Deepa Kurup

Applicants find interface unfriendly; many buy vouchers again

There is no edit facility to correct mistakes

It does not display details before confirmation

BANGALORE: The admission process for the Common Admission Test (CAT-2009), used as a yardstick for admission to the elite Indian Institutes of Management, has commenced but applicants have discovered to their chagrin that a small oversight or error can prove costly.

Abhinav, a software engineer in Bangalore logged in with a sense of familiarity, considering it is his third attempt. Within minutes he received an email confirming his registration and his hall ticket, but realised that he had missed a critical detail: his academic details pertaining to 10th and 12th Standards.

Upon contacting the official CAT helpline, he was told the only way out was to purchase a new voucher. “Given that each application costs Rs. 1,400, this is no mean price to pay for a small error.

The user interface design is equally to blame as it does not display details before completion of registration, and is rather unclear,” he said.

Abhinav like many other applicants across the country, was forced to purchase a fresh voucher, shelling out another Rs.1,400.

Several applicants who found themselves in the same boat, told The Hindu that parts of the registration process are user-unfriendly.

“It is important that we be allowed a simple edit function. Other online registration processes — like the XLRI’s XAT, for example — provide that option, and the IIMs must incorporate this too,” another CAT applicant said.

Further, students pointed out other bugs in the process, and said that mandatory fields (such as 10th Standard marks) should be displayed prominently and applicants must be prompted if they miss out any of these details. Leading coaching centres have written to the IIMs pointing this out, asking them to provide an edit function to allow candidates to update their applications in case of mistakes.

“The process, as it stands now, is first come, first served, so students are all trying to rush their applications to get a slot of their preference. There is considerable panic,” said Ajay Arora, regional director of the Triumphant Institute of Management Education.

Other errors include not providing space for middle names and even delay in getting hall ticket or confirmation email.

Arindham Lahiri, director of Career Launcher, said that many students had been approaching them with similar stories.

“Another common issue is that when the confirmation comes, it does not enlist the non-IIM institutes that need CAT scores,” he said.

Officials from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, which is conducting CAT-2009, were unavailable for comment.