CAT Coaching  Analysis of Top IIM’s selection process

CAT is one of the most coveted entrance exams and it is also tough to crack. But if you are preparing for CAT assuming that a high score in the test could easily get you admission to any of the prestigious IIMs, then you need to think again. Cracking only the CAT would not get you into the IIMs. An analysis of the selection process of the top IIMs is proof that more than the CAT, it’s your performance in the interview, the final academic record and also the writing ability test that matters than just a good score in CAT.

If you look at the selection process of few of the top IIMs, you will know that they are looking for candidates who are competent, have good communication skills, a great academic background and also an impressive work experience. A good CAT score only helps in taking you to the final stage of the Personal interview (PI) and the written ability test or WAT but to proceed further you have to be good and perform well in the other parameters set.

A quick analysis of the weightage allotted to other parameters show that just scoring high in CAT is not enough to secure the IIM seat. At the IIM Calcutta, the weightage is 30% in the final selection while in IIM Bangalore it is only 25% weightage. There is comparatively more weight provided to the candidate’s performance in PI and WAT. By this you can conclude that your good communication skills and the presentation skills can prove to be worth even if you score in CAT less than your competitors.

It is on basis of minimum CAT percentile requirement that a candidate is shortlisted. In the earlier days, there were group discussions held but now most of the IIMs have replaced this with WAT. But most of the IIMs now do not have either the WAT or GD; they only have the personal Interviews.  The weightage is provided to each stage and the final score is calculated accordingly. 

All the factors are important for the high score of the IIM selection criteria. Factors that are considered important include – Class Xth marks, Class XII marks, and Bachelor degree marks, CAT exam score and work experience.

Here we closely look at the top IIMs in India to find out their selection process:

IIM Ahmedabad

At Indian Institute of Ahmedabad, if you want to be considered for the analytical writing test and interview, your score in CAT will be considered along with the marks of yours in Class X, Class XII and the marks you have scored in your bachelor’s degree course.  But when it comes to the final selection there are so many parameters involved such as your performance in CAT, PI, AWT, your academic scores, participation in co-curricular and extra-curricular and achievements, your total work experience etc.  At IIM Ahmedabad, they have a rule that certain number of top candidates are selected from each academic discipline and will be shortlisted for PI and AWT.

IIM Bangalore

At IIM Bangalore, when it comes to the first phase of selection, your CAT is equally important along with your previous academic performance. If you have performed academically brilliant and your CAT scores are good then you are lucky.  And in the second phase of selection, the weightage given to the CAT score is 25 and it is little higher for PI at a weightage of 30. Your work experience and academic record all totals to 35 points and then you can add 10 to WAT.  If you calculate all together, the CAT score is only 25 whereas when added together all the other factors add up to majority of 75 points.

Hence, if one wants to get selected to IIM-B then those are lucky who have not scored a high CAT score but then their curriculum vitae presents an excellent academic record and also they have a good work experience.

IIM Calcutta

If you want to be shortlisted for IIM Calcutta for WAT and PI, there is a need for you to score excellent in CAT. For your Class X and Class XII marks there is a 40% weightage given. And if you are a female candidate, as part of their gender diversity initiative an extra 2 points are given. Your CAT score gets only 15 points out of 50, if you want to get in the final selection in IIM-C’s flagship post graduate programme in management. And when it comes to WAT it is around 5% points and 4 points are for your total work experience and if you have a non engineering background you can score 2 points. But there is no weightage awarded for those whose work experience is below 6 months.  And remember, any project work, training or work done that is a part of the regular curriculum requirement is not at all considered.

IIM Lucknow

For the IIM lucknow, for PGP and PGP ABM courses, the minimum cut off percentiles are at 90 and 85 for general category. Candidates for PI rounds are totally based on their CAT score, Class X marks, Class XII marks and graduation marks, and work experience and also the diversity factor that includes academic discipline (there are 3 points for certain graduation streams) and also there is the diversity factor where women candidates are awarded 2 points extra. In the selection criteria, IIM Lucknow, after final admission round, there is a 40% weightage to Personal Interview, 30% weightage to CAT score, 10% weightage to writing ability and around 10% to academics. There is only 5% for work experience and for the diversity factor around 5%.


To conclude, it is always better that you make your experiences your own, live through the interviews and make the most out of them. Even if you have work experience or do not have any work experience, you can always prove why you are the best and why they should choose you. The IIMs always are looking for good candidates and they are always looking for a reason to select the best.

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