Nearly 60,000 appeared for CAT on first three days, IIMs say

The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), which have faced serious glitches with their Common Admission Test (CAT 2009) after it went online for the first time this year, said today that close to 60,000 candidates had completed their examinations in the first three days upto Monday.

On the first day of CAT 2009 on Saturday, computer viruses and malware prevented 47 testing labs, out of a total of 361 at 104 locations across 32 cities in India, from delivering the test to candidates scheduled to appear for the examination there.

The IIMs and Prometric, which was selected by the institutes to deliver the examination, had planned closures of the affected labs on both Sunday and Monday to avoid further inconvenience to the candidates and to allow for all the necessary repairs to be completed.

"All affected candidates were notified by SMS and e-mail the day before their test," the IIMs and Prometric said in a joint press release today.

Some problems were reported on the fourth day today, too, but these were on a much lower scale, sources said this evening.

"Several enhancements are being made to the testing environment including more advanced virus and malware protection and configuration changes that further protect the integrity of the exam. Several hundred additional technicians have been deployed throughout the country to assess the testing labs and additional training has been provided to the test centre staff," said Mr Charlie Kernan, Chief Operating Officer, Prometric.

The release said rescheduling of candidates was already under way and, to date, 62 per cent of the candidates affected on Saturday and Sunday had been provided with new appointments.

It said Prometric would allocate the best available slot for affected candidates within this year's testing period. Every reasonable effort would be made to accommodate any requests for changes, it said.

A total of 241,582 candidates have registered for CAT 2009, which is scheduled to run from November 28 to December 7.

According to the release, to facilitate the delivery of the computer-based CAT to these candidates, Prometric had spent many months evaluating and preparing the 361 testing labs.

It said intensive training was also conducted for thousands of locally hired test centre staff.

CAT, reputed to be one of the toughest entrance examinations in the world for business schools, was conducted in the paper-and-pencil format for the last 33 years. It is a pre-requisite for admission to various management programmes conducted by the elite IIMs, including their flagship two-year Post-Graduate Programmes (PGP) in Management. Many other institutions also use the CAT scores to finalise admissions to their management programmes.

The seven IIMs are located at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Lucknow, Kozhikode, Indore and Shilling.

Four more IIMs are due to start functioning from the academic session 2010-11 at Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, Ranchi in Jharkhand, Raipur in Chhattisgarh and Rohtak in Haryana. Two others in Uttarakhand and Rajasthan will be set up the following year.

The CAT score cards will be available on the CAT website from January 22, 2010.


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