Students from abroad will be able to appear for CAT from next year for admissions to the IIMs
After a glitch-free CAT 2012, plans are in the offing for the Common Admission Test to go international from 2013: non-resident Indians (NRIs) and people of Indian origin (PIO) will be able to appear for the Common Admission Test (CAT) from next year onwards.
Until now, NRIs, PIOs & international students were required to produce their Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) scores for admissions to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).
The US based test-conducting firm, Prometric, which is the testing partner for the IIMs since 2009, will take the IIMs and CAT examination to international shores. Prometric has a five-year contract with the IIMs for conducting the computer-based CAT in India. The company had confirmed earlier too, that it would partner the IIMs in exporting CAT to foreign business schools.
“We were planning to make CAT global this October. However, due to some cost issues, we may make it international only next year. It is strategically important for CAT to go global,” said the director of one of the IIMs.
The director revealed that the IIMs have signed a new memorandum of association (MoA) that would allow them to operate independently. The plans for CAT to go global would materialize only after the establishment of this MoA. Currently the IIMs are governed by an MoA approved by the government.
“There are many countries which have student characteristics similar to that of Indian students. Many Asian countries have already been requesting us to bring CAT to them. I think this has been a big draw,” added another IIM director. For instance, countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka and West Asia which use GMAT scores as of now, want the IIMs to conduct CAT for admission to their B-schools.
However, the details of conducting CAT are still being worked out. For example, can a student take CAT several times in an academic year like GMAT which can be taken five times in an academic year. Also, the issue of whether CAT scores will be valid for more than a year needs to be decided. GMAT scores, for instance, are valid for five years.
Akin to GMAT, the CAT also evaluated the potential of students applying for business management courses. Although both the examinations require the same skill set, experts say the biggest advantage of CAT is that it discriminates at the top. Whereas, GMAT discriminates in the middle. GMAT is an adaptive test, whereas CAT is just a linear computer-based test. In an adaptive test, a student taking the exam must answer every question that comes on the screen to proceed to the next question. This means the student cannot skip a question or go back to an already-attempted question.