MUMBAI: While 2.19 lakh students are preparing for the common admission test (CAT) 2015 on Sunday, many are busy packing off to a nearby city from where they will appear. Many students, who have got far-off exam centres this year, are looking out/offering carpooling options on online discussion forums. Others are not only travelling together but are also staying together in cities where they have been assigned centres. Many Mumbai students have got centres in Pune, Nashik and Surat.
The number of aspirants registered for CAT for admissions to the premier Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) is the highest since 2010, with a jump of over 22,000 from last year. This year, the IIMs will hold the exam only on one day in two slots. Since the test went online a few years ago, it was conducted over a window period in multiple slots. Last year, the organisers conducted the exam over two days, while this year they have cut it down to one. This could be a reason why students have got far-off centres this year, said a coaching institute teacher. “It is good that the slots have reduced as it will ensure that students getting later slots do not have an advantage of knowing the questions beforehand,” said a student.
An online portal which has discussion forums for CAT aspirants saw many students offering and seeking carpooling options, from Mumbai to Surat, Delhi to Meerut and Gurgaon to Meerut. Vinayak Kudva, head of a coaching institute, said they have advised their students to travel a day or two before the exam. “It is safer to be in the city a night before the exam. Many students have hired apartments and plan to stay together for a few nights,” said Kudva. Vinay S, a Mithibai College student, was in Nashik on Friday so that he can give undivided attention to his preparation for two days. “I have booked a hotel room here, four friends will join me on Saturday morning,” said Vinay.
This year, there are three sections in CAT, instead of two which featured in the last few years. Allwin Agnel of Pagalguy, an online portal, said, “CAT has gone back to its old format. CAT-2015 is a three-section exam with sectional time limit. The students have to perform well in all areas to clear cut-offs for each section.” He added that the impact of normalisation will reduce this year as the slots have reduced. CAT 2015 will also provide students with an online calculator.