CAT may cross borders next year

 | October 26,2012 03:55 pm IST

CAT may go global from next yearnon-resident Indians (NRIs) and people of Indian origin (PIO) will be allowed to appear for the Common Admission Test out of India. Being conducted by Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and online support by Prometric India, CAT may hit international shores in 2013.


As of now, international students apply to the IIMs through GMAT score.


Prometric, the CAT conducting agency will be providing online support to IIMs to conduct CAT on an international platform. In India, the agency has signed a five-year contract with the IIMs for conducting the computer-based CAT.


According to reports in various news media, the IIMs have signed a new memorandum of association (MoA), which provides them the freedom to operate independently. The IIMs are currently waiting for the MoA to get established. Only after that the global plans for CAT will take-off.


There are plans to also conduct CAT exclusively for international b-schools in Nepal, Sri Lanka and West Asia. At present, these B-schools admit students through GMAT.


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 in an interview with Business Standard.


The nuances of taking CAT on an international platform are still being finalised. For instance, feasibility to conduct CAT several times in a year is yet to be finalized. GMAT is conducted five times in a year. Besides this a decision has to be drawn on whether CAT scores will be valid for more than a year. GMAT scores are valid for five years.


Both exams test students on their managerial skills, but biggest advantage of CAT is that it discriminates students at top level, while GMAT discriminates candidates at middle level. Thus, CAT gives advantage to institutes to get best of talent as students.


GMAT is an adaptive test, while CAT is a linear computer-based test. In an adaptive test, a student must answer every question that appears on the screen to continue to the next question. This system doesnt provide the feasibility to skip a question or go back to an already-attempted question.