New Delhi: The company that will administer the first computer-based test for admission to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) released guidelines for candidates on Monday.

For one thing, no bathroom breaks will be allowed during the test that will last 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Contingency measures: A file photo of students taking a mock test for last year’s CAT. This year’s online testing firm has said it had plans to tackle emergencies ranging from power outages to terror attacks. Satish Bate / HT

“No breaks will be given during the test. Candidates are advised to use the bathroom prior to check-in," said Prometric in ‘A Practical Guide to the CAT 2009’ released on the official common admission test or CAT website (

Candidates who will take the test for admission to the class of 2010 in the IIMs have been asked to be patient while their identity is being checked through fingerprinting, warned that their friends and relatives will not be allowed to wait at the test centre, and promised video and audio recording of all testing sessions.

The CAT was conducted in pen-and-paper format for 33 years before the job of administering it was outsourced to Prometric. The test continues to be a high-stakes one though the number of candidates who registered for the test dropped this year for the first time in 12 years to 241,582, reflecting an uncertain job market.

To deliver the first computerized version of CAT, Prometric said earlier that it was strengthening its staff, services and technology infrastructure in India.

“In the event of a power outage, or any disruptions such as computer crash, all of the candidates’ responses are safely housed in the server’s hard drive which is backed up by an uninterruptible power supply (UPS)," said the guide. “The test can be resumed exactly where the candidate left off."

Test-preparation companies have conducted mock computer-based tests to prepare candidates for the exam, which will take place between 28 November and 7 December.