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February 16, 2008

NAC Test - your passport to a BPO Job

This post is being made in sequel to my two previous posts: What is BPO? & How to find a BPO job. If you are new to the "BPO" concept, you may consider going through these two posts first. The focus of this post is on NAC test only.

If you are looking to join a BPO organization in India, there is a very good piece of news for you: While previously you had to sit for individual job tests held by different BPO firms, now a common test called NAC (NASSCOM Assessment of Competence) Test, will make it much simpler for you. And the scores made by you in this test will be valid for one year for most prominent BPO firms.

Approach of NAC Test is much akin to ATMA/MAT/CAT test, which are conducted for admissions to management institutes. The scores you make in these tests are valid for one year and the management institute themselves defines whether they would accept ATMA test or MAT test or CAT Test and what is the cut-off score acceptable to that particular institute.

Similarly the individual BPO firms would decide what cut-off NAC Test scores would be acceptable to them and whether you would need to undergo some other specific test. In other words, NAC test is meant to take away yours (and also the BPO Firms) trouble of appearing in those type of tests over and over again, which are universal to all BPO firms.

How & Why NAC Test evolved?
Indian BPO job-market is booming in every second. Number of ITES-BPO employees have grown from 415,000 in 2006 to 553,000 in 2007. According to a NASSCOM McKinsey report 2005, demand for ITES-BPO professionals by 2010 is estimated to be 14 lakhs.

Now how to get skilled manpower for this huge requirement of employees?

NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies), the apex-body of IT software and service industry in India, have therefore through an intense participation of BPO industries launched this test, after running through pilot stages since from 2005.

Who is eligible to appear in this test:Any Graduates, any Post-Graduates from any streams and also any students pursuing final year of graduation (any streams) can appear in this test.

How and when are this tests held:NASSCOM organizes this test in association with state Govt. Authorities - mostly with Department of Information Technology (DIT) of the state Govt.

The tests have been rolled out only very recently - starting first one in Rajasthan in November 2006. To know when NAC Test would be held in your state, click on following link and than on your particular state in the India map shown: http://www.nac.nasscom.in/web/indiamap.aspx

How to apply:
Registration for the NAC Test is held at two stages:
1.0 After the NAC test is announced, you need to apply to that state govt. depart (in maximum cases, Department of Information Technology of your state govt.) which has been nominated as a nodal agent for the NASSCOM test. Thereafter, you would be given a UserID & Password.
2.0 With this UserID & Password, you need to log-in to http://www.nac.nasscom.in/web/indiamap.aspx corresponding to your state and enter your particulars.

How this test is beneficial to you?
With your scores in the test which is valid for one year, you would be able to apply to all major Indian BPO firms. Not only that, you would also be able to participate in the job fairs which is organised by NASSCOM after the test. Does not that sounds really nice?

What is the pattern of NAC Test:
NAC test is a 2 ½ hour (145 minutes) test and it consists of seven test modules: Speaking, Listening, Analytical and Quantitative Reasoning, Writing (multiple choice), Writing (essay), Learning Ability and Keyboard Skills. Let us go into details on what each module consists of:

Speaking:
Duration: 25 minutes.
No. of Questions: Read one given passage and Speak on one given topic.
In this test, 5 minutes would be given to candidates to prepare for the test. The candidates would be assessed for prosody (i.e. speech elements such as intonation, pitch, rate, loudness, rhythm, etc.), voice clarity, fluency and grammar.
It is held over Telephone/Computer based software.

Listening:
Duration: 25 minutes.
No. of Questions: 30.
In this test, Conversation in neutral English is played on computer followed by questions based on the conversation.
It is held online.

Analytical and Quantitative Reasoning:
Duration: 20 minutes.
No. of Questions: 30.
In this test, Analytical and logical reasoning questions like puzzles, data sufficiency, inductive and deductive logic will have to be solved by the candidate. Numerical reasoning will include percentages, averages, profit and loss type of questions.
It is held online or pen-paper.

Writing (multiple choice):
Duration: 20 minutes.
No. of Questions: 30.
In this test, grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension etc. is checked.
It is held online or pen-paper.

Writing (essay):
Duration: 20 minutes.

No. of Questions: 1-2 short essays.
In this test, content, relevance, grammar and vocabulary is checked.
It is held online or pen-paper.

Learning Ability:
Duration: 20 minutes.
No. of Questions: 10.
This test is conducted to see if a person has the ability to learn new things and retain them.
It is held online or pen-paper.

Keyboard Skill:
Duration: 5 minutes.
No. of Items: 2.
This test is conducted to checks if the candidate is comfortable in using the keyboard and also if the candidate can enter data into fields accurately. The test has two parts:
i) Free-Flow: Candidate is asked to replicate/re-type a passage in the given time. It assesses candidate’s speed and accuracy.
ii) Data Entry. Candidate is asked to type alphanumeric content into text fields provided. It assesses candidate’s accuracy.
It is a Computer based test.

Would you like to try some sample NAC Test?
Click here to download this NASSCOM  NAC Test Papers.

NAC-Tech Test?
While NAC-Test is for any graduate/PG for entry into BPO sector, does a similar test exist for engineering students for entry into IT sector? The answer is yes. The name of this test is called NAC-Tech. More about this test in my future post. Watch out!

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