CAT, the mother of all exams is a stupendous exam, with almost 2,00,000 test takers appearing for it every freaking year. The exam gives you a boarding pass to flight IIM. It is designed to check your concepts of mathematics, your reading skills, you data comprehending abilities. More than the knowledge of concepts, I believe it is a calm and composed frame of mind that helps your boat sail through easily.
All pumped up, I reached my exam centre on the morning of 26/11/17, keeping my mind calm, happy and feeding it with all the positivity in the world. The centre is - On-Line Edu Solutions, Kalkaji, New Delhi. I was appearing for Slot 1 and had reached the centre at 7.45 am. Post biometric attendance, I locate my PC only to find it shut, I switch it on and it starts rebooting, and I wonder why is that happening. The PC starts, only to shut down again and again. I panic a little, gathering little respite from the fact that I’m not the only unfortunate one to go through this in the lab. Suddenly screens of rest of the test takers pops the ‘Now you can sign in’ message and I realize its already 8.50 am and the exam is slated to begin at 9 am and I don’t have my PC working. Calm mind? LOL!
The invigilators somehow manage to allocate us (the unfortunate ones) new systems and the screen now pops ‘You can now begin your exam’ message. As soon as we click on Start Now, hold on ladies and gentlemen, because nothing happens. We continuously click, but nothing happens. We see people running about everywhere, invigilators, IIM representatives, all perplexed.
The clock strikes 9.30, then 10, then 10.30, and we are told that there’s a server issue and that’s happening all over India, which comes as a breather because had the situation been same then the exam automatically stands postponed. It's 11 already and the exam still hasn’t begun. At 11.30, we are informed that it is only at this particular centre that the exam isn’t taking place. I suffered a mini panic attack. At 11.50 am, the concerned IIM representative comes upstairs to inform us that we’d be relocated to a different centre and would be taking our exam in Slot 2. They gave us this mini relief only to take it back, for what they said next was unexpected. “Buses are coming and you’d be relocated to Greater Noida”. Oh! How clearly I remember those words.
A great deal of hullabaloo, both inside and outside the centre prevails. And the police are called. The buses arrive and at 2 pm, they inform that the slot 2 people and slot 1 people have to board the buses for their respective centres in Noida and Greater Noida.
After a lot of drama, the exam begins at 4.45 pm at KCC Institute of Technology and Management, Greater Noida. They allowed us to take our seats wherever we’d wish to. There’s a row where there’s no separation in between and I could clearly hear murmurs of aspirants discussing answers. The cherry on the top? The invigilator keeps pronouncing names and goes on finding students on their seats which is just about anywhere. When asked to continue the same post the exam, the invigilator refuses and continues his task-in-hand.
Isn’t it ironic that the institutes that impart management education can’t ensure a smooth sailing of an exam and such a big incidence goes unnoticed? This isn’t a case of sour grapes but I am astounded and disturbed to a level that in the past 1.5 months, there has not been a single day that my mind did not recollect the incident.
SNAP was online this year for the first time and I wish to applaud the concerned management for how they conducted it. I really appreciate them. Happiness was short-lived because then there was XAT, and after numerous dilemmas, we were allowed to appear for the exam without biometric attendance, the computers would shut down time and again. Hillarious or sad, you decide!
Moral of the story?
-Expect the unexpected!