New Delhi: Students appearing for the Common Admission Test (CAT) this year need not worry much as the examination pattern is unlikely to change even though the mode will shift from paper to a computer-based one.
The candidates will be divided into 20 batches with two batches sitting for the test everyday over a period of 10 days.
Prometric, the firm entrusted with the task of conducting this year's test, has said that CAT will be held in 20 possible sittings across 23 cities.
However, irrespective of the delivery mechanism, the pattern of the exam for admission to MBAs in the prestigious IIMs will remain more or less the same.
"It is only that instead of a pencil and paper, the students appearing for the exam will be given computers to mark the correct answers. There will be no major change in the pattern of exam," said Vice-President and General Manager, Asia Pacific, Japan and Africa of Prometric India, Ramesh Nava.
While the infrastructure needed to undertake this task will be determined only after the actual number of aspirants is known, the mammoth task might require about 15,000 computers.
"Assuming that three lakh students register for the CAT in 2009 there would be a need for a minimum of 15,000 computers," Nava said.
Given the enormity of the task, Prometric, which has conducted computer-based examinations like GMAT and TOEFL, hopes to leverage their experience at the international level for the CAT exam and is working closely with the IIMs in this regard.
"Prometric has converted hundreds of testing programmes from paper and pencil to computer-based test delivery and we are applying the lessons learnt from that experience to the implementation of the CAT exam," he added.
The IIMs announced in April that the CAT would be held through computers.
While a computer-based system is expected to speed up the process of evaluation, it will enable IIMs and more than a hundred other Indian B-schools that rely on its scores to quickly take a decision on admissions.
It will also provide greater flexibility to candidates in selecting the date, time and location of the test to suit their needs.