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This year, MBA aspirants will get a chance to appear for the Common Admission Test (CAT) in the two state-of-the-art testing laboratories in Gurgaon and Hyderabad. The labs will provide students with an international testing experience. Further, setting up of the facilities - the first in the country - dovetails with plans to take CAT to international shores by enticing foreign B-schools to subscribe to its score. CAT committee officials say the addition of premier institutions to the CAT portfolio has already improved the profile of the entrance test.
The test centre in Gurgaon can accommodate 226 aspirants in a single session. The centre is a highly sanitized one - the candidates have to deposit their belongings in lockers at the waiting area. The entire area has been placed under surveillance. Once inside the lab, candidates will take exactly two minutes to check in, which includes biometric and photo identification. Seats are assigned in advance. For every four seats, there is round-the clock video recording. "The labs are designed to test a fairly large group of people in multiple sessions and the centres can be run 24X7. The focus is on security and quality. Right from the waiting area, every move of the candidates is monitored at several levels," said managing director of Prometric India, Soumitra Roy. IIM aims at a long-term collaboration with Prometric to take CAT to international shores. Professor M. Janakiraman of IIM-Kolkata and CAT 2011 convenor told TOI during a visit to the testing facility in Gurgaon: "The qualitative profile of CAT has received a boost this year with the addition of six IITs, Faculty of Management Studies and Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneshwar. After the success of the CAT 2010, we are waiting for one more year of consistent performance before making a move to take the test to an international level." "Our ultimate aim is to make CAT an international test, so that B-schools abroad too use our score. Hence, the plans for innovation and offering CAT more than once a year," added Janakiraman. When asked about the steady decline in the number of CAT aspirants for three consecutive years from 2008, the convenor said there were many factors that contributed to the decline. "The shift to computer based tests and the downturn have been significant factors. Further, the uncertain job situation meant that IT professionals clung to their jobs and were loath to quit and join a two-year MBA programme. But this year the trend indicates that the decline has been arrested. The final data can only be given after October 4," said Janakiraman.
Courtesy: Times of India
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