Decoding CAT 2009 results

(This page has been updated twice on 2nd March and 6th March 2010 as more information came in.)

First Impressions

1st March 2010 Time: 1.15pm

CAT 2009 results are finally out.

The scoring and percentile system is completely different. There is going to be much debate on this over the next month or so and hence also I see a lot of RTIs being filed.

First impression tells me that calls are not as random as people expected. There is a high correlation between people who got 98-99 percentile in CAT 2009 and people who have XLRI,SIBM,FMS,IIFT calls etc.

Anyway here is what I think of the situation immediately before more data is available:

1) The score given in the scorecard is not of the form Attempts/Correct/Wrong/Score. There seems to be some kind of mapping. From my understanding it seems something like this:

Hypothetical E.g. - X took test on Dec 2 afternoon slot and Y took test on Dec 5 morning slot.

In a section, X attempted 17 questions with 15 correct and Y attempted 14 questions and got 13 correct. Using some difficulty normalization they have said that both are getting the same score as 14 correct 1 wrong is equal to 15 correct 2 wrong when comparing the 2 slots.


Similarly, there seems to be a mapping for different scores at different performance levels across different slots. So its possible that someone who on December 2 attempted only 12 questions and got them right gets a higher score and a percentile than someone on November 29 with 15 attempts but 2 wrong.

So the score that you have got translates to a particular combination of attempts/correct/score in a particular slot. So 14 correct 0 wrong will not yield you same score as a person who gets 14 correct 0 wrong in a perceivably tougher slot

Now the issue is, Who and how does one decide which slot should be assigned what level of difficulty?

A lot of people have been crying on about they not getting percentiles as per expectation. A lot of crying must be hoax as everyone feels they are better than they actually are.

At the same time there can be genuine issues too. Some people in spite of being extremely good may have missed out simply because they were in the unlucky slot. I know a couple of cases myself of really talented people being gutted in one section.

This is of course all conjecture. On has to wait if the IIMs release any document explaining how exactly they have come up with the scores and the percentiles.

2) By all indications, IIM A seems to have dispensed its criteria of 10th and 12th marks. (Have they devised a new way of increasing the number of females on campus :P ?) It seems one needs at least a 96%ile to get a call from IIM A. I would really like to see the diversity of the batch at IIM A this year. They moved away from pure CAT to including acads for getting in more girls . Now that they are back to the old system, I am really interested to know the batch profile and the call getters' profile.

(Personally I am glad at least the system of calling won't be unfair to one group as it was last year for me. But if they are compromising on diversity, they are going 2 steps backward)

Update : 2nd March 2010

Edit : My efforts last year seem to have borne some fruit. All the meetings and the letters seem to have finally been of some use. I had taken great pains to be heard by the right people.IIM A has released its criteria for this year(Please find attached at the bottom of this page). They now need a basic 70% in the 10th and 12th. This is reasonable as across all disciplines people do quite easily get 70% in their 10th and 12th. Mumbai students can't complain anymore.I don't think there would be cases like mine now. I am happy and satisfied.

What is sad is the fact that only 562 students from general category have been called. That according to me is too less. Call getters should be happy as they will never have such a great conversion ratio.

However, I have a feeling they will be compromising on diversity again this year.

Personally, I feel GMAT form of testing - Computer adaptive is much better and more scientific than the CAT 2009 system as it appears at face value.

The above analysis is based on data from website , pagalguy and a few scorecards that I have seen.

I shall be back with more analysis after other IIMs release their shortlists and criteria.

Update - 6th March 2010, Time: 6:45 pm

Prometric has come out with the methodology employed to develop CAT 2009 scores and percentiles. Click here :

CAT 2009 Development and Scoring or find the pdf attached at the bottom of this page.

It is more or less as I had expected and explained above. However, this shall not prevent the RTIs as students would want to know exactly which slot has been assigned what difficulty level and exactly how their performance translated into a score and percentile. Because the document basically just confirms one of the many surmises but doesn't quite make anything really transparent.

Actually, one would have taken not probed further about the exact difficulty assigned to a slot but is just the way the exam was conducted and the way the results have been declared etc. that has turned anything remotely unclear into a major issue.

Here is the link to the book that has been referenced in the footnotes of the document released by Prometric regarding scaling and equating of scores.

Sometimes I really wonder(it may sound radical), especially the way the calls have been given out this year, Why couldn't they just ask people to take GMAT/GRE and take those scores for giving out calls?

By the way it is about 6 days since CAT results, 2 IIMs - IIM Bangalore and IIM Indore are yet to come out with their short lists. Wonder whats the matter there.

Please find below an actual scorecard. Identity has been purposely hidden. Point 2 in the 'Notes' section is important.











DECEMBER 2, 2009

SAC : 41FEAB401A1F1CAB16E6F07xxxxxxxxxxxx









    • Only candidates who have taken the Common Admission Test (CAT) are entitled to receive the score card. The print-out of the score card is your official CAT result. You will not receive score card by email or by postal mail.

    • The scores reported are the scaled scores arrived at by establishing psychometric equivalences to adjust for any variation in difficulty levels across the tests.

    • Percentile refers to percent of candidates who receive score less than or equal to the score obtained by the candidate.

    • IIMs and non-IIM member institutions independently decide how to use CAT scores on the basis of their own selections policies. The scores are to be used only for selecting the candidates to their Post Graduate / Fellow Programme(s) in Management.

    • Detection of instances of incorrect information and process violation by a candidate at any stage will lead to disqualification of the candidate. Candidate's score will become null and void and he/she will not be allowed to appear for CAT in future. If such instances go undetected during the current selection process but are detected in subsequent years, such disqualification will take place with retrospective effect.

    • All queries regarding post-CAT selection process must be directed to respective IIMs. Prometric and CAT Centre will not answer post-CAT related queries.

    • For any test related matter you may write to Candidate Care Services at or call the Toll Free Number 1 800 103 9293. If any issue does not get resolved at the candidate care services, only then one may write to CAT Centre at

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