Finally, CAT goes online


The CAT exam which is used for admissions by most of the MBA institutes in India and most importantly IIM’s is going online. This move was contemplated in 2008 but, it will be implemented from 2009. CAT 2009 will be a computer based test with a window of 10 days to choose from.

Students will book a slot in the designated 10 days and give the exam. 250000 students took the exam in 2008. That is CAT-MBA some serious number and poses a large logistical challenge. Not as big as the electronic voting machines but a challenge which needs computers and Internet connection.

“The online CAT ensures that we can reach out in a much bigger way. The exam can be administered in many locations where the internet is available,” said IIM Calcutta dean (programme initiatives) Saibal Chattopadhyay(EconomicTimes)

Students in most of the metros and to-be metros will not have a problem. But, students who are far from cities, computers and Internet might have a problem. No other details are available on how the CAT administrators will meet the new challenges.

Coming to the format of the CAT, the standard of paper CAT is not suited for a computer based test. Paper CAT is tough and requires a lot of calculations. The same thing cannot be reproduced with a computer based test. I am expecting the test makers will look into this and tweak the format accordingly.

GRE and GMAT use a bin of questions and present the questions randomly to the test takers. The questions are recycled and so are the bins. Will the same strategy be used by CAT is something to be seen. There are pros and cons for the strategy.

What do you think of the CAT going online? Should the test takers learn a few new tricks and unlearn a few old tricks? If the format is tweaked would it make CAT easier to crack?

Suggested Reading : Indian MBA’s face dismal job market (BusinessWeek)

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  2. D Chaudhury says

    Hi Sriram,
    I agree, doing calculations for CAT on-screen can be difficult. The questions might have to be tweaked to cater to that requirement (unless they allow students to carry sheets of papers).

    Also, unlike other open book exams, CAT has traditionally been a well moderated classroom event. Changing it to online means either (a) it will now be open book or (b) it will still be held at select locations, with moderation.
    If it is online, there is also the question of internet availability – ease of access as well as availablility to test takers.

    Overall, an online CAT technically should be quite different from CAT till now.
    As to ease of cracking it – its an elimination competition test. Cracking it is solely dependant upon other test takers and not just total Q answered.

  3. vikas1ace (Vikas Sharma) says

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