IIM Call Cutoff Vs IIM Eligibility Cutoff: Why there is huge gap?
Aditi Garg, 09 Feb 2019, #CAT
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IIM Call Cutoff Vs IIM Eligibility Cutoff - After going through the admission criteria released by various IIMs, you may feel optimistic about your chance to get selected or at least receive an interview call from your dream management institutes. But there is a stark difference between IIM Call Cutoff and Eligibility cutoff. Have you ever wondered why there are huge gaps between the two cutoffs of the IIMs. Put on your thinking caps as Careers360 brings to you the factors behind the gaps that exist between the actual interview call and the official shortlist cutoff of CAT at IIMs.

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CAT 2018 was held on November 25, 2018, and the CAT result 2018 has been announced on January 5, 2019. IIMs would shortlist candidates meeting cutoff after the result. While MBA aspirants rejoice in the fact that IIM Ahmedabad overall cutoff for General category candidates is near 80 percentile and the sectional cutoffs are 70 percentile (Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, Verbal and Reading Comprehension) this year, the reality is quite different. The interview cutoff for the General category candidates at IIM Ahmedabad will be much higher for 2019-21 batch. In 2017, it was 98.5 percentile. 

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Why there are huge gaps?

The gap exists because the eligibility cutoff announced by an IIM is the minimum CAT percentile candidates are required to secure for getting into the list of candidates who can be considered for next stage of CAT selection process comprising WAT and PI.

The actual call cutoff, however, depends on the number of candidates available from top. Thus for IIM Ahmedabad, which may call 600-1000 general category candidates (generally three times the seat capacity), it gets the desired numbers within 98 to 100 percentile. This because, within the top 2 percentile, it may get as much as 4,000 candidates in a scenario where the number of test takers is near 2 lakh.

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Nishit Sinha, IIM Lucknow alumnus and author of MBA preparation books mentions in a related query posted in Quora, “For actual selection, IIMs look for top N students who have cleared the cut-off in different sections and overall. It is decided by percentile. In other words, Percentile indicates the All India Rank. For example - 99.5 percentile means top 0.5 percent of the total aspirants who have appeared.”

Thus, you must understand that the CAT cutoff percentile released by IIMs is the eligibility criteria or the minimum percentile a candidate has to secure in order to be eligible for getting shortlisted. 

How do the number of test takers and IIM intake influence cutoff?

A percentile is a measure indicating the value below which a given percentage of test takers come under. For example, 90 percentile refers to the value below which 90 percent of the CAT takers would fall. Hence, test takers securing 90 percentile or above refers to the top 10 percent of the test takers. So, if the total number of actual test takers is near 2 lakh, approximately 20,000 candidates (One percent) would come under the percentile range of 99 to 100.  

IIMs, generally, shortlist three times the number of seats for the next level of the selection process. The total number of seats in 20 IIMs is around 4000, which means the total number of short-listed candidates would be 12,000. Out of this, the number of General category candidates to be shortlisted will be 50 percent, which is near 6,000. Now, if we consider the case of IIM Ahmedabad, where the total number of seats is around 400, with around 200 general category seats, the number of shortlisted candidates in general category would be around 600. This means, being the top institute within IIMs system, IIM-A could get the desired number of candidates within the range of 99.5 – 100 percentile.  But since the candidate profile is also considered while shortlisting candidates, the shortlisting cutoff percentile finally settles in the range of 98 to 100 percentile.  So, it is quite evident that the candidates to be finally shortlisted belong to the top percentile bracket of 98 to 100 and not within the 90 percentile as mentioned in the IIM admission criteria.

For the top IIMs, which are popularly and collectively referred as BLACKIS (B – Bangalore, L – Lucknow, A-Ahmedabad, C – Calcutta, K – Kozhikode, I – Indore, S – Shillong) by the MBA aspirants,  the combined intake is around 2600, which is approximately half of the number of candidates falling within top three percentile brackets (97 to 100 percentile).  So you can understand why the actual interview call cutoff of the top IIMs range from 97 to 100 percentile. 

Academics and work experience - Other factors which influence shortlist cutoff

Top IIMs–BLACKIS, consider other factors like past academic records, work experience, academic and gender diversity and overall candidate profile for making the final shortlist offer. They calculate a scaled score or percentile based on the above-mentioned factors. In order to equate the scores in all other parameters, IIMs may have to go down a couple of percentiles, say 97 percentile. The actual interview call cutoff is the culmination of these factors.

At the same time, securing above 99 percentile is not always a benchmark for appearing in IIM interview rounds as the composite score for shortlisting depends upon multiple factors. For the final selection also IIMs calculate the composite scores in terms of performance in CAT, WAT & PI and candidate profile. 

Also Read

IIM Call cutoff Vs Shortlist cutoff - Know the huge difference

CAT 2016: Factors that influence cutoff of IIMs and other top B-schools 

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Questions related to CAT

Showing 7362 out of 7363 Questions

I have less than 50% marks in high school, can I apply for cat,mat and GMAT???

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 19th Nov, 2019
CAT, MAT and GMAT are entrance examinations for admission tio Post Graduation courses. Now as their eligibility criteria, CAT has a condition that Candidates should score a minimum aggregate of 50% in the Graduation. It is 5% for General Category and 45% for Reserved Categories. MAT has no minimum aggregate requirement. Your High school aggregate is not counted for eligibility criteria of these exams. In fact, it is only considered for the shortlisting process.

i have got 50 percent marks in graduation..if i will get good percentile in CAT OR MAT. will i get admission in good college or should i stop dreaming of mba?

Shareef 19th Nov, 2019
No, Never give up. When there's a will, there is a way.
Now, getting admission into MBA is not based on your graduation marks, most of the Institutes only care about your performance in CAT/MAT examinination.
If you a good percentage in your entrance examination, then most of the Institutes don't consider your graduation percentage, where few Institutes need a minimum percentage in graduation.
Don't get tensed about your graduation percentage, you have a minimum percentage which is news for getting admission.
So, don't get tensed about it, just prepare best, and give your best. Best of luck

i m 34 yrs old, having work ex of 5 yrs as an Officer in Ministry of Defence. I wanted to do full time MBA from top IIM-A/B/C through CAT exam. M having poor academics record below 65%, also belongs to Reserve category. is thr any chance for me to get into TOP IIMs, nt interested in Exe-MBA.plz help

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 19th Nov, 2019
Mr. Gupta, each IIM has its own selection procedure. While CAT percentile remains the main criteria, there are other factors as well. Here we shall help you with the criteria, cut offs and the selection procedure. IIMs shortlist candidates for the interview stage based on their own criteria, which may be independent of each other. The process may include Written Ability Test, Group Discussion, and Personal Interviews. Performance in the CAT examination is an important component in the admission process. IIMs may additionally use other factors such as the previous academic performance of the candidates, relevant work experience, gender and academic diversity and other similar inputs in shortlisting and ranking of candidates at various stages of the admission process. The processes, academic cut-offs and the weights allocated to the evaluation parameters may vary across IIMs.

IIM Ahmedabad:


General: 70 70 70 80
NC-OBC/Trans: 65 65 65 75
SC: 60 60 60 70
ST: 50 50 50 60
PwD-UR,OBC,SC: 60 60 60 70
PwD: ST: 50 50 50 60

10th Rating:

Percent score Rating Score

<= 55 1

> 55 and <= 60 2

> 60 and <= 70 3

> 70 and <= 80 5

> 80 and <= 90 8

> 90 10

The same rating score is used for 12th Science /Commerce Streams. For Arts/Humanities:

Percent score Rating Score

<= 45 1
> 45 and <= 50 2
> 50 and <= 60 3
> 60 and <= 70 5
> 70 and <= 85 8
> 85 10

Work Experience in Months as on July 31, 2019 Rating Score

< 12 months 0

> 36 months 5

Work-experience Multiplication Factor (MF) = 0.20

Minimum cut offs for Average percent of marks scores:
Stream in 12th UR NC- OBC/Trans SC ST PWD PWD -ST

Science 80 75 70 65 70 65

Commerce 77 72 67 62 67 62

Arts & Humanities 75 70 64 59 64 59

From each Academic sectors top 5% from each stream and each Category will be short listed. It might look like:

Category Upper Limit

General 100

NC-OBC-cum-transgender 57

SC 32

ST 16

PwD 6

After shortlisting the Candidates, the selected Candidates will have to go through WAT and PI rounds. Selection at this stage will strictly be based on the shortlisting of the candidates done separately for each Category on the basis of their Final Composite Score. . The numbers selected in different reservation categories will be in proportions mandated by law.

Personal Interview Multiplication Factor (PIF) = 0.50

AWT Multiplication Factor (AWTF) = 0.10

CAT Score Multiplication Factor for Final Composite Score (CATF_FCS) = 0.25

Application Rating Multiplication Factor for Final Composite Score (ARF_FCS) = 0.15

After the AWT & PI round, admission offers are made by IIMA to successful candidates. The final selection is based on a diverse set of attributes which includes performance in CAT, performance in AWT & PI, academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular achievements, work experience, etc.

General: 80 80 85 90
NC-OBC: 70 70 75 80
SC: 65 65 70 75
ST: 60 60 60 70
PwD: 50 50 50 60
For all the Candidates shortlisted, the 10th and 12th board results are initially adjusted by dividing each such score by 90th percentile score of that board. And then an adjusted score is calculated for the Bachelor's degree for each of the candidates based on the final scores obtained by the candidate are used for the Bachelor's degree and professional degrees. For example,
CAT = 40
10th board = 20
12th board = 10
Bachelors = 20
Gender Diversity = 2
Work Experience = 8
The 40 points for CAT are derived from the performance in each of the three sections as follows:
Verbal & Reading Comprehension - 14 points
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning - 16 points Quantitative Aptitude - 10 points.

OPEN: 75 80 80 85
NC-OBC: 65 65 70 75
EWS: 65 65 70 75
SC: 60 60 65 70
ST: 55 55 55 65
PWD: 55 55 55 65

And the final selection is based on:
CAT 2019 Score 30
Personal Interview 48
Written Ability Test 10
Academic Diversity 04
Work Experience 08
Total 100

What IIMs also look for apart from Academics is the diversity factor. So with your work experience, that might actually work in your favour. So secure atleast 85-90 percentile and you can be shortlisted for any of the IIMs.

hii ths is jitesh, i jst want to make it clear tht i m t good in maths n bczx of ths i he fear of cat exam so can i do mba from abroad n wat are the examinations tio be gvn fr abroad ??/ plzz somone reply

Niveditha 19th Nov, 2019

Hi Jitesh...

Firstly do not be scared of maths just because of CAT exam. It is not just the mathematics which you do as your subject but it is an aptitude test test your mathematics skills obviously along with your thinking ability to solve the problem.

So coming to your question first thing you have to keep in mind when have to do MBA abroad is the minimum requirements to do MBA abroad.

The second thing is the exams that you must attend.

Firstly lets looks at the eligibility requirements where the candidate must must have minimum of 3 years of bachelor's degree of any discipline,

A masters or doctoral is also acceptable. Some colleges in abroad also accept distance or the education in correspondence.

Unlike the MBA colleges in India, the colleges abroad ask for minimum two years of work experience or the work exposure for pursuing MBA. The do not need your technical skills or the marks which you have scored , rather than that they need your managerial skills.

The exams that must be given for MBA abroad are GMAT or GRE.

GMAT score is highly predict your verbal and aptitude level to manage the strees and workload of MBA.

TOFEL for US, Canada

IELTS or PTE for UK,Australia,New Zealand

CAE or CPE for UK

CELPIP for Canada

TOFEL , IELTS is conducted to check the vocabulary and the English proficiency. This evaluates the listening, speaking,writing and reading skills of English.

Even the GRE and GMAT exams have a section similar to the quantitative ability which you are probably scared of .

The subject quantitative ability will not be for these competitive exams but also in your placements you attend after your education.

The foreign universities also assess your application on the basis of your achievements, experience, leadership qualities at work and other academic achievements.

MBA is not just learning theory in the class rooms, it is the application of the experience that you gain.

All the best!!!


I have 96% in 10th, 92.4% in 12th and 81.1% in Engineering. What percentile should I score in CAT to get calls from IIM Indore, Kozikhode and Trichy(NC- OBC Category)?

Sonali Sahu Student Expert 18th Nov, 2019


your score is good until now. You have did your best all the way. For CAT exam, IIM Consider 90% to get an admission.

For IIM Kozhikode:- 75% for CAT,Sectional Cutoff:- 65% for  10th:- 60% and for 12th 60%.

For IIM Trichy:- 78% for OBC-NC

for IIM Indore :- 80% for OBC-NC

for OBC category there will very less relaxation. But there is high competition but number of seats available is very less.

So you have to prepare accordingly and get an admission.

CAT exam score hold a 45-50 % weightage for admission at IIM Kozhikode. You have so good qualification in the rest. If you put more effort into it then you can get it.

Hope it helps!

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