CAT 2011 ‘bloopers’ give exam officials a hard time

Photo: Kevin Bowan

For most b-school aspirants, The Common Admission Test (CAT) means sleepless nights, endless revisions and stress. For CAT officials, it often means the same.

The CAT 2011 came to an end with some dramatic scenes witnessed at different exam centres. While one centre reported the presence of a gun-wielding father trying to make sure his son takes the exam without proper identification, another reported a set of unruly CAT candidates letting off their steam on the watchman of the centre. Not to forget the number of candidates who walked in for the exam with all the wrong identification papers. All this and much more, made the life of CAT committee officials a bit tense and a bit entertaining during the exam season.

The most common complaints came from CAT aspirants who had overlooked the instructions printed on their admit cards and brought with them wrong identification papers. According to an official who was on board the CAT 2011 council, more than a thousand students brought in wrong papers and had to be sent back. While this irked the candidates no end, rules had to be followed to keep the process going smoothly, the CAT official told PaGaLGuY.

At one particular centre in NCR Delhi, an enraged father forced his way into the exam hall and pointed a revolver at the exam conductor. Apparently, the student in question had walked in with a college identification card (ID), which is not a valid document according to CAT 2011 rules. Upon refusing the student entry, the enraged parent pushed his way into the CAT exam centre and threatened the exam conductor with a revolver. The episode ended there and police did not have to be called in, though the matter looked serious when the candidate’s father first pulled out his gun, the CAT official added.

Calling NCR the capital of misbehaviour, the CAT official added that at another CAT centre, a small group of male students were refused admission because of wrong identity proof. Angry, they did nothing better than vent out their frustration on the chowkidaar of the centre. According to the CAT official, the chowkidaar was so badly beaten up by the candidates, that he had to be rushed to the hospital. Surprisingly, even after this incident, the police were not contacted.

At another centre, a student came in with a certificate notarised by a government official as identity proof! It was rejected right away. Within some minutes, the concerned government official along with a top police official called the principal of the particular college (which was a centre for the exam), and tried to settle the matter. The student was still not allowed to take the exam but CAT officials were amazed at all what candidates could do to gain entry to the examination centre.

The CAT official also narrated incidents wherein students tried to appear for the test more than once. There was one particular student who tried to take the exam twice. The CAT committee tracked down the applicant with the help of the finger scanning evidence. The candidate was barred from seeking admission through CAT for the academic year 2012.

Other errors that students made was in the sphere of filling up admission forms. Even though students had the option of applying for all the IIMs in one common form, some didn’t. I got mails and requests after the CAT results were declared requesting the CAT committee to consider the student for a particular IIM that was forgotten about when the form was filled, the official said. “Though CAT committee had the students best interests at heart, little could have been done in such situations,” the official added.

Candidates also sent emails to CAT officials blaming them for just about every thing – from the way the exam was being conducted to problems in their personal lives. PaGaLGuY had the chance to look through some of these emails. Although the mails were a cause of concern earlier, later on they just became a part of the CAT committees experience. Just as CAT 2011 was full of memories for candidates, it was for CAT officials as well.