IIMs apologies for CAT chaos, retest in mid-January


New Delhi: The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) Wednesday apologized for failing to hold a flawless Common Admission Test (CAT) this year and promised that a retest will be conducted for all aggrieved students in mid-January.

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“The IIMs through a CBT (computer based test) based CAT 2009 wished to enhance the quality of exam taking for a large number of candidates by providing them an improved testing environment.

“It is indeed our regret that a number of candidates faced difficulties during this test window of Nov 28-Dec 8 and the execution of the exam has not been flawless,” Satish Deodhar, convener of the CAT committee, said here after a meeting at the HRD ministry.

He, however, said that a vary large majority of candidates, over 200,000, took the exam successfully and satisfactorily.

“However, it is our current estimate that about 8,000 students may have faced some kind of difficulties in taking our exam. We have been able to categorise the various problems,” he said.

IIMs said they have identified nine different problems and they were “analyzing the nature and extent of problems that the candidates faced and identify candidates who were genuinely affected by them.

“There are, however, several claims that have been made about many problems and they require some reflection,” Deodhar added.

IIM-Ahmedabad director Samir Barua said: “We want to give every student a fair chance. We are conducting a retest in mid-January for all those who could not take the CAT. This test will also be computer based.”

Pankaj Chandra, director of IIM-Bangalore, echoed the sentiment and said that IIMs will take all steps to help students.

“We are making an honest approach to reach out to more and more people. Whereever there are, it will will be in our interest to get good candidates,” Chandra added.

IIMs did not blame the test conducting firm Prometric entirely for the problem. “Its not a capacity problem. I don’t doubt the credibility,” Barua said but added that “their contract with us is always under review. It can fall if we are not satisfied”.

Nearly 242,000 candidates registered for the CAT-2009 but only 216,000 took the test. The IIMs said that while 24,000 aspirants did not show up for the test at all, 2,000 need to give a retest.

But IIMs refused to go back to the pen-pencil format for CAT.

“We believe that we will go ahead with the online test in future also… this is the only way forward,” Chandra said.

“When the whole problem started, it fell like nine pins. We in IIM Bangalore had met on the sixth day of the test and were concerned. But now we have all the data to back computer based test (CBT). All the seven IIMs are one on this,” he added.

Authorities said that some IIMs like IIM-Kolkata had reservations about the online test but after reviewing the data, they have come back to us in support of CBT.

Samir Barua, director of IIM-Ahmedabad, said: “CBT is absolutely right.”