Many candidates for the new centralised entrance test for postgraduate medical admission will have to write the exam in other states because the slots for the two Bengal centres were filled within 24 hours of registration starting.
Ishita Majumdar, who aspires to specialise in radiology, said she gave up after six days of trying to get a slot online. She will now write the test in Noida.
"After getting the 'seat unavailable' message for six straight days, I gave up and registered myself with a centre in Noida, near Delhi, on October 10," said Ishita, an intern at Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.
Ishita had no idea that the process of registration would be an online rat race when she had logged in for a slot in the first National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test.
Registration for the two state centres had opened on October 4.
The entrance test for admission to MS, MD and PG diploma courses will be held online on 10 specified days between November 23 and December 6. Nearly 20,000 postgraduate medical seats across India will be filled through the test, conducted by the National Board of Examinations.
The board has appointed Prometric, the company that conducts the online CAT exam on behalf of the IIMs, to run the postgraduate medical entrance. Technological glitches had marred the first online CAT in 2009.
The medical entrance test is modelled on the lines of CAT with the candidates required to take the test at the specified tech-enabled centres.
Till January 2012, admission to postgraduate courses was through an all-India entrance test conducted by the Union health ministry. But it was an offline exam held simultaneously across the designated centres.
Under the new system, candidates are required to purchase examination fee vouchers from select branches of a private bank and use the unique number on each to login and register.
After registration, the candidates need to choose a centre and one of the 10 dates.
In Calcutta, the two exam centres ' Future Institute of Engineering and Management and Swami Vivekananda Institute of Management and Computer Sciences ' are at Sonarpur, about 20km from the heart of the city. Two sets of candidates can write the test in a day, which works out to 4,500 students over 10 days.
In the last few years, around 6,000 students have written the test each year in Bengal alone. The rush is more this year because there's only one centre ' in Guwahati ' for the Northeast.
"We have received complaints about the unavailability of slots. We are trying to solve the problem," state health secretary Satish Tiwary told Metro.
He did not clarify how the state government could intervene at this stage.