IIMs give CAT aspirants another life online (Third Lead)

New Delhi/Ahmedabad, Nov 30 (Inditop.com) The Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) Monday said they empathise with the aspirants who could not take the computerised Common Admission Test (CAT) because of technical problems and that they would be given a second chance soon.

“IIMs would categorically like to assure candidates who could not take the test that they would get another opportunity to take the test,” Samir Barua, chairman of the IIM Directors’ Forum said at a press conference in IIM Ahmedabad.

The competitive CAT exam that went online for the first time this year ran into trouble for the third consecutive day Monday when a computer crash stalled the exam at centres in three cities – Mumbai, Bangalore and Ghaziabad, a leading coaching institute said.

“The major reason for this (computers crashing) was a virus attack. All precautions were taken for quarantine, but despite that the attack took place. In some places, there was a problem of hardware. For instance, if a switch failed it took about two hours or more for it to be changed,” Barua said.

“We recognise the difficulty that aspirants had to go through because of this and empathise with them. Every student who could not take the test because of the glitch will be accomodated,” he added.

Ulhas Vairagkar, director of TIME coaching institute, told IANS: “We have received student feedback that the exam was cancelled at one centre in Bangalore and two colleges in Bombay in the morning schedule.”

Some students also complained that the computers failed at the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) Ghaziabad exam centre, stalling the CAT session Monday morning.

“Today (Monday) again there were problems reported in the three cities. Many students are very anxious that even if the exam is rescheduled it would clash with their semester exam in colleges,” said Gautam Puri, vice chairman of Career Launcher, a coaching institute.

Many candidates were in a frenzy when computers crashed in around 40 centres across the country on the first and second day of the CAT. The exam’s staggered computerised format has a 10-day schedule and will conclude Dec 7.

An American firm Prometric, was awarded a $40 million contract by the IIMs to switch the prestigious CAT exam from optical marker reader assessment onto computers.

The company has alleged that “viruses and malware that attacked the test delivery system were not detected by the anti-virus software at the testing centres”.

Meanwhile, the CAT committee has stressed that its role in administering the examination at the 105 centres in 32 cities was restricted to preparing questions.

“The decision to conduct computerized CAT was taken unanimously by all IIMs. IIMs were responsible for generating questions for the tests and Prometric was responsible for conducting the test.

“The delivery could not be executed flawlessly because of virus attack on several test sites. Prometric is working to address the issues arising from the attacks,” the CAT committee stressed.

Prometric is arranging how and when the re-test would be conducted, the committee said, adding that “details will be worked out by Prometric shortly and announced”.

Around 240,000 students have registered for the CAT this year, which is scheduled at 105 centres in 32 cities, all linked to a main server.