CAT 2014: Why are applicants skipping IIM entrance test?
It’s Official! Common Admission Test (CAT) for admission to IIMs and top B-schools in India is losing sheen. The reflection of the same is evident in the declining number of CAT takers in last few years.
Despite hard facts on its face, Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), however, remain in denial mode on MBA Aspirants losing interest in its entrance exam- CAT.
Sample this: While a total of around 2.9 lakh candidates applied for CAT in 2008, the number is significantly down to 1.97 lakh for CAT 2014. Further, over 28,000 applicants skipped the prestigious MBA entrance exams this year, thus bringing the number of total candidates appearing for the test to 1.68 lakh only in 2014, IIM officials have confirmed.
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Not only this, the gap between the number of applicants and number of actual test takers is also widening. While last year about 1.74 lakh candidates appeared for CAT, this year number has dipped to 1.68 lakh, despite a marginal increase in the number of applicants from 1.94 lakh in 2013 to 1.96 lakh in 2014.
So, are MBA aspirants actually losing interest in CAT or something is wrong with CAT process itself? Is CAT not able to keep pace with changing times or CAT is losing out to other MBA tests as the preferable test in India?
Though CAT, the gateway to prestigious IIMs, still remains the largest exam in MBA domain in terms of volume in India, experts suggest that its turf may tumble if it continues the way it has been doing for last few years.Careers360 digs deeper into different factors and brings experts’ insight on what actually is going wrong with CAT. How different factors are influencing the CAT numbers?
CAT 2013 chaos:
Over the past few years, controversies surrounding Common Admission Test (CAT) and its conducting IIMs have dented the credibility of the test.
Despite being the most prestigious MBA exam in India, in 2013, CAT left thousands of candidates doubtful over its evaluation process. When CAT 2013 result was declared, questions were raised on the normalization process followed by IIMs as 95,000 candidates obtained zero or negative scores, as a result of which candidates who attempted no questions were placed at around 55 percentile bracket. Candidates filed court cases seeking clarification from IIMs on the raw score data. The matter still remains unresolved as IIMs refused to share the data with the petitioners citing commercial reasons. Amidst the chaos, CAT 2014 was announced with an array of changes.
Also, the IIM authorities evaded response on queries related to wrong question that appeared on one of the CAT testing days in 2013. The CAT 2013 official from Indian Institute of Management (IIM) took more than 25 days to respond on how they are going to evaluate affected CAT 2013 candidates. After much insistence, they simply said that as many as 300 CAT 2013 takers, who faced a wrong question on day 10 of the CAT 2013 testing window will be evaluated on their performance barring the wrong question that appeared in their test paper.
Such controversies have raised doubts over the credibility of the test itself. “I no longer trust the CAT examination and its evaluation process, and that is why I didn’t appear for CAT this year,” said an MBA aspirant who is still fighting IIMs in the court over 2013 evaluation process.
Controversies over years:
Though CAT opens you door for prestigious Indian Institutes of Management and many other top B-schools, the coveted MBA entrance test has been marred in controversies over the years.
In CAT 2012, controversy rose after the declaration of the results when it was found out that the scores of the test takers were tampered with. In June 2013, after 5 months of the declaration of the CAT 2012 result, it was found out that the scores of 80 candidates had been tampered which resulted in inflated CAT scores.
In 2011, a massive change in the exam pattern received a lukewarm response. While some candidates felt that the time bound sections would save them from deciding the time management strategy, others felt that the test takers should have the freedom to choose the order of attempting the sections.
In CAT 2010, CAT results were reportedly leaked before the actual result was published. After the incident, the website went offline till the results were declared. The website was blocked due to the presence of ‘malicious content’.
In CAT 2009, the test turned computer based but test takers’ complained of dysfunctional computers where they were not able to view or mark the answers. Owing to the technical snags, 47 test centers remained closed on Day 2 of the test and 33 centers, which included some new centers remained close on Day 3. The result was also postponed due to the retests for affected candidates.
Online testing format and changing pattern:
The frequent changes in CAT pattern and testing format also seem to have negatively influenced the number of CAT takers. Since 2009, when CAT was changed into computer based format, the number of applications has declined from 2.41 lakh in 2009 to 1.97 in 2014.
The CAT pattern has also witnessed changes which, according to experts, may not have been taken in positively. For example, sharing his thoughts on the recent CAT pattern changes, Prof Chowdari Prasad, Dean (Planning & Development), IFIM Business School, says, “The questions pattern, duration of the test, number of centres and restricted number of days to two may not have been taken by the aspirants in total spirit. It is a normal phenomenon that both fresher and working candidates look for past trends and prepare. These candidates should have been taken in to confidence while re-structuring the whole scheme with radical changes.”
He added that CAT’s glitches and snags were also more prominent after the exam mode was changed to computer based test.
More IIM seats – brand dilution
In recent years, 7 new IIMs have been established and 6 new IIMs have again been approved. This despite the fact that the last set of new IIMs are still struggling to get a new campus and desired quality of education.
While there were only 11 seats available per 1000 applicants for IIM admission year 2010-12, the increasing number of seats coupled with lowering registration resulted in availability of 17 seats per 1000 applicants for admission year 2014-16.
With the new set of ‘New IIMs’ and increased number of seats under the premium brand, the exclusivity of an IIM seat seems to be losing ground and the lack of desired academic quality is making a dent on brand IIM. This phenomenon, according to the experts has led to brand dilution of IIM and MBA aspirants’ perspective towards an IIM seat is changing accordingly.
Assuming that all the 6 new IIMs notified in CAT 2014 begin their first batch in 2015 with a minimum strength of 50 students, there will be an addition of about 300 more seats to the existing 3335 seats across all 13 IIMs. Besides this, going by the last 3-4 year’s trend, a minimum of 3-5 % seats get added to the existing capacity of all IIMs. This is expected to add about 150 seats to the existing strength. Thus, about 3700-3800 IIM seats are expected to be available for 2014 CAT applicants, despite a reduction in CAT-takers’ number.
Low quality at majority B-schools:
As CAT is also the gateway to many B-schools apart from IIMs, experts feel that low quality of education at majority B-schools in India is the reason for declining numbers. The quality ultimately reflects in poor placements and non-employability of B-schools grads.
“The MBA aspirants have increasingly realized that beyond the top names an MBA education does not add much value. So unless the quality of education in large number of B-Schools are substantially upgraded CAT as a test will continue to decline,” says Dr. Atish Chattopadhyay, Professor of Marketing and Deputy Director - 2 Year PGDM (MBA) Program, S P Jain Institute of Management and Research.
ROI concerns: better career options
As B-schools,including a few IIMs, are increasingly facing challenges on placements, the candidates are getting skeptical on Return on Investment (ROI) issue.
“Increasing fee and discouraging ROI also seem to be one reason that the applicants are dropping from appearing for the tests,” says Prof Chowdari Prasad, Dean (Planning & Development), IFIM Business School.
PT Education Chairman Sandeep Manudhane, says that there is a disconnect. A lot of students see between the huge investments required for an MBA and the 'immediate' job prospects. “Hence, many seem to be backing out at the last moment, willing to try it again the next year, or simply dropping off totally,” he says.
Further, experts also feel that career options in banks and other government sectors look more lucrative in current scenario. Availability of options like Bank PO or UPSC, which are attracting candidates in droves, could be another reason, Manudhane adds.
Sanjay Padode, Secretary, IFIM, has the similar thought. But he puts it differently, as he says, “The economic sentiments have improved and hence a lot of the experienced aspirants may have decided to postpone their idea for pursuing management courses as they would be seeing better salaries and good career opportunities (in their current jobs).”
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Questions related to CAT
can I use scale and divider and other gemotrical instruments in nift cat test
According official websites and our CAREERS360 sitethings which are allowed to be carried in exam hall is as follows:
Ball point pen (to mark the answers in the OMR sheet)
Lead pencils (of varying grades)
Dry colours (such as oil pastels/colour pencils/sketch pens etc.)
Check here to know all about NIFT entrance exam 2021 last minutes tips and important things to carry.
These should be written on admit card what to bring and what not in examination hall.
i am khushi sharma . i have scored 627 in neet cat- gen EWS . please let me know about the colleges in UP that i can go for with this score . also please tell if i can go for delhi colleges through AIQ . AIR - 9416 cat rank - 944
Firstly i would like to appreciate you for your efforts for scoring so much high in one of the most difficult exams of the country .
I can understand that this year despite of scoring such a high score you get such a rank but this shows that how much the competetion is rising and also the cutoff is going to rise so much high .
Yes you can apply like this because both of the counsellings are conducted separately but you will get more benefit via the state quota.
Chances for Delhi are unfortunately very less but in UP due to inc in seats due to AIIMS and JIPMER you are going to a very nice institution.
You can also use our collage predictor to understand your standing in the competetion:-
I wish you very best for a very Bright Career Ahead. I am always available for any further queries.
10th 74% , 12th 54% , BBA grad 84% Cat 16.25 percentile, caste SC . Is there any chances of getting into FMS BHU?
firstly i would like to congratulations you for scoring good marks in your study. And also congratulations for clearing CAT exam.
If you have secured the minimum cutoff of BHU’s FMS will be called for the admission process of the colleges which includes the GD/PI rounds.
The final selection of the candidates is made upon the performance of the candidates in CAT 2020 and the admission rounds. Here the academic record of the candidates is also considered.
Hence there is a chance of getting into FMS BHU .
Good Luck !
I have scored 386 in neet 2020 I have domicile of Gujarat and belong to ews category. which colleges can I get admission in within Gujarat or outside Gujarat? please guide me. cat rank 22585 AIR 201772
As per previous years records, you can get the following seats:
- Zydus Medical College and Hospital, Dahod
- Govt. Dental College & Hospital, Ahmedabad
- Govt. Dental College & Hospital, Jamnagar
- Ahmedabad Dental College, Bhadaj-Ranchodpura Road, Dist. Gandhinagar
- AMC Dental College, Ahmedabad
To know more, kinldy visit at:
Also you can use the college predictor tool link given below:
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