Thursday, July 23, 2009

Online Cat - Suggestions !!

Well, this is an open letter to T.I.M.E , the pioneer in CAT coaching to resolve some of the issues bothering its students. Hope it catches the right eye :|

Across India

There are certain issues many CAT aspirants have been discussing of late and there are some things that we are very unsatisfied with. The first and foremost being the large test window for writing the AIMCATS. Unlike the paper-pencil format where we had the option of re-doing the questions/ attempting the unsolved ones once back home, in the online format there is an alienation for almost 10 days. Even a test window of 7 days seems very long. When finally the paper was released after the test window what we find is that the questions and answers are provided together. I believe you too would know there is vital difference between solving a question whose answer you do not know and whose answer is clearly visible. And add to it the adoptation of online AIMCAT by various centres across INDIA - with the staff themselves not completely trained for the online version-, aspirants are very cross. The infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired.

However We believe that shifting from paper-pencil to online mode in such a short span is very difficult and TIME has been very generous in its decision not to burden the student with an increase in fees. The approach to online CAT itself is very satisfactory. We belive everything cant be gained and we have to make a few compromises or rather take time to adopt for online version but there are a few things we would like you to think upon and make the process of exam more benifitable.

For example, it is very difficult to provide very good infrastructure to each test centre for online CAT but providing a very sound software can easlily be done.

Atleast the attempted questions should be saved every 1 minute. The current pulse seems to be 15 minutes. We dont attempt more than one or two questions in a minute. The Timer should be such that if power fails and one has to relogin, the time should continue from the exact second.

The question paper (without solutions) after the exam should be available on the student home page of those who have given the test and in such a way that there is no provision of copying it to the computer. There still are ways to copy it by using external sources but not everybody knows these.

The net score of each individual should be given at the end of test with no mention of sectional rights and wrongs. The student if he desires can look at the questions and figure it out himself where he has gone right/wrong. (This will improve the reasoning skills of students too...)

Provision should be made for writing the non-invigilated online aimcats at respective test centres for those who feel they cant get the exam environment at home. It is possible there will be interruptions at home from curious siblings or a post man at the door.

If TIME is afraid releasing the question paper just after the exam will give way for misuse, it should remember that no honest-aspirant of CAT will try to know the paper beforehand and attempt. And with respect to dishonest takers, TIME need not worry as they serve them no purpose. The only thing that can deviate is the ALL-India Ranking which i think one can compromise for an instant score card.

One more thing is that both aimcats 1017 and 1016 are not allowed for those who enrolled only for the test series. I think for most of us who are giving CAT for the second time it is both economically and strategically feasible only to enroll for the test series. So, why is it that two consecutive aimcats are not allowed. But perhaps TIME has something in mind when it has taken this decision and is not of as much importance when compared with the earlier problems we put forth.

All of us (mostly previous students of TIME) still believe TIME is the best for CAT coaching. One should never curse the driver of the vehicle one is travelling in. So we hope TIME rectifies these little things for the sake of it's own standards that it has set over the past few years.

Thanking you,
Yours Sincerely,
CAT Aspirants

P.S : The problems i put forth largely might seem from those who are giving the CAT for the second/third time as they compare it with the paper-pencil format that has from long existed but these little things will be of valuable use for the first timers of CAT also. Morever among those who get iim calls the percentage of repeaters is higher than the first timers.