How Can I Get An Interview Call From IIM Ahmedabad? – CAT 2016 : PGP 2017 -19

IIM Ahmedabad just made the selection criteria even more complex to understand. We will try our best to simplify it as much as possible.

The  key takeaway from the admissions policy is – ‘Diversity’.

We believe that it is possible that there will be less than 50% Engineers in IIM A batch of 2017-19. From a time when 85-90% of IIMA’s batch consisted of engineers, it is highly possible we will see far fewer engineers from now on.

If you check our analysis here last year, there were two routes to get a call. The first route (main route) to get a call is where there is a big change. Instead of top 1% to be recognised in all academic disciplines, IIM A is going to look at top 5% in all 7 academic disciplines. This clearly seems to be an attempt to push students from more diverse backgrounds like humanities and others to get calls. The 1% wasn’t enough because in many disciplines the number of applicants wasn’t large enough and this meant IIM A didn’t have enough shortlisted people in the interview stage to consider from each academic discipline which would lead to students from diverse fields in the incoming batch. This year’s change will help them push diversity even more.

If you didn’t understand the above do not worry. We will look at cases to understand.

There are 7 academic disciplines identified by IIM Ahmedabad. They will recognise exceptional performers in all these 7 fields.

How will they recognise the ‘exceptional’ performers?

The exceptional performers to be shortlisted for the Writing Test and Interview will be decided on the basis of something known as the CS or ‘Composite Score’. IIM Ahmedabad will consider top 5% in the respective Academic discipline limited to the respective categories (General/SC/ST/NC-OBC/PWD) among the applicants to IIMA who appear for CAT-2016

IIM Ahmedabad will shortlist students from a particular category up to a certain limit only. For e.g. if the academic discipline in consideration is Engineering, then from this discipline the following maximum number of students that will be shortlisted will be :

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If there are academic disciplines where the number of students who apply is lesser then it is possible the number go students who qualify as 5% is lesser than the numbers indicated above (For e.g. it is possible only 80 odd people qualify in general category or only 40 odd qualify for NC-OBC etc). In the case of engineering, we clearly know that number of applicants will be so many that the upper limit indicated above will be touched.

The students shortlisted above necessarily have to satisfy the following three conditions

1st – Satisfy minimum percentile requirements as mentioned below

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2nd – If you meet this criteria you need to meet the next based on your 12th Disciplines,

P ≥ 80 (Science), 77 (Commerce), 75 (Arts/Humanities)

Where P is the average of the percentages of marks scored in 10th and 12th std. exams.

3rd – There is a small change as compared to last year where there was a set % as a cutoff for each graduation discipline. This year they say you need to be in the 80th Percentile or above of all applicants in your academic discipline.

(Percentage of marks in the bachelor’s examination) ≥ Minimum cut-off percentage, to be set at the 80th percentile of the percentage of marks of the respective Academic discipline group of the applicants’ pool

Let’s assume Shyam a Commerce graduate scored 98.5%ile in CAT 2015 with a 85%ile+ in all 3 sections!

– His scores in 10th and 12th are above 85% and his graduation score is 79 %. Being a commerce graduate puts him under AC-3.

Super! He clearly satisfies two of the 3 criteria above. Let’s assume 79% in B.Com also means he is in a higher percentile than 80th percentile as per C3.  (This figure is likely to be lower for Humanities and slightly higher for Engineers. We can’t give an exact number as it depends on the profile of this year’s CAT applicants to IIM A).

This is not enough for Shyam to get a call though!

Wait, your Application Rating Score is also required! What is Application Rating Score?

Fulfilling the 3 criteria above is not enough. IIM A will also use your acads to to calculate your CS along with your CAT 2016 score.

How is AR calculated?

At different stages of the selection process ‘Application Rating’ (AR) score of an applicant will be used. An applicant’s AR score is the sum of the rating scores ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ (Tables 2-4) based on their percentage of marks obtained in the 10th standard, the 12th standard (depending upon the stream, viz., ‘Science’, ‘Commerce’ and ‘Arts & Humanities’) and the bachelor’s degree programme (depending upon the discipline) respectively. For different streams/disciplines the equivalent ARs are arrived at by using a (sort of) percentile equivalence of the score distributions using previous year’s CAT data.

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AR = A+B+C


So, how do we calculate Shyam’s Application Rating score based on the above data?

8 points for 10th Std + 8 points for 12th Std + 8 points for Graduation (under AC-3) =24

But, this needs to be normalized! Only your ‘Normalised’ AR will be used.

So, IIM A has a formula for that too.  Normalised AR is calculated using this formula – Normalised AR score of an applicant is equal to their AR score divided by average of the top 50 AR scores from the applicants’ pool.

So if the average of top 50 AR scores is 28, then Shyam’s AR score is 24/28 = 0.857

We are not there yet! Now we go the final step,

CS (Composite Score) = 0.3 (Normalized AR score) + 0.7 (Normalized overall score in CAT-2015)

Now, there will be a normalized CAT Score based on the equivalent CAT score. So if Shyam has scored 98.5%ile it will have an equivalent absolute score in his marksheet which will be normalized with the CAT 2015 topper’s score (our guess). Let’s assume that comes to a figure like 0.78

So Shyam’s CS = 0.3 (0.857) + 0.7 (0.78) = 0.803

Now, if 0.803 is among the top 100 people or top 5% of all Commerce academic discipline (AC-3) GENERAL category aspirants whichever is lower Shyam will be shortlisted for the Written Test and the Personal Interview.

Imagine doing this for all the 7 disciplines now. Phew!

Do remember that while a 98.5%ile may be enough for a Commerce graduate to get an IIM A call a general category engineer is likely to need a percentile in excess of 99.85/99.90 percentile to qualify. In case of Humanities the percentile could be as low as 92 or 93 as long as other criteria mentioned above is satisfied.

The above process will be used for all disciplines. In case if the number of students applying in a particular Academic discipline and from SC/ST/OBC/PWD categories is less than 100 than a slight variation will be used. You can see that criteria here. We are not dwelling a lot on it because it does not concern majority of the candidates.

Final selection

Selection at this stage will strictly be based on the ranks of the candidates computed separately for each category (General/SC/ST/NC-OBC/DA) on the basis of their ‘Final Composite Scores’ (FCS).

The numbers selected in different categories will be in proportions mandated by law. The FCS of a candidate who appears in AWT & PI will be computed as follows:


FCS = 0.50 (Normalized PI Score) + 0.10 (Normalized AWT Score) + 0.4 (CS).

If you notice closely importance of PI has increased by 10% as compared to last year.

The normalized PI and AWT scores of a candidate are equal to his/her PI and AWT scores divided by the average of the top 1% scores in PI and AWT respectively.

The above is a fairly standard formula for final selection under each quota. Note the virtual irrelevance of the work experience factor. It may have an impact in the interview but that’s about it. No marks for having worked.

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