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The nationwide admission examination for management institutes and the most coveted IIMs, Common Admission Test (CAT) is undergoing a major change in its format. The Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) have decided to change their 33 year old saga of pen – paper examination format with a computer based examination. This has resulted in a kind of phobia in the mind of the aspirants. It is expected that about 3 lakh candidates will appear for CAT 2009. The change in the format has left the candidates wondering what CAT 2009 will be like.

The management experts have a different say. They believe that the aspirants should stop worrying and start studying. It has been confirmed by IIM Calcutta director, Mr. Sekhar Chaudhuri that this time in CAT 2009 the candidates will have to reach their respective CAT center and take the test by looking at the questions on a computer screen and then key the answers into the terminal. Sources also reveal that the test will not be computer adaptive. In a computer adaptive test the computer adapts to the examinee’s performance and changes difficulty level of the next question. In CAT 2009 the candidate can look into the entire question paper on the computer screen and then begin answering any question they like. The examinees will not have to be connected to the internet for appearing the test.

There are many hidden advantages of this format. The candidates can select a day from the ten day frame. This has an added advantage in the suburbs where the CAT was difficult to conduct earlier. The foremost advantage of using this format is to reduce the human intervention in the examination. This would minimize errors and would make the system fast and accurate. It would reduce the participation of faculties of IIMs into the mechanical process of paper checking which facilitates their involvement in research work.

The disadvantage lies in the fact that people who are unfamiliar to computer terminal may find the test difficult.

The aspirants are advised to get used to computer interface. Reading a lot on computer terminal will help. Taking computer based examination provided by coaching centers like which provide online facilities, will help. Students must note down that with the change in technologies occurring worldwide there will changes in the examination also but the fundamentals always remain the same. So before anything get your basics reviewed and then take as many online tests as possible.

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