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TCS gets right for CAT

Delhi, (India): Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) has emerged winner for conducting the Common Admission Test (CAT). With this, TCS will be the CAT-conducting partner of Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) for the next five years, from 2014 to 2018.

CAT is a highly competitive examination for selecting students into various Management programmes of Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs), Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), National Institute of Technology (NIT), Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) and few other institutions.

From 2009 to 2013, US-based Prometric was in charge of computer-based CAT examination with IIMs. This time TCS grabbed the contract by beating four institutions who participated in the bid. Those institutes were Prometric, Aptech, Equity career Technologies, Merit Trac Services. TCS was chosen as the authority for conducting CAT exam for the next five years- from 2014 to 2018.

From $40 million to $5 million

The CAT exam deal was awarded for TCS for a mere ($5 million) and it is around Rs.29 crore for a period of 5 years. But CAT deal was given for Prometric for a whopping $40 million for conducting exam from 2009-2013.

A committee comprising of one member each from seven old IIMs (including a few directors) finalised on TCS after a series of meetings. Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS) is an Indian information technology (IT) service, business solutions and consulting company headquartered in Mumbai. It has been actively soliciting more projects in the education sector. TCS leverages its 15+ years of experience in the e-Learning space and ready availability of domain experts to provide customized e-Learning and education solutions to help customer enhance their workforce performance and increase their customer satisfaction.

Computer-based CAT
The IIMs had made CAT a computer-based examination from 2009 onwards. Prometric and NIIT were assigned the task of conducting CAT in that year. But unfortunately, in 2009, thousands were unable to take the CAT test due to technical glitches. A virus attack was pointed out as the reason for this technical error.

The human resource development(HR) ministry had demanded a report on the incident, given by the convenor of CAT 2009, Satish Deodhar. The tests were reset for those who could not take it. During 2010, Prometric dropped NIIT as the delivery partner and instead chose two other service providers.

Test Duration and Pattern
The CAT 2013 will have only two sections. The first section is Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation; the second section is Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning. These two sections will be implemented sequentially with separate time limits. The examination will be 140 minutes.

Three scaled scores will be presented for each candidate: an overall scaled score and two separate scaled scores for each section. As the two sections evaluate distinct sets of knowledge and skills, scores do not correlate across... sections. A high score in one section does not guarantee a high score in another section. Percentile rankings are provided for each individual section as well as for the overall exam score.

Last Year CAT controversy

In 2013, around 1.73 lakh students have appeared for the CAT exam. But this again ended in controversy. Around 95,000 candidates have got either zero or negative marks in the exam. Those who attempted a single question correctly got more than 55 percentile. So they approached court to get a redress.

TCS challenge

The major challenge in front of TCS will be to make CAT 2014 as glitch-free and tamper-proof exam. Many complaints have been popped up during the last five years, though CAT was going on without a stop. CAT 2014 is going to be conducted by TCS and IIM-Indore. Prof. Rohit Kapoor will be the conductor of the exam. The controversial CAT 2013 with score discrepancies was conducted under Prof. Rohit Kapoor’s supervision. It will be a great opportunity for TCS to prove an Indian IT brand is technically sound enough to execute a fool-proof CAT exam.

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