Pen-pencil format of CAT is history, say IIMs


New Delhi: The pen and pencil format of the Common Admission Test (CAT) is now history. Notwithstanding the hiccups they faced this year, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) Wednesday said that computer-based format is the only way forward for the entrance exam.

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“We believe that we will go ahead with the online test in future also…this is the only way forward,” Pankaj Chandra, director IIM-Bangalore, said after a meeting with the higher education secretary Vibha Puri Das here.

“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,” Chandra added.

Aome IIMs like IIM-Kolkata had reservations about the online test but after reviewing the data, they have come back in support of the CBT, authorities said.

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

Many students across the country faced a harrowing time during the Nov 28-Dec 8 entrance examination period due to technical glitches in the CAT as the server crashed in several centres.

The IIMs, however, did not blame the test conducting firm Prometric entirely for the problems.

“It’s not a capacity problem. I don’t doubt the credibility,” Barua said. But he added that “their contract with us is always under review. It can fall if we are not satisfied”.

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

But IIMs directors assured that all the aggrieved students who could not appear for the test this time will get another chance in mid January.