India – Soon, you can bell the CAT all year long
MUMBAI: For decades, come November, many a management aspirant used to get the shivers. The weather had little to do with it. It was that time of
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the year when the competitive Common Admission Test (CAT), a passport to join the elite Indian Institutes of Management, was held. Last year, the CAT went online for the first time.
Despite its starting problems, the IIMs now plan to make this entrance test a year-long affair. For students who aspire to get into these central government-run management schools, the decision will allow them to take the test any number of times on any day.
To take that road, Satish Deodhar, CAT co-ordinator at the IIM-Ahmedabad, said, “We’ll have to develop a huge data bank. Once that is done, the obvious thing is to allow students to take the test throughout the year.” According to IIM sources, the initial idea was to hold the CAT throughout the year from 2009 itself, but management schools did not have enough questions in their bank to conduct an exam every day of the year.
“In this first year of going online, we have created thousands of questions, but not a bank consisting of tens of thousands of questions, like the conductors of GMAT and GRE have done. We intend on getting there by 2011 or in a maximum of three years and then the CAT can be taken on demand,” sources added.
Another area that the IIMs are looking at is to — like the GMAT — make the CAT a computer adaptive test, in which the level of difficulty goes up or falls based on a candidate’s ability to answer, thus cutting down on stress.
Designing the questions and carrying out the exam takes up a lot of faculty hours. Hence, after developing a large question bank, the CAT could be put on “auto pilot mode”, a former CAT chairman explained. “Then we can make additions to the bank on and off,” he added.
Often, students and parents have compared the CAT to a one-day match by saying that the test strains candidates and tries to evaluate them on the basis of their performance in a span of a few hours. That, soon, won’t be so
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