A not so Normal CAT!

On the morning of January 14, I opened my laptop- eager and anxious. The last time I had been in this state was way back in 2007 during my class X results. But, this time, it was something way bigger. This time, it was something which could define the next 35 years of my life. This time, it was a result which could escalate me from mediocrity to better living standards. This time, it was CAT-2013.

After a few failed attempts and typos, I managed to log in. The first figure I saw was 97, the other one was 92. Bazinga! (As Dr. Cooper would say.) An overall percentile of 97.11 was staring at me from the other side of the screen. I screamed and shouted in joy. I knew that I had, for a person with limited access to resources and facilities, done a great job. After all the rounds of congratulatory calls and texts, I tried to get back to my normal self but nothing intoxicates like success, you know. I was in a different zone the whole day.

Then, as I was looking for my options and colleges, I stumbled upon a link of “some” petition. It was started by a disgruntled CAT candidate; I started reading about the matter and was surprised to look at the number of cases which had huge differences of percentiles between the two sections. Then, I read a blog by a preparation institute’s mentor claiming that he had secured the 55th percentile without a single attempt. This befuddled me further cause this meant that almost half of the candidates had performed worse, scored less than zero. Now, two things- CAT 2013 wasn’t that tough; the quality of the test takers can never be so poor! So, has normalization stumped everyone with an audacity which would leave even a certain Adam Gilchrist awe-struck?

I used to believe that the process of normalization was more about ensuring fairness. For this, a correct attempt from the tough band earned the candidate highest processed marks and a wrong attempt from the easy band led to maximum negative marking. However, after a lot of Google search, I realized that there are more aspects to it- some known, some unknown which can not be “divulged”.

The thing is that I have started to believe that there are candidates who have been misled by this system and deserve a better score. Now, because percentile calculation is a relative affair, my own percentile should drop. I’ll be honest, I had given my best like all the serious CAT candidates. But, what if I had been victimized too? I too would have pushed the system for a re-evaluation and “stay” on the process but because I am on the greener side, I am trying to get myself ready for the wayward questions that the panelists might put up.

Students are losing faith in CAT which is not a very encouraging sign. If the premier institutions of a nation are dragged to the court, it shows that a lot is amiss with the education system and its administrators. I, here, sincerely hope that all the issues get resolved with the deserving candidates getting their respective chances to make it to their dream schools and also, the CAT authorities come out stronger and better. Otherwise, we might see another drop in the number of CAT test-takers in 2014.

P.S.: All the petitioners, would they still want to receive education from those institutes which have filled them with so much of anguish and anger? Only time will tell.