CAT goes online with ETS-TOEFL

On April 27 the Indian Institutes of Management announced that the Common Admission Test (CAT) for admission to IIMs and over 118 other B-schools would go online from this year and that the job has been assigned to Prometric ETS, a US based firm which excels in online examinations.

With this the 33-year-old pen-and-pencil format of the CAT will come to an end and sources at IIM Bangalore confirmed that CAT 2009 would be a
computer-based test (CBT).

Dr Amarnath Krishnaswamy, a faculty member of IIM-Bangalore and the spokesman for CAT committee said, ‘‘IIMs have selected Prometric ETS, a US based firm, after a very elaborate search process to be our partner in delivering the computer-assisted CAT. The details on the computerized CAT would be made available soon.’’ ETS Prometric are already conducting globally recognized tests such as Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

‘‘The CAT will be a CBT from this year onwards. The test will be conducted in a window of about ten days, sometime at the end of the calendar year. CBT CAT will be a candidate-friendly test in terms of flexibility in the selection of test date and ease of registration process,” Dr Krishnaswamy said.

The aspirants who had expected the CAT to turn into something similar to GMAT will, in fact, find that the format of the test has not altered much. As of now, CAT has merely been computerised. So instead of circling the answers on an OMR sheet, candidates will be clicking answers on a computer screen.

An IIM official said there was a likelihood of three sessions of the CAT being held in one day across the country in around 100 centres in such a way that approximately 3 lakh candidates could be accommodated in 10 days. “For this, we will be developing about 3,000 questions, instead of merely 100 that we come up with for each year’s test,” said the faculty member.

According to an official communiqué CAT will be a candidate-friendly test in terms of flexibility in the selection of test date, ease of registration process, better physical environment and test experience and enhanced
security in terms of biometric identification of candidates and video monitoring. CBT format also would improve communication between candidates and IIMs in terms of programme information, test delivery, receipt of admit cards, and receipt of score reports.

The test has been necessitated by the increasing number of candidates appearing for CAT. While about 95,000 candidates took CAT in 2003, the number rose to about 2.5 lakh in 2008, indicating 163 per cent increase. This has resulted in a severe strain on the IIMs to conduct CAT in its existing format.

IIM Bangalore hikes fee to Rs 11 lakh

BANGALORE : Taking cue from IIM Ahemdabad the Indian Institute of Management here hiked its fee for the Post-Graduate Programme to Rs 11 lakh, and increased the student intake capacity to 350 to accommodate the 27 per cent OBC quota from academic year 2009-2010.

After an IIM-B Board of Governors meeting here on April 2, Institute director Prof Pankaj Chandra announced that the Board had decided to hike the fee for the 2009-10 batch to Rs 5.25 lakh for the first year and Rs 5.75 lakh for the second.

The fee has been hiked by Rs 25,000 for this year’s batch and Rs 75,000 for the same batch the next academic year. Earlier, the IIM-B charged around Rs 9.5 lakh for its PG programme. The fee was split into Rs 4.5 lakh for the first year and Rs 5 lakh for the second.

Justifying the hike, he said: “As per the Sixth Pay Commission, teachers’ pension has been increased. We have around 200 professors and the pension has gone up significantly. ”Infrastructure demands due to the implementation of the OBC quota were cited as another reason. Prof Chandra also pointed out that the institute did not receive any government grant.

On the OBC quota, Prof Chandra said: “For the forthcoming academic year, 350 students will be admitted as per the quota implementation. At present 275 students are being admitted. We will add another section to implement the quota as the student intake has increased. Simultaneously, the students intake in other programmes like the executive programmes and the public policy programme will also be increased.” As much as Rs 45 crore has been earmarked for the construction of students hostel, teachers’ quarters and classrooms. “We will begin the construction of new classrooms soon. A teachers’ residential quarters, a cafe and a students’ hostel with 300 rooms will also be constructed on the campus,” Chandra added.