Two. Sophistication: You do not have to pack OMR sheet & no paper wastage.
Trio. Accuracy: The automated data processing is accurate, irrespective of the data size, which is a definite challenge in human data processing by the IIMs.
Four. Schedule Plasticity: CAT offers the convenience of choosing from more than one test date & time.
Five. Varying Questions: Due to the option of different schedules, the questions vary for each online CAT. This introduces the scope of human error. There is no objective formula to keep parity in the difficulty level for each question paper. However, the results are tabulated together for all the papers – online & offline.
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More Answers Below. Related Questions
1. Cleaner & More Efficient. Each and every question is much more visible as you have a single question (QA) or at the maximum three to four questions (DI,RC) which permits for a much better practice at solving questions consequently leading to better efficiency. On the spin side there are a lot of people who find it challenging to read something on a computer screen when compared to on paper.
Two. Space Management on the table. In the paper and pen version, the aspirant had to typically manage the test paper, admit card, witness, pencils, eraser, sharpener as well as the response sheet on the table. Moreover the paper and pen format was conducted mostly in schools. So, the aspirant had to contend with the extra challenge of managing all this paraphernalia on a table meant for a class 6 student. Most of these problems have disappeared in the online version.
Three. Greater Number of Questions. As against the paper and pencil format, the imperative for the aspirant to stir on to the next question is very high. This results in eyeing a greater number of questions. Then again, the most demonstrable disadvantage most candidates face is the fact that since you cannot indeed see the entire paper, you can’t make a judgement about the balance, the difficulty level or the portion wise question distribution.
Four. Time Constraint: The paper and pen version didn’t have a sectional time constraint. So, the candidate previously had some leeway to capitalize on his stronger areas. But now, the exam is rigorously divided into two sections of 70 minutes each. So now the candidate is coerced to have a balanced number of attempts in both sections.
Five. Quicker Navigation, Highlight and Review Features. Navigation is much quicker from one question to the other. You could mark a question for review to be viewed later which wasn’t possible in the paper and pen format. Also, the extra advantage of highlighting a select text from a paragraph which greatly helps in saving time.
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Ravi Handa. Train for MBA Prep on www.handakafunda.com
The key differentiators inbetween online / offline CAT are the following:
- Consistency of difficulty level – In offline CAT, everyone got the same paper whereas in online CAT, the difficulty level varies for candidates. Hence, a lot of candidates believe that luck starts to play a much larger role which bothers them.
- Skimming the paper – In offline CAT, you could skim the paper within minutes by just spinning the pages and looking for certain keywords. That option is not available in online CAT as you would have to press the ‘NEXT’ button large number of times, which becomes irritating.
- Clock on screen – In online CAT, the clock is on the screen and right in front of you. It adds extra pressure.
- Highlighting relevant data – In offline CAT, you could underline paragraphs in ‘Reading Comprehension Passages’ or mark significant stuff in tables. You cannot do that it online CAT. Even in Geometry, you would have to draw the diagram again on paper to take a shot at the question whereas in offline CAT, you would have just used the diagram given in the question paper.
- Packing OMRs – Packing OMR sheets was a very irritating / time-wasting process which existed in offline CAT.
- Readability (On Screen Vs Paper) – A lot of people find it stiffer to read the same stuff on a monitor when compared with paper.
- Result anxiety – In offline CAT, students were able to speculate their results within duo of days. Since they had the question papers with them, they could check with the response keys (provided by IMS, TIME, CL) and estimate not only their scores but also their percentiles. They cannot do so in online CAT and have to wait for the result.
- Fear of technology – It might seem irrational but a lot of students suffer from this. They have to worry about a host of problems like computer not working decently, losing work if their is a powercut, cancellation of paper because of software bugs, etc.
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