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What are the IIMs' selection criteria?

October 25, 2005

What is the weightage given to your performance in the Common Admission Test, the group discussion and the personal interview if you want to get admission to an IIM, asked a student in a recent Get Ahead chat with CAT expert AKRS Srinivas, director of T.I.M.E., Mumbai.

This was his answer: "The distribution varies from IIM to IIM. However, a broad way of distribution is as follows -- written test: 40 to 60 per cent; group discussion and interview: 30 to 40 per cent, academics and work experience: 10 to 20 per cent."

Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM-Calcutta. He has an engineering degree in Electronics and Communication from Osmania University and has worked with Maruti Udyog Limited in Gurgoan, Delhi and Kolkata before joining T.I.M.E., Hyderabad, as director of the CAT course. Teaching is his passion and he has been training students for CAT for the last 15 years.

Fot those of you who missed the chat, here is the transcript:

Vikram: Hi,I have work experience of five years in call centre, 2 years at the entry level and 2 years as Team Leader i am ataking CAT this year howver iam facing problem in Quant i am still not confident.My first qstn is what should do for Quant Secondly should i aim for abroad what say you which if you can help me with this ,of course recover my fees by staying in there i mean job scenario as such.

ARKS Srinivas: Vikram, if you look at CAT for the last few years, you require to score about 10 to12 marks in Quant. Concentrate on key areas like Geometry, Numbers, Quadratic Equations, Inequalities and a couple more and you should easily reach that score.

sheela: How tough was CAT 2004?

ARKS Srinivas: Hi Sheela. CAT is a relative grading exam. It does not matter how tough it is. Last year, for instance, people with 52+ marks got calls from the IIMs.

jackson: Does work experience of 6 months count in any of the IIM's for people who have just graduated?

ARKS Srinivas: It does to an extent. However, the IIMs give more weightage to people with more than one year of work experience.

narayan: How good is FMS? IS there any cut off in FMS entrance test? Is that toucher than CAT? How much must one score to get into FMS

ARKS Srinivas: Hi Narayan, FMS is as good as any of the top 10 institutes. There is, of course, a cut-off. FMS gives more weightage to the written test.

vpower: Sir, during the start of mock tests, i used to get great scores(alongwith cutoffs) although in the last 3-4 tests my performance has dropped. any tips of wat i am doing wrong

ARKS Srinivas: I guess you need to find out what went wrong in the last few weeks. Either you have not been studying enough or the papers are getting difficult. Another reason could be that the tension is slowly building up in you. Relax and concentrate on the exam instead of the result.

msk: what is the distribution of performance in GD and CAT to get into IIMs?

ARKS Srinivas: The distribution varies from IIM to IIM. However, a broad distribution is as follows -- written test: 40 to 60 per cent; GD and interview: 30 to 40 per cent; academics and work experience: 10 to 20 per cent.

pks:  Hello Sir I would like to know what should be the strategy for those who are weak in maths and data interpretation. What is the minimum one should attempt to qualify in these two areas. Which chapters need to be given more importance to get better marks in math?pks.

ARKS Srinivas: Hi PKS. This seems to be the general problem. First, you need to realise that getting about 15 marks in QA would be much more than sufficient.

To get that, you need to divide Quant into the following areas: Numbers and Geometry (which should get the most questions), QE and Progressions, Inequalities, Functions and Graphs (which is second in line as far as the number of questions expected is concerned) and then Arithmetic ie ERPV, Percentages, Averages, Time and Work and Time and Distance. 

You can take these eight to nine topics and spend three days on each of them till the CAT.

hari: Sir, i am studying in XII clas... i would like to know if i could take the CAT next year to know where i stand....or is there anyother way to asses my relative performance.

ARKS Srinivas: No Hari, you can take it only in your final year of graduation.

Jaspinder: Hi ARKS..i want to much does work ex counts in the IIM Selection?

ARKS Srinivas: Have answered this. Almost all institutes give it about 5 to 15 percent weightage.

Manoj: Hello Srinivas, i am working in a software engg (B.Tech-IIT R)and will take cat next how to plan it from today to next yr Nov'06.

ARKS Srinivas: Hi Manoj. Since CAT for you is a year away, concentrate on Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability. Start working on Basic Speed Math fundamentals and basics of Math from January-February. You can join a coaching class sometime in the January-April period.

rk: Sir should i give mock cats of various coaching classes every day from now ....or should i revise because i feel test practise is ideal practise.

ARKS Srinivas: This is a very good question. The purpose of writing mock tests is to judge where you stand vis-a-vis the junta. It is also a way to check on whether your strategies are working or not.

Try to improve your performance from mock to mock. Take two mock tests in a week -- a total of about eight to 10 from now to CAT. That should be more than enough.

hi: Hi, I am currently doing Master's in Australia and thinking of going for IIMs. Do I need to appear for CAT or GMAT?

ARKS Srinivas: You can appear for CAT also. But GMAT would do for some of the IIMs.

ashirvad: hi ARKS, my strong point is VA/RC. i normally get b/w 25-30 in mockcats in this section. but those toppers get in the range of 40 and above. im worried since my scores r very low when compared to them.what should i do to get my score to that level.

ARKS Srinivas: Hi Ashirvad. Though toppers get 40+, it should be fine even if you score 25 marks as long as you score about 15 to 20 each in the other two sections.

rk: Sir i have people telling me that u shud cross 50 in all mock cats which i fAil to cross but am working at it u feel i can still make it accuracy is 80 percent ...n attempt abt 55 to 60 questions.

ARKS Srinivas: At the end of the day, you have to perform on D-day. Quietly study and do not bother about rumours. If you can do your best on D-day, you will make it.

dev: Hi Arks .... how to enhance my speed in DI ..i cant attempt mor than 25 in a 3 sec paper.

ARKS Srinivas: Dev, 25 attempts in a DI section is GOOD.

jairam: I am 36. Is there any age limit for taking CAT exam?

ARKS Srinivas: No, there is none.

srividhya: hello sir, i want to improve in quant and dI.

ARKS Srinivas: Spend about two to three hours each on these areas for the next 20 days. Every other day, take a slip test on one of these areas.

Keep analysing each paper and solve as many questions as possible. This will improve familiarity with the questions and help increase your marks.

vpower: Sir,my strategy is that i scan the paper across all sections and mark easy,moderate and difficult. I solve the easy (45 mins) moderate (40 minutes) and difficult (35 mins) (across all sections). Is this a good strategy solving questions across all sections.

ARKS Srinivas: Hi, I think it is better not to waste too much time in marking the difficulty levels; it is an unproductive job. Divide the paper into sections and then divide the time accordingly.

sudhir: what is cat?

ARKS Srinivas: Common Admission Test. You need to take it if you want admission to the best management institutes (IIMs) in the country. Other management institutes also take CAT scores.

raghav: Sir ,this is raghav. Can please confirm whether quant can be conquered in these 30 days.

ARKS Srinivas: Yes, Raghav. Very much so.

abhinav_111_sh: what would my percentile be if say i have a score of 12i in Quant, 18 in DI and 25 in EU+RC. what would have it been if it ws the score in last year paper n what can it be this year around.

ARKS Srinivas: Should be a comfortable 99.2+ and you should get a couple of calls from the IIMs.

Thims: I done my doctoral degree and am working for a MNC. Still I feel to study Business courses. Please advice me.

ARKS Srinivas: Hi Thims, It depends on what you want to do after that. If you are into research, then management research or teaching could be an option. However, you need to decide what aspirations make you think of doing an MBA.

CATnMOUSE: Can someone with 6 yrs of work ex and 10+2+2 education take CAT ?

ARKS Srinivas: I don't think so!

ST: Sir, i would like to know the marks, i would require to atleast get a call from the IIMs(am a ST canditate).

ARKS Srinivas: ST, the marks will be significantly lower. It could be in the 80 percentile range for some of the IIMs.

kanasu: Till Now I am able to score aroun 30+ in Mock test having 55+ as cut off. Do you think I have chance to get in IIMs.

ARKS Srinivas: Kanasu, you need to think that you can get it. Theoretically, if you add one mark per day from now on wards. You can cross 60. You need to study in a very focused manner. You can still make it.


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Number of User Comments: 7

Sub: Selection Criteria

Hello sir I am and engineering graduate with less than 50% marks in graduation with 4 years of work experience. I am confident of scoring ...

Posted by Sandeep

Sub: What is the criteria for doing an MBA from IIMs

Greetings Sir, Ashish here. I need to know if there is any percentage required at the grauation level in order to get into IIMs. I ...

Posted by Ashish Shukla

Sub: enquiry

is there way to crack cat in 25days having appeared two times earlier

Posted by pranodbhat

Sub: hw to crack CAT?

hello sir....i m an electrical engineering student,2nd year.i am very keen to knw da basic info abt how to crack CAT.these days m trying workin ...

Posted by ojaswi jain

Sub: CAT

I am software engineer with 1.5 years of experience, and my friend has 1.5 years of experience in Maruti Udyog. Does weightage depends on the ...

Posted by Sumit Kapoor


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