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CAT likely to be month-long affair

india Updated: Apr 01, 2010 01:21 IST
Mou Chakraborty
Mou Chakraborty
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

This year’s Common Admission Test (CAT) for the Indian Institutes of Management could be spread over a month — a move aimed at easing the burden on both the IIMs and the growing number of applicants.

Last year, the IIMs had switched to an online testing system stretched over 10 days at 361 labs across the country, but it was marred by embarrassing glitches. The exam had to be extended by a day and at least 4,500 of the 220,000 students, who appeared for it, had to take the test for a second time.

Prometric, the US aptitude-testing services firm that conducts the CAT, blamed the botch-up on a virus attack, but the glitches -- reported from at least 80 labs -- raised questions over the feasibility of holding such a test online.

Directors of the eight IIMs will meet next week to discuss the format and modalities for CAT 2010.

HT spoke to three of them, who confirmed that they would discuss a plan to continue with the online format of the test with an extended duration.

“It would be better if the testing window is increased, as it would be easier to handle more students,” said one director, who did not want to be named.

Director of IIM Ahmedabad, Sameer K. Barua, who is the only director authorised to speak to media on this issue, declined to discuss the details. “Everything connected to CAT will come up for discussion during the directors’ meet,” he said.

Extending the duration and limiting the number of labs might help.

Candidates may eventually be able to take the much-sought-after test any time of the year, like GMAT, the globally accepted test for leading business schools worldwide.

That transition will, however, not be easy.

“To organise the exam for a period longer than the existing 10 days, or through the year or, we would need a huge question bank,” said Soumitra Roy, managing director of Prometric. “And to prepare a question bank of such a magnitude, the IIMs would require considerable time.”