Straight Angle™: Another Year, another CAT
Sunday, November 20, 2005

Another Year, another CAT 

Well, as I hear from my friends, on the recent CAT(Common Admission Test), I tend to get a feeling that, the CAT is becoming more transparent by the day and that the day is not far off, when CAT can be taken online, just like GMAT.

Yesterday, Prof Bakul Dholakia, Director, IIMA, was on NDTV, answering questions on GMAT like Online CAT and what he said, provides somepointers in that direction. HE said it in so many words, that though, the aspirants can't look forward for an online version next year, the option is very well on the table and, yet no decision had been arrived at...

Though, I understand the massive preparations that had to go into CAT, I also wonder, what stops them from making a decision fast?..These are the same people, who teach, the cost of indecision is often much larger than the cost of wrong decision!..What had happened to what they teach? For how long are they going to postpone the decision- Yeah, that is what it is...it is no doubt, that taking CAT online is one great inevitable, then why is that not happening?

Let us look at the possible issues that might be solved through having an online version!
  1. Almost instantaneous valuations possible- It takes somewhere around 3 months for the results to be published currently. With an Online version, this will be cut down!
  2. The location of test centres in some far off city- I have friends, who had to travel to Chennai from other states to just give the CAT- and here, from Mangalore to Bangalore to give CAT- A travel of 10 hours (ie. by bus) to write an exam of 2 hours!
  3. Question Paper leakage- I strongly beleive online version is far safer in that sense!
  4. There can even be a Computer Adaptive Test - sort of format!(Though, I wouldn't recommend it- simply because, CAT is a test for elimination and not for selection, and having a adaptive test would not eliminate, but would select!)
  5. Better time management for the students- Somehow I personally feel that, I would be more time conscious with a computer based test rather than a paper-pencil test!)
  6. And most of all, it would reduce my Pencil box's costs!- Man, I carried six pencils, a sharpener, a knife and an eraser to the test- I was like a school going kid, rather than a 22 year old!:-(
The stumbling blocks (not really, but atleast our Babu's are well versed in the real politik) that I see for such an implementation are,
  1. The computer based test, would discriminate against the rural aspirants, as they would not be comfortable with computers!
  2. The issues of Internet Security!
  3. The issues of Investment, resources.
  4. And to cap it all, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a voice for the lakhs that will loose their jobs, if it is taken online!
It's already high time that CAT goes online!

But, to say a last, lasting word, I think this year's CAT was indeed tough( by many standards- be it the explicit note that the negative marking is gonna be 1/4th or in the toughness of the DI and Quants questions!)

The one statement that my friend made, when I asked him about the CAT, still rings in my ears and makes me laugh my lungs out, but I know, it wasn't so for him!
I hadn't seen such circles before!- Man, they were circular!

~In his own words!
Update at 02:56 PM:
Another thing (surprisingly) that I noted yesterday, is that, there is an increasing clout for MBA/IIMs.While it is good for a craving for higher education, I am afraid MBA, might end up as Engineering did in TN.

I heard a particular guy tell in TV(of all SS Music), that he wanted to get into MBA, so that, he will get a corporate job and make things that will serve the public!...Did I hear it right?...

I think serving public was a preserve of the IAS. This guy is either ignorant of the MBA or has very high dreams, or plain simply lying!

You can argue that Corporates too can serve the Society...but just think over...it is not the motive of a corporation..The motive there, is money...n Profit...they wouldnt do community service, without a motive- rather they shouldnt do..that is not what the investors in the company would want!


Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

Wish I had taken up CAT. As I read more & more blogs on CAT, preparation etc, i couldn't help feeling that way!

11/21/2005 4:20 AM  
Blogger Krish said...

Umm...never mind Chakra!..U had already done what you would have done after giving CAT!- all said and done, I cant deny the fact that, CAT is really interesting and exhilarating!

11/21/2005 9:35 PM  
Blogger Übermaniam said...

Long time. Glad to see you're still there. nice entry on...a lot of things! Cheers.

11/22/2005 1:22 AM  
Blogger Divya said...

hmmm nice post.. my frds told me their CAT was bad this yr :(

11/22/2005 5:26 AM  
Blogger Krish said...

@TDU: Iam very much alive "Sir"..umm..as such, there are entries on..well..lot many things!

@Divya: True!..the quants section was ultimate it seems!

11/22/2005 5:42 AM  
Blogger DD said...

Tough this time? well, atleast I remember reading an article on Hindu, just next day of CAT, that this time paper was very easy than last year's. Well, I would not know... for I never even thought CAT ever needs a bell ;)

11/22/2005 6:42 AM  
Blogger Cogito said...

Another reason I prefer online is the issue of "Pressure" ! The "Pressure" element is huge in paper and pencil test and I have seen "nervous wrecks" after the test is over ..

11/22/2005 8:08 AM  
Blogger Krish said...

@DD: Well, DD, that is one bane of CAT- a single outlier can shift the balance single handedly..I am unable to comment on whether it was tougher than last year...I didnt follow the last year's paper!

@Cogito: True Cogito!..CAT can be nerve wrecking at times to many people!

11/22/2005 11:21 PM  
Blogger Kaps said...

6 weeks is not a bad response time for the manual test. getting 175000 PC's across various locations might be a tough ask. The IIM's are quite tech savvy and I won't be surprised if they move to the online test in the next 2/3 years.

11/25/2005 10:43 AM  
Blogger Krish said...

@Kaps: Agreed about the efficiency of IIMs..Me would really look forward to the decision, and that too soon!

11/26/2005 5:30 AM  

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