Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wishing you all a Happy New Year….!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The Common Admission Test (CAT) has always been more than an entrance exam in India. It is not only the medium of securing admission into the seven premium IIMs but also the parameter on which hundreds of other business schools in India choose its students.
This year however, the tale was a little different as the IIMs decided to give up the traditional paper based format and announced that it will conduct the first ever computer-based CAT in India, making CAT 2009 an exam that was long awaited. But all this wasn’t to be, on 28th November 2009, as the first set of students strutted their stuff and entered for what looked to be the turning point in the higher education process in India, hell broke loose. The news quickly spread that in 30 centres across 9 cities, the CAT server has crashed. Although not every centre faced problems, but those who did reported of wide ranging problems such as screens going blank in the middle of the exam, not being able to see the images properly, not being able to exit the exam.
In the aftermath of the CAT debacle, it was the students that found themselves to be the most harshly done by. As if the stress of a big exam like the CAT wasn’t enough, students are now dealing with cancellations, reschedules and delays. One such incidence is recollected by the first time CAT taker who traveled to Chennai to take the test, “My experience is nothing short of a disaster, first I had to struggle past the numerous people standing there and waited for almost an hour, after being sorted into four batches, the server of my particular batch crashed. Now I am asked to keep checking the site regularly to be informed of the re-scheduled appointment later”.
“There is a feeling of panic and restlessness in the students, after all it is a biggest day of their educational life, but the key is to not letting this mishap hinder their future and they should go for the rescheduled test and not miss it for any reason”, said Laksmi Singh, COO, IMS, a leading management entrance training institute. She also stated that following 5 simple steps could ease the burden of students dealing with reschedules and help them concentrate on their studies in this panic stricken time:
- Students should (if possible) visit their respective test centers at least a day in advance so that they do not need to search for the test centre on the day of their test.
2. Ensure that they reach at least two hours before the scheduled test as specified by the test taking authorities. Some students were not allowed to take the test for not being able to reach the centre on time.
3. Carry as little as you can to the test centers, since you will not be allowed to carry mobiles, bags, even wallets into the testing room.
4. Access your e-mail and registered mobile number regularly for regular updates from the CAT authorities.
5. Students must see the tutorial on the day of the test before beginning the actual test.
Of course students can follow the necessary steps and go ahead with the CAT but the trauma will be long remembered. In the country where technology is rapidly becoming the way of life, a simple computer based test could have been more organized and well planned but overall it should have been more thought through. And in a typical Indian fashion the blame game has also begin for something that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Apart from the usual routine of enquiries being set on who is responsible for technical failures and reports being demanded, some have even gone to an extent to call the debacle a national shame. But the real question remains that will the CAT remain online or the traditional paper-based that has worked for so long will be retained. The poll conducted by IMS show shocking results that students want the ease of paper and pencil back as more than 71% students voted it in its favor http://www.imsindia.com/CAT2009/polls.htm . The jury is still out on this one and we are keeping our fingers crossed.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
A special thanks to amit praksh @ Pagal guy who helped me with relevant answers to questions: specific to IRMA