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.

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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.

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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