Computer crash hits start of CAT exam (Lead)

New Delhi, Nov 28 ( A computer crash in an unspecified number of centres in six cities marred the start of the Common Admission Test (CAT) that determines admission to over 100 business and management schools, a leading coaching centre said.

The crash occurred soon after the CAT examination began in Chennai, Kolkata, Bhopal, Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune, affecting a large number of the 240,000 set to appear in the staggered test until Dec 7.

“We got calls from students in six cities saying they were not able to give the test because the computer system crashed. The students have been told they can take another time slot,” Ulhas Vairagkar, director of the TIME institute, a preparatory school for IIM aspirants, told Inditop.

The reason for the crash is unclear, Vairagkar said.

It was the first time the CAT was conducted across India on computers — as opposed optical reading marker. The Indian Institutes of Management, which conduct the exam, said they would comment later. It was not clear how many students were affected Saturday.

An American firm, Prometric, which has developed the computer system for CAT, said it would be able to assess what went wrong only by around 2 p.m.

Around 50,000 students are to appear for the exam in Delhi over a 10-day period. The test is scheduled in 32 cities at 105 centres, all connected to a main server.

IIMs and Prometric had issued a disclaimer to all the students appearing for the exam to refrain from discussing the new format and questions till Dec 7 when the exam schedule ends.

Last year, nearly 276,000 students across India took the test. Several experts told Inditop earlier that the fall in registrations this year was due to CAT going hi-tech.

CAT exam assesses quantitative, logical, verbal and data interpretation ability of students.

CAT scores determine entry to the IIMs in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Indore, Lucknow, Kozhikode and Shillong as well as the Management Development Institute in Gurgaon, Institute of Management Training in Ghaziabad, Mudra Institute of Communications in Ahmedabad and Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research in Mumbai.