Hundred Percentile

Ok so what is this 100 percentile business? How can IIMs with an entire department dedicated to Quantitative Methods declare a score that sounds so absurd?

My thoughts were just that when I had first heard from a friend that another had got “100 percentile”. It sounded plain absurd. It continued to sound absurd even after I found out (a few hours later) that I had also got “100 percentile”.

After some thought, though, I figured out what it is. Basically CAT gives out “percentile” up to two places of decimal (I know that sounds so wrong. Percentile is the wrong word there. It should be whatever 1/10000th is called).

So what they do is this. In good scientific fashion, to declare your percentile up to two digits of decimal, it is calculated up to three digits of decimal and then the last digit is rounded off. Great scientific practice. Except that if you’ve got a score in CAT that is more than what 99.995% of all CAT-takers have got, your “percentile” gets rounded off to 100.00 !

So if 10 people get “100 percentile” in CAT, it means that 10 people got more than what the rest of the 99.995% of the people who took the exam got. It could as well be a CAT question to calculate the number of people who took the exam given the number of people who got “100 percentile”!

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