CAT’s out of the bag; test centres up to 99 cities from 44

| Updated on: Aug 01, 2014

 TCS to conduct test

The Common Admission Test (CAT) 2014, the test which determines selection for the IIMs and other premier B schools, has sprung many surprises this year by introducing a number of changes into the pattern. The examination will be conducted between 16 and 22 November this year in four slots.

CAT will be conducted in 99 cities at 354 test sites. It's a big jump in test sites as compared to last year. “Not many candidates will have to travel to different cities now as the number of testing sites has increased; there is a high probability of their own city having a test site,” said the CAT Convenor, Prof. Rohit Kapoor of IIM Indore. “The overall test time has also increased and thus, it will be comfortable for the candidates even if they have an evening slot.”

The CAT will be conducted by IIM Indore this year as well. The test partner, however, has changed. Kapoor of IIM Indore confirmed that TCS has bagged the contract as the test partner of IIMs for the next five years. The technology company has replaced the US-based testing firm Prometric, which was the test partner of the IIMs for the last five years. CAT went online with the help of Prometric in 2009 and has been marred by controversies since.

In 2013 the examination was conducted over a period of 20 days — from 16 October to 11 November - in Prometric test centres across 40 cities.

The duration of the test has been increased to 170 minutes from 140 minutes. The number of questions in each section — Quantitative Ability (QA) & Data Interpretation (DI), and Verbal Ability & Logical (VA) has also been increased to 50 from the existing 30 questions.

“The number of questions was only 30 earlier, which put a lot of pressure on candidates as they had fewer choices. This year they have more questions and more time, which means increased choice and better chances of getting the questions right,” said Sai Kumar, Director of TIME, Delhi. “Also, there is no sectional time limit this time which is a good move as one can devote the time to a particular section as per his or her convenience.”

Now the candidates will have the flexibility to devote time to each section according to their ability and they can switch over from one section to another for the duration of the test. Last year, the two sections were implemented sequentially with separate time limits of 70 minutes for each section of 30 questions.

Also, the explanation to understand the format of the examination will not be available before the start of the examination this year and candidates are advised to update themselves from the website well in advance.

According to TIME’s Kumar, since the test will be completed in just two days and will not span 20 days like last year, chances are IIMs may not resort to normalisation of scores. This will drastically reduce the candidates’ concerns about the test results. CAT 2013 came into controversy last year when some students had raised questions on the normalisation process and discrepancies in the CAT results.

Registrations for CAT 2014 will start from August 6 and will continue till 30 September. The registration process has gone completely online from this year onwards. Aspirants will be required to pay for the registration through online modes including credit card, debit card, and net banking. After submission of application, candidates will be permitted to download their admit cards from 16 October onwards.

The candidates have no option to select the dates, which will be allotted by the CAT Centre 2014 on a random basis.

With so many changes introduced this year the overall sentiment is positive for CAT 2014, Kumar however raised concern, “Since the number of sites has increased dramatically this year, IIMs will have to carefully take into account the infrastructure and facilities of the testing sites.”

CAT is a gateway to the coveted IIMs and attracted 1.94 lakh candidates registering for CAT last year out of which a total of 1.73 lakh attempted the test.

Published on March 12, 2018

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