Why not purr through the yearThough I have never taken the IIMs' Common
The advantages to my mind are many. One, the organisers are not liable to find their logistics stretched to great extents that the sheer numbers must inevitably cause. The cost of arranging classrooms, paper printing & distribution and staff to supervise the proceedings will be a direct function of the number of candidates. Add to this the high security costs. Instead, a continuously running test option would spread the numbers all around the year, plus the computerisation would ease the conduct. All you need during the application cycle is a valid CAT score.
Secondly, it gives candidates some breathing space w.r.t their preparations when unforeseen events happen. Samrat missed his Nov. date twice before. Once, by becoming a canary and contracting jaundice and the following year by having to travel abroad. Fortunately, he eventually took it and made it through to IIM-L. But if he had had an option to give the exam at another date, he may have perhaps have saved himself a year. People are so stressed out with the exam that it's sad to see months of effort go down the drain.
Third, the exam would be less affected to being derailed by paper leaks & misconduct. I know this system must have been proposed last year during the wake of the scandal, but now that things have quietened down and with a successful exam behind them, the IIMs could now change to a more operationally viable system.
We have heard of the big brains at the IIMs, so it should not be too difficult for them to design & implement such a system here. A large database of questions from which questions are periodically chopped & updated shouldn't be too difficult to prepare given the "aptitude" nature of the questions. Perhaps there is no need for a feedback based question set that the GRE uses. As long as they can ensure a fair question paper when making a random selection from the database, there ought to be no complaints on the relative ranking of candidates. Also, you can restrict the number of attempts in a year.
If the idea behind the CAT is about an efficient & quick filter before the next stages, a year-round exam option would not only help the IIMs, it will also give those who haven't done that well a chance to look for other alternatives. Heck, even I may attempt it then, even if just to check my aptitude :-)
Any dissections from management fogeys?