CAT 2021: Will I get a call from IIM with a CAT score of 99+ percentile?

Did you score an exceptional 99+ percentile in CAT exam and yet miss an IIM call?  Well here are some reasons as to why you didn't receive that call.

Why I did not get a call from IIM despite a CAT score of 99+ percentile
Why I did not get a call from IIM despite a CAT score of 99+ percentile

The CAT exam is the gateway to get into IIMs or any other top B-School. After the declaration of the CAT 2021 result, candidates know their overall percentile and accordingly, they can look for colleges. Those who are able to manage 90 to 100 percentile, can hope to receive a call from the IIM or from the premier B-schools of India to pursue an MBA.  Those who meet the required cutoff then have to apply for the Written Ability Test (WAT) and Personal Interview (PI) round of IIMs. To get admitted into any IIMs or any Top MBA colleges in India, the minimum CAT 2021 cutoff is expected to be 90 percentile. To get a call from the top IIMs candidates need to have an exceptionally good CAT percentile. Most of the IIMs close their cut-off lists at 98 percentile apart from a few new IIMs. Those who secured 99+ percentile can apply to top IIMs like IIM Bangalore, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Lucknow, IIM Calcutta and IIM Kozhikode.

However, securing a 99+ percentile does not guarantee that the candidate will get a call from the IIMs. IIMs look not just at the overall cutoff but also at the sectional cut-offs. So, even if the candidate managed to secure a 99 or a perfect 100 in one of the sections and a mere 70 in the other section then the chances are that the candidate might not get all calls from any of the top IIMs.

Another factor that comes results in candidates not getting a call from IIMs despite their high CAT percentile is that for every CAT applicant IIMs calculate their own "Applicant Rating Score" based on their own criteria's. The score calculation is based on the candidate's marks obtained in class 10th, 12th(depending on the stream) and bachelor's degree (depending on the discipline). 

Also Read: CAT Exam: Meet the Exam Toppers

On the basis of this score the shortlisting of candidates for PIs and Academic Writing test (AWT) takes place. Different IIMs have different criteria. But, mostly all of them keep their criteria of a minimum of 80% in 10th as well as 12th. IIMs consider candidates with

  • Exceptionally good CAT percentile ( 100 or +-1 )
  • Average of 80 or above in 10th and 12th
  • Graduation should be 78% or above
  • And clear all sectional cutoffs

Therefore, as the analysis says “having an extremely good percentile in all sections individually becomes more important than overall percentile” for receiving a call from IIM.

Here are some points that candidates should keep in mind in order to ensure that they manage a good percentile during the CAT exam.

  1. The paper is not the place to do R&D, so attempt only those questions you already know and are aware of their strategies.
  2. Always attempt the paper in two parts. You can leave difficult questions unattempted in your first go. 
  3. You should mark lengthy and difficult questions in round 1 and attempt them in round 2 only
  4. Read the answer choices given along with the questions. It provides you with a direction to calculate while helping you eliminate as many options as possible.
  5. Always attempt according to your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you are good at number systems and algebra then attempt all questions of this area first.

Role of Sectional cut-off in IIM selection

Candidates should never make the mistake of ignoring or underestimating the importance of Sectional cut-offs. You should devise your strategy in a manner that it helps you score the maximum possible marks in all the sections. Often candidates tend to underestimate the VRC section, mistakes like this should be avoided. To get into IIMs candidates need a minimum of 80 to 90 percentile in each of the 3 sections. If candidates manage to secure a high percentile in all three sections individually it automatically boosts their overall percentile. Candidates should make an effort to ensure that their sectional percentiles do not fall below the 80 percentile as it will hamper their chances of getting into an IIM.

After all, doing MBA is all about making balanced strategies so, why not start the process right from the exam preparation itself. So, remember that only a high CAT percentile won’t get you there but a good academic profile combined with and all the points mentioned above will surely help you land an IIM GD/PI call. And when you are there you just need to be confident about what you have done and should be prepared to justify your profile, whether you have experience or not just make the panel believe in you.

For more updates on CAT Exam, keep visiting the MBA section of

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