[photopress:college_entrance_exam.jpg,full,alignright]If you get into a proper B school in China you will avoid poverty almost for certain. Thus the temptation to nudge the odds in your favor of getting a spot at a top university is almost irresistible. On a Chinese-language Web site, GMAT test takers disclose questions they have memorized so that others can use them.
Yes, of course it is a violation of the GMAT confidentiality agreement, but, against that, it is an enticingly simple way of improving your marks.Some students say that half the questions they encounter on the test were previously posted on a site.
Students say the Web site is an advantage that’s too good to pass up and it is difficult to argue with them. If the examinations are do-or-die and if everyone else is using an apparently legal method to improve marks then you would be giving yourself a handicap not using them.The strategy apparently works: in one cited example a combination of book studying and online test preparation added 40 points to a Fudan student’s score on retaking the test. His roommate, said, ‘If everyone else is using it, why would we put ourselves at a disadvantage?’
The GMAT isn’t the only hurdle. The national university entrance boards, China’s version of the Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a grueling three-day exam. It seems to have it origins in the examinations use in China many centuries ago to determine civil service hirings and rankings and plainly is open for considerable revision.
These examinations are desperately important. Parents will go so far as to seek professional psychiatric counseling for their teenagers — all to help ambitious high school seniors do as well as they can on the test. (Bear in mind a family only has a single child on which to pin its hopes.)
Rolf Cremer, dean of the China Europe International Business School, an educator in China for two decades, said, ‘For these kids, this is a do-or-die situation. A high score means the best universities China can offer, and a low one – lifelong poverty.’ So cutting corners — cheating if you want to be cruel — is rife.
The Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), the GMAT’s overseer, already has some security measures built in but it needs more. Any system that can be devised can almost certainly cracked by students who are probably more computer savvy than the programmers.
In 2003, GMAC, along with ETS, sued the New Oriental School, China’s largest test-preparation service, alleging that it gave students copies of actual exam questions that were then in use. Last December, China’s highest court awarded GMAC and ETS US$774,000 in damages and a public apology.
Where New Oriental exits, others rush in. Several Web sites and university bulletin boards purport to have potential GMAT questions and other helpful hints for beating the system. Plainly, this is not the ideal way to instill business ethics in potential business students.
Source: Business Week