From 2013, give only one test for MBA admissions

In a move that will cut down the multiple entrance exams that students are forced to take for admission to management courses across the country, the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has decided to conduct a common admission test from 2012-13. The test will cover admissions to both MBA and postgraduate diploma in management.

The decision to hold a pan-India Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) was taken at the recent executive council meeting of the AICTE, the umbrella body for professional courses. While CMAT will be one of the entrance exams to be held in 2012, the Council wants all its colleges and institutes to admit students based on their CMAT scores from 2013.

"Almost every college was holding an entrance exam. Moreover, each state has its own entrance tests, and private associations have their own exams," AICTE chairman S S Mantha said. "In principle, CMAT will be a test for all AICTE-approved institutes and will reduce the stress and financial burden on students."

However, the Indian Institutes of Management, which are independent and autonomous B-schools, will continue to conduct the CAT (common admission test). Deemed universities will also hold their individual entrance tests. But admission to 4,000 colleges that offer an MBA and another 500 which run diploma programmes will take place on the basis of the CMAT.

"We still have to work out the modalities of conducting the CMAT. But having so many exams, all of varied difficulty levels, also raises concerns about the quality of students who enter this professional course," Mantha added. It is for the first time that the AICTE has spoken about holding an entrance exam; to date, it has largely been an approval-seeking body for new colleges and institutes wanting to expand student intake.

The Management Aptitude Test, which is taken by 3.85 lakh students every year, is currently the largest B-school entrance test. Hari Krishna Maram, governing council member of AIMA which conducts MAT, said "I welcome the idea of a single entrance exam for management courses in the interest of students. The government has been talking about it for quite sometime, but the idea hasn`t taken off. I do not know if a single exam will work since different universities have different admission schedules. MAT, on the other hand, is conducted four times a year and this helps students to take the exam whenever they are free."
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