GMAT Cheating Scandal: Answers from GMAC

Posted by: Louis Lavelle on June 30, 2008

The long-awaited GMAC FAQ, answering questions about the ongoing GMAT cheating scandal, just arrived. It addresses many of the questions that have been raised on this blog, in our MBA forums, and in comments left in the stories themselves. But I suspect a lot of people who used the scoretop site will be disappointed. There are no firm answers about when scores will be canceled, or exactly how GMAC will decide whether an individual’s conduct on the scoretop site warrants cancelation of his/her scores.

For those of you just learning about this story, allow me to recap. As the result of a $2.3 million copyright infringement judgment that GMAC won against the Scoretop site, it was able to shut the site down and obtain a hard drive containing subscriber information. There are about 6,000 names on the hard drive, all of them folks who paid $30 for 30 days access to a VIP section of the site, where GMAC says live test questions were available for one and all. Since these are questions that subsequently appeared on the test, these subscribers in effect had a sneak peak at the test. GMAC is now analyzing the hard drive and plans to cancel scores for any subscribers for whom there is “compelling evidence” that he/she violated GMAC policy.

Okay, now that you’re all caught up, GMAC’s FAQ is after the jump. This is entirely a GMAC product-BW had nothing to do with choosing the questions. A couple of interesting things that GMAC did answer: how could scoretop users have known the questions were live (short answer: you had to be blind not to know) and why it took so long to shut down the site (short answer: the feds made us do it). Read on…

Background: The Graduate Management Admission Council® was awarded a $2.35 million judgment by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in a copyright infringement case against the operator of Scoretop.com, a U.S.-based Web site that sold access to questions used on the GMAT® exam. GMAC seized the site’s domain name June 20, shut down the site, and also obtained the computer hard drive containing subscriber information.

Q. Why did GMAC file the suit against Scoretop.com?
A. GMAC goes after those who try to cheat on the GMAT exam because the Council has an ethical responsibility to business schools and students to protect the integrity of the application process. GMAC sued Lei Shi and others who operated Scoretop.com, a Web site that offered forums where visitors could share information about the GMAT. The site promoted VIP memberships─$30 for 30 days’ access ─ in which users were encouraged to read and post “JJs,” or live GMAT questions. “JJ” stands for “jungle juice,” or “jijings” – slang words for “the real thing.” GMAC’s investigation of the Web site revealed that some of the JJs contained real GMAT items.


Q. Is GMAC going to cancel scores? How long will it take?A. GMAC’s initial focus is on those who disclosed live questions to Scoretop. If, as part of this investigation, there is compelling evidence of a test taker knowingly violating GMAC policy, GMAC may cancel GMAT scores and notify recipients of the cancellation. It is too soon to say how long the investigation will last, but GMAC will keep schools and students informed throughout the investigation.

Q. Some students who visited Scoretop say the site claimed the questions were written by tutors and that they did not know the questions were live. How should they have known?
A. Scoretop promotions and numerous postings on the site touted the benefit of VIP membership as having access to live questions. Students who accessed the site but did not pay for VIP memberships did not have access to “JJs” and therefore have nothing to worry about. However, when evidence indicates a test taker paid for VIP membership, sought and obtained live GMAT items, GMAC may cancel the test taker’s score and notify schools of the cancellation.

Q. How can students know what test prep material is legitimate and what’s fishy? A. Any test preparation organization advertising “real GMAT items” is guilty of lying, stealing or both. In preparing to take the GMAT test, potential test takers should steer clear of these organizations as they can be harmful to their future. There are many reputable test preparation organizations available that do not make these claims.

Q. When do test takers agree to comply with GMAC policy about accessing or discussing GMAT questions?A: VIP members shared and/or had access to GMAT content, violating the terms they agree to when they register for the test and the agreement they signed at the testing center. Rules prohibiting improper or inadvertent access to test content, which test takers agree to when they register for the test, are described in the terms and conditions of the GMAT Information Bulletin. Test takers are reminded of their obligations and agree not to access or share test content in the Testing Rules & Agreement and the Non-Disclosure Agreement at the testing center before they take the exam.

Q. How much did people gain from accessing the questions?
A. Probably very little. The reliability of the test taker’s score is less in question than the ethical behavior of those trying to “game” the system. Even if a site is illegally able to obtain some “real” questions, it is extremely unlikely that anyone accessing the site will see the same questions on the live exam. The GMAT, a computer adaptive test, has a bank of thousands of questions.

Q. Did GMAC change the test as a result of the items exposed on Scoretop?
A. GMAC had been following Scoretop for some time and had removed the live questions found on the site from the GMAT question bank. No further changes need to be made at this time. The GMAT exam is continually monitored and reviewed.

Q. The Scoretop Web site has been up for a few years, so why did GMAC wait so long to pursue it?
GMAC worked with the FBI for several years documenting the evidence necessary to take action. During that time, Lei Shi was warned repeatedly to stop posting live questions to the site. Ultimately, while the FBI continued its investigation, GMAC decided to try to shut down the site via a civil suit, which was filed in June 2007. GMAC announced the ruling on June 20, as soon as it gained control of the Scoretop.com domain and hard drive.

Q. Is GMAC going to pursue other Web sites?
A. Yes, GMAC is always looking at sites for possible violations of its intellectual property and will continue to investigate all Web sites that claim to post GMAT questions.

Reader Comments

dingdong

June 30, 2008 5:43 PM

There were no JJs after some time in 2006.
The questions from then onwards were not adverstised as real thing but as "solely property of scoretop and written by 780+ tutors". Normally manhattan gmat and other major websites also promotes questions as written by their 99 percentile tutors.

James B

June 30, 2008 5:45 PM

Oh Great! The FAQs make it more confusing. Exactly what constitutes a violation and approximately when VIP members can know their fate is still unclear.

Thanks for Nothing GMAC!

PS: Sincere thanks to Louis for the update

Rob

June 30, 2008 5:47 PM

Because you are scored relative to your peers do those who didn't cheat get additional points or are we punished for our honesty?

Scoretop Members:

June 30, 2008 6:22 PM

Please stop trying to convince others that you didn't cheat on the exam. It's pointless. If you paid for 'VIP' access and GMAC thinks you went too far, GMAC will revoke your test score. Nothing else matters. The best you can hope for is a speedy resolution to this fiasco, and from the FAQ's listed here, that is still a lingering question mark. I hope schools put pressure on GMAC to bring closure to the matter soon to minimize the impact on academics.

AKAT

June 30, 2008 6:39 PM

If CMAC cancels 6,000 scores from the people who paid the $30 fee then should the rest of us who took the test without violating any rules expect an upward correction of our scores ?? The 6,000 scores represent approximately 1% of the total sample size, so depending on how well the cheaters scored we should expect an increase of our scores by anything from 1% to 10%-15%....??

AKAT

June 30, 2008 6:39 PM

If CMAC cancels 6,000 scores from the people who paid the $30 fee then should the rest of us who took the test without violating any rules expect an upward correction of our scores ?? The 6,000 scores represent approximately 1% of the total sample size, so depending on how well the cheaters scored we should expect an increase of our scores by anything from 1% to 10%-15%....??

Exam Eligibility

June 30, 2008 6:50 PM

Thanks for the post Louis. Did GMAC say anything about people that are yet to take the exam?

PS - For those people whose scores are cancelled, will they be eligible to retake the exam or are they permanently banned?

very interesting

June 30, 2008 6:51 PM

Below is interesting- If somebody sought *and* obtained live gmat questions ? so both should happen, How can one confirm they *obtained* live questions ? eventhough they sought it or vice versa ? Moreover, these was stopped in 2006 and what about scoretop claiming everything was legitimate ? Why were these FAQ's not put on GMAC web site before say in 2006 or 2007 or whenever they started lawsuit??

"However, when evidence indicates a test taker paid for VIP membership, sought and obtained live GMAT items, GMAC may cancel the test taker’s score and notify schools of the cancellation."

very interesting

June 30, 2008 6:52 PM

Below is interesting- If somebody sought *and* obtained live gmat questions ? so both should happen, How can one confirm they *obtained* live questions ? eventhough they sought it or vice versa ? Moreover, these was stopped in 2006 and what about scoretop claiming everything was legitimate ? Why were these FAQ's not put on GMAC web site before say in 2006 or 2007 or whenever they started lawsuit??

"However, when evidence indicates a test taker paid for VIP membership, sought and obtained live GMAT items, GMAC may cancel the test taker’s score and notify schools of the cancellation."

very interesting

June 30, 2008 6:52 PM

Below is interesting- If somebody sought *and* obtained live gmat questions ? so both should happen, How can one confirm they *obtained* live questions ? eventhough they sought it or vice versa ? Moreover, these was stopped in 2006 and what about scoretop claiming everything was legitimate ? Why were these FAQ's not put on GMAC web site before say in 2006 or 2007 or whenever they started lawsuit??

"However, when evidence indicates a test taker paid for VIP membership, sought and obtained live GMAT items, GMAC may cancel the test taker’s score and notify schools of the cancellation."

zxcxz

June 30, 2008 6:54 PM

Below is interesting- If somebody sought *and* obtained live gmat questions ? so both should happen, How can one confirm they *obtained* live questions ? eventhough they sought it or vice versa ? Moreover, these was stopped in 2006 and what about scoretop claiming everything was legitimate ? Why were these FAQ's not put on GMAC web site before say in 2006 or 2007 or whenever they started lawsuit??

"However, when evidence indicates a test taker paid for VIP membership, sought and obtained live GMAT items, GMAC may cancel the test taker’s score and notify schools of the cancellation."

duhh

June 30, 2008 6:55 PM

Q. How can students know what test prep material is legitimate and what’s fishy? A. Any test preparation organization advertising “real GMAT items” is guilty of lying, stealing or both. In preparing to take the GMAT test, potential test takers should steer clear of these organizations as they can be harmful to their future. There are many reputable test preparation organizations available that do not make these claims.

what about 2007 when it wasn't advertised as "real" gmat questions?

whattodo

June 30, 2008 6:56 PM

Great. Should I even continue to pay tuition? I don't want to complete BSchool and then have my degree revoked. I joined the site as my friends (now my former friends) highly recommended it. In hindsight, it was a stupid decision.

duhh

June 30, 2008 6:59 PM

Q. How can students know what test prep material is legitimate and what’s fishy? A. Any test preparation organization advertising “real GMAT items” is guilty of lying, stealing or both. In preparing to take the GMAT test, potential test takers should steer clear of these organizations as they can be harmful to their future. There are many reputable test preparation organizations available that do not make these claims.

so what about 2007 when it was advertised as "real" questions

perplexed

June 30, 2008 6:59 PM

What about students who took GMAT twice but only became VIP members before the 2nd test? I am in this category. Infact I got a higher score the first time and used that score to apply to all b-schools. Any answers forthcoming??

haha

June 30, 2008 7:10 PM

Q. How can students know what test prep material is legitimate and what’s fishy? A. Any test preparation organization advertising “real GMAT items” is guilty of lying, stealing or both. In preparing to take the GMAT test, potential test takers should steer clear of these organizations as they can be harmful to their future. There are many reputable test preparation organizations available that do not make these claims.

Malcolm

June 30, 2008 7:15 PM

The website said that JJs were no longer available after 2006. It claimed that the VIP Question Banks were created by 99%-ile tutors. Were these question banks same as JJs?

Thanks for the update Louis

thisisgood

June 30, 2008 7:30 PM

Q. How can students know what test prep material is legitimate and what's fishy? A. Any test preparation organization advertising "real GMAT items" is guilty of lying, stealing or both. In preparing to take the GMAT test, potential test takers should steer clear of these organizations as they can be harmful to their future. There are many reputable test preparation organizations available that do not make these claims.

To GMAC

June 30, 2008 7:52 PM

1. If GMAC knew all these years that the site was illegal, why wasn't a warning issued?

2. According to the non disclosure statement, no one is supposed to reveal or discuss questions, Please take action against the other test prep sites/courses because its publicly known that the tutors take the exam and prepare the questions.

3. Please exercise discretion and punish those who really are guilty, don't revoke scores just to make a statement. This has been and will be a life changing experience for many innocent test takers. Please don't ruin lives without establishing the truth.

Reputable Test Preparation

June 30, 2008 7:54 PM

If you don't spend $1000 or more to prepare for the GMAT, then that organization is 'fishy' and should be avoided at all costs.

hk

June 30, 2008 8:29 PM

Louis,
In the court complaint GMAC said 'Actual Gmat' questions which have been changed and not 'Live Questions'. Secondly I would like to enquire that whether the same wordings were there in 2006 (which gave GMAC the flexibility to cancel score w/out any reaason or has it been changed in 2007 or 2008). Thirdly I would like to take you to the link- what VIP membership advertised. It never said live questions, but a collection of questions from people all over the world.Please see "http://web.archive.org/web/20060915093515/www.scoretop.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=12066&PN=1"

Follow the Money

June 30, 2008 8:41 PM

Won't other companies be affected by the fallout? Didn't some companies like Manhattan GMAT advertise on Scoretop's web site?

Louis

June 30, 2008 9:54 PM

Just because a company advertised on scoretop doesn't mean it had anything to do with the content scoretop provided. I don't think folks who used Manhattan GMAT have anything to worry about in that regard.

I've seen the disclaimers on the scoretop site but there were many many references (in the debriefings, forums, etc.) that say just the opposite. I think people who relied on the disclaimers, and who now hope that GMAC will let them off the hook because of the disclaimers, are kidding themselves. Would anyone have used scoretop if instead of "these questions were written by our tutors" the site said "these questions were stolen from gmac and if you use them you could be in a lot of trouble"? Of course not. That's why they don't advertise produce as "laced with dangerous pesticides" and cars as "guaranteed to lose value" even though both statements are demonstrably true.

To Louis

June 30, 2008 10:36 PM

"I think people who relied on the disclaimers, and who now hope that GMAC will let them off the hook because of the disclaimers, are kidding themselves.".......
Louis, How will GMAC find out if someone sought live questions? Do you think that in the end GMAC will go after all 6000+ VIP users. Would be easy to just do that.

Nellie

June 30, 2008 10:48 PM

GMAC had the luxury of following scoretop for number of years and hence knew that the disclaimer was false. But if I was a regular bloke who stumbled across a website that offered questions set by 98% ile tutors for a nominal fee of $30 - I will probably sign up for a month. I did look at the question bank in VIP for one month but didnt think they were real. Does anyone know if the VIP questions in 2007 were 'live'?

Razor

June 30, 2008 11:01 PM

Why are so few people aware that the site was changed in late 2006? It also seems strange that GMAC also doesn't mention it. There was no advertising of JJ or live questions. Louis, all the posts which people are seeing praising JJ were from 2006.

elberto

June 30, 2008 11:32 PM

Faulty logic Louis. By that rationale anybody that seeks help from any tutoring website is seeking to cheat and expects live test questions despite claims to the contrary.

The basis of your argument is that somehow every single person that uses scoretop somehow "knows" that there is illegal material on the site. "There was a popular rumor that this website offers actual illegal test questions, therefore any use of it is a crime" provides plenty of reasonable doubt for the site's users--unless people are documented to have explicitly used the site to seek that illegal material. Barring that, rumors are relatively unquantifiable and blame-free.

LLL

June 30, 2008 11:46 PM

Louis, I understand your desire to prosecute 6000 VIP members but unfortunately, it is not going to come true. The fact of the mater is that majority of these 6000 members – especially those in India - must have used someone else’s credit card. Even today, majority of young people in India does not have credit card and therefore they use their parents or elder brothers/sisters cards. Moreover, unlike USA where using someone else credit is out of question, it is a very common practice in Asia. A lot of VIP members would have therefore simply used someone else card to save [themselves].

Ironically these folks could be the biggest culprit as is evidenced from their intention of using someone else’s card. People who ended up using their own cards were in all probability considering the website to be safe and therefore were not particularly worried by consciousness of their actions. No pun intended, GMAC won’t be able catch the real culprits.

As far as debriefings are concerned, GMAC should pay attention to reports that ST staff used to edit posts to enhance Scoretop’s contribution to members score and market its illegal material.

elberto

June 30, 2008 11:52 PM

To put it another way, I go to a flea market every weekend where 85% (let's say I'm in LA) of the merchandise is stolen or illegal, but not explicitly so--at least not in advertising. None of the sellers will admit their cds, bicycles and stereos are jacked, but I sometimes overhear people say that they are. Is the fact that I pay $5 admission to look around a crime? What if I buy some socks?

PDede

July 1, 2008 12:29 AM

Shame on the CHEATS - that's how some of these "Thieves" aka scoundrels get into "Ivy B-schools, and come out so arrogant making beaucoup d'argent (mullah) - SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!!

Shane

July 1, 2008 12:37 AM

This whole debate is silly. There are only so many different ways to test certain kinds of skill sets, so inevitably questions will look similar. When I took the GMAT in 1993 I studied off "retired questions" released by the GMAC. When I got to the exam, there were 3 question sets worth 15 questions that looked almost identical to what was released in the past - change maybe names and colors. The point is that having these practice questions probably doesn't have that much impact on your overall score. This whole thing is just another way for GMAC to try to control the dollars associated with admissions testing. It's not enough for them to have a monopoly on the GMAT, they also want to control all the test prep out there by selling their "retired questions".

sacon

July 1, 2008 1:44 AM

GAMC should take tough action against all cheaters so that the examination system doesn't become a farce.

Mark

July 1, 2008 2:31 AM

Who cares? The GMAT is a meaningless test to get into a meaningless school, for a meaningless degree. Its all about connections and social networking anyways.

Does the GMAT test how well you kiss [up] over cocktails? Does test your knowledge of Mercedes vs BMW?

No, so who cares?

Diana

July 1, 2008 2:55 AM

Luckly I wasn't involved in the scandal, but I can see how I could naively fell for this as well. You go to a website looking for a question bank, and you don't expect these questions to come from an illegal source (especially when lots and lots of students are suscribed and use the site). You just want to get some practice and do well on the test, and none in their right mind would be able to jeopardise their chance to get an MBA for gaining access to a question bank and MAYBE having one of those questions in your exam.
So, I really feel for those of you involved... no fair getting punished for an offense you had no idea you committed.

Mark

July 1, 2008 2:55 AM

Who cares? The GMAT is a meaningless test to get into a meaningless school, for a meaningless degree. Its all about connections and social networking anyways.

Does the GMAT test how well you kiss [up] over cocktails? Does test your knowledge of Mercedes vs BMW?

No, so who cares?

viks

July 1, 2008 3:13 AM

First of all, I always thought that the GMAT exam is just a part of the entire process to get into a B-school. Now GMAC is making it the deciding factor of the fate of thousands of students.
Honestly, GMAC has blown this out of proportion and it should be challenged in the court.
GMAC, stop bullying the poor students out there!!

Proudy

July 1, 2008 3:16 AM

I agree that the scores of others should be increased. Also, GMAC has not clarified what constitutes cheating since old exam questions and questions with changed numbers may also be in circulation legally.

Shane Persaud

July 1, 2008 3:21 AM

GMAC will have a major issue trying to cancel scores concerning 6,000 students. For one, the VIP area doesn't ratify the fact that the questions were live. Student's probably thought of it as more of a confident booster rather than a way of cheating. Also, I see the VIP section as a marketing scheme for TopScore to boost there bottom line. There some students who taught that VIP means getting the best possible preparation rather than a way to scam the system. Also, it's impossible to cheat the GMAT because each questions are based on how well an individual did on the prior question (computer adaptive) and there are thousands of questions in which the computer chooses from so no two test are same.

If GMAC is going the play the ethical card, as I believe they are currently doing, they will have a hard time proving that accused students were unethical. As a matter of fact, I believed acted in an unethical way. For they waited a couple of years rather than spreading the news earlier. GMAC didn’t do all they could have done in their power during the FED investigation to stop future students from joining the TopScore and the VIP section. Those years caused students and their parents time, money and now possibly there future.

TO GMAC

July 1, 2008 4:49 AM

1 If GMAC had filed a lawsuit against ScoreTop in jun 2007 GMAC never published any press releases or reports on its sites.Any such information would have served a deterrent to students who joined after that period.
2 The Site says that all questions are owned and created by tutors and there is no mention of any "real thing".
The page for paid memberships is as follows:
http://web.archive.org/web/20060915093515/www.scoretop.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=12066&PN=1

4. Based on the contents how do the students know if the questions are live or not as there is no mention against questions if they are live or not. ?
5. There are several test preparations comapnies and forums currently who offer the same services as ScoreTop and how do the students verify these are not indulging in any illegal practices.?
6. What about students who were members but havent appeared for the tests ??

mirteswank

July 1, 2008 5:36 AM

if this faq is released by GMAC chaps - there's a conflict in the interest of the counsil

GMAC wants to punish students for trying to game the system - this is what FAQ says..

"Probably very little. The reliability of the test taker’s score is less in question than the ethical behavior of those trying to “game” the system. Even if a site is illegally able to obtain some “real” questions"

And they claim about the percentile scores being compromised by students having had assess to vip. They even claimed about 50k USD for this particular issue.

If this is the came, can't we all accuse GMAC on being fabricating a case. There are so many websites on internet which offers access similar to VIP...i don't know why they want to do this

mokkai

July 1, 2008 6:44 AM

As someone pointed out above, where is GMAC's ethics when it knew about scoretop for a while and didn't bother warning students about it?

Really Louis? Manhattan GMAT has nothing to worry about? What about its ethics? Did they read the disclaimers before approaching Scoretop? MGMATs people took tests before modifying the questions for its students. Is that ethical?

Your analogies about disclaimers are also ridiculous. If I knew nothing about scoretop and if I were to read its disclaimer, I would completely believe it.

Relieved

July 1, 2008 7:05 AM

I think there is no panic for VIP members after late 2006. It is very very clear. It was the JJs that caused the problems.
Again, Tomorrow if someone posts a live questions directly in this forum, do you mean everybody who viewed this forum will be punished? QUITE RIDICULOUS!!

To gmac

July 1, 2008 8:22 AM

GMAC u r really doing unfair things to students
all students really worked hard to get a score and u r action s can ruin their life forever

Many institutes like Jamboree, Prince, Veritas sell OG as their copywrite material
Even institutes like Kalyan Csquare sell score top questions as their copy wright material
Book sellers sell pirated copies of OG
Websites like esnips, my share, share4u have pirated soft copies of GMAT related books

please punish them all
Otherwise don't punish innocent students

Louis

July 1, 2008 8:33 AM

Folks, I appreciate everyone's willingness to debate these issues, but please don't use obscenities in your posts. If you do I need to edit them out or I can't approve the post. Thanks!

Archana

July 1, 2008 8:51 AM

hi guys here

i became the VIP member of scoretop on may 14 before the day it was shut down and i dint get the access properly and the next day it was shut down .. i m yet to give my gmat .. will i be affected by this scandal .. i joined cos my frnd told it is a good site ....

Bob

July 1, 2008 9:00 AM

The GMAT is $250 of wasted time! It does not gauge how well you will do in 'B'-school. It DOES however determine your skill at answering specifically vague questions. But to end this comment in TRUE GMAT fashion, I definitely question the websites free questions, maybe.

False Disclaimer?

July 1, 2008 9:00 AM

If I saw on the ST forum that some JJs were discussed in prior years but now the disclaimer states they don't do it anymore - I will beleive it because it indicates to me that GMAC must have come down hard on the website to make them stop the practice and were closely monitoring the site!

Also, $30 for access to question banks and tutors is really cheap, when one has to spend over $1000 for test registration and books!

To Louis

July 1, 2008 9:04 AM

I think that those who used Scoretop or were vip members and did not post real questions at scoretop should inform his/hers schools that they used scoretop. The same should be done by people who are going to send the applications this year. As gmat is only part of the process, schools should analyze each situation. Considering that these people are innocent, the truth must be informed to schools.

Tim Jones

July 1, 2008 9:12 AM

These individuals registered in Scoretop with their real names? If not how does GMAC plan to match names?

concerned

July 1, 2008 9:33 AM

To GMAC,

How can you take a decision about punishing all folks who had VIP membership. I did take a 30$ membership just to get more confident about the whole stuff. I have no freaking idea as to those questions were MJJ's or VJJ's.
I am right now devastated by looking at my status. I have already taken loans, and through with my studies. If GMAC takes such a harsh step , my life will be at stake. my dreams are all shattered.
Please , GMAC tell me what is my fault?

ALso i ask business week, Loius, what is my fault ? what would the solution be? Does it mean i wont be able to go to a good school all my life? my life is getting miserable day by day.
Please help.

To Louis and GMAC

July 1, 2008 9:36 AM

Dear Louis, I am not happy with the FAQs. It just confuses more !!! What about guys who were members before and are planning to write GMAT now ? To book or not to book (a date for GMAT)? Its very stressful to prepare in this state of mind. I feel GMAC is just overreacting. I am not convinced with the justification of not warning the users before of the case on scoretop in 2007. Why not just make it clear that someone taking VIP membership in 2007 when the JJ era was over is safe. I am sure the number will come down drastically from 6000. Whatever GMAC guys want to do, pls do it fast. This is slow death. Torture.

Warnings???

July 1, 2008 9:42 AM

Why do people feel that GMAC should have been required to post warnings to people not to use scoretop. People need to be responsible for their own actions. Its like speeders getting pulled over and trying to argue that the cops should have posted a warning on the on ramp that they had a speed trap set up on the highway. GMAC published the rules, had you read the agreements you would have known what the consequences might be if you were caught using live questions. Scoretop advertised the availability of live questions and word of mouth on the site made it clear that live questions were the huge advantage of the VIP area...yet you joined even at the risk of getting caught. Face it, you ignored a rule figuring the chances of getting caught were small and the return was going to be worth the risk, but the man bagged you now you have to face the music.

Lina

July 1, 2008 9:48 AM

I think the one that should be sued is the GMAC. They are a monopoly with expensive though tests to make you repeat it most of the time and make more money from you. That is so silly the kind of questions you find in the GMAT to go to a business school. They should test your knoeledge in business and no making you read science articles that you will not read in your graduate program. I KNOW A BUNCH OF PEOPLE THAT DID POORLY IN THE TEST AND THEY ARE DOING GREAT IN THEIR PROGRAMS. hOW can this be possible? This test should be eliminated and create a test that makes more sense with the graduate program you are trying to get and make the questions more directly related to the field or track you are going for.

Learn to write, dude

July 1, 2008 10:00 AM

"GMAC u r really doing unfair things to students"

Anyone who writes like this should NOT get an MBA.

BH

July 1, 2008 10:18 AM

When I was preparing for GMAT in 2007 (way after the so called JJ era of 2005 and early 2006), Scoretop was recommended to me by a friend. When I got the VIP membership I read the big bold, and even underlined line, words that all the questions that they had were by their own tutors who had scored 750+. My participation in the website was minimal. I never participated in any discussions or debriefs coz couple of my friends and I would discuss these problems and we were cocky enough to believe that our study strategy was the best and that there is nothing that we 3 could not collectively solve.

To those guys calling to the scores of all VIP members indiscriminately: I am sure all of you are ultra competitive guys who feel you have been robbed of your opportunities. I would too, if I were you. I urge you not to be too judgmental. Because, if you had been introduced to the website and were privy to as much information as we were when we signed up for scoretop, you would have believed it to be a legit website and signed up too. Just like the GMAT FAQ says. GMAC says “In preparing to take the GMAT test, potential test takers should steer clear of these organizations as they can be harmful to their future. There are many reputable test preparation organizations available that do not make these claims.” How do you know which ones are telling the truth?

To Louis: Thanks for your incredible work and for carrying the voice of us distressed. I am sure the comments left on your article played a huge role in GMAC coming out with their FAQs. However, I feel that your articles and comments lead me to believe that you are leaning towards GMAC’s side. I am sure that the kind of evidence and opportunities for journalistic research available (unless you had the hard drive or had accessed the site before it was shut down) are not abundant, which is why your views may seem partisan. I urge you to take a more balanced. You say “Would anyone have used scoretop if instead of "these questions were written by our tutors" the site said "these questions were stolen from gmac and if you use them you could be in a lot of trouble"? Of course not. That's why they don't advertise produce as "laced with dangerous pesticides" and cars as "guaranteed to lose value" even though both statements are demonstrably true.” I am sure you have seen the page from score top website, from Nov 2006, where the website claims that they questions are their own. In your own words please shed some light on how can testaker check the veracity of the claims made a tutoring institute or website if it claims to be legit.

To GMAC: Please to the due diligence, which is absolutely imperative, in finding out who actually committed the crime, before just cancelling the scores based on just the VIP membership. For many hardworking, smart, and ethical people that would be professional death row based on purely circumstantial evidence or it would be like sharing a cell and the term with Skilling or Fastow, for owning an Enron share.

Ben

July 1, 2008 10:23 AM

It's funny hearing all of the people mad at GMAC, like it's their responsibility to make sure you don't cheat. You signed your name to something saying you wouldn't cheat. GMAC's primary goal is to keep their test honest and accurate, it's not to stop people from cheating. If you joined this site you took a calculated risk and either 1) should have known (i.e. smart enough to know better) or 2) probably aren't in a position where a canceled GMAT score will matter (i.e. to stupid to know better). To score well on the GMAT you have to logically deduce certain things and by joining this site you should have logically deduced that you might get in trouble. Stop complaining and face the consequences of your actions.

Hk

July 1, 2008 10:26 AM

From HK to Louis,

Just tell me something. when you join a website, you get to see the disclaimer and when you have got inside the VIP mmbership, then only you will see the posts, and now you argue that a member joining a VIP membership should have known all the posts in advance. I mean such a logic is not expected from a prestigious Business week editor like you. You really seem to be inclined more towards the interests of GMAC. Thanks

Take well debated decision

July 1, 2008 10:31 AM

It is clear that after sept , 2006 no live questions are posted and even live questions as such does make much difference ( a few in 1000s of questions) very less probability of getting atleast one question. So, it is the question of Ethical behaviour and establishing the standards. GMAC should find ways to address this issue in more matured manner. punishing students is too harsh (noting most of them are innocents and punishing innocent is evil then commiting crime itself). out of these 6000 VIP members may be a few got unfair advantage , which is again negligible. Moveover, these documents are available in almost all the sites.. so evenif GMAC hunts down those few VIP members punishing them is again ethical question.

Hope GMAC will come with mature decision , which reestablishes the standards without taking harsh steps against students.

gdfg

July 1, 2008 10:58 AM

hi
GMAC i just want to know
how will u punish a person who was a vip member
He used to download vip questions
n circulated these question through hard and soft copies to various institutes and students
But he was not very active member of scoretop

how r u going to catch this type pf person

Swiss

July 1, 2008 11:19 AM

In all these situations, why anyone is not seeing a basic fact---that there is loophole somewhere in GMAC which allowed scoretop to access "live"question. when GMAC knew about scoretop activities and "followed up", did GMAC ever sued person or system who leaked these questions to scoretop? why there is no mention about GMAC fault.

Another thing, 6000 members may have used VIP membership, but question is how many of them actually appeared for test during those times and secured admissions? is it possible to track them among pool of 6000? how GMAC will decide on those? maybe some of them accessed VIP but never apperaed for test and what if they plan to appear in coming months? How GMAC will decide if those test takers' names matches with credit card info Vs their test taking date...

Whatever maybe, atleast there will be fair true percentile score now onwards hopefully (depending on what GMAC does to track and bring in public the person or system inside GMAC who leaked the questions to scoretop)

on Yahoo - should yahoo be taken down

July 1, 2008 11:33 AM

THis is just one ad on Yahoo about scoretop

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gmattutor/message/36655

there are several forums in yahoo which have all sorts of gmat material, I think GMAC should bring down YAHOO too and cancel all the scores of yahoo users.

jhs04

July 1, 2008 11:37 AM

Here's the bottom line... This article is meant to be vague so as to leave GMAC the most possible room to take the action they want. It does implicity assume guilt to all VIP members, but it also adds that these members must also have "sought and obtained" live questions. It also mentions that it will cancel scores of those with compelling evidece. Also, in a previous article, a GMAC lawyer bluntly stated that they are not going to cancel scores just because you were a VIP member. I was a paid VIP member in early 2008, when as we all know there was no promotion of live questions or JJ's. Since the GMAC was supposedly tracking this website for a long time, there is no doubt, they also know about the lack of JJ's from 2007 & 2008. I think they are leaving it open-ended, so that people who were members in 2007 and 2008 who also made posts with regards to live questions can be punished. The GMAC wants to appear tough on cheaters in its official statement - but the fact is that their lawyer said (and of course, GMAC would never do anything against the advise of their lawyers) that they will need something more than just VIP membership to cancel scores. People are freaking out, reading between the lines, and making their own assumptions at this point. I would say, that if you just purchased membership, but didn't actively post or seek live questions, you probably have nothing to worry about. I can stand here and plead all day about my innocence, etc. on this forum, but it won't make a lick of difference to what the GMAC actually does. The fact of the matter is, what's done is done, and all we can do at this point is wait for some type of verdict. The fact that it might take a while is probably good for those who are actually innocent - it means there will a good amount of research that goes into anything before scores are actually cancelled.

The one final thing I will say about GMAC, is that even though JJ's were not mentioned when I was a member, is that it is unfair to assume that everyone must have known that a JJ meant a real question. Probably a lot did - and this will become obvious if they look at the posts, etc. - but I think there are probably a good amount of innocents from 2006, 2005 etc. who never knew what a JJ was.

For GMAC to consider ...

July 1, 2008 11:38 AM

1.) Please dont discount the fact that ST owners/admins would edit/delete posts of the forum users. Possibility of user's posts to benefit ST's objective is quite likely. 2.)Please look at the credit card usage history in Asian countries where a single credit card gets shared by lot of people because of low credit card penetration 3.) Please pay attention to the wordings used by ST in pre 2006 (JJs era) and even post 2006. They never claimed to post REAL gmat quesitons but harped on the fact that the difficulty level of JJs were same. Yes, often you would see posts or debriefs claiming the JJs as real questions but now we should possibly question the post's genuinity as well.For students , it was really very difficult to tell one from another. Cyber laws , Internet scams are still unpopular in Asian countries such as India , Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. 4.) An earlier notification from GMAC would have surely helped these students in avoiding ST and other such sites. 5.) Please dont destroy the carrers of thousands (or even hundreds) of students. They have worked hard , families to support and a community to live in. A single false accusation can destroy someone's life.

Prashy

July 1, 2008 12:28 PM

To GMAC

I would like to make a point here. Forget about the Scoretop, live questions, VIPs etc. GMAC allows one to take the test as many time as one can. If a person takes the test 4 times it implies that the person had already seen those "live questions"(nearly 100 each time x 3) when the person actually reappears to take the test the 4th time.Is that a sneak peak? Which is way beyond what VIP members accessed.

This multiple test taking process concept itself is a huge violation of GMAC policy and GMAC, in the sheer process of money making, encourages people to take test as many time as possible and thus violating it's own rules. This is self contradiction. Before correcting some thing outside it would be better off if it corrects some policies within.

This is mere stupidity on the part of GMAC and I wonder how such a dumb organization established such a monopoly and is trying to hampers the careers of many.

Mike

July 1, 2008 12:51 PM

GMAT is a useless test that has nothing to do with testing business knowledge, but more of GMAC making money of it; and making students who want to advance themselves go through a meaningless process.

Increase

July 1, 2008 1:00 PM

6,000 cheaters must retake the test!!!

This is a real big deal. How many good guys have finished last because of these 6,000 criminals.

Now, what these 6,000 criminals are waiting for? JUST CONFESS BEFORE IT GETS WORSE!

GMAC, you have to increase the scores of good guys!

some scoretop questions disccesed on other sites

July 1, 2008 1:09 PM

http://www.manhattangmat.com/forums/post3578.html

What could be action on this, there are several of these on other forums existing right now.

Louis

July 1, 2008 1:14 PM

There were a lot of questions/comments, so I'going to try to address the ones I can, as best I can:

1. GMAC did not say anything about what you should do if you used scoretop but haven't yet taken the test. The FAQ I posted was the whole FAQ.

2. GMAC didn't say how it would treat students who took the GMAT twice, but only joined the VIP area before the second test.

3. It appears at this point that GMAC isn't making a distinction between people who used scoretop before/after it eliminated the JJs, but it's still very early. Which brings us to point #4...

4. I'm not sure how much more clearly this can be said: GMAC will not be punishing ALL VIP members simply because they're VIP members. They will be investigating to determine if each VIP member either posted questions to the site, or accessed live questions on the site. If you didn't do either of those things, or violate the GMAT terms and conditions in some other way, you're free and clear.

5. The reason there was no warning from GMAC as soon as it discovered the live questions on the scoretop site was hinted at in the FAQ. The site was under investigation by the FBI at the time. According to David Wilson, GMAC's president and CEO, who I spoke to this morning, the feds asked GMAC to lay low while the investigation was underway.

6. How will GMAC find out if someone "sought" access to live questions? It's pretty clear that GMAC had Scoretop under surveillance for some time before it was shut down. The court file on the case includes more than a hundred pages reproduced from the site, including debriefings, forum posts, etc. That, combined with whatever data was stored on the hard drive, plus their own data concerning your test registration and the actual test you took, will probably give them everything they need to connect the dots. Not knowing what all this information is it is, of course, impossible to say that with 100% certainty, but it's a lot of information.

7. A few of you seem to have detected an apparent bias on my part in favor of GMAC. I'm not sure where you're getting that idea, but it's not true. I don't have a dog in this race, and more importantly, I don't know enough about what happened in individual cases to root for one side or the other. I've written two stories about this. The first one was from GMAC's point of view because that was the only point of view I had. The second one included a student quote, quoted the scoretop disclaimer, and questioned whether everyone who used the site knew the questions were live. As for my posts here, they were based on my assessment of the evidence I had at the time--not any desire to "prosecute" 6,000 VIP members. Sorry folks, I'm not buying the bias argument.

gltnforpnshmnt

July 1, 2008 1:14 PM

I think GMAC is just trying to scare everyone here. Out of 6000 VIP members, how many of them can they prove accessed 'live' questions, and in those cases, how many of those knew that the questions were live? It seems like that group would be a very small percentage indeed. And, if they cancel a user's score, and the user in turn gets booted out of bschool, GMAC is going to find itself on the defensive end of a whole bunch of damages lawsuits.

It will be up to each b-school to decide how to deal with those students who get their scores canceled, but it seems patently unfair that an organization such as GMAC can completely take away someone's chance of getting into school by canceling their score and then disallowing them to take the test again. That might be a punishment that doesn't exactly fit the crime of even those who knowingly cheated. Most of the students who DIDN'T cheat on the GMAT will cheat once they get to school anyway.

To all complainers

July 1, 2008 1:36 PM

After reading most of these comments, it appears to me that those who attack the content of the GMAT exam shouldn't go for an MBA degree. What the GMAT examines is basically logic via reading and math. That said, a business student should be able to read the Wall Street Journal to understand what's going on in the world and how that might affect him or her. As for the math portion, given certain information, how will you be able to solve a problem? (Rhetorical question.)
I believe the GMAT is a good exam, but not perfect, so if you have problems with what it examines, then you obviously miss the point of the skills you should have acquired in college and in work experience.

Increase

July 1, 2008 1:39 PM

Clear that more 6,000 cheaters got better scores. There should be one action for all, no discrimination! All these criminals deserve same punishment!!!

Now it's a fact that the scores of these cheaters affected the scores of True guys.
GMAC, please do the math and adjust the scores of 2006 and 2007 honest test-takers!!!

All

July 1, 2008 1:49 PM

Thanks Louis for your long post. Its very evident that those VIP members who haven't posted or accessed live questions have nothing to worry about. So guys relax, and move on, nothing would happen if u haven't done anything wrong. However, I sincerely would like to punish the real perpetrators for putting all of us in so much mental turmoil.

dumbo

July 1, 2008 2:05 PM

basically GMAC is the scum... it creates a test with english and math questions.. the english test is the scum of the earth just like gmat...because of this GMAC, i didnt get into the school of my choice.. them and their stupid english questions... the strangest questions i have ever seen. they must be living in shakespeare world where people talk really funny.

To Louis: Major Issue Overlooked

July 1, 2008 2:13 PM

The Scoretop server crashed in April 2008 wiping out all accounts created after 2006. Any recovered data will have major corruption issues. Please consider the implications if GMAC relies on a damaged server to make its case to ruin someone's life. This is an issue that MUST be examined more closely. Louis, please do not overlook this important detail. Others, please comment.

Thanks

July 1, 2008 2:14 PM

Louis,

I dont know you man - but I am very grateful to you for keeping us posted.

GMAC agrees that the live questions had little impact on person's score - So cancelling/ retaking the exam wont change the score for VIP members. If anyone indeed solicited or shared live questions, then they ought be punished.

Joker

July 1, 2008 2:15 PM

I truly think we should be rewarding these 6,000. Pick up any newspaper any day of the week and read about some CEO, trader, banker, hedge-fund manager, etc who was just caught up in some sort of fraud, misconduct, cheating, lying or stealing and tell me that these 6,000 wouldn't make a welcome addition to the business world. So I say, give them a break, they are simply advanced students who have already learned all they would've in business school anyway. So rather than canceling their scores, give them cushy jobs and [let them] continue they're training!

fdfdf

July 1, 2008 2:18 PM

What if some1 was active vip member, used to post his doubts and used to solve other ppls doubts??

ioioui

July 1, 2008 2:19 PM

shattering dreams

dfdf

July 1, 2008 2:27 PM


the biggest fact is scoretop moderators or staff can modify the post written by any member
They can edit members post( add data and remover data)
Moderators are real culprits

adf

July 1, 2008 2:36 PM

It is clear that after sept , 2006 no live questions are posted and even live questions as such does make much difference ( a few in 1000s of questions) very less probability of getting atleast one question. So, it is the question of Ethical behaviour and establishing the standards. GMAC should find ways to address this issue in more matured manner. punishing students is too harsh (noting most of them are innocents and punishing innocent is evil then commiting crime itself). out of these 6000 VIP members may be a few got unfair advantage , which is again negligible. Moveover, these documents are available in almost all the sites.. so evenif GMAC hunts down those few VIP members punishing them is again ethical question.

Hope GMAC will come with mature decision , which reestablishes the standards without taking harsh steps against students.

sg

July 1, 2008 2:36 PM

I want to bring one thing into your kind notice that All VIP users are not the culprits.
I have no idea whether site claimed live questions or not, but it was a preparation site and most of the users used it for better preparation, the same way other sites do.
Also,one can think this as the advertisement gimmicks of this site to earn more, as most of the users and test takers trust GMAT and GMAC and believe that the GMAT questions cannt be leaked. If the GMAC knew the fraudulant practise of scoretop.com, they should have publicaly announced or warned.Some students have unknowingly become a victim of this and it would be really unfair to punish all. Dont wreck their careers for a mistake which is made unknowingly.

dfdffddf

July 1, 2008 2:40 PM

What if someone made a post titled "live"
but none of the questions were "live"?

To Louis

July 1, 2008 2:47 PM

Louis,

Do you know the "as of" date of the court documents? (i.e. evidence such as hard drives, website snapshots, etc.)

It sounds like the evidence is as of Feb/March 2008, which means that everybody who joined after that timeframe is not being investigated. Could you shed some light on this or let us know how to get a hold of the court documents? I assume the documents are public record.

gddh

July 1, 2008 2:51 PM

Few months back scoretop server was crashed?
Was that really crashed?

Louis

July 1, 2008 2:56 PM

There's no single "as of" date. I'm thumbing thru some of the exhibits now and I see stuff from 2005, 2006, and 2007--I haven't come across anything from 2008 yet. And obviously I have no info about the hard drive. I wouldn't conclude that anyone joining after a certain date is off the hook, though. Remember, GMAC obtained the hard drive in June--presumably it includes info right up to the moment GMAC shut the site down. Probably not what you wanted to hear, but I hope it helps.

Jeff

July 1, 2008 3:30 PM

I studied for the GMAT on a baech in the Dominican, while drinking pina coladas.
I aced the exam, and graduated with an MBA.
I didn't need to cheat. Why would you try taking shortcuts? Use your melons.

Mr. Lavelle

July 1, 2008 3:37 PM

"I've seen the disclaimers on the scoretop site but there were many many references (in the debriefings, forums, etc.) that say just the opposite."

This is selective use of available information. Did you search the forums debriefings yourself? No. You relied on GMAC evidence. The disclaimers were posted circa Dec-2006. All the evidence related to debriefings and forum posts talking about "live" questions were pre-December 2006 [Refer to the pdf's again]. So, this is how you assessed the evidence and formed an opinion.

"I think people who relied on the disclaimers, and who now hope that GMAC will let them off the hook because of the disclaimers, are kidding themselves."

Again, more opinion based on your faulty interpretation.

"Would anyone have used scoretop if instead of "these questions were written by our tutors" the site said "these questions were stolen from gmac and if you use them you could be in a lot of trouble"? Of course not. That's why they don't advertise produce as "laced with dangerous pesticides" and cars as "guaranteed to lose value" even though both statements are demonstrably true."

While your articles or blog posts themselves are not biased, some of your comments indicate otherwise. You need to decide whether you want to be a reporter/investigative journalist who states facts & forms a balanced opinion or the average guy who just makes biased comments on the internet. You can't do both.

To Gddh:

July 1, 2008 4:13 PM

Yes. Do a quick search and you will discover that the Scoretop server crashed in April 2008. How on Earth can GMAC use a damaged server to accuse students of cheating?

No trust left

July 1, 2008 4:27 PM

We cannot trust anyone. That's the bottom line. I was expecting professional journalism from BW (having followed it for years now) but have been truly disappointed by this specific reporting. Louis , this is probably the biggest story of your life and I respect that. You have every right to post the facts but not a one sided opinion. While you must have interviewd the GMAC execs , how many students did you care to interview ?? No judgement has been passed as yet and still the ST users are tagged as Cheaters/Criminals all over the web. just google and you will know and they all reference back to your comments! wasnt the manipulation of these students by the ST enough that free press also has to abuse their priveleges. Please dont get offended - in your and others eyes we are the so called criminals but only if we had someone taking an unbiased stands. There are still so many unresolved issues - Where are other journalists ans so called truth seekers ?

Pavan

July 1, 2008 4:30 PM

Hi
This is not fair when i started my GMAT Prep in 2007. I was searching for some good online material and some one suggested me scoretop. 30$ didn't look like a big amount and i didn't even spend more than 30min on the site.
Now just coz of that slip up. my whole b-school plans are doomed. This is not fair.

Hk

July 1, 2008 4:35 PM

Doing business may get a lot harder for eBay (EBAY). A Parisian court has ordered the e-commerce giant to pay $61 million to luxury goods manufacturer LVMH (LVMH.PA), the firm behind the Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior brands, for failing to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods on eBay's French site. The decision, handed down June 30, is the third in the past two years from a European court rejecting eBay's argument that it shouldn't be held responsible for users selling illegal knockoffs. "This decision represents an important step in protecting brands and products against parasitic practices," LVMH said in a statement - business week.

Guys this is what happens on net, now r the customers or sellers help for this.

Sam

July 1, 2008 4:59 PM

I can't agree more with the last poster on Mr Lavelle's opinions. Mr Lavalle compared drivers violating a speed limit knowingly to test takers joining a website that is definitely not labeled as an OUTCAST TEST PREP COMPANY by the so called authority,GMAC. You can compare test takers who ever joined 06/20 after seeing the press release to those violators who sped.

Mr Lavelle, The internet, unfortunately can be a huge place or small place just like our world depending on what we see.
I just can't fathom how some one who joined a test prep company for practice Q's is labeled as some one who does not have ethics. GMAC does not call them cheaters because the test is so hard that seeing 3 or 4 Q's will not make a difference by more than 10/20 points

So what GMAC is saying that it wants to prove that 6000 people lacked ethics in joining ST. Good luck with that in the courts.

I don't understand why GMAC did not make this public after FBI started to investigate ST. GMAC knows what they are doing because they filed a suit in Jun 07, Feds are monitoring, More over Lei Shi knows because he is getting those warnings and notices from the Feds. lying low on what??? lying low for a witch hunt?? What pisses me off is that FAQ says that Lei Shi was warned several times. Jeez! You warn a guy thats fostering the transfer of so called live Q's and let him run away, but you dont spare most (NOT ALL) of the 6000 people who participated with out knowledge.

Dub

July 1, 2008 5:00 PM

*points and laughs at the cheaters*

a_dad

July 1, 2008 5:11 PM

All I wish for is that this gets resolved soon. It's extremely hard to go about one's daily life without knowing what the end outcome will be. I hope they are able to catch and send the scoretop site owner to jail for a long time.

Louis

July 1, 2008 5:16 PM

I'll concede that I didn't fully think through the timing of the disclaimer and the timing of the "live" question discussions in the debriefings and forum posts, so that comment may have been off-base.

However, I defend the use of the GMAC evidence. Whatever you think of GMAC (apparently not much in your case) it did have scoretop under constant surveillance, it was working closely with the FBI, it's the only group on the planet who knows which questions were live and which weren't, and it had the decency to put it's name on its evidence and submit it to a court of law (as opposed to, say, hiding under a cloak of anonymity).

As for my statement asking "would anyone have used scoretop if..." I was simply trying to make a point about trusting disclaimers. Even if you had never been to the scoretop site until after the disclaimer was posted I have to wonder what would make people believe a disclaimer loaded with typos (New VIP membership has openned today! In the new service we will provide our own math/Verbal practise questions (fully owned by Scoretop, not copyrighted of anybody else!) written by our 780+ tutors etc. etc.). That alone would have been a red flag to me, but that's just me.

One last thing: if my articles (which are edited) and my blog posts (which are not) are not biased, then I've done my job...I've kept whatever opinions I have out. I've been doing this for nearly 30 years, so I should be pretty good at it by now. My comments weren't biased--at worst they were poorly expressed. But I guess you're entitled to your opinion.

To Louis - Follow-up

July 1, 2008 5:18 PM

Loius,

Regarding the "as of" date of the evidence, it is possible to check the ISP and Domain Name owner of wwww.scoretop.com by using registrar services like domaintools.com

As part of your investigative reporting you could check the history of the server associated with the scoretop hostname and check where the server was based (i.e. US or Non-US country). So for example, if ST was hosted in the U.S. from 2005-2007 but it was hosted in another country from 2008 onwards then the hard drive in GMAC's possession most likely is from the 2005-2007 period. My assumption here is that the court ruling doesn't have jurisdiction on the ISP/Host Servers that are based outside the US.

I think this a good piece of information worth checking into since it will provide a specific date range on the contents of the hard drive.

Plus, there is so many holes in this ST saga that it might prove useful to have the hard facts about the ST site. So far it is known that the site crashed in the past and data was completely lost, so there are holes as to the numbers of members, and thus the number of people implicated (either innocent or guilty)

to Louis

July 1, 2008 5:35 PM

well...to the comment that the very reason of ST disclaimer having typos..should have raised a BIG red flag....just wondering ....does not george bush do too many errors while giving speeches...should that raise a red flag as well..it could be a bad analogy...but still i guess the point is clear.

FROM ANOTHER FORUM

July 1, 2008 5:46 PM

While I admire the comfortable moral certitude of those of you who want to castigate the VIP members en masse, I wonder if you would have been as smug as you are now had you wandered into the minefield that was scoretop.com. Oh, but you would have 'known better', right? Of course, you would immediately plead guilty because you should have 'known better'. God forbid you would protest your innocence - after all, 'everybody' knows that crappily designed sites with bad grammar are automatically illegal, and $30 is too little to pay for anything connected to B-school admission (as compared to the thousands that people fork over to have their essays written for them). According to you, they should be fried just for being dummies. Right?

Fortunately, the US legal system is one of the best in the world because 'innocent until proven guilty' is one of its central tenets, based on classical ethical principles. I fervently hope none of you are put in a position to decide the fates and fortunes of other men and women, because your own self-interested biases (I can't get into b-school because of 'cheaters'. Really?) will come in the way of justice ever being truly served.

May no innocent person fall because of the slack morals of lazy cheats, or because of the overzealous prosecution of hard-line nutjobs. If you read GMAC's FAQ, it is clear that every individual case will be evaluated on its own merits, and prosecuted based on compelling evidence. Not only is that good business and good PR, it's the right thing to do.

Mr. Lavelle

July 1, 2008 6:49 PM

"However, I defend the use of the GMAC evidence. Whatever you think of GMAC (apparently not much in your case) it did have scoretop under constant surveillance, it was working closely with the FBI, it's the only group on the planet who knows which questions were live and which weren't, and it had the decency to put it's name on its evidence and submit it to a court of law (as opposed to, say, hiding under a cloak of anonymity)."

I have neither objected to your use of GMAT evidence nor have I discredited GMAC itself in any way. In fact, there is a wealth of information in the exhibits that I read through exhaustively. My objection was only to the mix-and-match approach.

"As for my statement asking "would anyone have used scoretop if..." I was simply trying to make a point about trusting disclaimers. Even if you had never been to the scoretop site until after the disclaimer was posted I have to wonder what would make people believe a disclaimer loaded with typos ...That alone would have been a red flag to me, but that's just me"

You are making an assumption here that owner or moderator of the forum is also the author of the practice questions. I don't know how many such forums you have visited, but I am sure you know that quality of english on internet forums is far below print media. Agreed, it makes you cautious but again you don't need to be an English professor to author a GMAT Math question. Most, I repeat most, students are just looking for practice questions beyond what they can find in Kaplan, Princeton or other prep companies. If everyone could afford $1500 or so, they would be attending prep courses instead of wasting time on finding quality prep material on the internet. Anyways, I am digressing here.

Lastly, we readers always appreciate any information especially when it concerns such a serious issue but when you are the only source, we do expect that information is verbatim. You can already see the deep-rooted racism on this forum in the form of various comments. So, any characterization of the issue as a black and white is far from the truth. It is obvious that people cheated, but who and when, even GMAC doesn't want to get into that right now.

Louis

July 1, 2008 7:44 PM

This is in response to "No Trust Left":

So let me get this straight--you're "disappointed" by my reporting? The only guy in the whole world who bothered to tell this story? Everybody else ignored it, wouldn't give it so much as a brief, and those media outlets are okay. But you detect a whif of opinion--in a comment, not a story--and you're ready to feed me to the wolves? Just wanted to make sure I got that right.

Just because I had the temerity to say something you disagree with--in a forum that's all about disagreeing--doesn't mean I somehow violated the standards of my profession.

How many students did I care to interview? Not many, you're right. Because virtually EVERY student I tried to interview didn't want me to use their names. They're happy to take potshots at each other (and me), but none of them want to go on the record. Yeah, I can see how that makes me the bad guy.

I was out yesterday, but I asked two other reporters to track down students who would be willing to talk about this story (it took them two days because the vast majority refused). Their story is going up tonight. If that, along with the 1,085 comments on this web site, doesn't quite tell your side of the story let me know.

I have never made any kind of blanket characterization that everyone who used scoretop was a "cheater." If anything, I've gone to great lengths to explain the difficulty in determining who broke the rules and who didn't. And I never called anyone "criminals"--no one's even been charged with a crime. If you're going to hurl accusations, the least you can do is get your facts right.

I was going to sign off by saying you're entitled to your opinion, but your opinion about me is seriously misguided. If you want to kill the only messenger whose telling this story, be my guest...but it seems kind of self-defeating to me.

To louis (No Trust Left)

July 1, 2008 8:20 PM

Maybe that's how it feels Louis. When you know you aren't wrong and somebody calls you a criminal...

Think about all the students who have had to put up with this for days now...

This has only widened the race debate amongst b school students..

Again , Google and see how Asian students have lost their face...You think they will survive any harsh decision by GMAC...

And the students you want to interview are not the all mighty GMAC that they'd come up and raise their hand and agree to be crucified..Like I said there is no tust left..

Please put yourself in those students' skin and think for a second what its like to be tagged as a criminal.

I have nothing against you or anyone. I am as schocked and hurt as anyone else here.

If our opinion mattered then all these 1000 odd comments would not have gone un heard. It is your opinion that matters and that's what all these students , BW readers request of you - to see the both sides.

To Louis

July 1, 2008 10:02 PM

You did a great job Louis. I very highly appreciate it and I'm sure many other scoretop members too. Remember you cant make everyone happy -- no one can.

What now?

July 1, 2008 10:55 PM

Even though I did not even know that there is a website called ScoreTop, and not knowing what "jj" stands for I believe GMAC is going nuts over this issue. Most people probably did not even know what "jj" stand for. ( I gave GMAT twice and I learned through Louise article what "jj" actually means). I am on waiting list for this year MBA in a really good school so some part of me wish that somebody get kicked out from school so I can get admission. But I know how bad it would be for those people so I sincerely do not want anybody to go through this hell. Hopefully schools will make prudent decision and take steps to reprimand students while not ruining their carrers because of the misunderstanding. In my view if the current students GMAT score do get cancelled hopefully instead of throwing students out of schools, schools will make students do some kind of community service and give everyone a second chance, again instead of ruining everyone's carrer. While hopefully we all have learned lesson from this incident;

GMAT takers: Do not be overzealous and overambitious that you are ready do anything to get into good school. Knowingly or unknowlingly. Specially Indian students (since I am an Indian myself) who are so ambitious that they are always willing to compromise their integrity, trying to prove to their parents and relatives that they are going to Ivy league schools and win artificial praises from them. Something we all can learn from Americans. Americans (since I am US citizen and lived here for 8 years) stop always trying to gain moral high ground by blaming other nationalities or race for all your problems (How about not murdering any more innocent Iraqies?). Just like your governemnt always blame rest of the world for its problem, "We are perfect, its the other countries that are screwing up." (I am actually surprised they did not blame Katrina disastor on Thailand or Taiwan or some other country for too much fishing! Thats right!) You guys are not perfect either.

Schools: Do not put so much empahsize on GMAT. Some people score really well in these tests but in real life they are dumb as rock. I am not sure what GMAT questions help me to have a vision for my company or how I can make new market for the product or service I provide. Or why, when I am a CEO of a company I should not have an extra marital affair with my hot blond secetary.

GMAC: If you think you are going to control "Internets", in words of Bush, you are sadly mistaken. There will be more website like Scoretop who will give out these "jj" questions for free. They may not call these quetsions "jj" they may call them "tomato tomato" or "hoo laa hoo laa hee hee", but the point is you can't control everyone. I am not sure how many times FBI going to help you out and if they continue doing so, we may need to have entirely new investigation bureau like "GBI". SO chill and I don't think any one of you is Ghandi either.

Louis: I believe it was not your intention but the article came out to be some what biased. You are right you were the only who covered this story so you have my respect. Some people are pissed off at you because some how they felt that they have been called cheaters by you. Not true of course and I do not believe you truely consider them cheaters. I do apologize on behalf of anyone who has hurt your feeling and thank you for your hard work, keep up the good work.

As for me there, may be I can stop being critical of others and actually study little bit harder and so I can get into the schools rathering then being on the waiting list. Of course there is always a next year for me and I am pretty sure I can get into some school next year.

But ScoreTop VIP members you can't change the past, so cheer up and work on your plan B in case you are one of the few unlucky ones. An MBA can not define your life.

1970s GMAT Taker

July 1, 2008 11:49 PM

Personally, I find the very notion of people actually taking "prep" classes for the GMAT (and SAT) to be disturbing.

I took the GMAT in the mid/late 1970s, scored over the 98%ile (if memory serves, and it is fading these days), and the only "prep" one could do was to look at the booklet about the test, which showed it was like a souped-up SAT.

Now everyone is trying to game the test.

As an employer, I started asking job candidates during interviews about their exam scored (SAT/GMAT) decades ago. I did (and do) this because I like to hire smart people. With all of this test-prep nonsense going on, I may switch to a simple solution:

Make every candidate take an IQ test.

Who knows, I might find that I can hire lots of people who don't even have MBAs and get perfectly good results from them -- and less entitled arrogance to boot.

Something to think about during your upcoming "business ethics" classes.

The Logician's Assistant

July 2, 2008 2:00 AM

Don't take it too hard, Louis. Methinks your loudest detractors are probably also those who felt most pressured to seek out JJs or any other illegitimate source of score improvement: those with justifiably low self-confidence whose energies would be better channeled towards pursuit of the education they purport to seek.

$30 spent on used math textbooks or grammar primers would have helped these people considerably more than a VIP membership during ANY year, but everyone wants a quick and easy fix. The GMAT isn't intended to predict success in business, just in B-school. For those complaining that B-school provides inadequate or inappropriate preparation for the real world, the answer is simple: don't go. For those who think the GMAT, GMAC, or your reporting are culpable of negligence or bias, the question is simple: are they really upset about this tempest in a teapot, or perhaps about the shortcomings revealed by their scores?

80% of people believe they're above average, and 37.5% of those people are wrong. They're often also the most vocal deniers of that fact :)

gmat

July 2, 2008 2:01 AM

well, GMAC whn u were investigating the site since 2005, u sud hav informed the public
If u cud have taken some precautionary measures in 2005 many students life could have been saved
now all the students from 2003 to 2008 will be trapped because of ur fault

VIPs to retake the GMAT? Be my guest!

July 2, 2008 2:18 AM

Many people who are posting on this website seem to assume that the ONLY reason scoretop VIPs got a good score was because of their use of the "VIP questions."

Most VIPs were at a very high level in mathematics before coming to the site, had the stamina to study for hours upon hours straight. The vast majority of active members completed HUNDREDS OF PROBLEMS A WEEK FOR MOOOOOOONTHS—FROM ALL AVAILABLE RESOURCES -- Official Guides, GMATPrep, Princeton, Kaplan, Manhattan GMAT, 4gmat, bellcurves ,LSAT books, plain grammar books, etc, etc, etc…oh and yes scoretop-- for months.

If you think that after all this preparation they were not going to master concepts and do well on the exam, give them a couple of weeks to review and quiz them. You will be disappointed.

Jagan

July 2, 2008 4:41 AM

The whole saga is painful and seems a mess. I am an M Tech/ MBA (for 20+ years) and have no stake in the whole issue, but one. I follow the research/information from all the Ivy-League institutions because they are truly world class. I guess they are world class to a large account because of their openness. This is threatened now, because we have people calling each other cheats (GMAC started usage of the word rather pre-maturely, sitting on judgement on a very large numbers of, perhaps the brightest people in the world at that point in time) After that, they have been weaving webs (spider kind) around themselves.
The pertinent questions are,
1. Is GMAT score the only thing that determines a persons capability, the interviews, the academic brilliance (in respect of those who, out of these 6000 are already enrolled) is of no consequence.
2. If the sacntity of the site was in question, can we hang all the persons , who may not have had a clue.
3. Do we have to bring a racial hue to the sordid mess ?
4. Do we send a signal across the world that it is risky to study in an American Ivy league institution because you can be hauled up even 10 years after your MBA , if some internet access could be labelled on you.

Let us appreciate Louis's effort for bringing some kind of balanced thought on this. And let us cool down to give it a rational thought. The moral argument of GMAC is slightly forced. T
the racial profiling of 6000 is atrotius, and lingering standoff by GMAC and other authorities damaging to the management sciences.

I am wondering, if I start on a road trip, do I have to cross check the antecedent of the freeway builder. Internet has its faults, but in information age, we need to make a differentiation between 'accessing information' and "cheating"

I am hoping, we can uphold the tradition of natural justice in US, and not create a monstrousity by mass killing of unsuspecting (but bright) innocents.

Best

Antonio

July 2, 2008 6:24 AM

I don't believe that looking at any amount of live/dead questions would give much of an edge on the real test - the questions are all similar anyway and the test is adaptative.

However, there is clearly a problem in looking for this edge. Inevitably you will go over some strange limits... for example, it is the same thing when a football player takes some pills given by the coach, and later claims to not know they cointained banned substances - observe that the real effects are not even taken into consideration.

At the end, test takers CANNOT trust obscure websites, and if they do, it's on their own risk. It is the same if you go to an obscure flee market and buy something that *might* be stolen. You are buying the goods/services, then you have to do the due diligence. If you buy something illegal, it is your fault.

Certainly I believe that some people might have been fooled by the site, but some people must have signed-up because of the live questions. It will be very hard separate them.

And finally, thanks Louis.

Dad

July 2, 2008 8:12 AM

Dear Louis,

You are the only messenger we have to communicate our views.

Please dont get disappointed by some stupid posts.

Please help us.

Please be fair to communicate the point of view of students to the authoroties.

Its been about a week now and feels like a slow death every single day.

Please Please Please help us.

Thanks in advance.

sg

July 2, 2008 11:04 AM

Everyone knows that no two students get the same question paper, questions are random.So, this thing automatically rules out that people joined scoretop for cheating GMAC. everyone joined for practice only. Also, students have given their original credit card details. If they had an intention of cheating, they would not have had done so.

Ha

July 2, 2008 11:21 PM

I love how all of these posts are cheaters trying to pass off the blame on anyone but themselves. You cheated, and you knew it. The fact that some of you are trying to bring race into the equation is both laughable and shameful. You had a leg-up on all of the honest test-takers, and for that you deserve to have your score canceled.

MBA and Ph.D. to be

July 3, 2008 3:46 PM

I sincerely hope every single person that used this illegal website is disciplined to the fullest extent. How despicable!

S.Ive

July 3, 2008 4:54 PM

GMAT/GMAC should not have to post on their website any warnings or FAQ' related to a third party site that is aiming to cheat the system.

Everyone who takes the test agrees to the Rules and Terms and Conditions. Agreeing to those means you are willing to put your score on the line if you get caught cheating - simple as that.

There is no excuse for cheating - saying that they might not have been live questions is beyond the point. I highly doubt that anyone visiting the site, paid $30 without thinking that they would get and 'edge' by doing so.

They are all cheaters who I hope are never part of any Business School alumni network in this country.

Disgraceful

To kill a mocking bird

July 4, 2008 2:19 PM

The future of students who used Scoretop and did not "seek and obtain" 'live' questions should not be destroyed. If at all GMAC wants to punish everyone, take severe action against those who published those questions and cancel the test scores of others if proven to have obtained those live questions and let them take the GMAT again.
There's a saying - Kill all the bluejays if you want, but it's a sin to kill a mockingbird

@S.Ive - GMAC itself agrees that students who used Scoretop may not have an advantage as each test taker gets different questions. And not all knew that they would be getting live questions in the VIP section as Scoretop claimed they were prepared by their own tutors.

For instance, you could have paid more that $30 for other test prep material.
Were you thinking you wouldnt get an edge. Were you thinking it's useless but you still have to use it. People advise that so-and-so prep material is very good for RC or PS. Wouldnt you buy that. Will that make you a cheater?

RT

July 4, 2008 8:21 PM

This is beyond pathetic, and we wonder why this country is going into the toilet. The unbridled greed and lack of ethics rampant in the business world is clearly evidenced by the overarching lack of morality of many who go to B School in the first place. The cheaters should all have their admissions revoked...period.

Hotkinkyguy

July 5, 2008 3:46 PM

Lets hope all of the 6000 people who used this service get their scores cancelled. This will mean that admission schools have to lower their standards if they want to meet their quota of MBA students.
I hope this benefits people who did not use this service. The funny thing is that I went to princeton review and they told me to use this web site. Thank hell i never did.

Louis

July 5, 2008 5:35 PM

To Kill a Mockingbird, I don't disagree with much of what you said, but I don't know that I buy this notion that getting a look at exam questions prior to the test isn't cheating because it didn't give you much of an advantage. I've seen others make this same argument, and it really doesn't hold up. Think about it. You're late for an interview so you decide to break the speed limit, but you run into traffic and you still miss your appointment. You're telling me you weren't speeding because it didn't give you an advantage? You're in a track meet, and you and your competitor are neck in neck. As you approach the finish line you throw an elbow into his ribs, and you finish a hundredth of a second ahead of him, winning the race. Are you telling me you didn't cheat because it only gained you a hundredth of a second?

Unreal

July 5, 2008 9:07 PM

wow hotkingguy, so the princeton review folks told you to use Scoretop web site? Unreal...if they were asking people to use ST's website, it make me think for a very good reason that PR might be copying live material from ST and distributing among its students..they might be changing actual numbers but question content could be same....

alex

July 6, 2008 6:34 AM

i don't think it will be wright to destroy the future of 6000 applicants/students.the gmac should only punish the distributors of the live questions,and not everybody

Mohan

July 7, 2008 2:50 AM

I don't think every one should be punished, most of the time people would have paid 30 $ to get involved in discussion groups without realizing that they were live questions. They would have signed up to get access to various questions for their GMAT prep.

Most people in their comments above make the assumption that just by signing up for the VIP membership they are cheaters which is not true. GMAC should go through the hard disk and also review the activity of each individual, am sure there would be logs to get this informations. Using that information GMAC should punish those people who specifically joined the site to access live questions than punishing all the people who became VIP members.

Phil

July 7, 2008 11:47 AM

Louis,

Whichever way GMAC decides, is there any indication that they will render a decision before the academic year starts in August? I hope they dont drag out the investigation for months/ years leaving us in a limbo.

aaa

July 7, 2008 2:00 PM

Did anyone received a mail from GMAC today morning? The subject says "A Message from the Graduate Management Admission Council"

The mail just informs the user that he/she was a VIP member of Scoretop.

It also says "Our initial focus in this investigation is on those who disclosed live questions on Scoretop. If, as part of this investigation we find compelling evidence that a test taker knowingly violated GMAC policy, we may cancel GMAT scores and notify schools."

Louis

July 7, 2008 7:47 PM

Phil, at this point it looks like the people posting here--especially the ones who've been contacted by GMAC--know way more than I do...I've had my head stuck in spreadsheets all day. I'm with you, I hope this doesn't drag out. For what it's worth the people I've spoken to at GMAC say they hope they can finish this on a time frame that gives the schools plenty of time to act, or not act, as they see fit...in other words before the start of the academic year. That's no guarantee, but at least they're shooting for as early a resolution as possible. If I hear anything I'll let everybody know.

To "Aaa"

July 7, 2008 9:09 PM

What does GMAC mean by "Our initial focus in this investigation..." ?

ss

July 7, 2008 10:44 PM

I am not going to argue whether what I did was right or not. I just graduated from a top mba school. I am married and I have two kids. During my last two years I have hardly slept 4 hours any night. I have worked very hard and have been in the Deans list (top 10% of the graduating class) . I have also landed a dream job based on my ability , academics and interviews . I have actively contributed to community by tuitioning the disadvantaged kids for free , while at business school. I am about 150,000 in debt at this point and I just started my job.
If I were to be told today that all the hard work I did were to go waste because of a small mistake in judgement call three years back , it would be nothing short of death sentence for me and worse for my family.

please remember the time you had a lapse in good judgement and be a humane judge while making this decision.

Phil

July 8, 2008 6:58 AM

Louis,

What is GMAT going to do about people who used someone else's credit card to access the website? I would have done this, if I knew that I was getting live questions!

Or if the VIP members were instructors at test prep sites such as Kaplan, Manhattan, etc? This has been suggested by some people.

Thanks

Louis

July 8, 2008 8:25 AM

Folks, a lot of people are asking me questions that I just don't have answers to. We're trying to set up a chat with GMAC so that you can all ask your questions directly and get answers immediately. As soon as it's scheduled I'll let everyone know. Thanks for your patience.

James

July 8, 2008 9:03 AM

I was a VIP member..tried to use it to improve math..was my weak area. I had no idea this would be considered cheating and reason to cancel scores.
I really was not hoping to see actual questions used on the exams. I was just using it to get more "real" practice questions since I had exhausted OG10, OG11 and the otherguides..Kaplan..PR..MGMAT..Sure it was a lapse in judgement but to punish someone and ruin a career is ridiculous. I mean I am sure questions offered by other sites...Kaplan..PR..Veritas are alsopretty similar to GMAC questions and would have helped on the exam..should people of those services be punished too?

Thanks Louis

July 8, 2008 10:10 AM

Thanks Louis.

I feel Lei Shi should be extradited to the US first. He should be dealt with first. Unfortunately we do not hear about that. Its only the people who used that website who are being made the culprits though the mastermind is out there in China.

ss

July 8, 2008 12:59 PM

Sri

July 8, 2008 1:40 PM

Louis,

Do all VIP members will have GMAT scores cancelled?

Do all VIP members(because they paid $ 30) be prosecuted for this?

Do all VIP members(because they paid $ 30) will not be able to take GMAT again?

can any one provide honest/candid answers for these questions please

albert

July 8, 2008 2:45 PM

would paying 30 bucks for access to high quality questions be perceived
"Cheating".

If people knew that they were real questions and they still did it then they can be punished for cheating.

In preparation for GMAT or for that matter any competitive exam, students would want to equip themselves with as much knowledge as possible. students would buy many books, seek tutoring etc in the pre-internet age. With the advent of the internet, seeking online help is getting easier.
it will be a tough line to draw where one can decide on whether a student was cheating or not.

GMAC Way Over the Top

July 8, 2008 7:14 PM

We have two issues here. The first deals with copyright infringement. GMAC has properly dealt with this first issue by suing Scoretop and taking down the web site. The second issue affects GMAC and the whole body of GMAT test takers. To identify the students that gained an unfair advantage GMAC must analyze irregular test patterns for Scoretop users. Time spent per question on the exam and atypical jumps combined with Scoretop membership strongly suggest wrongdoing. It’s these cases that need to be dealt with decisively to maintain the integrity of the exam. Beyond this, B school administrators need to really use common sense, and not fall for the GMAC hype. GMAC’s ambitions to target most Scoretop users are over reaching and excessive. Let’s hope B school administrators see that.

To Louis

July 8, 2008 8:36 PM

I have three basic questions which if GMAC answers will help the majority of people here on the forums. Hopefully these can be answered in the chat or earlier. 1) Will VIP members who did not post even a single comment on the site have their scores canceled? 2)Will VIP members who only posted comments or solutions to live questions have their score canceled? 3) Will VIP members who posted comments only on forums pertaining to non-live questions have their scores canceled?

rk

July 8, 2008 9:11 PM

Aaa, I did recieve an email from GMAC yesterday. I guess they are sending out emails as they go thru the database.

Kaushik

July 8, 2008 10:02 PM

This is ridiculous..!!! People who did not get an access to VIP were the ones who were not aware. I am pretty much sure that the people who did not use scoretop were the ones who were not aware or didn't want to shell out $30. If the so called VIP membership was for free, I am damn sure that 99.99% of the people who would have known about scoretop, would have taken become a member, including this MIT girl.

Other means of cheating:
1. I read on some beat the GMAT forum, that there was a GMAT TUTOR who gave GMAT every year, so that he could get a feel of the exam and help his students. WHo knows he might have tried to memorize the real questions and help his students.

2. There are soooo many GMAT forums..beathegmat.com, www.scorechase.com, BW...and they all post questions ..who know if someone posted a real question...I think, in future...students would be scared to use any discussion forums.

3. Friends of VIP members...sometimes people share the cost of any material they wish to buy. So, The no. of real VIP members could be much much larger.

IF there was no warning from GMAC...they have no right to ruin the careers. Yes, it hurts to know that some people would have gained some sort of 'unfair advantage', but at the same time, some would have taken VIP membership just because they would have wanted to kill this 'unfair advantage'.

Just make a google on "real gmat questions" and you'll find some more that could be brought under the scanner.

Also, I think, it's GMAC's inability that they have to repeat questions in the GMAT. Because I am sure there are other ways of getting real questions ( from a friend who just appeared for GMAT if he/she remembers a few...Some GMAT tutors, who take GMAT a number of times....coaching institutes, who might have taken the VIP membership and used it to teach a lot of students at their institute).

I believe, since no warning was issued, all these guys must be warned and their careers should not be ruined.

PS: I did not use VIP membership!!!:-)

kaushik

July 8, 2008 10:49 PM

No one seems to comment about this post on Manhattan website: http://www.manhattangmat.com/forums/post3578.html

A lot of other webistes too use VIP questions...I think...ALL GMAT scores must be cancelled..!! Even using KAPLAN, Princeton, 1000SC( they claim that these are REAL GMAT questions) and stuff is an equal crime..because these are not certified by GMAC..and it is possible that they provide real questions while not advertising the same.

@Some of the guys, who are calling others as cheaters..
What if some of the material you used ( be it Kaplan..Princeton) and paid for it is sometime in future declared "unfair means"?? You too are a cheater if you used anything but GMATprep and OGs.

And stop cribbing...your percentile might be affected a bit because of some people who might have scored additional 10-20 points by using scoretop( which I doubt would have actually helped), but that cannot reduce your score. If you can't score a 700, you just can't.

WHERE ARE THE ETHICS?

July 9, 2008 9:24 AM

if you intended to cheat, then that is enough to cancel your score and revoke your degree - GMAC claims scoretop didnt help the score because GMAC monitored and removed live questions that were posted. So in reality, cheaters didnt get ahead, and are getting what they deserve. For the rest of us, since cheating didnt help the cheaters, our scores are what they are. Accept them.

Avi Gardner

July 9, 2008 9:39 AM

I do not believe their is "sufficient data" to solve this issue. I propose shut down GMAC altogether. Also, all you top B-schools get your lazy ass out of slumber and have your own standardized exams instead of relying on GMACKdaddies.

kevin

July 9, 2008 9:52 AM

This reinforces why the GMAT is useless as a "gating" tool for access to programs. It’s an academic exercise - created by theoretical academics for theoretical academics. I have read and taken the GMAT and none of the questions in the thing I have ever encountered in 25 + years of business and management in industry. Just idiot theoretical questions like " School bus is to banana as tree is to phone pole - do you agree or disagree with this statement - why?" Many tests have test exam practice sites which give you the answers in the question pool - government tests in particular - big deal, so what? The study guys give you the real test questions and answers. Does it matter? Will someone be a better leader if they are able to pass the test without it? I bet some MBA's who are in jail for various ethics violations passed the GMAT - so what did it prove or what value did it offer? Did it help them to be better leaders? Its time to retire this relic.

John

July 9, 2008 10:00 AM

My suggestion is to cancel the scores of all the 60000 students and bar them from entering any US Business school in the the future.Also research scoretop to find out students who had already graduated from a Business schools using scoretop and cancel their degrees and have the employers terminate their employment effective immediately.There should very strict measures take to handle this situation.Some students work very hard and sincerely to get high scores and they get denied because of students like these who cheat using sites like scoretop. I would recomend the strictest of measures taken to expose each and every student that used this site and did not follow the rules.

funny bunny

July 9, 2008 11:06 AM

ha ha ha. We are a bunch of simpletons.

GMAC is getting cheap publicity out of this. It is trying to help ones who cant get a decent score.

Chinese sure know how to make money...

the real MBAs are the ones who created this VIP and VVVIP game

Others will get screwed irrespective of the parameters they use for admissions.

EEE

July 9, 2008 11:50 AM

last time I took GMAT was in 2004! didn't know about scoretop...but here's my comment on this:

If your competitors were logging in ang gaining an edge at the test, why shouldn't you? paying $30 and browsing around, asking questions is no different than being in a free forum and discussing strategies etc. Also, how are they going to go after the 6000 people? via credit card receipts? and yeah, many of them probably used parents/spouses card #s...
Also, everybody decides how they spend their time! Instead of logging in and spending time to browse around, others might have solved couple more prep tests...
If a life of a current student is in jeopardy, that's ridicoulus.

kaushik

July 9, 2008 3:23 PM

The INTELLIGENT of the world would agree, that all this stuff is ridiculous. The people who have scored well in GMAT and somehow didn't come across scoretop wouldn't really call someone a cheat without analyzing the situation.
I feel strongly about this issue, because I was aware of the website ( scoretop, beatthegmat,pagalguy, testmagic)..all of them, but I never felt that an easy exam like the GMAT requires me to shell out extra bucks. But, it was just that. I never knew that registering at these forums or posting there was in anyway illigal, or I'd have been scared to even publish my de-brief on these websites.
Whatever...the world does not have to be perfect..we aren't perfect...GMAC is there to earn money...and just that!
I am a non-native English speaker...but I have to compete with people who know nothing but English..isn;t that an unfair advantage..shouldn't GMAT test me differently.
If I score as well as a native speaker, it means I am a genius!!!

WM

July 9, 2008 4:04 PM

1. Anyone who is complaining about GMAT's "monopoly" is unfit to be a capitalist, i.e., unfit to be in business school.
2. You who paid for this service knew it was wrong when you did it. Now you are just rationalizing your behavior and whining because you are being held to the logical conclusion of your behavior.

This all portends a bad future for the business world, I am afraid.

riz

July 9, 2008 6:02 PM

lets file a class action law suit against gmac and scoretop. i never took the test. so i didnt benefit. but this is a load of crap.

law suit freak

July 9, 2008 8:03 PM

It is advised that GMAC choose their next move very wisely or THEY will be the ones being sued.

...ok GMAC...you wanna play ball?....let's play ball...

anna

July 10, 2008 3:21 AM

the users of the site didn't know that copyrights were violated...and site was up for so many years....it never looked like there was any such voilations.... to cancel scores and not allow students to retake GMAT can destroy many lives. GMAC should consider their actions before acting....every one who used site and for that matter paid $30 didn't do it for "live gmat ques"...it was a good forum thats it....if live questions or JJs were posted in violation of copyrights the site should be sued becuase its users were unknow to this

test takers whose scores are cancelled are allowed to retake exam or not?
this question is not answered anywhere

renegade

July 10, 2008 9:26 AM

a narrow escape for me guys. i was recommended the site in the last week of june and i just found out about the scandal and that the shutting down of the site took place just a few days before it. good lord I was save dluckily!!

AB

July 11, 2008 5:11 AM

Chinese and Indian institutions have their GMAT teachers and students taken GMAT monthly to get live questions from their tests to distribute such live questions to their students, in which case have they violated the rule? GMAC has given them any punishment? Score 700 is enough for a student to enter good schools. How many takers already scored above 700 but still have retaken many times. GMAC knows why have they retaken GMAT or GMAC has ignored to earn money?

I agree that some some VIP innocents did not know that scoretop posted live questions and some guilty who have known live questions on Scoretop but still accessed to get high score. How many questions did memebers of the VIP Scoretop meet in their exams? Does GMAC want to punish such all violators?

Why did not GMAC have any punishment to members and students of institutions in China or India , who did and have been getting and meeting so many live questions. It is very ridiculous that GMAC does not care how guilty these institutions are. Or GMAC only tried to punish some innocent students od scoretop whose data are easy to collect because its domain is in the US .

Robert Bohling

July 11, 2008 6:13 PM

I am disappointed that so many prospective students have to cheat in order to obtain the highest possible score on the GMAT. Though I am concerned that I will not earn a high enough score to enter a top rated MBA program, cheating is not one of my methods in my methods to prepare for the exam.

I am fortunate to know however that Regis University College of Professional Studies (CPS) allows applicants to waive their GMAT score with two 750 word essays. I certainly depend on such alternatives because test taking is not my strongest skill. I wish other top accredited programs similar to Regis University had alternatives in case I decide to apply to other MBA programs. Unfortunately, few MBA programs offer an alternative and I will probably have to depend on my GMAT score. I am going to take the exam in September. If you have other information about other programs, please let me know. The following link may give you an idea of Regis University CPS’ alternative to the GMAT:

http://www.regis.edu/sps.asp?page=academics.grdeg.mba.admreq

Rocky

July 12, 2008 3:07 AM

Dear Louis,
I was a scoretop VIP member in early 2007 and was actively involved in practicing questions posted on the website. However, I , just as most of the VIP members, was not aware of what was going on!

I remember posting GMAT prep(software by GMAC) questions that I was not able solve by myself and for which needed help from other members/tutors.

Would GMAC treat this as an act of disclosing live question?
Though I never posted any live questions that I got in my GMATs(I wrote GMAT twice).

Please tell me if you have info on this.

~Thanks

Robert ANdy

July 12, 2008 3:24 AM

This is what Judy Phair has to say: ..."This is illegal," said Judy Phair, GMAC's vice-president for communications. "We have a hard drive, and we're going to be analyzing it. If you used the site and paid your $30 to cheat, your scores will be canceled. They're in big trouble."

I can only luagh at "They're in big trouble" Kindly pay my 250$ back of GMAT fee since u allowed stupid idiot people to beat my credentials by letting such a website/forum run in the open... seconldy mmm not interested ina GMAT-style MBA in which I have seen really stupid people getting into topnotch colleges only to end with $100000 loan on the head..

Bshool

July 12, 2008 7:12 AM

China , India – just a extremly small porion of Asia . A lot of institutions and centers in China and India such as www.chasedream.com , ww.chasescore.com, www.wretch.cc, www. bbs.gter.ce.cn, www. hdreams.com, www.ggt.idv.tw, www. bbs.taisha.org, www.eol.cn, www.passion.org.cn, have distributeed live questions and Chinese students said that learning at these institutions

were able to get at least 700 easily because they met many live questions they learned from their teachers. Why GMAC so far did nothing to punish these institutions? What punishment GMAC will do for them? GMAC states that it is extremely unlikely that anyone accessing the Scoretop will see the same questions on the live exam. However, GMAC only tried to punish students of this site while GMAC has ignored owners of these instutions including Scoretop.

Ben

July 14, 2008 3:02 PM

I havent taken the GMAT as yet but am preparing for it. I have a friend who took his GMAT in Aug 2006 and he had a question is his exam directly from the Practice test which GAMC provides. So what do GMAC have to say about it. I was going to join Scoretop since had got a good feedback about it. I was told that the difficulty of the questions are the same as those in the real GMAT. I didnt know that they were live questions. I dont know how to validate whether the questions are live or not since these days there are so many GMAT preperation forums how do we differentiate from the live and non... GMAC doesnt provide enough practise materials too... So what do we do now...?

Ujwal

July 14, 2008 4:49 PM

Firstly I am not a VIP member and never was. Not because I did not know of the site or was not serious about my preparation. It was because I felt I did not have time to do more questions having such preparation material as Kaplan, Manhattan and of course the OGs. Trust me if I had 1 week more time I might have purchased the VIP membership. Frankly, how many of us read disclaimers, posts and reviews while looking for more questions on the internet? I don’t. This is a problem with internet links that are there pointing to Scoretop and many other preparation sites. You cannot blame the person who invented hyper-text and html for this.
I got admits from many top schools based on score, academics, activities and interviews.
I have gone through each and every comment posted on the two articles by Louis. Lot of people seem to be taking a moral high ground and castigating VIP members. In my opinion they are not taking a moral high ground. Most want their scores to increase. Some people who have completed or are attending their MBA seem to have negative opinions too. My take they are people trying to satisfy their egos.
GMAC tests logic and I think they need more employees who have some of this logic. I can list out at least 10 points where their logic of punishing VIP members is faulty, based completely on the posts I have read and I can come up with at least another 5 on my own. If they have the patience of going through the 6000 VIP members and their activity on scoretop they probably should have the patience to see how many posted questions did each one get in their actual exam. I think 50% wouldn’t have got any. For the rest why don’t you just adjust the score to your best ability? True it’s a CAT and it’s difficult to adjust but come on its better than asking people already admitted to go through the entire process again or revoking degrees of people done with their MBA. A school, even the top notch ones, gives admits to different people with score ranges of 80-100 points. Don’t tell me your chances of getting to the school you want got diminished because somebody knew two questions from before and scored 10 extra on his/her GMAT. As far as ethics let each decide the way he wants to be and you are not entitled to question the entire group of 6000 unrelated people because of some handful of people in the group.

Any correspondence?

July 16, 2008 5:01 PM

Has anyone received any further correspondence after the GMAC email to VIP memebers? Has GMAC cancelled anyone's score so far?

yoho

July 17, 2008 1:04 AM

hey guys ,
I was VIP member in 2008 and havent revieved any Email from GMAC yet ! what would be the interpretation? Do they lost some of the information ?!

To Yoho

July 17, 2008 12:28 PM

Are u sure about that? r u sure u dint use a different email address while registering with Scoretop? I remember ScoreTop crashed in March 2008 and though they restored a lot of data but I guess they were not able to restore any 2008 feb/march data..Ur example, if true, is a case in point. Can anybody reading this confirm that being a 2008 member, he/she dint receive an email from GMAC.

what is JJ

July 17, 2008 12:43 PM

How was this word coined ? GMAC assumes that JJ means live questions on what basis ? where is the legit evidence that it means that. Tomorrow somebody can mean jj as anything. Their is no fixed definition. Sometimes on scoretop later in 2007 they called JJ for practice questions. Well how would a surfer in 2007 know that JJ means a live question ? I think GMAC should differentiate the 2006 and 2007 members. They definitely didnot have the same knowledge as 2006 era. Things had changed in 2007 and one would not know JJ means a live question but known JJ and Practice questions PQ's as the same. And nobody saw any Practice questions or PQ's in live exam, they were written by scoretop tutors. This is the case of copyright infringement by scoretop by having OG and other material on scoretop. Scoretop should be held accountable and not the students for this case. GMAC was enough slack not to take action soon and now running behind students now. GMAC should rather put energy and efforts in shutting down more sites like this and shut the root cause instead of flirting around with blind.

ps:i did post this on other fourm

annoyed

July 17, 2008 4:02 PM

As someone who studied hard, took the test, and did well - I felt satisfied. All you cheaters out there who knew what you were doing should be ashamed. This is what's eating at the core of the business world - the idea that you can take a short cut and still come out ahead. Stop complaining and take your medicine, you'll be better people in the long run for it if you learn your lesson.

asit

July 17, 2008 9:01 PM

I have few points that I wish to put forward:
1) The court in Virginia refused GMAC the right of ownership to those hard drives, which later on, GMAC bought from an auction. Now since these drives are in GMAC's possession, what is the guarantee that they have not been tampered with? I wish to know whether such evidence, procured from an auction and in private custody, are legally admissible in court of law?

2) As we all know, there are two sides of a coin. It is also possible that GMAC might have taken a few questions from Scoretop and put them on their test, so that they can label those questions as live questions and sue Scoretop.

3) GMAC has accessed private data of many users without informing them or without prior permission from any legal authority. These are critical data, such as personal/professional information, contact information, and credit card information that people fill out during sign up. What happened to privacy laws? How can they intrude into such private details of a person?

4) GMAC has been monitoring (I should say, spying on) the activities of scoretop and its users for the last few years and has probably used some unauthorized procedures/methods to collect evidence, which include inflicting users' computers with viruses such as "infostealer." Please note that many users observed that their anti-virus programs used to detect such viruses only when they used to log on to Scoretop's sites. I wish to know how you would grade such an act on the scale of ethical behavior.

5) The discussion section of the Scoretop was a "free for all," where anyone can write anything that he wishes to write. It was very similar to this particular discussion section of BusinessWeek. Now if someone puts live questions on this discussion board, how can everyone else be held responsible for that particular person's independent act? It is as if you are sitting in an exam-room of 100 people and one person writes something on the black board and later on the whole class is being punished or is being labeled as "cheaters."

6) I personally feel that rather than putting blame on innocent students and paying millions of dollars to lawyers, GMAC should spend that money to fill up loopholes in their existing system. They always know how many students are going to appear in a particular month. Rather than having a small set of questions in their bank and repeating those live questions during tests, GMAC should give new questions every time a test taker appears for a test. They should increase their workforce and invest some extra money so as to eradicate such possibilities in the future. After all, they are charging more than USD $200 for a 3-4 hour test; also they charge USD $30 for sending scores to a school. Can you see how costly that is? Don’t you feel that they are acting in a monopolistic manner and looting people in a legal way? Sorry--I think here I have drifted off from the track.

Open your eyes.

July 18, 2008 12:05 PM

Dear Annoyed,

who is cheater ? Do you know what is going on..seriously. There is no cheating in this case. As GMAC claims that very unlikely that questions repeat. Now this is beaten to death that this is case of copyright violation and not cheating (as per GMAC). Only the violators should be punished...GMAC is behind so many innocent students...which is injustice and mental harassment. I seriously think GMAC should go behind many web sites which are worse than scoretop and still out in clear and running. The websites mentioned in top of this tread.

I feel GMAC is so strong that it should venture out to fight bigger problem, it seems like they are beating handicapped students to death. GMAC might feel great about killing handicapped students, but at the end of all this mess the problem still exits and probably created more mess.

TO ANNOYED

July 18, 2008 12:26 PM

I agree with your feelings. But unfortunately most of consider something true as long as it does not conflict with our interests. The scoretop guys must have done mistake. But that could be just a misjudgement on their part and may not be an intention to beat the system. And I do agree that there must be some sort of illegality, but the punishment may not be so severe that it will be kind of death sentence for him or her. After all we must not forget about humanity in the jugglery of legality. isnt it?

TO LOUIS LAVALLE

July 18, 2008 4:03 PM

A few points for clarificaitons:
1) As per ACLU access to personal informaton by government is forbidden. I think same principles is applied by court while not allowing GMAC to get control of the HD. Now, GMAC got control of the HD of course through some legal means. But is it not something against court's original intention? To my mind it is not ethical though it is legal.

2) Scoretop VIP members must have done something wrong. But should they be punished so severly that they have no chance at all. Even people getting capital punishment also can make mercy petition and in numerous cases get so. In this case can't there be something in the middle as LOUIS mentioned somewhere? Cancellation of studentship or degree will be far more detrimental than cancellation of applicaiotn or admission offer.

GMAT- Not recommended

July 19, 2008 3:23 AM

GMAC is Bull Crap. After sincerely appearing for the test, they now question our integrity. How can some God forsaken useless BULL CRAP people like "annoyed" raise fingers at anybody. They better check their IQ and family background before raising questions. If without facts they can question our integrity, we have all the rights to question thier integrity and also the integrity of their families. It clearly shows how narrow minded is your up-bringing, you are the kind of person ready to drive over pedestrians for pleasure of your own. Pity you.. shame on you!! Burn in HELL...

To Ms Judy Phair

July 19, 2008 3:40 AM

This is what Judy Phair has to say: ..."This is illegal," said Judy Phair, GMAC's vice-president for communications. "We have a hard drive, and we're going to be analyzing it. If you used the site and paid your $30 to cheat, your scores will be canceled. They're in big trouble."
Is she gone NUTTS?? How dare she comments something like this. This the only statement because of which some people in the forum assume that most of 6000 people are CHEATERS. This is where the word "Cheats" originated. She better give a written apology to all the innocent members and resign from her post ASAP. She is in Big Trouble not us!!

TO ASIT

July 19, 2008 8:40 AM

I do agree with your points ASIT. I believe that all of us should go through the court's judgment carefully. Then we will find that some interesting points.

1) The court's judgment clearly says that GMAC could not prove the defendant's conduct truly threatened the sanctity of the GMAT examination. Otherwise it would have filed a prompt request for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunctive relief. Court did not accept GMAC's logic of FBI investigation. Court clearly says,” …. Plaintiff filed its complaints nearly nine months after FBI’s criminal investigation became public. That delay undercuts plaintiffs argument that the defendant posses an imminent threat to the integrity of the GMAT exam”. Now my question is court itself did not find SCORETOP as an immediate threat may be because GMAC did not take prompt action. Is it not unacceptable that GMAT says in its FAQ’s because of FBI investigation they took so long to sue SCOETOP? It is a lame excuse isn’t it as COURT did not accept it. I hope GMAC would come forward with a responsible explanation to this. Otherwise will it not be logical to assume that GMAC indirectly helped students getting trapped into SCORETOP?

2) To court GMAC was unable to prove that a single examinee other than the defendant ( Lei Shi) accepted the NDA and subsequently breached that. So, how do we expect that GMAC will be accurately able to do so when doing their investigation from the HD. As ASIT mentioned, how are we confirmed that GMAC might not manipulate things as HD is in its possession?

3) Court observes that defendant did not acquire any of the 494 questions from a third party examinee …

4) In answer to GMAC’s request to hand over the HD and other stuffs, COURT says, “ Recognizing its discretion in fashioning the scope of an injunction, see Virginia Soc’y for human life , Inc. V. Federal Election comm’s…..the court finds the plaintiff’s objection overboard….. so COURT did not order for destruction or hand over of the HD. So, how do we rationalize GMAC’s further investigation with the HD as it is having access to personal information. As per ACLU this is nor permissible at least for government agencies. Can private companies do that? May be? I am not sure.

TO LOUIS and OTHERS

July 19, 2008 8:44 AM

I believe that all of us should go through the court's judgment carefully. Then we will find that some interesting points.

1) The court's judgment clearly says that GMAC could not prove the defendant's conduct truly threatened the sanctity of the GMAT examination. Otherwise it would have filed a prompt request for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunctive relief. Court did not accept GMAC's logic of FBI investigation. Court clearly says,” …. Plaintiff filed its complaints nearly nine months after FBI’s criminal investigation became public. That delay undercuts plaintiffs argument that the defendant posses an imminent threat to the integrity of the GMAT exam”. Now my question is court itself did not find SCORETOP as an immediate threat may be because GMAC did not take prompt action. Is it not unacceptable that GMAT says in its FAQ’s because of FBI investigation they took so long to sue SCOETOP? It is a lame excuse isn’t it as COURT did not accept it. I hope GMAC would come forward with a responsible explanation to this. Otherwise will it not be logical to assume that GMAC indirectly helped students getting trapped into SCORETOP?

2) To court GMAC was unable to prove that a single examinee other than the defendant ( Lei Shi) accepted the NDA and subsequently breached that. So, how do we expect that GMAC will be accurately able to do so when doing their investigation from the HD. As somebody in another discussion forum mentioned that how are we confirmed that GMAC might not manipulate things to its advantage as HD is in its possession? How much are students protected here? This is really scary.

3) Court observes that defendant did not acquire any of the 494 questions from a third party examinee …. So, why GMAC is saying that examinees distributed questions in the site?

4) In answer to GMAC’s request to hand over the HD and other stuffs, COURT says, “ Recognizing its discretion in fashioning the scope of an injunction, see Virginia Soc’y for human life , Inc. V. Federal Election comm’s…..the court finds the plaintiff’s objection overboard….. so COURT did not order for destruction or hand over of the HD. So, how do we rationalize GMAC’s further investigation with the HD as it is having access to personal information. As per ACLU this is nor permissible at least for government agencies. Can private companies do that? May be? I am not sure.

To Rocky

July 20, 2008 1:11 AM

Posting a Gprep question cannot be considered posting "LIVE" questions. It is a FREE SOFTWARE, and anyone (no need to even register for the test) has access to it. I think if one posts a gprep question after taking the test and claiming to have seen it on the test could be in a problem. As far as discussing questions goes, it can never be a prob. There are no explanations to Gprep anywhere, where do you hunt for them? Morover every forum actively discusses Gprep questions, so what's special about ST? moreso about ST VIPs?? check this out: http://www.beatthegmat.com/gmatprep-questions-t2853.html

TO LOUIS

July 20, 2008 2:54 PM

LOUIS,
Can you come up with a write up that have good presentations of the Court's judgement? I think that you only concentrated on GMAC and to some extent student/B.Schools points of view. But most important piece of document here is the COURT's judgement. I think that will clarify many questions. Court's judgement does present some points which may compell us to think that GMAC has also been at great fault and irresponsible in its action. Now, if GMAC is to be given benefit of doubt, students deserve more than GMAC. Moreover, reading the court judgement it may seem that its the GMAC's official who needs to be brought to task first rather than students if we think that the sanctity of GMAT to be kept. Please consider this point. And a media such as BW must publish the other side of the story. COURT's judgement does give us many points to have a neutral story if not the other side of the story. Thanks and hope to get a good report form you soon.

TO Louis

July 21, 2008 4:13 AM

Mr Louis, why don't you look at this issue from the eyes of the innocent members trapped alone? Isn't that most important now -- To save even ONE life that could be destroyed unfairly? I wish you highlighted this entire topic justly and let the general public realize that trapping innocent members into this is Unethical and Immoral. Most student or applicants obviously may not have the knowledge, time and resource to fight for their right. They are so shaken by now that it would probably not even possible for them to concentrate on their daily chores. If you can't (as I don't see BW taking initiative to side with innocent trapped members), then let's just hope sanity prevails over GMAC and God's grace over the trapped innocent members.

Louis

July 21, 2008 9:10 AM

You really need a lesson in Journalism 101. BW's role, or that of any journalistic organization, isn't to "side" with anyone, even the "innocent trapped members." Siding with the students would be just as bad (journalistically speaking) as siding with GMAC, which is what some people on this blog have unfairly accused me of already. To hear some people say it, you'd think I wrote a dozen stories that said: "The students are wrong, GMAC is right, long live GMAC." I didn't. I tried contacting Scoretop users from the very beginning, but deadlines, and then the unwillingness of scoretop users to speak on the record, hindered me. BW then published an entire story given over to the concerns of students ("GMAT Scandal Has MBA Students Sweating," July 1). As for the court documents....I have no plans to write anything about them. If you believe GMAC is horrible becuase it was originally prohibited from taking possession of the hard drive, then obtained it with the help of another court, so be it. Since GMAC obtained the hard drive without breaking any laws (at least none that I know of) at this point, I'm not sure what's gained by discussing the intracacies of the court's argument.

Unfair And Sad

July 21, 2008 7:45 PM

To Louis:
To your credit, you have done a good job publicizing the issue which, regardless of what others might say, has played a role in GMAC changing its statement from "We will cancel every VIP member's score" to "We will not cancel scores if there is a shadow of doubt" or for that matter, even entertaining chat with folks.

I have three very big concerns that as a journalist, you ought to take a look at: 1. Has the privacy (and private data) of individuals been violated by a private company? 2. Doesn't the original court judgement/verdict create enough doubt in your keen investigative mind that only a few of the VIP members were probably guilty of stealing/cheating? How do you justify a blanket attribution of guilt to 6000+ folks (I feel the number is actually the tip of the iceberg as many folks probably shared membership) when an US court did not even convict the 5 John Does named as defendants along with Lei Shi? 3. How can a private company be completely unbiased in an investigation where it might have a vested interest in protecting its own copyright or its own agenda to proclaim how tough it is on potential violators - shouldn't the investigation be carried out by an independent agency (much as FBI did against Lei Shi, owner of Scoretop)?

As for contacting real identities behind their online identities, I am more than happy to talk to you in person using my real identity. I have sent all my details to GMAC couple of times, followed up with them to provide any help they might need to successfully carry out the investigation. Since the day I signed up for the test (I was a scoretop VIP member for a very short period after I signed up for the test and never posted anything in Scoretop) till today, I have never ever disclosed any live questions or sought any live questions, so I feel I might be a good candidate to reflect on the other side and see what might have transpired behind the scenes of the controversy.

To Louis

July 22, 2008 1:00 AM

Well Louis, whatever you say, It can be clearly seen all over the web-site that there is an "inherent assumption" that all VIP members knew that there were live questions, though your personal view clearly has become unbiased. No lesson in journalism is required to show you that there is a very clear bias towards GMAC in all BW forums.
eg: Debate on "punish cheater", advertizing RshinerUSA comments constantly, no mention of the court order, no removal of racial comments. You may not agree, but believe me, at the end of it all you will have to agree when most VIP members receive an apology letter from GMAC :) Cheers, I do appreciate your personal work.

Clarity

July 22, 2008 1:50 AM

Hi Louis, great coverage. Please relay to GMAT that going forward they need to clarify what resources test takers can incorporate into their study routines. For example, all legit test prep companies must have a seal of approval from GMAC or something along those lines. If they decide to use the site it is at their own risk.

It does seem apparent some test takers did cheat. However, there are dozens of GMAT communities on the Internet. GMAC needs to clarify what "knowingly access live questions" means. It seems simple enough, but in the electronic age such questions are not so black and white. Thousands of practice GMAT questions are posted over dozens of test prep forums each month. How are students to distinguish what posts to click on and which ones to avoid?

GMAC needs to find some way to standardize (no pun intended) what students can utilize in their prep and what they can not.

Test takers are not of the hook either. I hope GMAC posts warning all over their site that potential test takers must do their due diligence that there is no hint of cheating going on in a forum they may belong to. Also, forum members must help moderators keep the site clean. I am a member of test magic and any time someone posts a link to "live questions" I immediately alert the moderator. So, the community as a whole must detest cheating and work together with the site's moderators to keep the site's forums clean.

Louis

July 22, 2008 10:28 AM

To unfair and sad....
(1) The second court, the one that allowed GMAC to obtain the hard drive, didn't think it was violating the privacy rights of individuals. Courts are a funny thing...you only need one to agree with you, and courts disagree all the time (that's where the phrase "overturned on appeal" comes from).
(2) I never thought, said, or suggested that all VIP members were probably guilty of anything. I always believed there were varying levels of culpability among the VIP members--including no wrongdoing at all.
(3)If some VIP members--I repeat...IF and SOME--did in fact break GMAC's rules regarding the administration of the test, then GMAC is the only party who could investigate. There were no civil or criminal laws broken, so the FBI (or any other law enforcement agency) wouldn't be involved.

Dina

July 22, 2008 10:58 AM

Doesn't the GMAT exam compare you to other GMAT test takers? So, if those students accused of cheating have their scores canceled, does that mean that all scores, from exams taken within the last two years, will be re-evaluated based on the non-cheating test takers??? Do those non-cheating test takers get refunds for all the money they spent on taking the exam and applying to universities??? How is GMAC going to deal with that side of the situation...what are they going to do to make things "fair" for those non-cheaters???

To Louis: Unfair and Sad

July 22, 2008 11:40 AM

For #1, it wasn't a court that awarded GMAC the hard drive, it was through a sheriff's auction in Arizona that GMAC got the hard drive. It seems to me that Internet laws are not totally clear here but the understanding is, hard drives should be purged before they are sold in an auction.

For #2, I never suggested that you attributed guilt to VIP members. If you look at GMAC FAQ, it does not take too much intelligence to figure out that GMAC started by attributing guilt to VIP members and when you provided coverage/followed up, GMAC started mellowing down their stance. My understanding; GMAC was playing hard ball at the beginning and then realized that many folks were actually not guilty.

For #3, even though no criminal or civil laws are broken, why isn't GMAC coming clean with an independent 3rd party and providing its data to others?(there are many data investigation vendors or forensic analysts) Whenever there is a closed door investigation where the party investigating has a bias, there is always a chance of misattribution of justice.

In any case, I believe you have been impartial, I just do not think the same way of GMAC. As for myself, I am ready to talk to whoever I need to and disclose my identity - to the best of my knowledge, I have not intentionally violated any GMAC rules and more importantly, I did not abet in any wrong doing that might have gone on in Scoretop (and is still probably going on in other forums/sites/test prep agencies).

Louis

July 22, 2008 12:18 PM

(1) It WAS a court. Before the sheriff's auction could take place, the property had to be seized from scoretop. GMAC had to go to court to make that happen.

(2) You never suggested that I attributed guilt to VIP members? Then what did you mean by this: "How do you justify a blanket attribution of guilt to 6000+ folks..."

(3) In fact GMAC is using a forensic specialist to examine the hard drive. (From your original post I thought you were referring to an investigation of individual VIP members and whether or not they broke any rules, not just the data on the hard drive.) Either way, this is how the world works. GMAC owns the test and it's up to GMAC to decide what to do when something goes wrong. If I publish something in error, BW doesn't call in a swat team to determine what the correction should say...it decides on its own.

to : Louis

July 22, 2008 12:48 PM

Louis ,

What are the details about the proposed chat with GMAC officials tomorrow. If possible can you provide those details today so everybody can check if they can connect from wherever they are tomorrow. Sometimes chats are blocked in office firewalls...

To Louis: Unfair And Sad

July 22, 2008 1:32 PM

As for #1, my understanding was that Arizona court's action (and hence sheriff's auction) was related to recovering the $2.3 million damage that GMAC had been awarded as part of the settlement and had nothing to do with copyright/GMAC's original lawsuit in Virginia. Am I mistaken? Can you point us to Arizona court documents that suggest otherwise?

My apologies on #2: I meant to say "How do you justify GMAC's blanket attribution of guilt to 6000+ folks?". As you and I both know, GMAC started off by saying "They will cancel all VIP members scores" before they softened their stand and said "We will not cancel cancel scores if there is a shadow of doubt" (and I believe you did play a major role in highlighting to GMAC that only a few VIP members might have been guilty)

For #3, while GMAC does own the test, unlike the BW example, their action is not targeted to their own employee, it is targeting many folks who have used their service. If anything, it is akin to the Viacom-Google lawsuit where the court has ordered Google to disclose the access data without disclosing personal information.

Regardless, I will be happy if GMAC carries out an honest investigation - I am pretty sure the investigation, if carried out without malice, will absolve a majority of the VIP members of their purported guilt and find the ones who might have been actually involved in soliciting/posting real GMAT questions.

Louis, my offer stands - if you want to get real identity of someone who feels abused by the system, please let me know.

TO UNFAIR and SAD

July 22, 2008 2:07 PM

Here is the point. GMAC may cancel somebody's score without asigning any reason which they can do so as the NDA gives the huge leeway. But if GMAC cancels somebody's score by implicating him with charges that he was involved in malicious act in SCORETOP site, it may raise many questions unless and until the investigation is done by a neutral body. In that case the affected person may resort to court and pray that his data have been tempered by GMAC as the investigation is not done by neutral body. You rightly mentioned the GOOGLE/VIACOM case. Here, also the issue is same. so, I am afraid that GMAC cancel somebody's score without assigning any reason. That will not give anybody any scope to go to court.

Louis

July 22, 2008 4:34 PM

Unfair and Sad...I don't have any Arizona court documents I can point you to...my statement was based on what GMAC told me, which was very confusing. Basically what they said was this: They walked out of federal court with a $2.3 million judgment that was pretty much uncollectable. They went to two different courts in Arizona and Pennsylvania (I think)--one to get the domain name and the other to get the hard drive. Once the hard drive was seized it was sold at auction and GMAC bought it. So yes, the seizure/auction was to collect on the $2.3 million judgment GMAC won in federal court. But to say the seizure/auction had nothing to do the original lawsuit in Virginia is wrong--without the original lawsuit there would be no $2.3 million judgment, and without the judgment there would be no seizure/auction. So is the mystery solved now? Now to your original question: have the privacy rights of individuals been violated? Possibly, but (and I'm no lawyer) I think you'd have a tough time making that case given that a court of law authorized the seizure. Is that fair? Probably not, but few things in life are.

GMAC - chats live on July 23

July 22, 2008 7:39 PM

Peg Jöbst of the Graduate Management Admissions Council chats live on July 23


http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/jul2008/bs20080717_596446.htm

HOPELESS

July 24, 2008 1:46 AM

Chat with GMAC's official were hopeless to some extent though provided one or two important information. In some cases she was just hilarious. For example, she said that MBA path is full of mine fields and potential MBAs to be aware of mine. But it is GMAC's responsibility to make aware people about the mine fields and clear them at any cost. Somebody pointed out that GMAC could not carry out its responsiblity of clearing minefields properly as it is also justified by COurt's observation. On this point she just avoided it technically. This is ridiculous.

GMAC

July 24, 2008 7:53 AM

I want to draw GMAC attention to the original statement "Intension makes the difference". They may want to check -

1. Is someone trying to hide behind the identity i.e. knows what is going on (fuzzy email, CC etc.)?

2. Did they benefit from any live question vs. just seeing the question, which I am sure many saw whether they write it in the summary or not (tainted score)?

3. Are they going repeated in the exam to play with the system vs. one time?

4. Did they actively trade the live questions after the exam?

Please don't just cancel the score w/o seeing the intent, benefit and severity. People might be caught up in the environment with no ill intent as no warnings were issues anywhere.

Issue is "Knowingly" or "Unknowingly" (live/dead question concept was not really clear for me - I don't believe it was mentioned anywhere).

Xyz

August 4, 2008 5:09 PM

Well..I just want to focus on one thing.how wud GMAT do what it claims to do?
How would it identify the person who subscribed VIP membership?
Right now it has just e mailed people who were registered with the site. But how would it prove the link between the person's e mail and the credit card used for buying VIP( and the smae credit card used to pay the GMAT exam fee).

Come on GMAC... if someone knew he was cheating why would he/she use the same credit card.
SO IF U MANAGE TO EVEN NAIL DOWN EVEN 100 OUT OF THOSE 6000( trust me 5900 intentionally/unintentionally would never be caught..look at the facts..65% ppl were indians..india has one of the lowest credit card penetrations) these wud be the "honest fools" who truly believed that scoretop was one of the most interactive site.

Sorry, Louis Got It Right

August 13, 2008 10:00 AM

What a load of crap these posters are feeding us. "PLEASE HELP?" "INNOCENT LIVES DESTROYED" ?? What kind of LSD are you taking? People who used Scoretop and have their scores/degrees canceled (the worst case, though I seriously doubt even 1 degree will be lost)are not dead. Life goes on; they can do anything else with their lives and breath fresh air tomorrow. They made a mistake (mostly knowing what they were doing, a few genuinely innocent)and they will pay for it. That is how American works. Whiners never get ahead in life, and there are people with MUCH worse problems in the world than you self-centered twits.

Louis Lavelle is a journalist, and a pretty good one, but he doesn't work for GMAC. Give it a rest.

P.S. I am truly appalled at the poor spelling and grammar of those of you who are applying for MBA programs, in them, on waiting lists, or graduated in them. Almost every post here contains SERIOUS errors in basic English. Louis has been very kind not to point that out, but I will. None of you belongs in an MBA program, or even in any type of an entry-level (never mind management) position, until you can simply learn to spell. Thanks.

To Sorry, Louis Got it Right

August 14, 2008 11:55 AM

Although I have never had any doubts about Louis's journalistic abilities, I am a bit concerned about your writing skills. Before you throw stones at others, evaluate your writing and spellings first

'scores/degrees canceled'

'breath fresh air' -??

'That is how American works'

'truly appalled at'

'or graduated in them'

the list goes on.....

If you have nothing new to add, just keep your opinion and suggestions to yourself. Thanks

MR AFRICA

August 19, 2008 4:52 AM

GMAT is a useless test!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The GMAC is the biggest MONOPOLY on Earth!!!!!!!

At least every country or region should have its own method of evaluating students....


TOP SCHOOLS should stop preaching Gold and Silver through MBA.

Laughing out loud

September 4, 2008 9:13 AM

Whoever wrote "Sorry, Louis Got It Right" is a real funny guy!

Post a comment

September 7, 2008 7:21 PM

Has anyone heard anything yet?

Louis

September 8, 2008 8:57 AM

Funny you should ask...I've been checking in with GMAC periodically, most recently last week. And what I heard on Wednesday from Judith Phair, the GMAC spokeswoman, was that there would be some kind of announcement "within the next few weeks at the latest." If I hear anything more, I'll let everybody know.

Mr-GMAT

October 19, 2008 12:51 PM

I got a letter from GMAC saying my scores are cancelled. I have appealed their decision and hoping for the best.

Post a comment

 

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