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CAT may not go online this year
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March 16, 2009

The Common Admission Test (CAT) this year too may remain a paper-pencil test. Last December, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) had floated a tender and shortlisted four companies to conduct CAT 2009 online. These companies include ETS Prometric, Pearson VUE, Eduquity Career Technologies and Mumbai-based Attest, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aptech.

The IIMs now say the probability of CAT going online this year is low, given the logistics involved. "We don't know yet if CAT would go online. We are in the process of finalising the vendors. In the next few weeks, we will take a call if we will go online this year or not," Pankaj Chandra, director, IIM Bangalore, told Business Standard.

"To go online or not would be decided in April. We still would have eight months, which hopefully will be enough for us. If not, we will go for the usual paper-pencil test, where we are familiar with the entire logistics of printing, advertising and hiring of rental places for writing the test," he added.

CAT online would mean taking the test on a computer which will serve questions from a local server. The IIMs have said they will need a good number of computer terminals for students to take the examination. "A whole lot of other details need to be put in place which needs time," said a senior faculty member from one of the IIMs, who did not wish to be identified.

An executive from a prominent MBA preparatory institute concurred: "We are talking about around 3,00,000 students taking the exam in one day. Taking an examination like CAT online would require good work from IIMs in terms of infrastructure and facilities which will not happen in a few months' time."

MBA test preparing institute Career Launcher too says if IIMs were to go online with CAT this year, they should have notified the students by now. Career Launcher is investing around Rs 30 lakh across its centers to facilitate online CAT training on computer terminals to its students.

IIMs say they have been occupied earlier with placements and now with admission process. "Once these processes are in place, we would be clear on how to take the issue of online CAT. We should be able to take a decision in April or May regarding the same," said a professor from IIM Calcutta.

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