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Acid Test for Students as CAT goes Online
While about 1,400 students in Chennai will take the Common Admission Test (CAT) for MBA courses in IIMs on Saturday, the rest of the thousands of applicants for the year will be waiting for tips from them on how to tackle the online test, introduced for the first time in the country.
Apart from students, academies that train students for the CAT are also keeping their fingers crossed because of the new format.
Since the test has been staggered with students taking them on different days unlike the old format when it was held on one day throughout the country, the academies are waiting to catch those who are appearing on the first day to update them.
However, Sarith Nair, AGM-IMS Learning Resources, says that as per a mock exam that the institute had conducted there was little difference between the answersheet format and the online one.
“The application procedure has some flaws, which are yet to be corrected. But the number of questions have been reduced, which is a sort of relief for the students,” he added.
While Gautam Puri, vice-chairman of the Career Launcher India Limited, felt sitting before a computer for 150 minutes on a stretch could be tedious, Balasubramanian of TIME institute in Chennai said that comprehension, data interpretation and reasoning questions might make students sceptical. “Students have to scroll up and down and look for answers in comprehension while in data interpretation they might have to copy/draw entire tables and graphics on their rough sheet,” he said.
Institutes are fretting over the IIMs disseminating limited information on what to expect. “In the demo version, once you click an option, there is no way you can change it or leave it blank. This puts the student at a disadvantage because of negative marking,” said Nair.
In the online test, a student cannot decide which section to attempt first and with only one question appearing on the screen in one go, scanning the entire set of questions and then going back to the screen with the question a students wants to attempt first will be tough. There is about 20 per cent drop in the number of students who have applied for the test in tier-2 and tier-3 cities this time around as compared to the last few years.
These students, according to coaching institutes, are risking an attempt on CAT without getting familiar with the system.