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CAT applicants caught in the net

CAT applicants caught in the net

snehanathwani ,  25-Nov-09

Govind Patil did not have an e-mail ID when he registered for the Common Admission Test (CAT). Patil, who belongs to Parbhani near Aurangabad in Maharashtra, had to take help from a friend to get his ID created before filling the registration form of test that doors for aspiring MBAs to get admission into the IIMs and 150 other B-Schools.

The all-important test, that gets around 2.5 lakh applicants, goes online from this year, and Patil is clearly not comfortable. The not-so-computer-savvy candidate now has to take time out from solving the crucial mock test papers for practicing computers. Despite being helped by the CAT training institute where he has enrolled himself, Patil is finding the going tough. He is unable to concentrate on computers long enough to sit through the test, and finds it hard to scroll the mouse and read passages on the screen.

The coveted MBA entrance test, which is a race against time, is set to have a distinct urban bias this time as it changes its medium from a paper and pencil test to a computer-based one. The test has already seen a drop in the number of registrations — from 2.76 lakh last year to 2.41 lakh this year — and experts say, it is more due to the change in the medium than a poor placement show by several B-Schools last year that dissuaded several aspirants from taking the test.

“After graduation, one needs a professional degree for a job. I applied for  CBT CAT so that I could get an MBA degree, which is an important qualification these days. However, computer is posing a big challenge because I have not worked much on this medium and lose concentration very soon while solving questions,” Patil said.

CAT, conducted by the IIMs since past 33 years, has traditionally elicited interest from aspirants coming from across the length and breadth of the country. Candidates from urban pockets, including Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune and Lucknow, usually account for almost 50% of the total number of candidates.

Thus, the other 50% comes from semi-urban or rural areas, a segment which might see a drop at the test. CAT, which has annually been growing by double digits for at least a decade now and grew by 20-25% over the past three years, witnessed its first drop of 12% this year. There are apprehensions of many candidates not turning up for the actual test. The reasons are not far to find.

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