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CAT-hit figures soar

New Delhi, Nov. 29: CAT organisers cancelled tests for around 2,000 candidates today after failing to rectify glitches that emerged yesterday, pushing up to 4,000 the number of aspirants who may have to reappear for the examination.

CAT — alternatively referred to by the IIMs as the common admission test or the common aptitude test — has shifted from pen and paper to a computerised format this year.

The organisers are still working out the dates on which the fresh tests will be held. The initial plan was to hold the retest within the original 10-day phase but with the number going up, it is not clear if the window will be sufficient or new dates will have to be found.

The glitches prevented the flow of questions and instructions through local servers on to the computer screens of several candidates on the first day on Saturday.

Prometric, the testing service provider, expressed regrets and blamed “viruses”. “Exhaustive plans were developed and put in place well in advance of the start of the testing window. Unfortunately, the particular viruses and malware that attacked the test delivery system were not detected by the anti-virus software at the testing centres,” the company said.

Sources in the IIMs and Prometric had put the estimated figure of students affected yesterday at 350. But the organisers today admitted that “nearly 2,000” aspirants could not take or complete the test “in a manner fair to the” candidate yesterday.

The organisers decided to cancel today’s tests at 49 test rooms in 24 centres across 13 cities where some problems showed up yesterday. The affected cities include Calcutta, Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi and Bhubaneswar. In Calcutta, some candidates in three centres faced a recurrence of yesterday’s problem.

“We decided against putting students at the risk of the trauma of coming to these centres and struggling with the test,” a Prometric representative said. The representative could not guarantee that tests would run smoothly at all centres tomorrow.

Although the organisers placed a notice on the CAT website (www.catiim.in) specifying the centres had been cancelled today early in the morning, the candidates were not individually informed through messages or phone calls.

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