Higher number of applicants: This year, the number of applications increased by around 4.5 per cent. With this positive change, the management education scenario of India that witnessed a pall of gloom in the last couple of years is seeing a glimmer of hope.
Around 2.15 lakh candidate bought the CAT 2012 vouchers. Of this, 2.14 lakh candidates registered themselves for the exam. About 9,000 more candidates appeared for CAT this year compared with CAT 2011, which saw 2.05 lakh candidates taking the test. Dr. Debashis Chatterjee, director, IIM Kozhikode, said: “The rise in the number of CAT takers is a positive indication that people have restored faith in the exam. The higher number of experienced candidates has also indicated that the economy is going to improve over the next two-three years.”
More female candidates: CAT 2012 witnessed a positive trend with respect to the pursuit for the gender equality in high quality management institutions. This year, as many as 60,876 female candidates registered out of the total 2.14 lakh candidates. The share of female candidates was 28.4 per cent. The number of female candidates appearing for CAT 2011 was 56,050. “The shift in the candidate pool in terms of the gender and social balance as well as work experience is a positive indication that our society is becoming more aware of the opportunities that are available,” said Prof SSS Kumar, CAT 2012 convenor from IIM Kozhikode, the institute which is conducting the examination.
Balanced questions: The difficulty level of the questions among the two sections was balanced. Though initially the difficulty level was higher in the quantitative ability & data interpretation section, the verbal ability & logical reasoning section too got tough in following days. This ensured that the overall the difficulty level was balanced and not skewed towards a particular section. “In earlier slots, the quantitative ability & data interpretation section ruled. But from middle slots, verbal ability questions got equally tough and ambiguous and logical reasoning questions became trickier,” said Gautam Puri, vice-chairman, Career Launcher.
Disruptions at test centers: Despite all the measures taken at the test centers to avoid glitches, CAT 2012 could still not offer a 100 per cent glitch-free testing experience to test takers. Apart from a few stray incidents in Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, a major disruption took place in Delhi on October 20, 2012, the eighth day of the 21-day test. The power got disrupted in the test centers of Delhi’s Asia Pacific Institute of Management, Jasola Vihar, and Panacea Testing Centre in Mayapuri. After a few hours when the testing conditions could not be restored, test takers of these centers were shifted to other centers. Prometric managing director Soumitra Roy told MBAUniverse.com, “Resolving any operational and technical issues that come up during the testing is part of Prometric’s standard operating procedure. We have a robust infrastructure in place to identify and resolve issues as they surface. At Prometric, we follow global standards of testing and ensure that all candidates get the best testing experience. Electrical malfunction and power-related issues are beyond our control.” He, however, added that immediate action and the best possible measures were taken to avoid re-occurrence of such problems.
High difficulty in QA proved tough for
non-engineering students: Though the difficulty level of CAT 2012 was balanced in the later slots, initially the toughness quotient rested only on the quantitative ability & data interpretation section and the verbal ability & logical reasoning area seemed to be a cakewalk. This skewed distribution of the difficulty level once again seemed to prove CAT as a test meant for students from the engineering and science backgrounds. “The quantitative ability & data interpretation section remained the toughest throughout. Though the difficulty level of the verbal ability & logical reasoning section went up later, the first section was always high on the difficulty level compared with the second section,” Arks Srinivas, CEO, VistaMind Education, said.
Diversity still a far cry: Management is a holistic science, and hence CAT is a test which should not only be taken by engineers but also students from other backgrounds such as humanities, commerce, medical streams, etc. Though the educational backgrounds vary among science, commerce, CA, bachelor of business studies, agriculture, architecture, pharmaceutical sciences and chartered accountancy, etc, students of the humanities and medical backgrounds are yet to catch up.