Applicants to the Management Aptitude Test (MAT), for MBA course admissions in more than 600 business schools across the country, can now take the test sitting at home. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, MAT authorities have decided to introduce an internet-based test with remote proctoring through artificial intelligence-based tools this year.
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“Given that social distancing will be the norm in the foreseeable future, remote proctoring of examinations and tests is the way forward, for both students and recruiters. It is secure, with AI-based live proctoring by invigilators and you can take it from the safety of your home any time,” says Rekha Sethi, director-general of the All-India Management Association, which conducts the examination. “COVID-19 has done the job of pushing AIMA into the future at a much faster pace.”
MAT was approved by the Human Resource Development Ministry as a national-level standardised test in 2003, and is conducted four times a year in about 60 cities across India in February, May, September and December. Although not as prestigious as the Common Admission Test (CAT) developed and used for admission into the elite Indian Institutes of Management, MAT scores are used as input for the admission process in at least 600 B-schools. Approximately one lakh candidates appear for the test each year.
So far, candidates have had two options: to write a paper-based or computer-based test. AIMA is now adding the option of an internet-based, “anytime-anwhere” test as well. Candidates can choose to appear for the test from within their own homes if they have a computer with a webcam and internet connectivity which meets certain technical specifications.
Invigilation will be done remotely using artificial intelligence-based tools which have been tested in similar international tests. Candidates found to be violating pre-specified behavioral norms will first be warned, and then disqualified if they repeat the offence. AIMA says it is scheduling a series of mock tests to allow candidates to familiarise themselves with this new mode of testing.
AIMA also plans to use the new technology for its own distance management programmes, and offer it to corporates who want to use a qualifying test as an input for recruitment as well.