click here!Aspirants appearing for the Common Admission Test (CAT) can look forward to doing away with paper work as CAT, rated as one of the world's most demanding entrance examinations for any graduate institute, is all set to go online from 2009.

The Common Admission Test (CAT) will finally do away with its 25-year-old history of the traditional paper-pencil test.

The decision will impact thousands of students who, each year, appear for the highly competitive entrance exam at centers across the country in the ambition of making it to the hallowed corridors of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

The examination will be conducted on the pattern of similar international exams like GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test), with the only exception that the results will not be declared instantly.

The news has been confirmed by an official from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (IIM-C) who said, "The test will definitely go online next year. However, we are not revealing anything about how it will be done."

The CAT committee is now preparing a question bank that will be used for the online test.

The committee is also considering different issues including online test procedure, timing, question data bank, test centres and ways to go about the online exam.

The IIMs had first given a deep thought at conducting the CAT 2008 online. However it was confirmed later that the IIMs were considering various alternatives for modifying the process of conducting CAT, but the exam in 2008 would be a paper-pencil test.

The CAT being conducted online will reap benefits for both aspirants and institutes conducting the test. For the IIMs, it would mean larger revenues as the cost of application forms are likely to go up.

MBA aspirants may also be allowed to appear for the examination three times in a year.

Speaking on the new initiative, Ashish Bhattacharyya, admissions chairperson at IIM Calcutta, said, "An online system would help us handle the huge number of students appearing for the test every year. Last year the number crossed 2.3 lakh. This year it was above 2.7 lakhs. This number is only expected to increase with projections of three lakh-plus in 2009".

It is also expected that once the new system is in place, not all students will be able to take the exam on the same day as is the system applicable now. The exam would then take place in phases with 'spread out batches' within a period of a few months.

The other change will be that instead of the current single exam paper, the online test will carry quite a few different papers of the same level of difficulty.

Around 270,000 MBA aspirants appeared for CAT across the nation this year.

A majority of those who appeared felt that while the three-segment paper was fairly 'doable', there were a few hiccups in the 'lengthy verbal' and 'tough quant' sections.


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