CMAT gaining ground, may be held twice a year from 2013
All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is sparing no efforts to make its common management admission test (CMAT) the default choice for students seeking admission to post graduate management courses. CMAT will be debuting this academic session and will be one of six national-level tests, such as common admission test (CAT) and the management aptitude test (MAT), based on which students will gain admission to B-schools across India in 2012-13.
CMAT aims to be used by all 3,500 recognized B-schools in the country, except the 14 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) that admit students based on their CAT and Xavier group of institutions that use the XAT. The new test process, modelled on the popular graduate management admission test (GMAT) conducted across the world, has been initiated based on lessons drawn from the CMAT trial that was conducted in December.
Though the test will be held only once in its inaugural year, it will be conducted twice a year from the next academic year, giving students an extra chance to compete for a seat.
“This exam is quite important to us as it has been planned as a possible substitute to all other B-school entrance exams in future,” said S.S. Mantha, chairman, AICTE, and the key person responsible for CMAT 2012 to Live Mint. “This is our debut year and from next session we have decided to hold it twice a year to make it convenient for students, parents and of course for the management institutes.”
Mantha added that the single-test option, due on 20-28 February, was being pursued in the first year as the entire plan had been delayed.
“We have to start from somewhere,” he said. “Next time, you will see proper planning and execution.”
Eventually the test will be conducted during several separate windows, each lasting a fortnight according to Mantha.
AICTE, which certifies 3,500 B-schools, has managed to pip IIMs, which have been contemplating moving to a similar format for the last 18 months. They had even proposed to set up a company under Section 25 of the Companies Act to conduct CAT by professionals without involving teaching staff in the administration.
The test will be a computer-based, online one and as with some international exams, students will be able to choose their best score to include in applications, Mantha said. Global tests such as the graduate record examinations (GRE) and GMAT follow this kind of model.
According to Mantha, AICTE has initiated a dialogue with several states, including Bihar, Himachal Pradesh etc. to extend its reach most of them had shown a positive reaction in accepting CMAT . “Since the announcement for CMAT was made very late in the year, the council is encouraging state universities to accept CMAT scores, even if it is in addition to their state-level exams. States are responsive and we are urging them to issue some circular in the state,” Mantha said.
Unlike CAT, where IIMs and other institutes have to pay a fee to use the exam for admissions, AICTE is not charging any fees from institutes who agree to accept CMAT scores. Mantha also said that AICTE will not gain monetarily through institute registrations for CMAT and is hopeful that it encourages more institutes to accept CMAT scores.
This year’s test is to be conducted in 61 cities in technical partnership with education technology company Aptech Ltd.