GMAT Cheating Controversy

by Sachin Balagopalan on June 28, 2008 · 1 comment

Pretty sobering article in the latest online issue of Business Week if you are/were a MBA student and used the website ScoreTop to prepare for the GMAT entrance exams. In addition to granting a $2.3 million judgment to GMAC (the body that publishes the standardized test) the courts have also allowed GMAC to seize a hard drive from ScoreTop that apparently contains payment information of those prospective students who utilized the website to prepare for the GMAT exams.

For prospective MBA students who used the Scoretop site to prepare for the GMAT, the news was devastating. GMAC is analyzing the hard drive and it vowed to cancel the scores of anyone who used the site to cheat on the exam, prohibit them from retaking the test, and notify the schools that received the tainted scores. That could mean rejection for applicants, expulsion for current students, and unspecified sanctions for graduates. “I am extremely stressed out,” one GMAT test-taker who used the Scoretop site wrote in a comment to’s original story about the scandal. “I am so upset and worried right now.”

I’m kind of curious how they’re going to gather the so called “hard evidence” to prove that a student intentionally cheated before canceling his/her scores and possibly jeopardizing their careers?

It’s unclear exactly how Scoretop obtained the live questions, although at least some of them were posted by the site’s users after having taken the GMAT. It’s also unclear whether everyone who used the site knew the questions were live. The site described the questions as being “fully owned by Scoretop [and] written by our own…tutors.”

At the same time, though, many of the posts found on the site strongly suggest visitors knew the questions were live. The messages reference question “sets” and “JJs”—an acronym for “jungle juice”—which refer to groups of live questions that have been reconstructed by test-takers and posted on the site.

Jungle Juice? C’mon give me a break! This is so weak. The issue here is how did those “live” questions get into unauthorized hands in the first place? GMAC is making it sound like it’s the students fault for using a resource among many others to prepare for the exams. I’m not condoning the actions of the website owner - I think he should be thrown in jail. However most of the 6000 students who paid for the service probably did not realize they were “cheating”. Unless they have really hard evidence that someone intentionally used the website knowing that the questions were “live” I think GMAC needs to put this behind them and focus on “locking” up their questions so this doesn’t happen again.

The bigger question for me is I’m surprised B-Schools still use standardized tests as one of the components to determine a prospective candidates admissions eligibility. I remember taking the GMAT way back in 1990 and it was not a pleasant experience to say the least - although I did score enough to get into the MBA program of my choice. You had to get to the testing center by 7:30 am on a Saturday to check in for the exam that began promptly at 8:30 am. In those days the exams were not computerized - you had to use a #2 pencil to color in the oval and after 4 hours it was not just your head that hurt but your fingers as well. IMO standardized tests should be eliminated and it has been proven time and again that they’re not always an accurate measure of someones aptitude. Especially these days students entering MBA programs do so after a few years of working in the field. Experience along with interviews and essays and other social/extracurricular activities should be plenty enough to determine a prospective students eligibility IMO.


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rjeka hotels 08.01.10 at 1:27 pm

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