The CAT exam is held annually for admissions into the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and 150 other business schools across India. From 2009 onwards CAT has become an online test. In place of previous pencil-paper test, CAT aspirants would now use a computer interface. A candidate will take the exam only at designated test venues in 30 cities across India and can take the same within a particular time.
CAT takes a cyber jump
For more than three decades IIMs had a paper-pencil-MCQ-OMR format of entrance tests. Now they have gone to computer-based Testing (CBT) since the 2009 CAT.
CBT- CAT was meant to be a candidate-friendly test in terms of its flexibility in the selection of the test date, ease of registration process, better physical environment and test experience.
CAT, well known through the years, has been a tough test owing to its unpredictability and its emphasis on speed and accuracy. CAT 2015 was a test with 100 questions with 2 hrs and 50 minutes to attempt the test with an initial tutorial of 15 minutes before the actual test. One of the curious things of the test in the non-disclosure statement to be given to prohibit from revealing any aspect of the test be it quantum or degree of difficulty of the test. Violating this would be punishable up to 2 lacs fine and/or 1 up to 3 years imprisonment. So persons taking further tests are not supposed to derive any better advantage over the previous test takers. How this practically gets enforced is not very clear.
The CBT-CAT is credited with both pros and cons. The pros are that it will integrate the scores, make it more secure and fool proof and will hopefully help it reach remote areas too due to its web-base. The cons can be that it may be to the disadvantage of not so tech-savvy students and it may consume more time for those who are accustomed to rough calculations on paper.
The CBT-CAT again tests the Quantitative, Verbal, Logical and Data Interpretation Abilities. There normally are to be three sections with 100 questions on the whole.
At the test venue, each candidate is provided with a desk-cum-computer terminal and a scratch paper for calculations. The candidate has to leave the scratch paper at the end of the test and no rough work is to be done on any other paper/sheet as nothing is allowed inside the test room.
True to its name, the CAT is to show all its whiskers yet.