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Dear Prof. Rishikesha T Krishnan,                                        

I am an alumnus of IIM Bangalore (PGP 1991-93) and am also the Managing Director of CL Educate Ltd (better known as Career Launcher), an organization that straddles multiple verticals in education space, apart from test-prep - preparing students for various entrance exams, including CAT.

Last five years of CAT (2009-13, conducted by Prometric) have been controversy ridden and hence, on behalf of CAT aspirants, let me thank you for the decision to move away from Prometric for CAT 2014 and also for the other changes (only 2 test days, more test centres, etc.) that have made CAT more student friendly.

I believe that any selection process should not only be fair and true, but also perceived to be so. Having seen almost all CAT papers in the last 20 years, I want to share my observations on a couple of areas which have dented the image of the CAT, and offer suggestions for prompt action in these areas.

Issue 1: Errors in CAT question paper(s)

I can confidently state that, almost all the CAT papers over the last 20 years (including the five Prometric CATs) had at least a few errors which would have lead to incorrect evaluation and quite a few deserving candidates missing out on calls from the IIMs. To illustrate, let me take a few examples from the QADI section of Mock CAT that has been put up on the CAT website (


This paper has questions from old CAT papers (CAT 2004-08); In a few questions the original errors have been repeated while in some, new errors have been introduced:

1.     Q 5 inspired from a question of CAT 2005, but all choices given are incorrect.

2.     Q 32 copied incorrectly from CAT 2005 paper

3.     Q 43-46, from CAT 2005; a statement is missing in the information on the data.

4.     Q 43 from CAT 2005; two choices are the same and the correct choice is missing

5.     Q 50 from CAT 2007; the question has been reproduced with the original error.


My suggestions:

To ensure that no candidate suffers due to an error in the question paper, CAT authorities should, after conducting the test:

a.      Release the four question papers along with the answer key. Answer keys for JEE, GATE, CLAT, etc. are released by the respective bodies that conduct these exams. This ensures greater transparency and provides greater clarity to candidates regarding their scores.

b.      Give candidates three days to report any error that they identify in the question papers.

c.      Release a final answer key after considering the errors reported by candidates.

d.      Release the OMR-equivalent for all candidates, i.e. the answer marked by the candidate, and the correct answer for all questions. IIT JEE mains, GATE and CLAT follow this practice.

Issue 2: Normalization of CAT scores

Over the last five years, one issue that has created doubts in the minds of candidates, about the fairness of CAT, is the process of normalization of scores. The students do not understand the process and are further confused by all kinds of rumors since authentic information has not been shared by the CAT Centre. This lack of transparency (by Prometric) in the CAT 2013 normalization process is the reason for the legal cases against the IIMs.


The note on normalization of scores of CAT 2014 that has been released recently by CAT Centre 2014 is very ambiguous and unclear. Let CAT not hide behind the terms ‘regular process’ or ‘accepted process’ of GATE etc. Unless the normalization process is made transparent, CAT and IIMs may see a recurrence of the chaos that followed CAT 2013 result declaration.


My suggestions:

a.     Announce the entire process of normalization unambiguously and unequivocally. The formula for determining the relative level of difficulty of the four papers should be shared with the students. After all, the formula used by GATE is available in the public domain.

b.     After the CAT 2014 result is declared, let CAT Centre 2014 come out with the details of the relative level of difficulty of the four papers and how the raw score of a candidate is converted to his/her CAT score.

I hope that the CAT Centre 2014 will act on the above suggestions in the interest of CAT aspirants and not reject them just because I happen to be associated with a coaching institute.


With warm regards,                                                New Delhi

                                                                              Nov 12, 2014

Gautam Puri




a. Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Honorable Cabinet Minister – Human Resources Development (HRD), Government of India

b. Directors of Indian Institutes of Management - Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Indore, Kashipur, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Raipur, Ranchi, Rohtak, Shillong, Tiruchirappali, Udaipur

c. Prof. Rohit Kapoor, Convener CAT 2014 - IIM Indore

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