CAT 2011 costlier by Rs 200, Voucher sale from Aug 17 to Sep 26

Taking the Common Admissions Test (CAT) this year will be dearer by Rs 200. The price of the voucher — which goes on sale at Axis Bank branches between August 17 and September 26, 2011 — has been increased from Rs 1,400 of last year to Rs 1,600 for this year for the general category. Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe applicants will have to pay Rs 800 for the voucher compared to last year’s Rs 700.

Click here to view the CAT 2011 notification published in newspapers on August 7.

The computer-based test, which will be conducted between October 22 and November 18 at 36 Indian cities, will be used by the 13 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), including the new ones at Trichy, Udaipur and Kashipur for admissions to their post-graduate programs for the academic session starting 2012.

More than a hundred private and government b-schools too use the CAT scores for their MBA admissions. The list will appear shortly on the CAT website: Watch out for some of the Indian Institutes of Technology in this list, as they dissolve the Joint Management Entrance Test (JMET).

Major changes in CAT 2011

– Two sections instead of the usual three: The first section will be Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation and the second will be Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning.

– Each section will comprise 30 questions to be answered in a duration of 70 minutes. That makes the test 60-questions large and 2 hours and 20 minutes long.

– The sections will be presented sequentially. You’ll have to answer the QA+DI section in the first 70 minutes and then the VA+LR section in the second 70-minute half. You will not be able to move between sections.

– However, you can move back-and-forth between questions inside a section

– The test will be conducted in two sessions each day. The morning session test will start at 10 am while the afternoon one will start at 3:15 pm. Check-in will start 90-minutes prior.

Also read PaGaLGuY’s interview with CAT 2011 Convenor Prof Janakiraman Moorthy

The bummers

– Vouchers cannot be bought online using Credit Card, Netbanking or Cash Cards. Sweat it out you must in queues at banks.

– Did someone announce last year that the test would be conducted in Nepal and Sri Lanka?

– Continued opaqueness about quantitative metrics establishing the reliability and validity of the test. It continues to go unanswered to what margin of accuracy the test is capable of eliciting the same score when taken by the candidate more than once (reliability) and whether the test is a successful measure of a candidate’s suitability to study in an IIM (validity, usually measured in terms of the correlation of the CAT score with the MBA first year academic scores).

– This is actually a widely held expectation from the IIMs. Each IIM should declare their admission process before closing the CAT voucher sale. While one needs to have scored at least 50% in their Bachelor’s degree in order to take the CAT, the criterion is rendered redundant when IIMs declare their own selection criteria containing school and graduation marks upwards of 75%.

If an applicant who scored 55% in college is taking the CAT with a view of getting into a particular IIM, say IIM X, then the candidate ought to know before spending Rs 1,600 whether IIMX will shortlist candidates in that score range. Without such a timely declaration, the CAT comes across as a cash-generating scam for the IIMs. If spending thousands in cash and months of preparation is eventually going to be futile for this candidate, the IIMs ought to indicate that before too many youngsters waste too much time and energy on the test, despite harboring the correct reasons to join an IIM.