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I got a score of x/200 in the MUOET. What rank can I expect?
The score distribution in most exams almost always resembles a bell curve. What this means is that there is always this one particular score that is attained by most people. For instance in a test where the maximum attainable score is 200, this peak value could be 100, meaning most people who wrote the test ended up with this score. This score represents the peak of the bell curve. As you move towards the right or to the left of this curve (increasing or decreasing the score), the number of students who have attained that particular score exponentially decreases. This means, for e.g., there could be 1000 people who got a score of 100, 950 who got 101, 700 who got 105 and 10 who got 130; 970 who got 99, 800 who got 97, 50 who got 70 and so on.
Why is this information important for you? When you predict your rank based on your score, the reasoning you use is the historical data that you already have; in this case, you look up marks to rank correlation for the previous year(s) and then come to an estimate of your rank for this year. The problem with this method though is that for this year, if the peak of the bell curve is even 1 score to the left or to the right, your estimated rank could vary by thousands. This is why any kind of rank estimate is going to be bad. My personal suggestion would always be to not worry too much about it as it is almost impossible to predict exactly what rank you would get, not even within an acceptable margin of errors. There’s way too many variables to correctly predict this value. If you predict a rank, you will end up highly likely with two possible outcomes, both of which are bad – 1. you either get a false sense of security or 2. you will be depressed for the next few weeks till the ranks are declared.
Now, if you are still highly insisting on a way to determine your rank (not recommended), I can help give you a simple guideline to atleast make your prediction better. Every year, the competition for competitive exams are only getting better. The intellect may remain the same, but each upcoming batch of students starts preparing for competitive exams earlier and more rigorously than the previous. So, if you know the general difficulty of the online test of last year (from maybe the practice papers that you have solved) and if you compare it with the difficulty of the test you gave this year, you can get a better estimate. If the difficulty this year was more or less the same as last year, the bell curve is going to inevitably shift towards the right, i.e. if 100 was the peak last year, this year it could be 105. If the difficulty this time was a little higher than the last, the peak could be more or less in the same place. if the difficulty this time around was lower, the peak is gonna shift to the right a lot more. You get the idea. Its not a hard and fast rule, but the thing to remember is what shifts is the peak; if the peak shifts by even 1 score, that’s a difference of thousands of ranks.
Any estimate from a senior may be a good calculate guess, but that’s all it is, a ‘guess’. So do not rely on it and definitely do not make concrete academic decisions based on these estimates.
For your reference, maybe some senior can post pictures to the rank to marks correlation (if someone has one or if someone could be kind enough to make one) in the comments and then I can edit this post and link the picture here as well.
With a rank of x, which branch can I expect?
While an estimate of this might not be really good, its not as bad an idea as the one above. Rank estimates are much more reliable. You can take a look at the table which shows at which rank the 1st round of counselling ended for a particular branch last year and more or less follow that (don’t go too further back, that’s just even more unreliable data; even the number of seats for a particular branch drastically changed along the way). Just remember that the demand for the computer branches are still growing; also less and less people are afraid to take IT and CCE – being afraid of taking these branches as opposed to CS is still one of the reasons IT and CCE do not close off earlier but this thought process is slowly changing with each successful prior branch which simply means the closing ranks for these branches can only be expected to be smaller than that of last year. As this happens, it becomes more easier to get the branches which have now become feeders for the computer branches, namely the ‘E’ ones. The others should more or less remain about the same. The closing ranks for some others, like the ‘Bio’ branches or even ‘Civil’ is much harder to predict.
Maybe once again, some senior can help you and post a picture to the comment section with the relevant table and I can update this post with a link to it.
I see that the closing rank is different for different rounds. What are these rounds?
The rounds refer to different rounds of counselling. Essentially, what it means is that if someone drops out of a branch, you stand a chance to grab that free spot depending on your rank. This ‘spot-grabbing’ happens in each counselling round and hence closing ranks for each branch in each successive round will only either remain the same or increase. But the increase for the most popular branches are very small. Hence, I suggest that you ignore the the closing ranks for any further rounds (other than the first) in any estimate you make. Once ranks are out and we are at the counselling stage, I shall get into the sliding procedures in detail and why it is a bad idea to depend on them.
One of the online rank predictors estimated by rank to be x for my score of y. Is this true?
Do not trust any rank predictors. They get it wrong every single year, and they get it wrong by a margin of several thousands (once they even got it wrong by 10k). Even looking at one of those would be a really bad idea.
Please note that this FAQ is not meant to discourage you from asking questions. This is just so that you can find the needed information easily. Please feel free to put any doubts you have in a post of its own (please don’t use the comments on this post). Seniors, please feel free to add anything you’d like to the comments and I could edit and add it to the post if deemed necessary.