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IIMs issue notification for CAT 2009

The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) today issued the notification for their Common Admission Test (CAT) 2009, will be held between Saturday, November 28 and Monday, December 7 this year.

The CAT is being conducted as a Computer Based Test from this year onwards. It is a pre-requisite for admission to various management programmes conducted by the elite IIMs, including their flagship two-year Post-Graduate Programme (PGP) in Management.

The seven IIMs are located at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Lucknow, Kozhikode, Indore and Shillong.

Four more IIMs are due to start functioning from the academic session 2010-11 at Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, Ranchi in Jharkhand, Raipur in Chhattisgarh and Rohtak in Haryana. Three others in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan will be set up the following year.

Today’s advertisement, however, does not mention the new IIMs.

It said separate advertisements would appear for the Fellow Programme of each institute, equivalent to Ph.D., as well as the PGP programmes in AgriBusiness Management (ABM) of IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Lucknow, the Post Graduate Programme in Software Enterprise Management (PGSEM) and Post Graduate Programme in Planning and Policy Management (PGPPM) of IIM Bangalore, the Post Graduate Diploma in Computer-Aided Management (PGDCM) of IIM Calcutta and the Executive Post Graduate Programme in Management (EPGP) of IIM Indore.

Several non-IIM institutions also use the CAT scores in the admission process for their management programmes and a list of these is available at the CAT website.

According to the notification, a candidate can appear for CAT 2009 only once during the 10-day testing window.

Candidates must hold a Bachelor’s degree, with at least 50 per cent marks or equivalent CGPA (45 % in case of the candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Differently Abled (DA) categories).

Candidates appearing for the final year of bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification examination and those who have completed degree requirements and are awaiting results can also apply.

Prospective candidates must maintain a valid e-mail account throughout the selection process, the advertisement stressed.

The CAT 2009 Vouchers can be obtained from branches of Axis Bank and their associated outlets between Wednesday, September 9 and Thursday, October 1 for Rs 1400 (Rs 700 for SC/ST/DA candidates). A candidate needs to buy only one CAT 2009 Voucher irrespective of the number of institutes he/she is applying to.

On purchasing the CAT 2009 Voucher, prospective candidates must log on to the CAT website to register for the examination. The registration window starts on September 9 and will close on Thursday, October 1.

The test will be conducted in venues across many centres. These centres are Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin (Kochi), Coimbatore, Delhi, Durgapur, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, Gurgaon, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Noida, Patna, Pune, Ranchi, Siliguri and Varanasi.

Candidates can choose a test date, session (morning/afternoon) and venues across these centres, subject to availability.

The CAT score cards will be available on the CAT website from January 22, 2010.

Given the huge numbers of students who appear for the examinations in comparison to the 2000-odd seats on offer at the IIMs for their flagship PGP, CAT has acquired the reputation of being the toughest entrance test worldwide for business schools.

The IIMs have been conducting CAT in paper-&-pencil format for the last 33 years. As more and more students chase the MBA dream, the number of candidates appearing for CAT has increased dramatically over the years.

While about 95,000 candidates took CAT in 2003, the number rose to about 250,000 in 2008, indicating a rise of a whopping 163 percent.

“This has resulted in severe strain on the administrative system of IIMs to conduct CAT in its existing format,” a statement issued by the IIMs in April this year to announce the switchover to CBT format said.

Traditionally, the CAT used to be held on the third Sunday of November every year.

While announcing the shift to the new format, the IIMs had said that the CBT CAT would be a candidate-friendly test in terms of flexibility in the selection of test date, ease of registration process, better physical environment and test experience, and enhanced security in terms of biometric identification of candidates and video monitoring.

They said the CBT format would also improve communication between candidates and the IIMs in terms of programme information, test delivery, receipt of admit cards, and receipt of score reports.

They said CBT was a natural culmination of the modernization CAT has undergone. In the late 1960s, multiple choice questions (MCQ), an educational testing innovation, was introduced for the first time in the entrance examinations of IIMs. Later, in the late 1970s, entrance tests of different IIMs were merged to form CAT. In the late 1980s, another technology feature was introduced in the form of optical machine reading (OMR) of the answer-sheets. As a CBT, the CAT format will be comparable to existing tests such as GMAT, GRE, and TOEFL.

The IIMs have selected Prometric ETS to be their partner in delivering the computer-assisted CAT.

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