The directors of the seven Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) will meet later this month to discuss details of a proposal to take the Common Admission Test (CAT) online by 2009.
The CAT exams may also be formatted on the lines of the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) so that the scores are valid for two to three years.
An IIM Calcutta professor who is working on the proposal said the primary reason for taking the CAT online is the increasing number of aspirants.
"However, we are also considering other possibilities for conducting the CAT exams," he added.
The move could benefit thousands of students. In 2007, around 2,30,000 students took the exams. This year the number is expected to exceed 3,00,000.
For online CAT exams, the IIMs could outsource the project to an IT firm specialising in education and training services.
"The company will provide us with the infrastructure, but the control of setting the question paper will remain with the IIMs. The company will also be allowed to conduct exams at its franchisees," the professor said.
The IIMs may also conduct a preliminary test for students to be eligible to take the CAT. The format of group discussion and personal interviews will, however, be the same.
Taking CAT online stems from IIMs' concern over the chaos that occurs during declaration of results. Last year, for instance, heavy traffic caused the website to crash on January 8, when the results were declared.
Besides the seven IIMs, which conduct the exams, the CAT results are also used by 124 other management institutions to enroll students.