2.4 lakh to bell new CAT today



The test will be held between 10 am to 12.30 pm from November 28 to December 7 at  in 105 centres across 32 cities in the country, including eight centres in Bangalore, amid tight security. Students will have to undergo intense security checks, including fingerprint scans.

CAT 2009 will be taken up by 2,41,582 students over a period of ten days. Last year’s turnout was 2,46,000.
For the first time, CAT will move away from being held in school classrooms as a solitary paper- and-pencil test to computer labs as a 10-day event divided into 20 sessions. Significantly, CAT 2009 for the first time will feature 20 different sets of questions as opposed to a common question paper answered by students all over.

The pattern of the question papers is expected to be same, but there has been a drop in the number of questions. Although CAT is traditionally a two-and-a-half-hour test with 90 questions, this year’s online exams will have only around 60 to 70 questions. Further, the test has been reduced to two hours and 15 minutes as an extra 15 minutes hasve been dedicated for a tutorial.

Even as the organisers are leaving no stone unturned to organise an “incident free” CAT 2009, doubts remain. Further, power-back and infrastructural breakdowns also remain concerns. The R&D Head of Career Launcher, a CAT coaching firm and an IIM alumnus R Shivakumar said the biggest challenge will be performance comparison.
“The test will be held in 20 time slots with 20 different question papers. I’m curious about how the performances will be compared as earlier it was a lot simpler with one single baseline,” he said.

Shivakumar also apprehends that the computer-based test might pose difficulties in data interpretation for those not used to reading from computers. “Comprehension could take longer for students who don’t read from computer screens and data interpretation might pose difficulties for some students,” Shivakumar said.

American firm Prometric, which is organising the first computer-based CAT in India, and the organisers have asked all candidates to stay in touch via the phone and e-mail. “It is important that candidates do their own checks to ensure that they have everything they need for their test day,” said Ramesh Nava, vice-president & general manager, Asia Pacific, Japan & Africa, Prometric. The tests will be conducted by downloading the questions onto the local server and then uploading the responses of the candidates from the local server via the internet. Internet connectivity will be cut off during the test for obvious security reasons.


While the pattern of the exam -- the questions and the weightage of subjects -- will remain unchanged in the new format, the test does away with paperwork. These candidates will vie for around 2000 seats in IIMs.
Directional maps detailing the locations of all test centres have been made available on the CAT website by Prometric.
The IIM-CAT website has put out disclaimers, restricting disclosure, publishing, reproducing, transmitting, storing of the contents of the CAT or any information therein.
"Such actions and/or abetment thereof as aforementioned may constitute a cognisable offence punishable with imprisonment for a term up to three years and fine up to Rs two lakhs. Candidates who want to appear for CAT have to agree to a Non-Disclosure Agreement at the time of the test," it said.
Such action shall be in violation of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 and the Copyright Act, 1957 and the Information Technology Act, 2000, it said.

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