Should those who discussed CAT 2013 questions be punished? GMAC took action in a similar scenario in 2008

That the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2013 ‘questions’ were being discussed in public fora when the exam was in progress, was not the best-kept secret in town. But what remains intriguing is that even to-date almost nothing has been done about it. This is despite the fact that sharing of questions goes against the Non-disclosure Agreement, signed before the exam, violation of which attracts a jail term or a Rs 2 lakh fine.

The only ‘action’ taken is by the CAT Convenor Prof Rohit Kapoor who emailed Facebook to block the concerned pages. Prof Kapoor also asked Prometric to ascertain whether ‘the‘ questions discussed were the real ones or just presumed to be real. Prof Kapoor told PaGaLGuY that it is difficult to take outright action since candidates have been discussing questions under false identities.

PaGaLGuY spoke to candidates who vouched that ‘real’ questions were shared and those who took the exam in the later days, benefited . One candidate said that he is contemplating going to the police against the IIMs and Prometric.

Moving against erring candidates, if it does happen, will not be the first. In 2008, GMAC took stringent action when it found its questions discussed openly. GMAC closed down the site which was openly charging for ‘real’ GMAT questions. It also cancelled the scores of 84 candidates and offered others a re-exam.

Why can’t IIM authorities and Prometric think on similar lines? The CAT Convenor as an individual, has little powers, it is for higher officials in the IIM brigade to take the call. And Prometric seems to have retreated into a shell this year. Earlier years, the company was known to be upfront. This year, more than often, it has asked its responses to be recorded as Prof Kapoor’s. PaGaLGuY did ask Prometric about its tempered stand, there was no response.

Not to take away the role of coaching institutes in this. Quite a few first-slot exam candidates are from coaching institutes who discuss questions post the exam. One such official justified that “questions are not discussed in an open forum but privately for learning purposes.” Whatever that means! We also got to hear that one of the more active ‘discussion’ pages on FB was run by coaching institute official.

In a way, candidates are to be blamed as well. Those who participated in the discussions (for obvious reasons) and those who did not because they preferred standing by, hoping for manna to drop from heaven. Previous years too, when candidates spotted ‘wrong’ questions, they protested and threatened to go to court, but nothing after that.

Unlike the US, in India, our ‘araam se‘ stand on issues as burning as these, waiting for someone else to take the first step, make sure that problems just get brushed away under the carpet, only to resurface again.