CAT question Paper 2017 F2


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