CAT 2009: Message from Career Launcher Academic Team

Dear Student,

The CAT is out of the bag. The IIMs have finally come public with their decision on conducting the CAT online from 2009. It is time now to act.

At the outset, we assure you that there is nothing to “fear” about this online CAT. We at CL are well prepared to take it head on and ensure that you have the requisite. We have anticipated this and have been silently working at the backend to create requisite Computer Based Tests to make you comfortable with this format. We have been doing this for a long time now. CL started its first CBTs under the name “Web Sprints” way back in 2000 itself. In 2002, XLRI proposed conducting the test online and at CL we came up with a series of tests, which were considered the best in this Industry.

In terms of the impact of this decision on your preparations, it has been addressed below in a question and answer format.

1) I am not very comfortable working on the computer? Will this affect my performance in the exam?

Absolutely, if you continue to keep yourself off from taking computer based tests. There are two stages of getting used to this. One, getting used to working on the computer. Two, getting used to reading and comprehending from the computers.

The first is still a smaller problem to tackle. Almost all students taking GRE/GMAT have no problems getting used to the interface of the test. You just need to know how to click on the correct answer, submit the answer or skip the answer by clicking on the relevant radio buttons on the screen.

The second is a slightly long drawn process. Reading from the computer and comprehending is slightly different from doing the same from sheet of paper. That is because we have been used to the “paper formats” for such a long time that our eye – mind coordination has got used to it. So you need to practice quite a bit to make yourself as efficient through a computer screen. Practice is the key factor.

2) Where can I practice tests from?

Are you aware that there are batteries of tests that are being updated every week on your SIS. There are a large number of students who are already taking tests regularly on the SIS. If you still have not done it, you better get cracking fast. Please visit your SIS today. Better late than never.

3) If CAT is conducted on different dates, would the students get different papers?

Absolutely. The plan is to conduct it on 10 different days. You may be asked to book your time slots and take the tests at some designated centers which has the “computer Infrastructure” to conduct the tests. You may be aware that BITSAT is computer-based tests conducted for admissions into the Engineering programmes for BITS – Pilani, Goa and Hyderabad campuses. About 1.8 lakh students are taking this test this year. So each of you, in different time slots, could get a different paper. But care would be taken to ensure that all the papers are of “similar” levels of difficulty. You should not be worried about this aspect much.

4) Would the paper pattern change?

Not much. Do not think that the paper would be a lot easier. It may be marginally. The length of RCs is bound to reduce, so also would be the amount of data in DI. Prepare the way you are preparing now. We will take care of these in our online tests.

5) What should we do now?

There are a few things that you must immediately do.

a) Start taking tests on the SIS immediately. Make sure that you have sufficient practice of taking computer-based tests especially in RC and DI.

b) Read e-newspapers, e-books.

c) Make sure that every test that is made available to you by CL is completed. This would be more than sufficient for you to get cracking in CAT.

6)  What is CL planning for me?

We have anticipated this for some time now. We have planned it out completely. The ‘appetisers” have been put on the SIS now. There are broadly 2 things that you would see happening

1)    More tests on the web – Many more sectional tests will be uploaded onto the SIS across sections.

2)    Mocks in the CBT formats – We will conduct the mocks both in the CBT formats as well as in the paper based formats. Please check your SIS in a day or two to see the schedule of these tests. We shall ensure that you get comfortable with all the possible formats that CAT can try out.

7)    What should be my preparation strategy?

There are two three stages for your preparation …

a)    Learn: You learn as you are doing now. Just because CAT has gone online the conceptual learning is not going to change. Just stick to your Fundabooks and move onto the online tests for practice.

b)     Practice: Part of this must be offline and part of it online. We would upload many more tests online in the next few weeks to enable you to get as much practice as possible online. Note that practice on SIS is essentially to get you used to taking a test on the computer.

c)    Testing: Testing for a significant part must be online. This is because your strategies would significantly change since it is no longer a paper-based format. You need to experience enough Full duration tests on the comp to make yourself be aware of what is working for you and what is not.

8) Anything else I need to know?

Normally CBTs are of different formats

a) A computer based test that lets you scroll all the questions. So you can access any question randomly.

b) A computer based test that throws question one at a time. You can access questions randomly. This is the most likely format for CAT 2009.

c) A computer based test that is adaptive. This means the test adapts to how you are attempting the paper. The questions thrown at you are based on whether you have got the earlier questions right or wrong. We expect this pattern from 2010 or 2011.

If you have any queries please mail us through the SIS.

Regards
CL Academic Team

CAT 2009 is a computer based test

It has finally been confirmed – CAT is definitely going to be a computer based test (CBT) from this year.

As per this press release from IIM Bangalore:

  • The Common Admission Test (CAT) of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) is going to be a Computer Based Test (CBT) from this year onwards, comparable to the existing tests such as GMAT, GRE, and TOEFL.
  • The test will be conducted in a window of about ten days sometime at the end of the calendar year.
  • CBT CAT will be a candidate-friendly test in terms of flexibility in the selection of test date, ease of registration process, better physical environment and test experience, and enhanced security in terms of biometric identification of candidates and video monitoring.
  • IIMs have selected Prometric ETS to be their partner in delivering the computer-assisted CAT.
  • More details will be available on the computerised CAT along with the advertisement for CAT to be released later this summer.

To know more about the impact of CAT going online on your preparation, please read this post from the CL Academic Team.

To take an online test, click here.

MAT to go online from September

The Management Aptitude Test (MAT) is all set to go online this September. The All India Management Association (AIMA), responsible for conducting the exam, has taken this decision as a result of an increase in the number of student appearing for the exam. AIMA conducts the MAT exam four times a year. And over 300 B – schools accept the MAT score. Last year around 3.5 Lakh people took the exam. The online format will be able to attract more candidates both nationally and internationally, informed C S Bijoy, director, Centre for Management Services, AIMA.

CAT 2009: Online or Offline, IIMs need to answer

It was last year that the big news was unveiled to the world. Common Admission Test (CAT), the examination for securing admission into the IIMs, was to transfigure into an online format, starting 2009. CAT had retained it’s paper-pencil format since it’s inception. There was much debate about the pros and cons of the decision. While IIMs saw this decision as a move towards a) ensuring smoother administrative operations b) less chances of papers being leaked at the centers across India c) taking CAT in the domain of well known international exams, such as GRE/GMAT; certain section of students opined that taking the test online might be a disadvantage to the rural IIM aspirants, who are not well conversant with sitting for tests online. Many students might actually not even be comfortable using a computer! Then there were questions raised about matters that could pose a problem to conducting the exam online. These included things like slow Internet speed in India, security against hacking, infrastructure to conduct the requisite online module, standardization of the question papers etc. Tenders were floated nonetheless, to conduct the online version on behalf of the IIMs and 4 specialist companies were shortlisted for the same.

The news gradually died down. The IIMs were to confirm the news of this year’s test being online, first in January and then in March. There is no concrete announcement to the effect till now. Some recent articles have actually augmented the confusion.

Indian Express in an article dated 5th April states “Decks are being cleared for the Combined Admission Test (CAT) for admission to the Indian Institutes of Management and other premier business schools to move online starting November 2009.” (Read the full article here- http://www.indianexpress.com/news/iims-push-for-online-cat-this-year-on-lines-of-gmat-many-dates-many-…/443260/)

On the other hand, an article published in Business Standard on 15th march and on 16th March at Rediff, mentions, “CAT may not go online this year” (read the full article here- http://www.rediff.com/getahead/2009/mar/16cat-may-not-go-online-this-year.htm). IBNlive, the online version of news channel CNN-IBN, adds further to the confusion by stating that “CAT will go online from next year”, not mentioning anything about the exam this year (Read the full article here- http://ibnlive.in.com/news/iim-entrance-test-to-be-computerbased-from-next-year/89487-3.html).

It is April now and about 3 lakh students are expected to appear for this year’s CAT. But the IIMs are still silent about the format the exam will take this year. If students are to wait for the official notification (which usually appears some time in July), it would leave them with just about 4 months to prepare for the new format. The situation might be worse for people who are not well accustomed to using computers and need more time to prepare themselves for taking tests online. Ideally, the students in urban areas, who are relatively well accustomed to using computers, should not have an advantage over their brethren in rural areas, if CAT intends to keep it’s unbiased image intact.

What’s been surprising is the fact that students have not shown any interest in doing something that may pressurize the IIMs into sharing the details of CAT 2009 at the earliest. Some students are under the impression that the examination will be similar, whether online or offline. But that, according to experts, is not the case. Instead, the experts feel that if CAT goes the GMAT way, the change will be substantial. The preparation and the skill set required would need to be re-molded quite actively. Substantial amount of practice will be required before the students sit for the real online exam.

Students need to take concrete action to have their concerns addressed. They need to realize and make use of the various means at their disposal to do so. The recent Symbiosis result fiasco and the subsequent student outcry that CL also supported, lead to concerned authorities making amends, and is a neat illustration of effectively wielded Youth Power. Students need to take similar actions in this situation as well, such as, starting signature or e-mailer campaigns, writing letters to the relevant authorities including HRD ministry, taking their issue to the media, and so on.

This matter deserves greater attention than it is presently receiving. Students need to get organized and get cracking! CL is there to help and support as always.