CAT 2017: Prepare smartly to target IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta; overall CAT high scores not enough

MBAUniverse.com News Desk |
July 20, 2017
What is the difference between targeting IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore or Calcutta and keeping the target of scoring 99 plus in CAT 2017? If none - why then the CAT 100 percentilers are refused admission by IIM Ahmedabad and the candidates with 89 plus percentile score is offered admission by the same IIM
CAT 2017
You need to know the admission policy of all the top 3-4 IIMs who now award less weightage to CAT exam score than to other diversity parameters

Will high score in CAT 2017 will suffice or it won’t be enough for admission in top 3-4 IIMs? If yes then what is the difference between targeting IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore or Calcutta and keeping the target of scoring 99 plus in CAT 2017? No doubt a valid question! But why then the CAT 100 percentilers are refused admission by IIM Ahmedabad and the candidates with 89 plus percentile score is offered admission by the same IIM Ahmedabad.

The only answer that one could get is that you need to know the admission policy of all the top 3-4 IIMs who now award less weightage to CAT exam score than to other diversity parameters.  Vidit Garg, a candidate with 89.67 percentile in CAT and getting admission offer from IIMA knew well that only high CAT score is not enough while targeting admission to IIM Ahmedabad as against Avidipto Chakraborty who despite scoring 100 percentile could not find seat in IIM Ahmedabad although was offered admission by IIM Bangalore.

Important Links to prepare for CAT 2017

IIMs adopting different admission criteria now
In many cases it becomes immaterial whether you score 99 or 95 in CAT exam as more depends on your sectional performance in CAT exam. For example IIM Ahmedabad, the undisputed top B-school of the country, has prescribed lowest CAT sectional percentile required to qualify for shortlisting. If you score a minimum of 70 percentile in each of the 3 sections and 80 percentile overall in CAT you are eligible to be shortlisted for final selection round – the Personal Interview and Writing Ability Test.

Another fact is that the shortlisting criteria would call for some balancing act in your sectional percentile. Too much deviation in sectional percentile is not appreciated as it conveys that you are good in one section but not good in other two. If you score 99 plus percentile in one section, 90 in other and 71 in the third section, you may not be a preferred candidate even after scoring 96 plus overall percentile. A candidate with balanced sectional percentile between 80 to 90 or 90 to 96 or even 75 to 85 could be a preferred candidate for IIM Ahmedabad. 

After the 1st stage shortlisting, the weightage of CAT exam score is further reduced to accommodate for higher weightages on Writing Test, Personal Interview, Non-engineering back ground, gender diversity, work experience.

Academic Diversity: 1st choice of IIMs
IIM Ahmedabad goes for academic toppers shortlisting coming from different streams. These toppers in their respective field are shortlisted direct and without considering their high CAT scores. The only condition is that they should qualify the minimum prescribed sectional and overall percentile.

So a topper in Arts and Humanities stands all the chances to get shortlisted by IIM Ahmedabad, if he has secured 70 and above percentile in each of the 3 sections of CAT exam and has secured more than 80 percentile overall. This way a Vidit with 89 percentile always stands a better chance than an Avidipto with 100 percentile to get into IIM Ahmedabad.  

Make a smart preparation plan
Your preparation strategy should be to focus on all the three sections. If you prepare well only on Quantitative Ability section, you may score 100 percentile in this section but may lag behind in other two. Your preparation plan should focus on high sectional percentile which would automatically award you high overall percentile. No doubt you need to secure high overall percentile also, but a slip in sectional percentile defeats the purpose

Balanced sectional percentile & Academics: Key requirement
You should target a high percentile in all the 3 sections of CAT 2016 exam else it will be difficult to even get shortlisted by any IIM. There are two most important angles that would be instrumental to help you achieve the high sectional percentile in CAT 2017 and get you shortlisted for final admission round.

First: CAT 2017 score

Second: Your Profile  

The candidate with 99 percentile with too much deviation in sectional, percentile may not be shortlisted for GD-PI-WAT by older IIMs as against the candidate with 96 percentile with balanced sectional percentile.

An excellent academic profile and good work experience will add to your profile and will help in placing you at a higher merit position than your peers. Even a candidate with 92 percentile (having balanced and fairly high percentile) with equal academic and work ex profile may get shortlisted by one of the older IIMs like IIM Indore; IIM Kozhikode; IIM Shillong among others. 

The calculation of percentile in CAT is different and is based on equated normalization system. A candidate with high percentile of 99 in Quant section and with low percentile of 93 in Verbal section may still score 99+ percentile. On the contrary a candidate with fairly high balanced percentile of 87 and 90 in each section can have overall percentile between 92 to 95.

Begin with Mocks: Check your skills
It is time that you should start taking Mocks to speed up preparation for CAT 2017. Whatever you are studying and in case you are getting guidance from some coaching institute, regularly take sectional mocks and full length mocks. Better to analyse your errors and find out the areas that need further improvement. There may be some very small mistakes which are committed due to oversight or in your speed reading you might have skipped them, focus on them and avoid their recurrence.

If you find the mocks beyond your ability to solve, you should know that you have to work harder to understand those topics well. Get the analysis of Mocks done after solving them by some expert and follow the guidance to improve.

None else but you are supposed to hit the target. You are either in or not in. Don’t think of excuses. If you search for excuses, better not to prepare for CAT 2017. Prepare with full devotion and target oriented plan.

Add-ons: An IIM needs alongwith CAT score
Much also depends upon your profile to get shortlisted by IIMs although CAT 2017 score is very much important. Your profile consists of 3 most important items out of which one is beyond your reach and lies in the hands of God; for remaining two they are also static and nothing much can be done now.

Academic Profile- Your academic excellence can give a boost to your percentile and in converting the call. IIMs award points on a scale of 100 in a range of 8 to 15 for scoring high marks in 10th, 12th and graduation. Good academics mean percentage of marks above 85. This weightage despite being very important is static now and you may not be able to do much about it, in case your graduation final exams are also over. So for shortlisting, the other option left is to prepare well for CAT 2017.

Work experience- IIMs award weightage for relevant work experience while shortlisting the candidates for GDPI alongwith considering the CAT 2017 score. If you have work experience of 2-3 years after completing graduation degree, it would go in your favour.

Gender diversity-IIMs will award some points on a scale of 100 to girl candidates while shortlisting the candidates for GDPI after result for CAT 2017 is announced. If you are a girl candidate, you may have better luck. But for others it can’t be helped since whatever gender you are, you are supposed to be throughout your life.

CAT 2017 is the mandatory entrance exam for admission to management programmes conducted by IIMs. The exam is going to be conducted by Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow in association with partnering testing agency TCS. CAT 2017 will be a computer based test (CBT) of 180 minutes duration and is proposed to be held in the month of November/December 2017.

CAT 2017 exam would be divided in 3 sections with a total of 100 questions. The sections are Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension; Data Interpretation and & Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Ability.

Each CAT 2017 question would carry equal weightage of 3 marks with 1/3 negative marking for each wrong answer. There would be around 25-30 Non-MCQs which will not carry any penalty of negative marking for wrong answers.

Please remember apart from high overall scores in CAT 2017 both sectional as well as overall, you need to have good writing and communication skills as almost all the IIMs and other top rated B schools conduct Written Ability Test (WAT) in their final admission interview round.

CAT 2017 will be the mandatory entrance exam for admission to MBA/PGDM 2018-20 in 20 IIMs and top rated Management colleges like FMS, MDI, SPJIMR, NITIE, IMI, IMT, JBIMS, TAPMI, BIMTECH and many more B schools located across the country  

Stay tuned to MBAUniverse.com for more updates on CAT 2017

Also See:

 

Take CAT 2017 Mock Full LengthTo assess your preparation in revised CAT 2017 exam pattern with 100 questions.
Section 1:
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
Quiz 1: Time limit to solve: 15 minutes;  Level of difficulty: Moderate Quiz 2: Time limit to solve: 15 minutes;  Level of difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Section 2:
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
Quiz 1: Time limit to solve: 15 minutes; Level of Difficulty: Moderate Quiz 2: Time limit to solve: 15 minutes; Level of difficulty: Moderate
Section 3:
Quantitative Ability
Quiz-1: Time limit to solve: 15 minutes; Level of Difficulty: Moderate Quiz-2: Time limit to solve: 15 minutes; Level of difficulty: Moderate to difficult