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IIM focus on session after tough test

Ahmedabad, Feb. 15: The CAT retest over, the Indian institutes of management said their focus would be to ensure that the next academic session starts on schedule.

The common admission test was reconducted successfully today though many examinees found the papers tougher than in November.

IIM Ahmedabad director Bakul Dholakia, happy that the smooth retest would “enhance the image of the IIMs”, was more concerned about the new session. “The focus of all IIMs would be to ensure that the next academic session starts in the last week of June 2004 as per original schedule.”

He said the test results should be out by the first week of March, followed by shortlisting for personal interview and group discussion that are expected to start by the last week.

“The CAT group (that administers the test) has decided that admissions to IIMs will be finalised by the first week of May,” Dholakia added. The final results for the 1,300 seats in the six IIMs will be declared by the last week of May.

He said the CAT group had not undergone any structural change after the paper leak.

After last year’s leak detected by the CBI and the consequent cancelling, Hiral Panwala thought “I will get enough time for preparation”. “After the CAT was rescheduled, I was very happy. But now I have lost all hope. I could not attempt as many questions as I was hoping to do.”

Hiral is one of the 4,000 students from Gujarat — among the 127,000 in 26 cities across the country — who reappeared for the IIM entrance exam. Fellow examinees Nikhil Mehta, Sunil Gangwani and Piyus Pandey, too, think their chances are “very bleak now”.

Briefing reporters on behalf of the six IIMs, Dholakia said: “Students’ reactions are bound to be mixed. Some might have found it tougher, while others might have found it relatively easier.”

Pathik Shah, however, had no doubt about it. Stepping out of an exam centre here, he said: “Geometry was very tough and the questions were longer than the previous one.”

His friend Rajiv said: “The questions were long and the options from which to choose the correct answer were fewer.”

Echoing Pathik, final-year B.Com student Sudha Narang said she had expected a tighter exam but Geometry beat her expectations. There were “more” supervisors too, she said.

Confident that the retest had sent a “positive signal” to the corporate world, Dholakia said “we had taken several additional precautionary measures” this time. Not only was the printing press for the question papers changed, “we hired private security” to escort sealed trunks of the papers and “increased the security around the strong room”.

Earlier, the trunks were transported under the care of an administrative officer, without any security guard.

Additional security was also arranged at the exam centres this time and the “number of seals required to open a question paper” were “increased”.

On increasing the number of seats in the IIMs, Dholakia said: “In all, there are 1,300 seats and if there is any increase, then the respective IIMs will meet and decide on that.”

The test was cancelled last year for the first time in 28 years after the CBI unearthed an alleged question paper racket and arrested some persons, including Ranjit Singh, said to be the mastermind.

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