CAT scores upset aspirants

Nirupama (name changed) a final engineering student and a CAT aspirant, is today heartbroken, as her CAT score, the examination for admission into top B-Schools including the IIMs, was not up to her expectations. It is not that her attempt was a weak one. “In the mock test I got a very good score, and my final attempt was even better. But the score was disastrous or rather bizarre, when compared to my effort,” says she.

It is not only Nirupama, but thousands among the 1.75 lakh who had written the CAT-2013, vouch the same story. “Students who had not done well have scored good percentile and it was the opposite for students who had written the examination well. We want the IIMs and the Prometric, the company that organises CAT across the country, to do some rethinking on hosting the examination again, just like XAT, the examination for entry into XLRI, had done last year, as their was some discrepancies in the scores,” said Nirupama.

It is not only the students who are questioning the CAT scores but also the experts who impart coaching for the premier admission examination are raising doubts over this year’s valuation and scores.

Gautam Puri of Career Launcher, a leading coaching institute, who takes CAT every year and submits a blank paper was surprised to find his score ticking at 55 percentile. “This is absurd,” asserts Mr. Puri. “It means 55 per cent of the 1.75 lakh who attempted CAT had scored zero or less than zero,” he says.

Mr. Gautam faults the normalisation process. “Three things could have happened- the paper was difficult and the students would have done reckless answering with significant guess work; some issue with the software; and finally, chink in the normalisation process,” he says. “It is surprising that the same company (Prometric) that conducts GRE and GMAT, across the globe, adopts different yardsticks for normalisation for both the examinations, which are very much transparent, and a different method for CAT, which is grossly opaque,” he points out.

Coming out with clarifications, the CEO of Prometric says: For CAT 2013, we have conducted additional quality control to verify that our reporting is accurate and our methodology is fair, reliable and determines the right scores according to candidate performance. As per the IIM direction, it was our job to heighten the examination’s difficulty. As a consequence, only the best performing test takers earned the highest scores.

He further pointed out that CAT 2013’s two sections were designed to assess different abilities, consistent with previous years of the test. For example, success in Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation does not dictate success in Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning. On the percentile factor he says, “If candidates choose not to answer a single question in the examination, it remains our responsibility to deliver them a score. Hence, a candidate with zero response automatically gets a 0 raw score – within the entire range from [-30, +90]. This is then adjusted (to eliminate negative scores), equated (to provide fairness across different slots and difficulty levels) and scaled (to give a final range from 0-225 in any section).”

For details of the evaluation process, visit or

dev_scorind_equityprocess.htm or




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