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How to get into an IIM?

Indian Institutes of Management or as popularly called IIMs are the top institutes of management education and research in India. There are 20 IIMs and these mostly offer post-graduate, doctoral and executive programs. Every MBA aspirant hopes to get into an IIM for a management program and therefore we get a lot of queries regarding: How to get into an IIM?

To get into an IIM you have to undergo a two-step process after which a final offer of seat is made.

IIMs admission procedure:

  • The first stage is appearing for the Common Aptitude Test or CAT Exam conducted by the IIMs (GMAT for international candidates).
  • On clearing the required cut-offs and the composite score, a candidate is called for Written Test/Group Discussion and Personal Interview (PI). The candidate must provide 2 letters of recommendation from people who know them closely for academic and professional validation.
  • The final offers of admission to candidates in each category will be made strictly on the basis of the final aggregate score, taking into account various weights such as work experience, gender, school board etc.

Stage 1: Common Aptitude Test or CAT

Common Aptitude Test or as commonly called CAT is an entrance exam conducted by IIMs for admission into their management programs. CAT is a highly competitive exams written by approximately 2 lakh candidates competing for over 4318 seats of PGP Programs. If all courses are to be taken into account then there are 12411 seats in all IIMs. Thus, making a CAT a highly competitive exam. Next question that arises is: How difficult in CAT? And How to crack CAT?

Brefore answering these questions, it is important to look at the CAT pattern once.

CAT 2019 Exam Pattern:

Section Questions Marks Time
VARC 34 102 1 hour
LRDI 32 96 1 hour
QA 34 102 1 hour
Total 100 300 3 hour

How difficult is CAT? CAT is a practice driven exam based on concepts of Maths and English of class 8 to class 10. Does that make it easy? Yes and No. If you are able to dedicate a few months to sincere CAT practice then cracking CAT won’t seem that difficult. What you are expected to do these few months is:

  • Revision of your class 8 to class 10 concepts of Maths and English along with practice exercises involving application of these concepts. For this you should invest in a good study material from a reputed institute or you could even look towards taking classes at an institute. You can opt for Offline or Online classes depending upon your schedule and time constraints. As candidates appearing for CAT may be fresh graduates or in last year of graduation or working professionals thus there are a number of preparation programs available for each category of aspirant.
  • Mastering selected topics. Few topics that hold high weightage in CAT exam are: Arithmetic, Algebra, Numbers for Quant and Reading Comprehension for CAT. Ensure that you get your hands dirty with them right from the beginning of your preparation and master these topics first. Write a sectional test every week to solidify your preparation for each section as there are sectional cut-offs as well.
  • Write Mocks. This is a practice that is suggested to be started right on the first day of your preparation. Invest in good quality mocks or test series. Write a mock every 10-12 days and analyse these mocks qualitatively for atleast 5-6 hours.

For detailed strategy on how to crack CAT and score a 99%ile click here.

Stage 2: WAT/GD and PI

Personal Interviews (PI) at IIMs are usually taken by the IIM faculty, ex-faculty or even an alumni in some cases. This round checks your various soft skills and interpersonal skills. Questions may vary from personal to work to academics. Along with PIs the IIMs also conduct a Written Ability Test (WAT) to check your writing ability and comprehension of the topic given. Group Discussions (GDs) have become obsolete amongst IIMs except for IIM Shillong which conducts GD in its 2nd stage of selection process.

Final Selection in an IIM

The final selections are based on certain parameters that may be different for each IIM. Different marks are assigned based on your composite CAT score, past academic performance, work experience and performance in WAT/GD/ and PI. Based on these final scores final selections are made.

Based on various parameters other than CAT score it is now easy for you to know which IIM is likely to shortlist you WAT/GD and PI round and what CAT percentile. Visit IIM Profilizer and get your own IIM shortlist ready.

IIMs and IIM Rankings:

CL' Rank IIM IIM Info
1 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-A) Ahmedabad View Info
2 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-C) Kolkata View Info
3 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-B) Bangalore View Info
4 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-L) Lucknow View Info
5 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-K) Kozhikode View Info
6 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-I) Indore View Info
7 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-S) Shillong View Info
8 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-R) Ranchi View Info
9 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-U) Udaipur View Info
10 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-T) Trichy View Info
11 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-Rai) Raipur View Info
12 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-Ro) Rohtak View Info
13 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-Ka) Kashipur View Info
14 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-N) Nagpur View Info
15 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-V) Visakhapatnam View Info
16 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-AM) Amritsar View Info
17 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-BG) Bodhgaya  
18 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-SR) Sirmaur  
19 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-SB) Sambalpur  
20 Indian Institute of Management (IIM-J) Jammu  

All the Best
Team CL