The first computer-based Common Admission Test for entry to IIMs kicked off on Saturday amid reports of server crash in several centres.

The first-ever experiment of the IIMs to conduct its Common Admission Test (CAT) using computers ran into trouble today with servers crashing in 11 of the 105 centres across the country, affecting over 1500 students who would take the exam again within ten days.

Soon after the exam started, students faced problems in opening the computers at 11 centres in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Bhopal.

Nearly 2.41 lakh students across the country had registered to take the exam for getting entry into seven Indian Institutes of Management and other elite B-schools.

Doing away with the paper-based system, the IIMs had entrusted the conduct of computer-based CAT 2009 to American firm Prometric. The firm has decided to spread the test over a period of ten days at 105 centres in 32 cities.

"Once the exam started, the screen went blank. We were made to sit in another room and there was no information given to us on what happened," said a candidate here.

Another student said they faced problem when they pressed the 'exit' button on the key board.

Prometric said the tests would be rescheduled within ten days for the affected students.

"It has certainly not been cancelled in any of the test centres. As a result of isolated technical issues, exam of some candidates are being rescheduled and provided with a new appointment via email and SMS," said Soumitra Roy, Managing Director, India, Prometric.

Convener of Common Admission Test Satish Deodhar said there was no widespread server crash but just delay.

"There is no widespread server crash. What is happening is there are delays due to many process that we require to fulfill," he said.

To accommodate maximum number of candidates, Prometric and IIMs delayed the start of the morning session by about half an hour, Mr. Roy said.

However, IIM, Bangalore, Director Prof Pankaj Chandra claimed the first session of the examination was a "smooth affair".

There will be two rounds of test each day. The first round will be from 10 am to 12.30 pm while the second round from 3.30 pm to 6 pm, Prometric said.

A total of 2,41,582 students have registered for the exam this year, which is a marginal drop as compared to last year when 2,46,000 students appeared for CAT. The candidates will vie for around 2000 seats in IIMs.