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November 30, 2009

CAT students to get another life online, say IIMs

New Delhi: Aspirants who couldn't take the computerised Common Admission Test (CAT) can breathe easy as the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) on Monday said the students affected by the computer crash would be given a second chance soon.

"IIMs would categorically like to assure candidates who could not take the test that they would get another opportunity to take the test," the CAT committee said in a statement.

The competitive CAT exam that went online for the first time this year ran into trouble for the third consecutive day on Monday when a computer crash stalled the exam at centres in three cities - Mumbai, Bangalore and Ghaziabad, a leading coaching institute said.

"We have received student feedback that the exam was cancelled at one centre in Bangalore and two colleges in Bombay in the morning schedule," Ulhas Vairagkar, director of TIME coaching institute, told sources.

Some students also complained that the computers failed at the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) Ghaziabad exam centre, stalling the CAT session on Monday morning.

"Today again there were problems reported in the three cities. Many students are very anxious that even if the exam is rescheduled it would clash with their semester exam in colleges," said Gautam Puri, vice chairman of Career Launcher, a coaching institute.

Many candidates were in a frenzy, when computers crashed in around 40 centres across the country on the first and second day of the CAT. The exam's staggered computerised format has a 10-day schedule and will conclude on December 7.

An American firm Prometric, was awarded an $40 million contract by the IIMs to switch the prestigious CAT exam from optical marker reader assessment onto computers.

The company has alleged that "viruses and malware that attacked the test delivery system and were not detected by the anti-virus software at the testing centres".

Meanwhile, the CAT committee has stressed that it's role in administering the examination at the 105 centres in 32 cities was restricted to preparing questions.

"The decision to conduct computerized CAT was taken unanimously by all IIMs. IIMs were responsible for generating questions for the tests and Prometric was responsible for conducting the test.

"The delivery could not be executed flawlessly because of virus attack on several test sites. Prometric is working to address the issues arising from the attacks," the committee stressed.

Prometric is arranging how and when the re-test would be conducted, the committee said, adding that "details will be worked out by Prometric shortly and announced."

Around 240,000 students have registered for the CAT this year, which is scheduled at 105 centres in 32 cities, all linked to a main server. IANS

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