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CAT in online trap

delhi Updated: Nov 29, 2009 00:01 IST
Joyeeta Ghosh

For many students who appeared for the first-ever online common admission test (CAT) on Saturday, their hopes of making it to the B school of their choice crashed, quite literally.

The new format, which was supposed to make things simpler and hassle-free, ended up harassing the students.

To begin with, the test started half-an-hour late. Then, the candidates failed to login with the identities provided to them by Prometric, the agency responsible for holding the tests online. Those who could log in, their question papers did not get uploaded. Finally, there were others whose systems crashed midway.

Sourab Himkar’s system crashed ten minutes after the test began. “When I complained to the invigilator, I was told to wait for some time,” he said. “Then they asked me to call on the Prometric helpline number which I could not get through.”

Himkar was one of the 12,500 students who appeared for the exam on day 1.

Out of the seven exam centers in Delhi, technical snags were reported from at least five centers. The centre in Block D of Janakpuri cancelled both the morning and the afternoon sessions due to system failure.

“Out of the 50 candidates present in the class, only 10 people could start the exam. But even their systems crashed midway,” said Priyanka Sharma who appeared for the exam from the Janakpuri centre. “We were made to sit and stare at the computer for three-and-a-half hours only to be told that our exams have been cancelled.”

“They have not told us anything about rescheduling of the exams as yet,” she said.

Kashis Goyal, who appeared for the test in the afternoon session at the same centre, had a similar experience. “It was a big joke. We kept waiting for one-and-a-half hours for the exams to begin and were later informed our exams have been cancelled,” he said. “We played antakshari and dumb charade instead of giving the test.”

Besides the technical glitches in the system, the candidates faced other problems too.

“We were not given any washroom breaks, we could not even drink water. It was really suffocating,” said Chaavi Sharma.

“It is unfortunate that despite the involvement of the IIMs and a reputed company like Prometric, such a prestigious exam was affected so badly. They should have done a dummy run to avoid such a situation,” said Jaideep Singh Chaudhary, spokesperson of T.I.M.E, an institute that offers coaching to MBA aspirants.