CAT failure may not be due to virus

Lax testing, misplaced trust on system reliability are main reasons


The official explanation given by both the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and Prometric for the cause of the break-down was a virus attack. Over 8,000 students have been unable to sit for the test ostensibly due to the “virus attacks”.

However, now students and experts from coaching centres say the the virus attack is a smoke screen for poor preparation, inadequate testing, wrong estimates on load and infrastructure incompatibility. Ajay Arora, the Director of  TIME, a coaching institute said that the problems with online CAT run far deeper than what meets the eye.

“We faced similar issues with server loads and software incompatibility when we did our mock online tests. I think there has been a gross underestimation of the loads and under-preparation,” Arora said.

Students, who have been affected too have questioned the reason provided by the officials. Pradeesh (name changed), an affected candidate said that there were innumerable other infrastructure delays at his centre which caused the organisers to call off the test.

“At Vivekananda College, there were a number of students at my lab who were able to give the test while a few of us could not and the organisers said the servers were overloaded,” he said. If it indeed was a virus attack nobody could have been able to give the test, he added. According to reports, the two viruses which have supposedly caused a breakdown at different centres across the cities are ‘Conflicer’ and ‘W32 Nimda’. The R&D Director at Career Launcher R Shivakumar said that it was highly unlikely that the two viruses would have caused such a big impact they had known anti-viruses.

“It is highly unlikely that these two viruses could have created so much havoc  as there are known anti-viruses for them,” he said. He said that the actual reasons could very well be lax testing and simply leaps of faith on the part of the IIMs and its organising partners Prometric and NIIT. Shivakumar said “There must have been intensive stress testing beyond the capacity and repeated mock drills. But this could simply be a case of the misplaced trust on the part of the organisers on system reliability.”

Students still waiting for reschedule

Students, who were affected on Day 1 of the online CAT are yet to get any intimation regarding the rescheduled tests. Abhishek, an engineering student at M S Ramaiah College said that originally the organisers had told him that he will receive information by Wednesday evening but there was none.

“I was told that I will get an SMS or e-mail but there was no communication. Therefore, I called the helpline and they told me that it will take longer,” he said.

Arun, a professional who was unable to appear on the opening day said that he was still waiting for communication from the organisers. Meanwhile, candidates still had to deal with inordinate delays at the GCC and minor delays at some of the other centres.

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