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CAT for 5,000 students rescheduled

December 04, 2009 11:47 IST

The dates for the exam may be extended beyond December 8 and 9.

Prometric is learnt to have rescheduled tests of around 5,000 of the 8,000 students who could not take the Common Admission Test (CAT) on the first three days due to 'technical' failures.

The American firm, which is administering computerised CAT for the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), has updated the institutes on rescheduling of exams. "Prometric said it has completed rescheduling of appointment for over 62 per cent of the students. It needs to rework dates for the remaining 3,000 students as these students have their semester exams to write," said a professor from one of the IIMs. This could mean that the days for CAT could get extended beyond December 8 and 9, two days which the IIMs have already kept aside to meet any such contingency.

CAT 2009 convenor Satish Deodhar confirmed that "many students who could not write CAT in the first three days have already written it. We are making sure that we reschedule the exam in such a way that students have information on the slot atleast two days in advance". He added that an eleventh day of holding CAT may be needed.

Meanwhile, Prometric, in an e-mailed statement, today said it would try to accommodate any request of the affected students to change centre or reschedule the exam. Prometric said candidates may call 1800-103-9293 for such requests instead of sending e-mails.

"We will try and accommodate all candidates within this year's testing period. If there is a need to extend beyond December 7, IIMs will announce this as soon as a decision is made. Every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate any requests for changes," said Prometric in a statement. Prometric has deployed additional technicians and hardware to rectify the issues at the affected sites. The statement said the affected candidates would be contacted for a new appointment and this could take up to 48 hours.

However, the latest communication from Prometric has not gone down very well with students. Ajay Arora, director of TIME in Bangalore, cited the case of a few students who found the new dates inconvenient. "When the students try to contact the helpline, they find it busy most of the time. The easier solution would have been replying to Prometric by e-mail."

Meanwhile, the IIMs received more criticism in the form of CAT preparation institutes alleging that the exam had repeated questions from previous papers. Gautam Puri, an IIM-B alumnus and vice chairman of Career, has written to the IIMs in this regard.

"I attempted the paper during the first slot of Day 1, and I can vouch for the fact that on an average 5-6 questions out of 20 have been repeated in the QA sections, and that too across slots. I can state this with confidence because for the past few years, I have religiously taken the CAT paper each year," he wrote. Day 6 of the test was reported to be smooth in most centres. However, some students continued to encounter problems with logging in.

CAT is scheduled between November 28 and December 7 in 32 cities in the country. Nearly 241,000 applicants have registered for the exam. CAT is mandatory for students who wish to study at the seven IIMs and over 150 other B-schools in India.

Kalpana Pathak, Archana M Prasanna Mumbai/Bengaluru/Delhi
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