The much touted CAT went online this year. While aspirants spent several thousands taking mock computerised tests the suspense till the last moment was expected to be the difficulty level or if those appearing later in the ten-day schedule would have an easier time.
Yet the unexpected happened.
The online examination system crashed not once but repeatedly three times (today is the third day).
While experts will obviously analyse what went wrong. the government has stepped in and asked for a report on what went wrong.
As a parent and lay observer I have some questions:

  • There apparently was no back up plan in case something went wrong. Now remember we are talking the top institutes in our country. How can they have overlooked this aspect? Even for a routine dinner party home makers have something to fall back on in case of a disaster. Hey don’t blame me for a mundane comparison. The situation demands it as here we are talking about the future of several thousand aspirants.
  • The glitch was blamed on a virus attack. Surely the tech brains should have anticipated this.
  • I believe the job of conducting the exam was entrusted to an American firm. India has some top notch tech firms with excellent grey matter. Why could they not have been entrusted with the responsibility?
  • Is the CAT and are the IIMs slowly becoming over hyped? Have they been swayed by obscene salaries and prime media time allotted to them when their summer and final placement starts?
  • Rescheduling is not easy as almost all Sundays from now onwards are ‘booked’ for entrance exams to other B-schools. Often students appear for more than just the CAT so how do they cope? Remember all tests have a different format…

Obviously a computerised exam is the way forward considering the huge numbers involved, man-hours spent in hall tickets, assimilating all data, correction, results etc. This does not include efforts to set valid questions as often there are reports of mistakes there as well. But we’ll look at that issue another time…

These are some interesting reports:
CAT Chaos on ibnlive.com
Pagal Guy has aspirant views
This report suggests that along with the aspiring candidates, the IIMs too should have taken mock tests.
This is a link to an article on ndtv.com
This article describes the plight of CAT aspirants in Bangalore

Good Luck to those who are yet to appear and those who may have to give the rescheduled test.

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