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What is a good cat score?
April 12 2024

If you are preparing to give the competitive Common Admission Test (CAT) or you have already given CAT, you may be wondering what is a good CAT score. The CAT score is mainly used by the 20 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). Apart from admission to the 20 IIMS, the CAT scores are used to many b-schools across the country. Each Business School or B-school has its own cut-offs and admission procedure. In more concrete terms, the score will vary from person to person, precisely because not everyone wants to attend the same school. A score range between 104-108 is considered a very good score in CAT exam. By scoring above 120 will place you in 90th percentile, or with a score better than 90% of test-takers.



  • Differential Importance of CAT Scores:

    • The 20 IIMs vary in their weighting of the CAT exam, with some considering it a crucial factor for admissions, while others assign it less significance.
    • Different IIMs have distinct CAT cut-off scores, with the most competitive schools typically accepting candidates scoring in the 99th percentile or higher.
    • Second-tier schools may consider applicants with scores in the 70th percentile or lower, especially if accompanied by mitigating factors.
  • Competitive Percentile Ranges:

    • CAT scores above the 95th percentile are generally considered very competitive by IIMs.
    • Outstanding scores are typically in the 99th percentile, showcasing exceptional performance.
  • Preference for Balanced Scores:

    • IIMs prefer candidates with relatively even scores across all three sections of the CAT exam.
    • To achieve a 99th percentile score, a student may need to answer between 55 and 60 questions correctly, resulting in an overall score ranging between 165 and 180.

Also read: Speed calculation techniques for CAT

Section-wise Breakdown for Achieving 99th Percentile:

  • Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC):

    • Answer between 28-30 questions with 80% accuracy.
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR):

    • Answer between 24 and 26 questions with 90% accuracy.
  • Quantitative Ability (QA):

    • Answer around 32 questions with 90% accuracy.

Scoring 80+ percentile can get you into top B-Schools like IIT Delhi, IBS Hyderabad, Lal Bahadur Institute of Management, and NIT Trichy. If CAT score is 70 or less, students are likely to get into B-schools like XIME Bangalore, JIMS, and IILM Institute of Higher Education, Delhi.

Category CAT Percentile Score
Very Good 90-99
Good 80-89
Average 70-79
Low Below 60



CAT Score vs Percentile

CAT score vs percentile would let students know their score range within the particular percentile. Getting 99+ percentile in CAT 2023 means the overall score is around 104 or above. Check out the detailed CAT score vs percentile shown in the following table.

CAT 2023 Percentile VARC Score DILR Score QA Score Overall Score
99.5+ 37-38 30-32 37-39 104-108
99+ 34-35 28-30 36-37 98-102
99 33-34 29-30 34-35 98-98.5
98+ 32-33 27-28 30-32 90-93
95+ 32-34 20-21 28-30 80-82
90+ 29-30 17-19 26-27 72-75
85+ 24-25 14-15 20-22 59-61
80+ 20-22 11-13 15-16 46-48

To perform your best and to score a great percentile, a student need to prepare well. Set s target cat score that you desire and work hard towards it. You can’t control how other test takers perform but you can definitely control your own. So, work hard, practice well and reach your target CAT score.

Related Tags
exam strategy
exam analysis
Anisha Mukhija

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