Of the total testing slots planned for the Common Admissions Test (CAT) 2011, two-thirds have already been filled as on September 7, Prometric India's Managing Director Soumitra Roy told PaGaLGuY on Wednesday.
He however declined to divulge what the total capacity number was. He did mention though that the capacity calculations were based on last year's trends "after factoring in reasonable growth". CAT 2011 registrations opened on August 17 and would continue until September 28.
"To date, including the seats allocated for contingency purpose, we have already filled two-thirds of the total capacity," he told PaGaLGuY. Prometric apportions about 15-20% seats for contingency, which are kept on reserve in each testing center for use in case of malfunctions.
Mr Roy also informed that in the first three weeks of registration, Prometric had added more testing seats at eight cities where the capacity turned out to be under-planned in the face of actual registrations. These cities were Bhilai, Dehradun, Cochin, Kozhikode, Jamshedpur, Guwahati, Vishakhapatnam (Vizag) and Hyderabad.
"All this was being done to ensure candidate convenience," he explained.
"We will continue to monitor and adjust capacity but this will become difficult as we approach the end of the registration window. I would urge candidates to register as early as possible to avoid the last minute rush or disappointment of not getting their preferred dates or location, he advised.
"As organizers of the test, it will give us a bit of flexibility to figure out which places are getting full and add capacity," he added.
CAT 2010 was taken by 2.04 lakhs students. Assuming the "reasonable growth factor" at 15% and adding another 17% as contingency seats, the two-third capacity filled until now amounts to around 1.81 lakhs. Assuming that 30% of the total final number would rush to buy vouchers and register between now and the last date (September 2, the CAT 2011 registrations would close at around 2.58 lakh candidates, a 26% increase over 2010 and leaving just about 9% contingency seats. No wonder Prometric wants to urge candidates to register quickly.
These are of course, only projections based on what we know, many assumptions and in the absence of any absolute data from Prometric. There are factors working both against and in favour of an increase in CAT 2011 numbers. With major b-schools such as those at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA) and Delhi University coming under the CAT fold, the numbers look set to increase. However, with most IIMs according higher weightage to past academic scores, the feeling that the top schools are beyond reach of those scoring 75% or lesser in school and college may affect numbers towards the negative.