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Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have been evading CAT answer key requests and other RTI requests related to CAT evaluation process in the name of RTI exemption clauses. But the escape route that IIMs have taken so far does not stand legal scrutiny as the Supreme Court restricts public exam authorities taking shield of testing partners to evade answer sheet release. In its order relating to answer key release, SC order says that “no exemption under section 8 is available in respect of evaluated answer books” and hence “the examining bodies will have to permit inspection sought by the examinees.”
Careers360 has earlier reported how IIMs have been violating Supreme Court order that binds public exam authorities to release answer sheet or response sheet if requested by examinees.
We further dig into the Supreme Court order to bring clarity on why the secrecy that IIMs maintain in the name of RTI exemption is not legally valid.
On requests for Common Admission Tests (CAT) answer keys from CAT examinees, IIMs have maintained that answer key release is not required as they already follow standard testing and evaluation practices.
Further, they cite commercial interest of their testing partners as the reason behind not making the mechanical evaluation process public.
Another argument that they present is that the announcement of answer keys/response sheet and raw scores will create confusion among test takers.
None of the above logics stand in the face of the SC order in this regard.
The Supreme Court order says that examining body is the ‘principal’ and the examiner is the agent entrusted with the work, that is, evaluation of answer-books. The order further says that once the paper is evaluated, it again becomes the record held by exam authorities and not the examiner. Therefore, third party interest can’t be cited as a reason under RTI Act for not sharing answer sheets by public exam authorities.
“Once the examiner has evaluated the answer books, he ceases to have any interest in the evaluation done by him. He does not have any copyright or proprietary right, or confidentiality right in regard to the evaluation. Therefore it cannot be said that the examining body holds the evaluated answer books in a fiduciary relationship, qua the examiner,” the SC order reads.
In complete violation of the SC order, an IIM evaded a specific reply to a CAT taker who requested information on his CAT performance, through an RTI application. Taking shield of its testing agency, the concerned IIM denied the information saying the details if divulged “will affect their (testing agency) commercial interest and thus barred from disclosure.”
Careers360 brings SC order excerpts which define fiduciary relationship (relationship of trust):
“Fiduciary relationship: On a careful examination we find that this contention has no merit. The examining body entrusts the answer-books to an examiner for evaluation and pays the examiner for his expert service. The work of evaluation and marking the answer-book is an assignment given by the examining body to the examiner which he discharges for a consideration. Sometimes, an examiner may assess answer-books, in the course of his employment, as a part of his duties without any specific or special remuneration. In other words, the examining body is the ‘principal’ and the examiner is the agent entrusted with the work, that is, evaluation of answer-books. Therefore, the examining body is not in the position of a fiduciary with reference to the examiner. On the other hand, when an answer-book is entrusted to the examiner for the purpose of evaluation, for the period the answer-book is in his custody and to the extent of the discharge of his functions relating to evaluation, the examiner is in the position of a fiduciary with reference to the examining body and he is barred from disclosing the contents of the answer-book or the result of evaluation of the answer-book to anyone other than the examining body. Once the examiner has evaluated the answer books, he ceases to have any interest in the evaluation done by him. He does not have any copyright or proprietary right, or confidentiality right in regard to the evaluation. Therefore it cannot be said that the examining body holds the evaluated answer books in a fiduciary relationship, qua the examiner.”
“We, therefore, hold that an examining body does not hold the evaluated answer-books in a fiduciary relationship. Not being information available to an examining body in its fiduciary relationship, the exemption under section 8(1)(e) is not available to the examining bodies with reference to evaluated answer-books. As no other exemption under section 8 is available in respect of evaluated answer books, the examining bodies will have to permit inspection sought by the examinees.”
Thus, the Supreme Court in its crucial order maintained that the response sheet, which is evaluated by exam authorities, is a record of information which essentially falls under the purview of RTI. The IIMs, however, have not only been refusing to share the evaluated response sheet but also denying access to answer keys of its question papers, which according to the Supreme Court is a piece of information that can be shared with candidates.
Ever since CAT turned computer-based, the question papers are no more accessible to the candidates or others, after the test. This often raises questions regarding the credibility of evaluation and scoring process as the test takers cannot revisit questions and estimate their score.
Till 2013, the test was conducted in a window of 20 days, 2 slots each day. This meant, there were 40 question papers, which might not have been feasible for the authorities to upload. However, in 2014 the test was conducted in 2 days with 4 slots and the window was further reduced to a single day with 2 slots in 2015. With a shorter window, the IIMs could have conveniently shared or uploaded the question papers which would have only helped the test takers. It would have also helped the future MBA aspirants to know the types of questions to expect, important topics, difficulty level etc. Despite having a shorter window and lesser number of slots, IIMs are still not open about making the question papers public.
Making the question papers available is a standard practice which is followed by many high profile competitive exams like JEE, NEET, UPSC etc. Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which conducts the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) for the engineering admission to IITs, NITs, IIITs and GFTIs makes question papers available not only for offline paper but also for the test conducted in computer-based mode. Further, answer keys for these exams are also released after the exam. This makes the test process completely transparent and helps strengthen its credibility.
Test conducting authorities like CBSE (Joint Entrance Exam) and XLRI Jamshedpur (XAT) make individual answer sheet of the candidates accessible to them on their individual login ID, making the process further transparent after releasing question paper and answer keys. For CAT, IIMs deny any such access to candidates to go back and see what they have marked in their answer sheet.
Similarly, CAT takers also look for question papers and answer keys for more transparency in the system. Also, the answer keys help test takers to estimate their score and help them plan admission at a suitable B-School.
Being a public examination body and elite league of management institutions, IIMs are expected to lead ways for transparency.
If IIMs release all three above documents, question paper, answer key and answer sheet, then the major issues related to lack of transparency can be addressed. The need to release the important documents are realised even more when controversies like securing 55 percentile in CAT despite ‘no’ attempts ensue.
Will IIMs come straight on this? Will they take a step forward towards greater transparency in their testing and evaluation system?
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Dear Akshat, CAT is exclusively conducted by the IIMs. So the selection for admission to any of the 20 IIMs is through CAT exam. Unfortunately no other score except for CAT score is accepted for IIM Ahmedabad. You can check their selection process at:
Dear Sai, IIMs look for Diversity factor in Academics. They have a special rating scale for Professional courses like MBBS,BDS, CA, etc. We shall help you with the admission process of IIM Ahmedabad just as an example to show how does the selection process work. There are 3 sections in CAT: QA, DILR, VRC. IIM A has released its 2019 cut off percentiles. Only those Candidates who have scored this percentiles will be shortlisted for further rounds. The cut offs are as follows:
VRC DILR QA Overall
General 70 70 70 80
OBC-Transgender 65 65 65 75
SC 60 60 60 70
ST 50 50 50 60
PWD 60 60 60 70
PWD-ST 50 50 50 60
On an average IIMs need a cut off 90 percentile and more for admission to their colleges. You can check the complete selection process of IIM A at:
Now based on these cut offs top 5 percentile from each Category will be short listed for WAT and PI. So inorder to be able to score these cut offs, you need to know the exam pattern and marking scheme. CAT exam paper can be Categorised into 3 parts:
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
The Verbal Ability section and Reading Comprehension has 34 Questions, Data interpretation-Logical Reasoning section has 32 MCQ questions and Quantitative Ability has 34 MCQ questions totalling up to 100 questions. Each Question has 3 marks and a wrong answer takes away 1 mark.
NCERT books will sharpen your basics and you need strong basics for preparing for any entrance examination. Once your basics are in place, because the time period for preparation is quite less, your preparation should be extensive and thorough.
Quantitative Aptitude covers almost 30% of the CAT question paper. QA can be categorised into Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Advanced Mathematics. Practise chapter by chapter and develop mental calculations. Like practise more of basic summation, subtraction, fractions and tables. Numbers, Percentage, Profit and Loss, Simple and Compound Interest, Ratio, Proportionality, Time-Distance, Time-Work, Mixtures, Averages, Partnership, Permutation and Combinations, Probability, Set Theory, Progression and Series, Line, Angles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals, Polygon, Circles, Ares, Volume, Height and Distance, Coordinate Geometry, Basic Trigonometry are few important topics.
Because this section involves mathematics and takes most of your time, your focus should be on solving the problems efficiently in the beginning. Even if it takes time, practise upto perfection. Practise as many questions as you can in the conventional way. As and when you get a grip on the subject, you can go for short cuts. Memorise tables, square roots, cube roots, conversion from percent to fraction, etc. Solve sample papers on Mathematics. In the beginning, do not worry about the time it takes. As you practise, you will get the hang of the subject and it will be easier for you.
In Verbal Ability session, command on your English, Grammar, Vocabulary, Understanding of the given paragraph are of more importance. Reading English NewsPaper will also help you in your preparation.
Read articles from time to time. Follow newspapers, magazines, and watch the news channels and browse the internet to keep yourself updated. You will need a lot of reading to help you in the comprehension section. You will need speed to help you in this section and you can achieve that only by thorough practise and reading. Take time to understand the question because most answers are interlinked.
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning needs to be practised as much as possible. Comparison of data, Data Analysis, taking clues, interpreting missing data, coming to conclusions and making future projections will be covered under this Category. The questions here are interlinked and so if you get one formula correct, cracking the next few questions will be easy. So it's important to memorise and practise formulae. You should cover topics like Data tables, Data Charts, Bar Diagrams, Pie Charts, Graphs, Data Comparison and Analysis.
As this is the most tricky section, this needs a lot of practise. Solve as many sample papers as possible to get the hang of the section. Make notes when required. Regular practise can help you understand and solve the questions easily as time goes on.
Overall,once you know the syllabus, it's easier from there on.Go through the previous papers to analyse and prepare a comprehensive plan and set priorities according to the importance of different topics across sections. Customise your own study plan based on your strengths and weaknesses. Gauge your preparation from time to time by taking mock tests. Solve questions to check your levels of preparation but not to set any targets. Remember, its ok to have cheat days and relax. But make sure you have a plan and stick to it for the next few months
We can recommend a few books for you:
NCERT books to cover the basics from 6th to 10th Class
Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit Saxena
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum for CAT by Sarvesh Sharma
How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Exams by Abhijit Guha
You can also download free downloadable e books at:
NIFT has nothing to do with CAT or GAT. Those are the exams for MBA. NIFT is for admission in fashion courses.
The eligibilitiy is just marks of your 10th and intermediate. The main point is the candidate must have qualified both from a recognised board and must be having PCM as the compulsory subject.
The exam has an age limit to be 23 and there is 5 years relaxation for category reserved candidates.
For more information please check the article:-
Hope it helps!
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