Crashed servers and technical glitches greeted anxious aspirants at the Common Admission Test (CAT), conducted online for the first time, in many centres across the country on Saturday.

Students complained of problems in some centres in Bangalore, Bhopal, Pune, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, forcing Prometric, the agency conducting the test, to reschedule it for the affected candidates. In centres like Hyderabad, students complained of delayed start but the examination process was smooth. The test is being conducted in 105 centres in 32 cities.

Soumitra Roy, managing director, India Prometric, made it clear that the test was not cancelled at any centre. “As a result of isolated technical issues, some candidates are being rescheduled and provided with a new appointment via email and SMS.” Thousands of students attempted the test without any hitch in hundreds of centres across the country, he said in a statement.

Considered a gateway to great careers, CAT is being taken by nearly 2.41 lakh students for admission to seven IIMs and other top business schools. The test is being conducted in two sessions a day for 10 days.

If technical glitches caused tension among the aspirants, a relatively easy paper compensated for it. Candidates came out of the centres smiling, a marked contrast to the tension in the morning.

“It was easier than expected,” said a candidate who took the examination at the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad.

As announced earlier by Prometric, the number of questions remained at 60. Questions were equally allotted under the Verbal, Data Interpretation (DI) and Quant sections. The paper pattern was the same in both sessions, with 20 questions each under all three sections.

“The paper pattern was almost similar to previous CATs but it was easier than last year,” said a CAT coaching centre tutor. While the difficulty level in English was similar to last year’s, the passages were shorter. Quant was easier than the previous papers but the DI section was a little time consuming as the questions were lengthy and calculation based. Aspirants said they could attempt around 40 questions overall, on average 13-15 in English, and 12 each in Quant and DI. They say 40 per cent in each section could be the likely cut-off mark.

Commenting on the facilities, an aspirant said pencils and enough papers for rough work were given. Photographs of the candidates were taken after the desktop was allotted, and entry was registered with thumb impressions. The candidates were given two hours and 15 minutes for the test irrespective of when the examination started.

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