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Mumbai online CAT stumbles

On Saturday, Ajit Khedkar (26) went to a test centre for the first online Common Admission Test (CAT), with two years of studying crammed into his head.

mumbai Updated: Nov 29, 2009 01:43 IST
Kiran Wadhwa

On Saturday, Ajit Khedkar (26) went to a test centre for the first online Common Admission Test (CAT), with two years of studying crammed into his head.

He returned without writing the exam.

That’s because his was one of the many centres where computer servers crashed, both in the morning and evening sessions.

There are five centres in Mumbai and five in Navi Mumbai. About 20,000 aspirants from Mumbai are taking the exam this year.

At the Father Agnel Ashram centre at Bandra, about 30 students couldn’t take the test because of a software glitch. The evening session saw a bigger technical snag and more aspirants sent back.

The story repeated itself at the Saraswati College of Engineering, Kharghar, and the Thakur Polytechnic at Kandivli.

“They told us they would reschedule our exam, and that we could ask for a new date if the one they give us is not convenient, but this is just very disappointing. I’ll have to go through the whole process again. Also, most aspirants have other entrance exams,” said Khedkar.

Soumitra Roy, MD, India, Prometric, the agency conducting the exam, said: “To accommodate the maximum number of candidates, Prometric and the IIMs delayed the start of the morning session by about half an hour. Due to isolated technical issues, some candidates were rescheduled, and given a new appointment via email and SMS.”

For those who did take the test, it proved fruitful. The format was as the IIMs had stated on their website. “The test was far simpler than I expected. It didn’t seem like a CAT test. But it’s all relative when it comes to the IIMs’ cut-offs,” said an aspirant who did not want to be named because of the non-disclosure clause.

Excerpts from blogs

...Everything was fine in the process until the part that used technology arrived. They took 10 minutes to register me due to a server snag while allocating me a terminal. After that biometric device and digital camera failed.

We all waited for 10:30 am for something to happen on the screen, but nothing happened. The test started around 10:50 am. Thereafter, things went quite smoothly as per plan.

The test ended at 1:05 pm. Logically, they should have collected our material and let us go. However, none of the five proctors and invigilators in our room knew how to end the test and log us out. So we were made to wait again... After more than an hour, two guys from Prometric (or NIIT) entered the room and asked the invigilators to log out using the same username-passwords they had used to log us in. This really made some people lose their temper, as everyone had been held back hour due to lack of such a simple instruction...


17 questions into my clickfest, I saw the stunning windows ’svchost.exe’ error. I got a bit alarmed and called the proctor, he happily clicked the ‘close’ button on the error and asked me to proceed. I grin, proceed and poof the screen goes blank. I call the proctor again and guess what, the PC now had to be restarted... I was able to resume the questions...

The paper had 60 Qs, 20 QA, 20 DI/LR and 20 VA. I haven’t prepared for CAT for a single day in the last three years and my feeling is that the difficulty level of CAT was the least I’ve experienced. The Quant and English sections were really easy and so was the DI. A really easy paper, but heck, its all relative isn’t it. There was no information about negative marking. I clicked answers for all 60 Qs.